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Cowles Library


RefWorks - A Guide: Home

A quick guide to using RefWorks to organize citations and create bibliographies

How to use RefWorks

Use RefWorks to keep track of the information you find, whether it is from the library, from the Internet, or from a friend.

Isn't there a free version?

More About RefWorks

Note: Cowles Library's subscription to RefWorks will expire on June 30, 2020.

If you already have citations in RefWorks that you want to keep, you will need to migrate them to another citation manager before June 30, 2020. Use our Guide to Citation Managers to find an alternative citation management tool and learn how to export your RefWorks citations.


Here's a link to get to RefWorks:

Creating Your RefWorks Account

First, be on the Drake campus. 

However, if getting to Drake is difficult for you, call or email Marcia Keyser. She'll set up your account and then you can change your password to keep it private.

Next, follow the RefWorks link.

In the top of the login box, find the link "Sign Up for a New Account". RefWorks will ask a few questions, such as your main area of study.

You will need to select a username and password. These do not have to be your Drake numbers; they can be anything you like.

Many good user names are taken; keep trying if you have to.

RefWorks should let you in as soon as you complete the sign-in process. It will also send you an email with all of your information.

Tips on Using RefWorks

1. It takes time to learn to use RefWorks. Don't put it off until just before your assignment is due.

2. RefWorks takes longer to learn than some of the free tools because it's a fuller and more developed system.

3. "Garbage In - Garbage Out."  If the information in your RefWorks form is misspelled or incorrect, it will be misspelled or incorrect on the bibliography. Occasionally citations imported from databases are corrupted or incomplete. Occasionally, even serious scholars make mistakes when inputting information. Check your outputs before submitting them for a grade.

4. FILES. Organize your citations into files according to whatever grouping works for you and your topic.


Marcia Keyser's picture
Marcia Keyser