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RefWorks: Using Import Filters

Import Filters

If a database doesn't offer a direct export to RefWorks, or if this functionality isn't working, you can often import to RefWorks using an import filter. Many databases use the same formats to save citations (for example, .txt and .ris). RefWorks has filters for hundreds of different databases. A full list of import filters is available here.

Using import filters with a saved file

After saving your citations to your computer, select "Import" from the "References" drop-down menu. A lightbox will open.


In this example, we want to import references saved from MEDLINEplus. Since MEDLINE is provided by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the import filter will be an NLM filter, and the database should be MEDLINEplus.

Now browse for and select your saved reference file. You can also select which folder the references should import to. If you don't indicate a folder, the references will automatically stay in your "Last Imported" folder until you move the references to a new or existing folder, or until you import another reference.


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Using import filters with copied text

While some databases give you a file to download when you export, others generate a new tab or window filled with coded text that you can copy and paste into your RefWorks account. Copying text directly into RefWorks is also useful if you're unable to upload files. To select this option, access the Import Filter window using the instructions in the box above.

After copying the full text of the references (use CTRL+C on on a PC and Command+C on a Mac), select "Import" from the "References" drop-down menu. A lightbox will open.

Select the second menu bar ("From Text") and paste the copied text into the box (CTRL+V on a PC, or Command+V on a Mac). You will need to select the correct import filter and database.

Requesting an import filter

You should first check this list to make sure that RefWorks does not already have an import filter. They're not always obvious, so use the "Find" function (hitting CTRL+F on a PC, or Command+F on a Mac) to search for the the database you need. If RefWorks doesn't have the import filter, you can send a request by filling out the form located  in your RefWorks account:

Select "Import" from the "References" drop-down menu. A lightbox will open.

Select "Request a Filter".

Enter the database name, and as much information as you have about it (URL, publisher, alternative names).

This filter will be put into the RefWorks development cycle, and you will be notified when it becomes available.

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