The best way to keep track of your references is to keep a record of the articles you have read. Reference management tools help you to organise your references and automatically generate reference lists or bibliographies in a variety of styles. Bibliographic management is another term used to describe these tools and their use.
Moving away from Refworks and My References
The OU has subscribed to RefWorks for a number of years. This subscription will end on 31st March 2016, and the associated MyReferences by September 2015. One of the reasons for this is the growth in freely available reference management software, which can give you continuing access to your references once you have finished your studies.
Exporting from RefWorks and MyReferences
If you are currently using RefWorks and want to export your references to an alternative reference management tool, you can use the guidance available on the RefWorks’ website.
Exporting from MyReferences
- In MyReferences, select Export references
- Mark the references you want to export by either clicking on the checkbox next to each reference, or by selecting all the references in a particular folder
- Once you have made your selection, press the Export references button
- Choose the appropriate export method: Collaborative activity or Download as RIS
You can also contact the Library Helpdesk.
The regular OU Live session on Introduction to reference management tools takes you through some of the things to consider when selecting and using reference management tools.
For more general guidance on referencing see Referencing and plagiarism.
Selecting a reference management tool
When deciding on a reference management tool it is useful to consider your needs and to evaluate individual tools.
While the Open University does not endorse a particular product, or provide support for their use, there are several free web-based tools from which to choose. Some are basic tools for undergraduate study. Others are more advanced and suitable for researchers and post graduate students. Below is a selection of tools.
BibSonomy is a social bookmarking service that enables you to export in a variety of formats and feeds.
Ref me is a web-based tool for generating citations, reference lists and bibliographies. It is also available as an App
Delicious is a service designed for personal bookmarking on the web. Websites can be accessed anywhere, no matter what computer or device you are using.
More advanced tools
Colwiz is software that helps to sort, cite and share research. You can import PDFs and references from the web to your desktop and mobile devices.
EndNote basic is entirely web-based and gives you the tools for learning how to do research, cite sources and write your papers. It is a simpler, free version of the commercial tool Endnote Desktop.
Mendeley is a reference manager and academic social network that is fully searchable with capacity for reading and annotating PDFs on any device. It is available as web-based or as a standalone desktop version.
Proquest Flow is a cloud-based collaboration tool that allows you to collect, manage and organise your documents. You can also annotate and cite your research.
The Comparison of reference management software produced by Wikipedia has further examples of reference management tools and may also assist you with your decision.
Tools for purchase or subscription
RefWorks is a web-based reference manager that will allow you to save references from online databases, create bibliographies automatically and store files within a reference (up to 5mb each, with a 100mb limit per user).
EndNote is desktop software that can organise, store and manage references, create bibliographies automatically and directly import references from databases (e.g. Web of Science) and library catalogues.
The EndNote software is available for on-campus users and those based at the OU regional centres through the IT department. To request EndNote please raise a ticket via the IT Self Service system. If you are not on campus you can purchase EndNote at a discounted rate, remembering to use your OU email address.
Papers is a reference management application that can search a number of databases from within it. If you want access resources through the OU Library subscriptions, follow the set-up instructions below.
This will allow you to use most of the search options in Papers, but to use Web of Science you need to modify a support file called gatewayurl.txt which is found in the following path:
Open this file and replace the single text line with this one (make sure there are no line breaks in the string):