Skip to main content

Message to RefWorks users

Zotero instructions

Current RefWorks user? 

Visit the RefWorks - Zotero migration page for information on the migration process as access to RefWorks and RefWorks Legacy will end December 31, 2018. 


Message to RefWorks users

Dear RefWorks community:

The short version:

Effective December 2018, the Libraries will be cancelling our subscription to RefWorks, the citation manager that we currently provide for the university. While students, faculty, and alumni are able to continue using RefWorks until December, we want to allow ample time for a transition to a new platform. We will be promoting and supporting the use of Zotero instead, which is a freely available, open source platform.

We are encouraging students, faculty, and alumni  who currently use RefWorks to migrate their data to Zotero (and we will help you do so). To support this transition, we are providing online tutorials with step-by-step directions, as well as in-person instruction—both individual and group—as needed or requested by faculty/students.

The long version:

As part of the Libraries'  annual process of reviewing our subscription resources—primarily journals and databases—so ensure that we don't exceed our budget for the next fiscal year, we had to identify some cancellations this year. After several years of such cancellations, we have made all the “easy” cuts and are at a point of cancelling resources that are used by our community.

In order to minimize the cancellation of full-text content, we  looked at other possible subscriptions to cancel, which brought us to RefWorks. Our RefWorks subscription represented just over 10 percent of the total amount that we needed to cancel for FY 18-19, and because there are comparable freely available alternatives, we decided to cancel it. The alternative would be to cancel a journal of database that would disproportionately impact one or a small number of departments.

Instead of RefWorks, we will support and promote the use of Zotero ( Zotero is a robust, open-source platform with a strong community of support around it, and we’re confident it will be a good replacement option.

To make the transition as smooth as possible, we have developed online tutorials and resources to assist current users in migrating their citation data from RefWorks to Zotero, and in becoming comfortable using Zotero. Librarians are also available for one-on-one assistance with migrating to or using Zotero, and will be able to schedule group sessions as well. Our goal is to ensure minimal disruption for faculty and students’ research, scholarship, and writing activities.

Questions?  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause, and I hope we can make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone.


Isaac Gilman

Dean of University Libraries