Monday, November 22, 2004


I mentioned in a previous post that RedLightGreen would format references in several formats. It then occured to me that I should mention Refworks.

Refworks is an online service that stores and formats references. You can download references from many of our databases into the system, plus enter them manually. You can sort your references into folders (for instance, by subject or by project). Once you have selected references for a particular paper or project, you can format them in any of a large number of citation styles, including the popular APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian. Many styles for specific journals are also available. There is even a downloadable program that works with Microsoft Word to format your references within your paper, or you can generate your references online and copy and paste them into your paper. As with all automated systems, you should double check the details to make sure that everything came through properly. (One particular thing to check is the URL for Internet sources--they don't always transfer properly into the citation, though they usually are complete in the Refworks database.)

One of the great things about Refworks is that you can go back and reuse references that you have used before. Everything is stored until you get rid of it. No more sifting through you old papers trying to find that reference you used last year. Refworks is searchable, so as long as you can remember an author or a few keywords you can find that article again. You can also sort by the date you put the reference into Refworks, so if you can't remember anything but the fact that you used it last May, you should still be able to find it!

The Library subscribes to RefWorks so that any Southern Connecticut State University student, faculty, or staff member can use it. To sign up, you must either log in for the first time on campus, or contact me for the institution code. You will be able to log in from any off campus Internet computer using the institution code and the user name and password that you select.

For a couple of online tutorials and a schedule of classes, go to This page is also available from the Library Home Page by clicking on the Refworks logo at the bottom of the page. If you'd like some individual help, contact me.

Update: (11/28/04) An excellent suggestion comes from Jay Blatt (via STLQ). Set up a group Refworks account for your study or project group. You will be less likely to miss out on good resources your teammates find as well as not wasting time duplicating their research efforts. I've used FURL ( for group collections of online research, but FURL doesn't format the references for you!


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