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Migrating Bibliographic Data from RefWorks to Zotero

If you're switching reference management programs, it's easy to retain your library of citations. In a nutshell, you'll export your current references into a format that the new program can view, and then import them into your preferred program.

Here's how to do it with Refworks and Zotero.

  1. In your RefWorks account, go to REFERENCES > EXPORT
  2. Select 'All in List'
  3. Under "Export Format," select "Bibliographic Software," and click 'EXPORT'. Your references should appear in a new browser window or tab. If not, make sure that popup windows are not blocked.
  4. Copy and paste the text into a .txt file, and save. Choose UTF-8 as the encoding if you have any non-English references in your list.
  5. In Zotero, click on the little gear icon (ACTIONS) at the top, and select "Import."
  6. Select the RIS file you created earlier; your database will be imported to the default folder in ZOTERO.

... this may sound complicated, but it's quite easy, really. The only tricky thing is the creation of a text file as an intermediary step. All in all, it takes two minutes to export 800+ references from RefWorks account to Zotero — so it's much more efficient than re-tagging everything by hand.

For more information, check