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Library resources in physics

Why Migrate?

UWF's subscription to RefWorks has ended, and we were notified that all UWF users would lose access to their RefWorks accounts after January 31, 2021.  As of May 25, 2021, however, UWF users were still able to log in to RefWorks to access previously saved citations.

If you have citations saved in RefWorks, you should migrate them to Zotero so you can continue to access them as well as add new records to your citation collections.  Here are the steps necessary to get your RefWorks citations into Zotero.

Install and Sync Zotero Desktop Application

[Picture of Zotero Download Screen]Importing citation data into Zotero from RefWorks or another citation manager like EndNote can only be done on the "desktop" version of Zotero - not the web version.  Once the data is imported, however, you will be able to access it from the web version of Zotero.

Download and install the desktop version of Zotero for your operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux) from the Zotero download page.

Once you have installed the Zotero desktop application, open it and sync it with the account you created for the web version by clicking "Edit > Preferences," then, under the "Sync" tab of the preferences window, entering the username and password for your Zotero Web account.  Then click "Set Up Syncing," leave the default settings, and click OK.

Syncing Data in Zotero Desktop Application

If you already have citations and folders in your Zotero web account, it may take a little time before you see them in the Zotero desktop application, but they will eventually appear there.

Export RefWorks Data to File(s)

Log in to RefWorks to view your citation management data. 

If you have multiple folders to manage different projects, it is best to export the citations folder-by-folder in order to maintain your organizational structure.  In the example below, the user has several folders including one named "Capstone Project."

Click image to enlarge

Select the first folder you want to migrate, then click "Share" in the RefWorks toolbar and select "Export references."  A pop-up window will appear. Select "All references ..." and either "BibTeX" or "RIS Format," then click "Export."  (BibTeX format appears to work a little better for migrating to Zotero.)

By default, RefWorks will save the exported data in your Downloads folder with the name "export.bib" (BibTeX) or "export.ris" (RIS format).  Locate the file in your Downloads folder and rename it to something unique and meaningful, in this example perhaps "CapstoneProject.bib"

Repeat this process of selecting a folder, exporting it and renaming the export file for each of the folders you want to migrate to Zotero. 

Be aware: RefWorks does not include "tags" in its export data, so any RefWorks-generated or user-created tags for citations will not migrate to Zotero.  User notes, however, do migrate.

Import Data File(s) to Zotero Desktop

Start your Zotero desktop application.  

Click "File > Import ..."
A pop-up window will appear.  Click "Next." Screen capture - Click Next to Import from File
Select one of the RefWorks export data files that you have renamed appropriate to your folder names.  Then click "Open." Screen Capture - Select RefWorks export file and click Open
Check the box labeled "Place imported collections and items into new collection," and select "Copy files to the Zotero storage folder."  Then click "Next." Screen capture - Check checkbox to import into new collection and select 'Copy files to Zotero storage,' then click Next.

Click "Finish."

Repeat this Import process for each of the folder export files you created with RefWorks.

Screen capture - Click 'Finish."

When you have finished importing each of the RefWorks export files, you will have folders in Zotero that have the same name as the filenames (e.g. "CapstoneProject.bib" becomes a folder labeled "CapstoneProject"). Here's how the imported folder/citations looks in tne Zotero desktop application:

Screen capture of Zotero desktop application showing imported folder of citationsClick image to enlarge


And, after automated syncing is completed, how the imported RefWorks data appears in the Zotero web interface:

Screen capture of Zotero web interface after importing RefWorks data filesClick image to enlarge