RefWorks: Frequently Asked Questions

Accessing your account(s)

  1. Can I access RefWorks from off-campus?
  2. How do I open two accounts in RefWorks at the same time?
  3. When I open RefWorks in two windows they always end up being the same. Why?
  4. I’m working on a group project. Can we share a RefWorks account?
  5. Can more than one person access my account at a time?
  6. I've have set up multiple RefWorks accounts (multiple logins). How can I get a list of all of them?
  7. Why am I experiencing slowness in Internet Explorer 7?
  8. I'm using Mozilla FireFox and having problems accessing RefWorks. Is there a solution?

Importing records from databases

  1. When I try to export references from an online database with a RefWorks option, nothing happens. What do I do?
  2. I imported some records from an online database and the information didn’t import correctly. Why?
  3. When a data source provides a URL, why is this not imported into RefWorks?
  4. I like to save the pdfs for articles on my hard drive. Can I put a link from a RefWorks record to the pdf file on my computer?
  5. After I import the references into my folders, how do I view the whole article?
  6. Can I export citations from Google Scholar into RefWorks?
  7. If an import filter does not exist for the database I am using, who should I contact to see if one can be built?
  8. My web browser won't let me import citations from EbscoHost nor several few other types of databases. What should I do?

Organizing references and creating a bibliography

  1. How many references can I store in RefWorks? Is there a limit?
  2. How do I tell which folders contain a specific reference?
  3. Can I put a reference into more than one folder?
  4. If I delete a reference from a folder, is it deleted from my database?
  5. Is there a limit to the data I can put in the notes and abstract fields?
  6. How do I back up my references?
  7. My bibliography is not coming out correctly. Why?
  8. I received an error message when I tried to generate my bibliography. What can I do?
  9. Why does my bibliography have incorrect data included in the output document?
  10. Can I save attachments (such as images and full-text pdfs) to the records in my RefWorks account?

Other reference managers/bibliographic software (e.g., Endnote)

  1. I have EndNote, v. 5, and have gone through the RefWorks export process, making a text file, and then importing my database into EndNote. It worked fine, except that the text file did not include URL info, and thus this didn't end up in EndNote. Is there some way I can get the URL field to import?
  2. How do I import references from my EndNote database?
  3. Can I move my RefWorks database into another database program?
  4. My colleague created a RefWorks database, and I'd like to import those citations into my RefWorks account.  How can I do this?
  5. My colleague at another university uses another citation management program (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite, etc.) and does not have access to RefWorks.  How can we collaborate on a writing paper together?

RefWorks subscription and group code

  1. As a student/faculty of the U of Illinois, I have access to RefWorks through the Library's subscription. How can I keep or migrate my data when I graduate / leave?
  2. My institution subscribes to RefWorks. What happens to my data if they decide to cancel next year?
  3. How can I find out what the U of Illinois Group Code is for RefWorks?

Using Write-N-Cite and word processing

  1. What is Write-N-Cite and what does it do?
  2. I’m a Mac user. Will Write-N-Cite work on my Mac?
  3. After I've generated my paper using Write-n-cite, can I go back in and edit my citations, e.g., add some new citations?
  4. We've had problems going back and forth with our Word documents between Macs and PCs, when using EndNote. Will we have the same problem with RefWorks?
  5. For word processing, I use Open Office rather than MS Word. Can I still use RefWorks?
  6. When I try to use Write-N-Cite from home, the Write-N-Cite window pops up, but then I get a "Action cancelled" message. What's wrong?
  7. I can't get Write-n-Cite to create a final document. The system processes through, and tells me there were no errors... "Your manuscript was processed successfully. No errors were encountered " But, no Final- document comes forth! I'm using Firefox as my browser.

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Q. Can I access RefWorks from off-campus?

A. Yes. You can access RefWorks from off-campus. Just use the library-created URL for RefWorks, which has code built in to it that will route you through the University's authentication gateway, Bluestem. So, rather than using the simple, http://www.refworks.com/, which works fine if you're on campus, use instead: http://www.library.illinois.edu/orr/get.php?instid=424609.

