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RefWorks and reference management

A how-to guide for the reference management software, Refworks

What is Refworks?

RefWorks is web-based software that is available to all staff and students at St George's, University of London.

RefWorks allows you to easily collect, store and organise references for your academic study and writing.

References can be added directly to RefWorks from most database platforms, including Hunter, EBSCO, Ovid, PubMed, and Google Scholar. This saves you time as you will not need to manually type in details such as author names or book and article titles - this information will all be added to RefWorks for you.

RefWorks can also be used within Microsoft Word, to generate bibliographies for you in a wide range of different referencing formats including Cite Them Right Harvard and Vancouver, which are both used at St George's.

This guide is for the new version of RefWorks made available at St George's in October 2019.  Legacy RefWorks will no longer be available after June 2023.  


RefWorks video series

Which version should I use?

If you are using RefWorks for the first time, you should follow the guidance in the rest of this LibGuide.

 As of June 30 2023, legacy refworks will no longer be available. Follow the Upgrade Guide below to upgrade to the newest version.

Here is the link to the instructions on the Upgrade Guide.

We may advise some users to remain on Legacy RefWorks until the completion of their research. Click the Legacy RefWorks tab for guidance on adding, organising and managing references using the Legacy version of the software.  Please note that Legacy RefWorks will no longer be available after June 2023 so this only applies if your research is due to be completed before this date.

Logging in to RefWorks

1) Go to and click on "Use log in from my institution”.

2) Under Shibboleth scroll down the alphabetical list to find “St George’s, University of London” or find St George’s by typing “St George’s” into the search box.

3) Enter your St George’s username & password at the St George's Shibboleth page.

4) You will be redirected to enter your email address (you can use either your St George's email address or a personal one).

4) You will then need to create an account by filling in the registration form.

5) You’ll be brought directly into your new account and are ready to begin adding your references.


To create an account:

NOTE: If you plan to use RefWorks in Word or any external application, you must create an account - institutional logins will not work in Word.

Alternatively, some users might be asked to authenticate access to Refworks using their SGUL email address first.

2) Enter your institutional email address (e.g. and click “Check”.

3) As St George's has a subscription to RefWorks, you’ll receive a “success” message and you will be asked to create a password. Your institutional email address and the password you choose will become your RefWorks login details. However, it is recommended that you use Shibboleth (see above) to access your account after the initial set up.

4) An activation email will be sent and you’ll need to validate your account to continue.

5) Once you click on the link in the activation email, be directed back to RefWorks to enter your name, role and department affiliation.  You’ll also be asked if you’d like to install the “Save to RefWorks” browser bookmarklet and other Word Add-ins but you can skip these steps and return to them later.

6) You’ll be brought directly into your new account and are ready to begin adding your references.


Importing References from Legacy to New Refworks

If you are moving your reference database from Legacy to New RefWorks, follow the instructions below:

1) Click the Add + button then select Import References











2) Select Legacy RefWorks from the options provided. Then click Authorize:

3) As part of the authorization process, RefWorks prompts you to log in to your Legacy account. Enter your credentials and select Login.

4) RefWorks will then import your references and any custom citation styles from your Legacy account to your New RefWorks account and will notify you when the process is complete. Imported records appear in the Last Imported folder.