How to Use EndNote and RefWorks

EndNote and RefWorks are types of reference management software. They allow you to save, organise and use the references that are so important to academic research.

Both are very good options for managing references. They are widely supported and allow the import and export of data. The particular strengths and weaknesses of each program are detailed below.


An example of a RefWorks library - click to see larger image

Compared to EndNote, RefWorks is generally considered to be the easier of the two to master. It does, however, lack the flexibility of EndNote. If you are working on a short degree or doing minimal citation work, RefWorks may be the better choice. RefWorks may also be more practical for those working on many different computers, or for those who want a free option.

Like EndNote, Refworks allows you to save an unlimited number of references. These references can be transformed in a number of ways and, most importantly, may be used to create in-text citations and bibliographies.

A RefWorks account is freely available for any member of the University of Oxford (see details here).

To get started, visit A useful “Quick Start Guide” can be found here.


An example of an EndNote library - click to see larger image

EndNote is certainly the more complicated of the two packages, but it rewards those who take the time to really learn it. It is probably more appropriate for those doing longer degrees or working in academia. The cost is prohibitive to some, particularly as you will need to migrate to a new version every few years.

EndNote, like RefWorks, has no limit on the number of references you can save. EndNote allows you to manipulate your references and works side-by-side with your word processor to create in-text citations and bibliographies.

A discounted version of the EndNote software is offered by the University of Oxford. (Details here.)

The EndNote website has a large range of resources, including important updates to the software. The additional output styles are particularly useful.

There is also a web-based version of EndNote that can be synchronised with the traditional version. It is limited to 10,000 references.


If you have any questions about using either EndNote or RefWorks, get in touch with the Library! We can provide one-on-one help with all your reference needs. Email or ring 01865 278 550.

We also recommend the excellent courses offered by Oxford University Computing Services every term. There are three sessions on EndNote: introduction, building your library and custom formatting. RefWorks is covered in a single session, split into Humanities or Science research.


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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One Response to How to Use EndNote and RefWorks

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « Nuffield College Library's Blog

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