If you need to use the Write-n-Cite feature from off-campus, you will need to know the Illinois RefWorks Group Code. This is because when you're in Word and click on Tools / Write-n-Cite, you'll need to log into a modified version of RefWorks that does not route through the Bluestem authentication system. Logging in via the Group Code is another way to authenticate yourself as a U of Illinois student or faculty member, that is, a legitimate RefWorks user.

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Q. How do I open two accounts in RefWorks at the same time?

A. Open your browser by selecting it from the Program menu or by clicking on the icon on your desktop or task bar.

If you use Internet Explorer do not open another window by selecting the File, New, Window option. When you do this you will not open another existing RefWorks account; rather, it will be a second copy of the first regardless of the password or login information.

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Q. When I open RefWorks in two windows they always end up being the same. Why?

A. If you use Internet Explorer and opened a new IE Window by selecting File, New, Window rather than clicking on the IE icon or opening the program from your Program Menu you will be in the same account as the first window. RefWorks uses cookies to "remember" users. To have two accounts open at the same time you must have two sets of cookies. IE only creates two sets when you open your browser by selecting it from the Program menu or by clicking on the icon on your desktop or task bar.

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Q. I’m working on a group project. Can we share a RefWorks account?

A. Yes. RefWorks does not limit the number of accounts you create. Every account can have two types of access – full and read-only. Full access requires everyone to log in with the same login name and password. Read-only requires users to log in with the login name and a read-only password that has been established. Read-only access allows people to search, export and print bibliographies, but not add, edit or delete references.

In addition, each record in a database has five empty fields (User Defined 1 through 5) that can be used to record comments from group members.

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Q. Can more than one person access my account at a time?

A. Yes, multiple users can access your account simultaneously.

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Q. I've have set up multiple RefWorks accounts (multiple logins). How can I get a list of all of them?

A. Your accounts are tied together through your email address. The RefWorks system will email you a listing of all your accounts, as well as the Group Code, if you update your user information -- or pretend that you have!

From within RefWorks: Click on Tools / Update User Information. Then just click on the "update" button, without changing any of the information. You'll receive an email with a listing of all the accounts you've created, their passwords, and the U of Illinois RefWorks Group Code.

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Q. Why am I experiencing slowness with Internet Explorer 7?

Please be advised that Internet Explorer 7 users may experience extreme slowness when using RefWorks. This is due to IE's Phishing Filter (a new feature to IE7) that evaluates web page content.

Microsoft has a downloadable patch that can rectify this. You can download the patch here: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/928089

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Q. I'm using Mozilla FireFox and having problems accessing RefWorks. Is there a solution?

A. Yes. In Firefox, look for a blue exclamation point icon in the lower left-hand side of your screen; it's just to the right of the lock icon and indicates that Firefox's popup blocker is active. Click the exclamation point icon and in the "Blocked Popups" window that appears, click "Unblock Site". Next, select your browser refresh button and you should see the RefWorks login screen. Unblocking the RefWorks pop-up should only need to be done once per Firefox install or user profile.

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Q. When I try to export references from an online database with a RefWorks option, nothing happens. What do I do?

A. You have a couple of options. First, you can check to see if the popup window blocker is set on your browser or personal firewall or security software.

You can also save your references as text a text file (.txt) and import into RefWorks.

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Q. I imported some records from an online database and the information didn’t import correctly. Why?

A. There are several different reasons this could happen:

First, check that the data you are trying to import is in a tagged format. It should look something like this:

Then, from the References, Import area of RefWorks be sure both the Import Filter/Data Source and Database have been selected correctly. If you don't see either All Databases or the specific database you are searching in the drop-down list we do not have a filter for that particular database. In this case the data may still import but it may not be imported into the correct fields and the source information will all go into the notes field. Selecting Multiple Databases will not work if the specific database you are importing is not in the list.

If you selected the correct Data Source and Database but the data still comes in incorrectly, please contact the RefWorks support department at support@refworks.com. Attach a sample of the text file you are importing along with information on the source of the data.

