Monday, November 06, 2006

Refworks' RefGrab-It

Refworks ( has unveiled a new tool for collecting online citations into your Refworks library. RefGrab-It is a browser bookmarklet that collects information from a webpage for import into Refworks. It is currently available for Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows, and Firefox and Netscape on Macs.

First you have to install the RefGrab-It link. Login to Refworks, go to Tools, and select RefGrab-It, or go directly to the Refworks bookmarklet page. Drag the appropriate bookmark, by operating system and browser, to your Links or Bookmark toolbar in your browser, or right-click and Save to Favorites/Bookmarks. Now go off to some interesting page and click the link in your toolbar or Favorites/Bookmarks list. From all webpages, Refworks will extract the URL and the Title for import. However, if the page has recognizable bibliographic information, you will see some additional tabs on the import page. ISBN's will bring up book information, DOI's article info, etc. A page with an RSS feed will bring up a link for citing an individual entry. You can choose any or all of the possibilities to import. Once the import is complete, you can edit the record as you would any Refworks entry, adding, for instance, an author and the accessed date to a webpage.

(Remember that Refworks entries are only as good as the data fed into them, so plan to review all your imported references carefully. Playing with the Record Type is helpful: for instance, there are differences in the way a WebPage, a Generic electronic source, and a Journal, Electronic are handled, which may or may not be appropriate for your particular source. You may have to do minor editing of the citation output as well. For instance, Refworks does not handle proper name capitalization in titles very well.)

Another new feature is the ability to turn off the look up feature that was introduced in the last update. The look up feature, called Term Assistant, is a pop up that allows you to find terms you have already used, such as author names. While it could be very useful for some projects, I find it annoying. Since my records do not have many common authors or journal names, the popup just gets in the way. I was happy to turn it off.

For the SCSU community: If you aren't currently using Refworks, contact me for information on setting up your account through Southern.


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