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6.5 RefWorks

The Open University formally supports two referencing tools for its staff and students, EndNote and RefWorks.

A decision was taken early in the OU integration project to work with RefWorks-COS to use the RefWorks software to deliver the desired Reference Management tools into the OU Learning environment. The key reasons for choosing to work with RefWorks were:

  • It is web-based software
  • It is the Reference Management tool promoted to Open University students

Initially there was no API available to the RefWorks software, which limited some of the early choices made in terms of the integration. However, at later stages of the project, an API was made available which allowed different approaches to the integration in some areas.

The three areas of integration identified through the user requirements (integration with Structured Content, integration with course resource pages, integration with ePortfolios) were considered separately.

6.5.1    Scalability of RefWorks

RefWorks-COS provided the following information relating to scalability of their services:

  • Number of references currently hosted: c. 110 million
  • Number of attachments currently hosted: >250,000
  • Monthly user sessions: between 350,000 and 900,000
  • The average individual user accounts over the top 20 universities using RefWorks is more than 16,000
  • RefWorks is setup in such a way that it is a relatively easy process to add servers to handle the required level of usage

Further confidential information was provided to the Open University by RefWorks.
Based on this information it was agreed that RefWorks would scale to meet the needs of the Open University integration project.

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