Also, when you import from a text file, RefWorks always gives you the option to view the import log. RefWorks imports references based upon Import Filters that have been created using data samples from various service providers and databases. Because every possible format can't be foreseen, there will occasionally be data that is not imported or data that is imported into an incorrect reference type or field. Any data that is not recognized will be reported in the Import Log. You can view the log immediately after import by clicking on the View Log button before viewing imported references. You may see any of the following messages:

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Q. When a data source provides a URL, why is this not imported into RefWorks?

A. RefWorks can only import information that is in the output file from the vendor. Some vendors, e.g., OVID, put links to the publisher's site, or to the article in the records for articles as you see them on the screen. But if you look at the export download file for Ovid references, you will notice that this information was not exported from OVID. In such cases, the best you can do is to manually input the URL information into your RefWorks record; use the URL field.

However -- RefWorks records now all have a Discover tag attached to them, so you really won't need to add the URL to full text articles! Click on the Discover tag, and you will immediately "discover" if the U of Illinois has e-access to the journal article. Read more about Discover sfx

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Q. I like to save the pdfs for articles on my hard drive. Can I put a link from a RefWorks record to the pdf file on my computer?

A. Yes!

First, you'll need to figure out the pathway to the pdf file of interest. Here's an easy way (for PC's):

  1. Open up your Web browser.
  2. Click on File / Open /
  3. Browse around your computer's directory until you locate the pdf of interest. Select it.
  4. Now, look at the location bar of your browser -- this is where you'd usually type in a URL for a website.
  5. You should see something like file:///C:/Downloads/PDFs/xyz.pdf , where xyz.pdf is the name of your pdf file. This whole string of text is the pathway to your file.

In RefWorks:

  1. Open up the RefWorks record for the article of interest in the "Edit" mode.
  2. Copy the pathway to your file (file:///C:/Downloads/PDFs/xyz.pdf) and paste it into either the "URL" or "Links" field of the record.
  3. Save the record.
  4. Now "View" the record. The Links or URL field will be hotlinked to the pdf file on your hard drive. Click on the link, and the pdf will open!

Note:

It's a wise practice to create a folder for all your pdfs. Then you'll just have to add the pathway to that folder (e.g., file:///C:/Downloads/PDFs/) in front of the name of your pdf file. You won't have to use the browser to create the file pathway every time for you.

When saving pdfs to your hard drive, it's a wise practice to rename them, giving them some sort of consistent name, such as: LastNameOfFirstAuthor_Title_Year.

If you access RefWorks from multiple computers, the links to the PDFs from RefWorks will only work for the computer where the PDFs reside.

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Q. After I import the references into my folders, how do I view the whole article?

A. RefWorks, itself, does not provide access to articles. It is a program that lets you build a database of articles of interest. RefWorks then will work with Word to help create a bibliography of selected citations or format an article in a specified format.

However, all U of Illinois RefWorks records have a Discover button attached to them, so you really won't need to add the URL to full text articles! Click on the Discover button, and you will immediately "discover" if the U of Illinois has e-access to the journal article. Read more about Discover.

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Q. Can I export citations from Google Scholar into Refworks?

A. Yes! You may export citations from Google Scholar into RefWorks one at a time, or, if you install the Zotero plugin, you may import multiple Google Scholar citations at a time. Please refer to the instructions on our Importing Citations Into RefWorks web page.

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Q. If an import filter does not exist for the database I am using, who should I contact to see if one can be built?

A. RefWorks has import filters built for importing bibliographic record information for many databases and data vendors. If you do not find an import filter for the database that you use, you can request that RefWorks look into creating one. While logged into your RefWorks account select Help/Contact Us. There is also a link to request an import filter in the Import area. But, before you do this, be sure to check that we've not provided instructions for importing citations from the database that you are interested in obtaining records from -- see the U of Illinois file, " Importing Citations in RefWorks - Listed by Database."

Keep in mind that it may not be possible always to create a filter for importing record information from your database. Often, it depends on how the database provider tags and organizes the record information. The limitation may be the fault of the vendor and not RefWorks.

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Q. My web browser won't let me import citations from EbscoHost nor several other types of databases. What should I do?

