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Medicine: Organizing Your References

Find specific resources for answering questions about medical topics

Create a Personal Database

There are computer programs available to help you keep the references important to your research organized in one online place. These productivity tools are called "citation management" or "reference management" or "bibliographic management" tools (or software or service). Some are freely available and some are subscription based.

They all have these same common functions:

  • Create a searchable database of references that you have chosen
  • Organize references using folders
  • Work with MS Word or other word processing programs when writing a paper. Adds in-text citations and formats reference list.

Why would you want to learn how to use such a tool? Producing an end product, whether it is a research paper, a thesis, or a manuscript for publication is complex and time consuming. Keeping your references in one online productivity tool is a great time saver. Not only do these products keep track of your references, they also help when you are writing your paper by making it easier to cite your sources and create a correctly formatted list of references at the end.

What different tools are available? Listed below are the four most well known options with short descriptions and links for more information. All of these work with a PC or MAC. RefWorks is the one you will learn during this module.

RefWorks - available to all faculty, staff and students at Wright State University through an institutional subscription provided by the library, access from any internet connection, completely cloud based. Link to more information and for access on library website:

EndNote -  subscription based (WSU does NOT have an institutional subscription),

Zotero - freely available, no subscription needed, works as a plug-in with Firefox, Safari and Chrome

Mendeley - freely available -

Getting Started with RefWorks

RefWorks is freely available to you through the Wright State University Library's subscription. We are using the "Legacy" version.

Access RefWorks through the library website. If you are using it remotely, you will need to authenticate using your "W" number.

You can find RefWorks listed under the "Services" tab on the library homepage ( or as a tab on the Medicine Research Guide. (

RefWorks is fairly straightforward to use. Learn the basics by viewing the YouTube tutorials that Proquest has developed.

Learning to use RefWorks

The link below is to ALL of the tutorials for RefWorks that Proquest has produced so you can see the various options. You do not need to view them all, just the ones in the boxes below.

Also note a link the RefWorks "Quick Start Guide". From this link you can download a pdf with information and screen shots to get you started using RefWorks.

Accessing Legacy RefWorks

Adding References

Organizing Imported References

Creating a Bibliography

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