What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is a web-based citation management tool that is easy to learn, with an intuitive interface.

On August 15, 2016, the Harvard Library introduced a new version of RefWorks. Harvard librarians support both New and Legacy (old) RefWorks.

Which Version?

  • Don't have a RefWorks account? Create an account in and use New RefWorks. icon symbolizing new RefWorks

  • Have a Legacy RefWorks account? icon symbolizing old RefWorks

To sign in, choose "Use the Legacy RefWorks" on the combined login page.

To take advantage of the strengths of New RefWorks, create a New RefWorks account.

After you create a new account, you will continue to have access to your legacy account. (Tips for becoming familiar with New RefWorks.)

Important caution! If you are currently writing a paper with citations formatted with Write-N-Cite in your legacy account, stay with Legacy RefWorks until you have completed your paper(s). The citations in papers started in the Legacy RefWorks are currently not compatible with New RefWorks.

For any new papers you begin, use New RefWorks.

Harvard librarians will continue to support Legacy RefWorks users until its anticipated 2018 retirement and will provide assistance in moving Legacy RefWorks accounts to New RefWorks (or to another citation manager) when Legacy is no longer available.

  • Have a Flow account?

If you have a Flow account, signing into New RefWorks will automatically transfer your account.

  • Still unsure?

Please contact one of the RefWorks local support librarians, listed at the bottom of the page.

Strengths of New RefWorks

  • Free under Harvard Library license (even as alum)
  • Has a lot of storage space (100 GB)
  • Many library databases offer a direct export option for RefWorks
  • Web-based
  • Has professional technical support and excellent searchable Help Files
  • Clean, intuitive interface
  • Has a bookmarklet that allows you to automatically add citations and PDFs to your account
  • Allows you to drag and drop items including PDFs 
  • Offers auto-completion of references and suggestions 
  • Allows you to share folders with collaborators with various levels of sharing (read-only, annotate, modify). Note: sharing is currently limited to users with institutional RefWorks accounts; full-text sharing is extended to Harvard collaborators only.
  • Has a Last Imported Folder that is time stamped and that can be cleared in whole or in part
  • Includes built-in document reading and annotation
  • Word plug-in to insert in-text citations, footnotes, and create bibliographies

Getting Started with RefWorks

Create a New RefWorks account. Please note that you will need to use your Harvard email to set up an account.

If you currently have a Legacy RefWorks account, are not in the middle of writing, and want to switch to New RefWorks, it is very easy.

  1. Import your library from your old account either all at once or individually by folders:
    1. Under the + sign at the top of the new RefWorks interface, select Import, then RefWorks. There are a couple of steps to authenticate, but the transfer should then happen automatically.
    2. If you only want to import some of your folders, export them from Legacy RefWorks one by one. You can work in both versions, but remember that any papers you are writing in Legacy RefWorks need to be finished in Legacy as the two systems are not compatible yet.

RefWorks Classes at Harvard

RefWorks Basics (September)
Wednesday, 9/27, 11 AM - 12 PM
Lamont B30

  • Registration will be available here two weeks prior to the class.


RefWorks Basics (October)
Tuesday, 10/24, 2-3 PM
Lamont B30

  • Registration will be available here two weeks prior to the class.


Additionally, we may offer a RefWorks class in November, if demand exists.

Please note that these classes will cover transferring to and using the new version of RefWorks. If you need assistance with Legacy RefWorks, please make an appointment for a consult with a local support librarian listed under "Getting Help with RefWorks."

Getting Help with RefWorks

RefWorks provides:

The Harvard Library provides a troubleshooting RefWorks FAQ.

For local support, contact:

Anna Assogba
Research Librarian
Lamont & Widener Libraries

Dorothy Barr
Research Librarian
Ernst Mayr Library

Jessica Evans Brady
Research & Collections Librarian
Fine Arts Library

Ramona Islam
Research Librarian
Widener and Lamont Libraries

Steve Kuehler
Research Librarian
Lamont Library

Carla Lillvik
Research & Distance Services Librarian
Gutman Library

Reed Lowrie
Manager, Reference and Information Services
Widener, Lamont, & Cabot Libraries

Kerry Masteller
Research Services
Loeb Music Library