If you are using IE, here's a workaround to try:

To resolve the Ebsco direct export issue in Internet Explorer you can add the database in question and RefWorks as trusted sites in IE. From the IE menu, Selct Tools / Internet Options. Select the Security tab. Select the Trusted sites Zone and click on the Sites button. In the Trusted Sites window, unselect the option to Require server verification and add the following to your trusted sites list. e.g. *.refworks.com, *.epnet.com

This should resolve the issue and allow the direct export to work as intended. We recommend adding other vendor sites as needed such as *.sciencedirect.com and *.csa.com.

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Q. How many references can I store in RefWorks? Is there a limit?

A. You may save an unlimited number of references within your RefWorks account.

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Q. How do I tell which folders contain a specific reference?

A. There are several ways to tell which folder(s) a reference is in. First off, you can customize your views to display the folder names in the gray separator bar that divides each record. To do this, go to Tools/Customize and select Yes in the show folders area.

If you do not want the folder names displayed all the time, from the main view area of RefWorks, click on View or Edit in the top right corner of the reference for which you want the folder information. Click on the In Folder drop-down box. Folders with a >> next to them contain the reference. You can store references in multiple folders (without adding the record to your database multiple times).

You can also easily remove a reference from a folder (without removing it from your database), by de-selecting the folder name in the In Folder drop-down box in the View or Edit mode.

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Q. Can I put a reference into more than one folder?

A. Yes. You can add a reference to as many folders as you want. RefWorks does not copy the reference, it just “marks” it with a placeholder [i.e., your folder name(s)] and allows you to view or edit it from any of those folders.

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Q. If I delete a reference from a folder, is it deleted from my database?

A. If you click the delete button from the all references view, yes, your reference is removed from your database and all folders (you will get a warning message telling you it will be removed completely).

However, if you view a list of references in a folder view (i.e., View/Folders or Folders/View) you will see a Remove from Folder button. Selecting references and then clicking on this button only removes the references from that particular folder. When you remove a reference from a folder, it is still “marked” for any other folders you have already chosen. If there are no marks left, it becomes “unfiled” and is available from the References Not In A Folder (in Folders/View or View/Folder) are in the or you can locate it by searching your RefWorks database.

You can also easily remove a reference from a folder (without removing it from your database), by deselecting the folder name in the In Folder drop-down box in the View or Edit mode.

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Q. Is there a limit to the data I can put in the notes and abstract fields?

A. The notes, abstract and user definable fields are limited to 1 gigabyte of information. Keep in mind that if you add large amounts of data to these fields it will take the program more time to display each reference and display search results.

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Q. How do I back up my references?

A. You can backup your citations on your computer by using the Backup/Restore feature. Select Tools, then Backup/Restore. You’ll then be presented with the option to Include References and/or Include Output Styles. Click on the Perform Backup button. Your folders are automatically included (except for empty folders). A copy of your database will be downloaded to your computer in a zipped file that can only be used in the Restore feature of RefWorks. When you restore your RefWorks database, it overwrites all information currently stored in your account. If you need to view or move your data, we recommend using the Export option in RefWorks.

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Q. My bibliography is not coming out correctly. Why?

A. Make sure the information in your each record is in the correct fields. RefWorks prints out what is stored, so if data is missing or not in the correct fields, your output may be incorrect. Always check to be sure the data in the database is correct before formatting a bibliography.

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Q. I received an error message when I tried to generate my bibliography. What can I do?

A. If you receive an error message when processing your paper, here are a few things to check:

  1. Make sure all citation placeholders (the things you inserted into your paper) have opening and closing double curly brackets {{ }}. You can use the word processors "find" feature to easily check your placeholders.
  2. Make sure any multiple citation placeholders are separated by a semi-colon. For example: {{39 Smith 2001; 57 Jones 2004}}
  3. If you are using in-text switches, make sure the switch appears directly after the citation placeholder BUT before the semi-colon separator. For example: {{39 Smith 2001/f p. 43; 57 Jones 2004}}
  4. Make sure the Reference ID numbers you are citing in your paper, are in your RefWorks database. You may have inserted a citation placeholder and then subsequently deleted the record from your account. RefWorks will be unable to locate a reference and this will cause your bibliography to fail.

If you are still having problems generating your bibliography, contact RefWorks Technical Support at support@refworks.com.

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Q. Why does my bibliography have incorrect data included in the output document?

