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RefWorks Migration Information: Home

This is the landing page where you will find information about UTA Libraries cancellation of RefWorks (both Legacy and New) and about migrating to EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero.

March 2020 Expiration of RefWorks and What You Need to Know

The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries' subscription to RefWorks will expire March 1, 2020 and will not be renewed. This decision was made based on a steady decline in RefWorks usage paired with the availability of free or low-cost options that function as well as or better than RefWorks. This Guide is designed to help you choose a new Citation Management Tool (CMT) and to answer your questions about the transition away from RefWorks.

Please read the information below to keep up with the latest developments in the RefWorks transition. Or, go directly to RefWorks.

Timeline for Migration Process

What is the timeline for UTA Libraries' transition from RefWorks to other CMTs?

  • July 2019: Decision not to renew RefWorks was made. Our current subscription will expire in March 2020.
  • Early-August 2019: LibGuides will be created for migrating citation data from RefWorks to EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero (as well as using those tools generally).  Each of these LibGuides will be created and maintained by the resident expert on a tool, each also a member of the working group:
    • EndNote: Martin Wallace
    • Mendeley: Antoinette Nelson
    • Zotero: Michael Barera
  • Mid-August 2019: UTA Libraries subject liaisons and UTA Libraries Marketing & Communication department begin notifying UTA faculty and students of the transition away from RefWorks and their options for migrating to other platforms.
  • September 2019-March 2020: Monthly workshops on migrating from RefWorks to EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero (as well as using those tools generally) will be held.  Once again, a member of the working group will lead the sessions on their tool of expertise:
    • EndNote: Martin Wallace
    • Mendeley: Antoinette Nelson
    • Zotero: Michael Barera
  • March 2020-beyond: The members of the working group will continue to provide workshops and training materials for using EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero, but will no longer have a focus on transitioning from RefWorks. We will also provide training materials and workshops for setting up CMTs for systematic reviews.

Exploring Citation Management Tools

Need help organizing your sources?

Use a citation management tool to create personalized databases of your source references.

Citation management applications will allow you to:

  • import and organize citations,
  • create folders for different projects,
  • share folders with collaborators on group projects,
  • format citations and create reference lists in various styles, and
  • write and store your personalized notes and annotations. 

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Migrating Your RefWorks Data to a New Citation Management Tool

You can migrate your citations easily from RefWorks to EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero. Detailed instructions for each are listed below.

Workshop Schedule for Migrating to a New Citation Management Tool

We are committed to helping you migrate from RefWorks to EndNote, Mendeley, or Zotero over the next few months. We are presently creating training materials for migrating from RefWorks to each of these three platforms We will offer hands-on migration workshops beginning in late August. Please check back here for updated training schedules. All workshops will be held in the same location on Thursdays. Some will be offered in the morning and others in the afternoon.

Workshop Location: Central Library Classroom, 315a

  • ​​​11:00 a.m.   August 29, 2019
  •   1:00 p.m.   September 12, 2019
  • 11:00 a.m.   September 26, 2019
  •   1:00 p.m.   October 10, 2019
  • 11:00 a.m.   October 26, 2019,
  •   1:00 p.m.   November 14, 2019
  •   1:00 a.m.  December 12, 2019


Why is RefWorks not being renewed?

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) Libraries has decided not to renew its subscription to RefWorks due to its high cost and low use.  It has also made the decision because of its support for three other high-quality citation management tools (CMTs) that provide comparable functions: EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero, all of which will remain available to UTA faculty and students.

How was this decision made?

This decision was made by a working group created specifically for reviewing and assessing citation management tools at the UTA Libraries.  The working group prepared a report based on actual usage data, a campus-wide needs assessment, a survey of library staff, reports from other academic libraries that have canceled or are considering cancelation, a side-by-side comparison of RefWorks to its top competing platforms (EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero), communications with ProQuest (RefWorks’ parent company), and a review of the current library literature.  This report was presented to the UTA Libraries subject liaisons, who approved it unanimously, before receiving final approval by the Dean of Libraries.

How can I maintain the folders I have in RefWorks?

There is no way to export your folder structure from RefWorks into a new citation management tool. If you wish to keep your folder structure, you can recreate your folder structure in the new CMT and export references one folder at a time from RefWorks.

How can I transfer my PDFs to a new citation management tool?

RefWorks doesn’t have an automatic bulk PDF export option. You will need to download your PDFs from RefWorks onto your computer and then import the PDFs into your new CMT.

Can I access the new citation manager from any computer?

All three programs offer both a desktop version and an online account where you can store references, and to which you can sync the data you have saved in the desktop version.

  • EndNote offers a desktop and online (basic) version. Online storage is unlimited if you own a copy of desktop Endnote.

  • Mendeley offers both Mendeley Desktop and an online account (attached files up to 2 GB for free, as well as citations).

  • You can download Zotero either as an add-on for your Firefox browser, or as a standalone program that works in Chrome or Safari. Data is saved locally. But you can set up an account on Zotero and sync your bibliographic information and attached files (up to 300 MB for free, and more for a modest fee) to your online account.

Can I import items from the library catalog?

Yes, you can import items to each of the citation managers from the library catalog. Each one works a little bit differently:

    For EndNote Basic, select the EndNote Basic option under the Actions menu.
    For EndNote Desktop, select the Export RIS option under the Actions menu and then open the RIS file in EndNote.
    For Mendeley, select the Mendeley option under the Actions menu.
    For Zotero, you can use the Zotero save button as you would in any other database.

How can I collaborate with others and share folders?

Other citation managers also provide the possibility of collaborative work, through “shared folders” on EndNote, or “groups” on Zotero and Mendeley.

  •     Endnote allows up to 14 members in a group.
  •     Mendeley allows up to 25 members in group.
  •     Zotero offers unlimited number of members in group.

Will there be UTA Find It links in the new citation managers?

Some of the citation managers we support offer this functionality:

  • In EndNote, select Edit > Preferences. On the left panel of the preferences menu that appears, select  Find Full Text.  In the OpenURL Path type in _________________.  In the URL box under Authenticate With type in _____________. Hit Apply to save your changes.
  • Mendeley does not currently support FindIt links.
  • In Zotero, go to gear icon > preferences > advanced > open url, and type  __________________in the OpenURL box where it asks for the resolver. To access the FindIt! link when looking at a Zotero reference, click on the green arrow above the right-hand column and select Library Lookup.


If I am an alum who has been using RefWorks, will I also lose my alumni access?

Yes, when the University of Minnesota ends its institutional subscription you will have to migrate your Refworks database to one of the other citation managers


If I have used custom fields in RefWorks, will these transfer to a new citation manager?

If you have used any of RefWorks' custom fields (user 1, user 2, etc.), please contact us for assistance in preserving this information.

Can I sign up and pay for an individual account with RefWorks?

RefWorks does not offer individual accounts at this time.

Contact Us

For inquiries into the RefWorks transition, please contact Martin Wallace, chair of the UTA Libraries Citation Management Tools Work Group. Martin's contact information is on the right side of this page.


This LibGuide was developed, with permission, from the University of Minnesota RefWorks Transition website.