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NSCAD Library: Citation Management

The NSCAD Library is Atlantic Canada’s largest library dedicated to fine arts, craft, and design. It houses an extensive collection of print and media resources, online databases, and special collections to support learning in all subjects taught at NSCAD

Refworks News

The NSCAD Library is ending its subscription to RefWorks in June 2020, and recommends users export citations from Refworks. The Library recommends  Zotero as a citation management tool, and this guide provides information on exporting references from Refworks and importing into Zotero. There are many other citation management options including Mendeley and Endnote. To learn more about these options see this guide by by Dalhousie Libraries that includes a comparison of different tools.  


What is Zotero?

Zotero is an open source citation management tool that allows you to quickly organize and cite bibliographic references such as books, periodicals, images, video, etc. from a variety of different sources including databases, the Novanet Library catalogue, websites, blogs, you name it!  Zotero also allows you to link references to your work in Microsoft word, Google docs, or open office, and has built in tools for creating citations and bibliographies that can save you time when doing your coursework and research.

To learn how to export references from RefWorks, import them into Zotero, and get started with this citation tool follow this guide.

If you have questions about citation managment tools please contact Lelland Reed, Collections and Systems Librarian - NSCAD University Library at

Exporting Citations from the New RefWorks

Follow the directions below to export your citations from the New RefWorks. 

To export your citations:

  •  Login to your RefWorks account.
    • Tip: If you have the Zotero application open when exporting from RefWorks, you may be given the option to save directy to Zotero if this is where you plan to import your citations, saving time!
  •  In RefWorks select a folder from My Folders or select All References. If you want to maintain the folder structure you had in RefWorks we recommend exporting each folder rather than all references.
  •  Click on select all on this page
  •  Click the Share button and select Export references


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  •  Select From: all or select references, and Format: RIS Format
  •  Click Export
  • Tip: Save or rename the file as the name of the folder you are exporting from for easy identification later
  • Tip: If you have the Zotero application open when exporting from RefWorks, you may be given the option to save directy to Zotero if this is where you plan to import your citations, saving time!
  • Repeat the above steps for each folder in your Refworks account (If needed)

Importing Citations Into Zotero

Follow the directions in this guide to import citations into Zotero.

To import your citations into Zotero:

  •   Open the Zotero application on your computer. If you need to download it you can do so here
  •   Go to the File menu in the top left hand corner of the application, and select Import
  •   A window will appear that says "Where do you want to import from?" Select A file, and continue
  •   Select the RIS file you exported from RefWorks
  •   You will see a box with the option "Place imported collections and items into new collection". Keep this box checked if you want Zotero to import your items into a new folder.  Uncheck this box if you wish your items to be placed in the "Unfiled Items" section of your Zotero Library



  •   Right click on the new folder in your Zotero Library to rename the folder

Getting Started With Zotero

To get started with Zotero, check out these guides and short course by Mish Boutet

["How to Use Zotero" by Mish Boutet is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0]