A. The output style takes the data from a particular field and inserts it into the bibliography. If the data in the field is incorrect it will appear to be wrong in the output format. For example, if you see a book title in your bibliography that looks like: Economics of America [Monograph], you will find that the title in your data includes the [Monograph] - it was not added by the output style.

If you see something like this for the volume number of a journal: Vol. 32 vol. It is because one Vol. was imported with the data. The problem may be with the way the data is imported rather than with the output style. Always check to be sure the data in the database is correct before formatting a bibliography.

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Q. Can I save attachments (such as images and full-text pdfs) to the records in my RefWorks account?

A. You can attach a variety of information to a RefWorks record including images, compounds, formulas, and spreadsheets to name a few.

With the release of this feature, RefWorks users are given the ability to organize and store images and documents within your personal database. A variety of information can now be "attached" to a RefWorks record including images, compounds, formulas, and spreadsheets to name a few.

* Automatic activation for all existing accounts.

* Default storage space setting is 100MB, per account.

* No limitation on the number of attachments allowed per account or per record.

* A maximum of 5GB limit per attachment is set. Please email Merinda Hensley to request an increase in your space limit.

 

Q: What type of information can be stored?

A: A variety of non-bibliographic information can be uploaded to an existing record including: JPG, PDF, TIF, GIF to name a few.

Q: How does it work?

A: Users can “attach” a file to any existing reference stored within their RefWorks database, much like attaching files to an email.

  1. Save your citation in your RefWorks database
  2. Go into the record where you would like to save a file
  3. Click on "Edit"
  4. Browse and choose the file, similar to how you would for email
  5. Click on "Add attachment"
  6. Click on "Save reference"
  7. Now you can access the file anytime!

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Q. I have EndNote, v. 5, and have gone through the RefWorks export process, making a text file, and then importing my database into EndNote. It worked fine, except that the text file did not include URL information, and thus this didn't end up in EndNote. Is there some way I can get the URL field to import?

A. You must insert the URL information manually.

As with all Database conversions such as this, there will be some clean-up of the data required by the user. The reason for this that is that RefWorks and EndNote are not completely compatible with each other and there will always be differences between the two. The Bibliographic Software (EndNote,Reference Manager, ProCite) export from RefWorks is based on the RIS Format. While there may be occasional updates to the RIS, typically it will not be updated if only one program changes the way they tag their data. This is because RIS is a Standard for so many programs.

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Q. How do I import references from my EndNote database?

A. Below are two sets of conversion instructions – one for EndNote version 8 or higher users and the other is for version 7 or lower users.

Converting EndNote databases (version 8 or higher):

Converting EndNote databases (version 7 or lower):

Note: When importing large amounts of references, it is recommended to import no more than 2500 records (or 3MB of files) at a single time. This will ensure a successful import.

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Q. Can I move my RefWorks database into another database program?

A. RefWorks offers several export options that you can use with other programs. These options (available in Tools/Export References) are:

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  Q. My colleague created a RefWorks database, and I'd like to import some of those citations into my RefWorks account.  How can I do this?

A. An easy way to do this is to use the RefShare feature.

Q. My colleague at another university uses another citation management program (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite, etc.) and does not have access to RefWorks.  How can we collaborate on a writing paper together?

If your colleague is willing to use RefWorks, then here's how you can collaborate with him:

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Q. As a student/faculty of the U of Illinois, I have access to RefWorks through the Library's subscription. How can I keep or migrate my data when I graduate or leave?

A.RefWorks-COS has recently added an Alumni Program that will now be offered as a standard feature of RefWorks, providing lifelong access to users that are alumni of the University of Illinois. All students, faculty and staff that have created a RefWorks account will continue to have access to their personal research databases for future professional and academic endeavors.

On the other hand, if you want to migrate your data to a different bibliographic program you can do that quite easily, too.  Just export your entire RefWorks database in a delimited format, and then import it into the other database program, e.g., EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, or Zotero.

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Q. My institution subscribes to RefWorks. What happens to my data if they decide to cancel next year?

A. You will be notified prior to the cancellation. At that time, you can purchase an individual subscription to RefWorks or, if you prefer, you can export your entire database in a delimited format to use in some other type of database program such as EndNote, ProCite, or Reference Manager.

