UTS Library

Referencing Software – the Researcher’s Quiet and Organised Friend

by David Litting @ UTS Library

If you’re doing research you’ve probably heard about referencing software. If not, or if you’ve heard about it but nothing more – I’m about to make your day...

Why? Because referencing software – EndNote, RefWorks and its freeware cousin Zotero, will do your referencing for you. I’m not entirely exaggerating when I say that either.

Of course there is some work for you in all this... the software, like any software, needs some directions. It needs to know which references you want, and it needs to know what referencing style you want to display them in. Also, it needs you to prompt it when you are in-text referencing. But that’s all – storing and organizing your references, styling your references correctly, formatting the in-text references, making the bibliography – these are all tasks you can now delegate to a cute little tool bar that lives inside your Microsoft word program. Hooray!

For those wondering how to access these chests full of golden innards let me direct you to our referencing and writing page. Within these virtual walls you’ll find links to both the softwares we host – RefWorks and EndNote. Both would otherwise cost you money but due to the munificence of UTS will not cost you a cent, provided you have the UTSOnline or a Neo login. In terms of features - they are same, same, but different.


RefWorks  is a website that you create an account with, much like an email website. To access RefWorks you can go through the referencing and writing page or type RefWorks into the Library Catalogue. Once you’ve accessed it, create an account (see video) and then you’re away...

Once you’ve got it up and running (which is an easier process than EndNote), you’ll find that adding references to your account is quite user friendly. You can enter them manually, use the Library Catalogue to track down books and DVD's (the library catalogue is also accessible from within RefWorks) and you can also track down journal articles in their various databases and send them into RefWorks. RefWorks is compatible with Google Scholar (as is EndNote)

RefWorks has a couple of features unique to itself – RefGrabit it – a bookmarklet that you can download into your web browser that let’s you reference websites, and RefAware, a sort of automated RSS database search that you can customise – where every article that is send to you is immediately referencable.


EndNote is the older and more established cousin of RefWorks, being now in its 14th iteration. Its a downloadable piece of software, unlike RefWorks, and for that reason is a little bit more tricky in terms of getting started – but once you’re up and running EndNote is a wonderful program that does all the things RefWorks does – minus the RefAware and RefGrabit parts, but has the advantage of being better in terms of in-text referencing than RefWorks. Like RefWorks it has the ability to search the UTS and other library Catalogues within the EndNote program, and like RefWorks you can export references from journal databases to EndNote. Both pieces of software are quite customisable (you can edit styles, or make your own, and they have lots of options to organize and display your references), and both are quite similar in their features – so it likely comes down to personal taste which one you’ll end up choosing. The good news is if you change your mind, reference libraries can be exported between both types of software, so you’ll never have to fully retrace your steps if you end up changing referencing software horses mid-stream.

The Library runs introductory and advanced sessions for both types of software, so keep your eyes peeled on our UTS Library events calendar to find out the time and place of our next session.

Bon Chance!