Skip to main content
Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training finding and handling scholarly information for GEO4-2519: 3. Save in your ref tool

consultancy project


Time estimate: 25 minutes

To save your references (and full text) you can use either RefWorks or Mendeley. RefWorks is currently the tool that is fully supported by the library and university IT. However, If you like to have full text PDFs right inside your account, Mendeley is the way to go and very user friendly. You can always switch later if you wish, and export the references you already have.

For RefWorks:

  1. Create your RefWorks account (click "sign up for a new account") if you haven't got one already.
  2. In RefWorks create a folder Innovation Systems.
  3. As a test: carry out a simple search in the search engines below and import and import the title etc .of one of your search results into RefWorks. Use the information on the right when you need help. In this phase is is not crucial to find the perfect source.
    1. Scopus
    2. Google Scholar
    3. Catalogus UBU
  4. Make sure that all three references are in the folder Innovation Systems.
  5. From one of the references in your RefWorks folder click the UBUlink to see how to get from RefWorks to the full text (if available).

Much more on RefWorks help is available in the special RefWorks LibGuide UBU LibGuide RefWorks (in Dutch) and in our RefWorks support pages as well as in the RefWorks Help

For Mendeley:

1. Start Mendeley desktop and creat an account (also for access to the web version that is important for synchronising across devices)

2. Create a folder on your hard drive (C: on your laptop, U: on university computers; it can even be a Dropbox folder) where you will be storing full text files of papers

3. In Mendeley desktop go to  tools|options to configure a watch folder pointing at the folder you have just now created on your hard disk

4. Log in at Mendeley web and go to My Library|Web importer and put the Mendeley“ button/bookmarklet on the bookmarks/favorites toolbar of your browser

5. As a test: carry out a simple search in the search engines below and save the full text of at least one paper in the folder you created.

    1. Scopus
    2. Google Scholar

6. As a test: go to Worldcat and find a relevant book title. Using the button on your browser favorites toolbar import the bibliographic details of the book into Mendeley

7. Go back to Mendeley desktop and click the sync button in the main menu. Your publications should now be listed here.

RefWorks: a simple way to record and cite literature

Anyone writing papers and citing sources may save time by storing, managing, sharing and citing by using a literature management tool. With RefWorks, a programme supported by Utrecht University, you can, whenever you are online:

  • Record data of articles, books etc:
    • import data  from search engines and databases 
    • search in for instance PubMed and Web of Science directly from RefWorks
    • import data from other literature databases (belonging to other persons) 
    • enter data yourself
  • Manage your own created literature database: search, sort, remove duplicates, organise in folders, add extra keywords/tags
  • Share (parts of) your literature databases with one or more persons
  • Cite sources from your database in texts by only one mouseclick or automatically generate a bibliography in the citation style of your choice

On the RefWorks website  you can create an account. You may also install a small tool on your computer which makes citing in Word easier. RefWorks is free for members of the Utrecht University community. It is also available for alumni, as long as the university has a licence.

In the special RefWorks-LibGuide UBU LibGuide RefWorks (in Dutch) you will find import tips, solutions to any problems and further details.

Tips for importing from search engines and databases into RefWorks


MendeleyMendeley is a free (up to 2 GB) reference management tool comparable to RefWorks, Endnote, Zotero etc. It is a combination of a fast and powerful desktop application with an online account for web services. It stands out for its social functions (groups, sharing, community). 

Mendeley is particulalarly helpful if your workflow is based on collecting full text PDFs of relevant literature. It often automatically extracts bibliographic data. Of course it also supports importing of bibliographic records from Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, CiteSeerX, PubMed, Worldcat and many other scholarly search engines.

Mendeley offers:

  • building your library through:
    • collecting PDFs with a 'watch folder' that you can simply put your PDF's in to be recognised by Mendeley
    • a "web importer" bookmarklet that recognises and imports records from many scholarly databases
    • searching the already huge Mendeley shared database
  • sorting, folders, tagging, deduplication
  • online reading and annotating in the PDF or a note field without the need for a separate PDF-reader
  • citing in Word or Open Office through the "Cite-o-Matic" plug in (under tools|install MS Word plug in in the Mendeley desktop version)
  • automatic renaming of PDF files based on your own custom naming conventions
  • public and private groups (latter restricted: only one free)

Mendeley is pre-installed on all Library computers. You need to create an account at

More information on Mendeley will be in the LibGuide Mendeley (under construction)