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Q. How can I find out what the U of Illinois Group Code is for RefWorks?

A. When first logged into RefWorks, you were sent an email that included the Group Code. If you didn't keep that email, don't worry. The RefWorks system will email you the Group Code if you update your user information -- or pretend that you have! From within RefWorks: Click on Tools / Update User Information. Then just click on the "update" button, without changing any of the information. You'll receive an email with the Illinois RefWorks Group Code. Or:
We have created a text file that provides the Group Code in a secure location. Just click on this link, authenticate yourself as a U of Illinois affiliate with your NetID and password, and you'll see the U of Illinois RefWorks Group Code. Copy it to your clipboard (Edit /Copy).

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Q. What is Write-N-Cite and what does it do?

A. Write-n-Cite is a free plug-in that allows you to access your references in RefWorks while working within Microsoft Word. Write-n-Cite allows you to insert citation placeholders and when you are ready to add a bibliography to the end of the document, Write-n-Cite will create a bibliography and properly format your in-text citations based upon only those references that have been inserted into your Word document. Download Write-N-Cite from the RefWorks site to your personal PC.

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Q. I’m a Mac user. Will Write-N-Cite work on my Mac?

A. Yes, there is a version of Write-N-Cite specifically for the Mac. You need to be running Mac OS 10.X version 3 or higher and you also need Word for Mac 98 or higher.

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Q. After I've generated my paper using Write-n-cite, can I go back in and edit my citations, e.g., add some new citations?

A. Sure! When you work with Write-n-cite, you have two files -- your working file, and the file that RefWorks creates when you tell it to "Save Bibliography". RefWorks names the latter file by putting a "Final-" in front of the file name you've given to the working file. You need to keep both of these files. If you need to edit some citations, do this in the working file. Then regenerate your Final file with the corrections. If you're working with someone else on the paper (e.g., your major professor) you'll need to provide them with a copy of both files, if they are to be able to edit the document online.

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Q. We've had problems going back and forth with our Word documents between Macs and PCs, when using EndNote. Will we have the same problem with RefWorks?

A. RefWorks does not embed anything into the MS Word document (like EndNote does), so there is no problem with the citations when moving a document between platforms. RefWorks inserts temporary citation placeholders that RefWorks scans and "reads". It then uses those temporary citation placeholders in conjunction with a selected output style to return a formatted version of the original document.

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Q. For word processing, I use Open Office rather than MS Word. Can I still use RefWorks?

A. Sure! If you are using any other word processing program other than Word 2000, you will have to save the doc in Rich Text Format before formatting in RefWorks. Write-N-Cite only works with Word, but you can still use RefWorks to format your rtf file. Here's how, using the One line / Cite View option:

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Q. When I try to use Write-N-Cite from home, the Write-N-Cite window pops up, but then I get a "Action cancelled" message. What's wrong?

A. The "Action canceled" message is very typical of a computer with Norton computer security software installed (e.g., Norton Personal Firewall) that is impeding the progress of RefWorks/Write-N-Cite. Although you could turn off your firewall, and proceed, we would not advise this! Most firewalls have a means whereby you can "allow" access to certain programs or utilities, such as RefWorks/Write-N-Cite. For example, with Norton's Personal Firewall, these are the steps (4/2006):

You should now be able to use the Write-N-Cite utility! If you continue to have problems, please contact the provider of your firewall utility. Or, use the alternate method, described below...

Alternatively, you may choose not to use the Write-N-Cite facility. RefWorks can still be used to help format your paper, just use the One line / Cite View mode of adding citations to your document, rather than Write-N-Cite:

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Q. I can't get Write-n-Cite to create a final document. The system processes through, and tells me there were no errors... "Your manuscript was processed successfully. No errors were encountered". But, no final document comes forth! I'm using Firefox as my browser.

A. Please make sure all the pop-up blockers in your Internet Explorer are disabled. Write-N-Cite uses MS IE and not Firefox to access the internet and to bring forth the Final version of your Word document. (Note: the popup blocker that comes with the Norton Personal Firewall is the one that seems to cause this problem the most.)

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