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Migrating Citation Data from RefWorks: Home

Information on how to export your data from RefWorks and into another citation management system.

RefWorks is a citation management platform from ProQuest that allows researchers to save, annotate, and reuse information about articles, books, or other materials. Adelphi Libraries' support for RefWorks ended on September 1st, 2022.



RefWorks was made available for use by Adelphi affiliates courtesy of a licensing agreement between Adelphi University Libraries and the provider. After careful consideration the Libraries have determined that this product does not provide the best value for our students and faculty in comparison to other products in this space, and ceased institutional support as of September 2022.

This guide provides information on how to export, save, and migrate your citation data out of RefWorks and into another reference management system, of which there are many. After September 1st you may lose access to your saved citation data. If you have used RefWorks while at Adelphi, action is required to preserve your citation data!

Exporting Data from RefWorks

To export your data you will need to log into RefWorks with valid credentials. You may have credentials for one or both of the currently supported versions of RefWorks. It is important to determine where your most up-to-date data is stored. If you have credentials for both, you can export both and merge the data later. 

Exporting from RefWorks (New, ProQuest Version)

Most users either started in the new platform or migrated to it once available. If you are not sure which version you are using, try this one first.

  • Go to the RefWorks site and log in. If you do not remember your credentials you may recover them using the email address associated with your account.
  • Follow the instructions in this tutorial to export all references to RIS. If you have multiple projects saved, you may need to export each as a separate RIS file. 

Exporting from Legacy RefWorks (Old Version)

If you started using RefWorks a number of years ago you may still be using the legacy system. 

  • Log into legacy RefWorks with your credentials. If you do not remember your credentials you may recover them using the email address associated with your account.
  • Follow the instructions in this guide to export your data to RIS format. 

Save a Backup of your Data!

It is a good idea to save a copy of your bibliographic data in the same way you would back up other files and data. 

Moving Citation Data to Another System

Now that you have exported your reference data, you may want to move it to another citation management system that works best for you. Adelphi University Libraries recommend Zotero, a free, open-source tool widely used by students and researchers across academia. Zotero is cross-platform compatible, allows syncing across devices, and offers many other advantages. Importing data into Zotero is simple, and Zotero supports a wide range of interchange data formats including RIS and RefWorks Tagged Format. Here are a few resources for importing and organizing your data in Zotero:

There are other options you may wish to consider, some free and some paid, including Mendeley and PaperPile. Most systems support the RIS data interchange format, so importing your data should not be difficult.

If you have used RefWorks via Adelphi, please export your data before September 1st, 2022. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact David Hodges, Associate Dean for Digital Initiatives at Adelphi University Libraries.