Research Tools - Spring 2008

RefWorks Simplifies Organizing Research

In Fall of 2007 the Weinberg Library acquired RefWorks, a new online service which allows the user to store and organize citations much more easily when doing research. To access RefWorks click on the Library link from the My.Scranton page, and then click on the link for A-Z Database Listing. RefWorks will be available from the menu bar near the top of the page. The first time you access RefWorks you will be prompted to establish an account with a Log-In Name and Password.
RefWorks allows you to do a number of things. Most online databases allow you to export citations directly into RefWorks while doing research. While the process can vary from database to database, it usually involves marking the items you want and then hitting the export link. If you do not already have RefWorks open, you will be prompted to log in. Once the citations are stored in RefWorks you may organize them into folders. Citations from later research or from other databases can be added to folders, and all information will remain in RefWorks until you decide to delete it. If you wish to add citations that are not being exported from a database, you may do this manually as well.
Citations in folders can then be formatted for output into bibliographies using any of the more commonly used styles (MLA, APA, Chicago) or a number of the more specialized style formats. Formatted bibliographies may be saved, inserted into articles, or printed. One note of caution: RefWorks is, of course, a mechanical process. If information in citations is incomplete, erroneous, or inconsistently entered into the parent database, the bibliographical output may need minor correction.
Two other tools from RefWorks can be loaded onto your PC as well. One of these is Write-N-Cite which will load into your Word program. Write-N-Cite allows you to easily insert parenthetical citations into your paper as you compose it. You can then format your paper according to whichever style you are using, and RefWorks will then deliver the paper to you with a bibliography ready for saving or printing. If you choose not to use Write-N-Cite, you may insert parenthetical citations by using a feature called One Line/Cite View.
The other tool is RefGrab-It, which works with your browser. RefGrab-It will let you collect data from web pages, online catalogs, etc. If it encounters ISBN numbers or Digital Object Identifiers on a page it will automatically search various web resources for supplemental information that may be of interest to you.
RefWorks is fairly easy to use. If you need help in getting started, you have several options. First, there are excellent tutorials available online which allow you to explore as much of RefWorks as you want to in component parts. Also, from the Reference Desk at the Library we have the RefWorks User Quick Start Guide, a pamphlet that will give you easy step-by-step instructions. Or, if you want instruction, call the Reference Desk at 941-4000. We can make an appointment to give you either personal instruction or arrange an instructional session for your class.

Kevin Norris