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An overview for installing, setting up, and using the bibliographic manager Zotero. Based on guide created by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library at

Switching from Another Citation Manager

Moving from another citation manager is a fairly easy process.

The guides below will outline the process of moving from that platform and importing your Library into Zotero.

Is the platform that you're using not on this list (Refworks, ReadCube or another)? All you need to do to import items to Zotero is use a standardized file format. The most common formats are BibTeX and RIS but here's a complete list of file formats that Zotero can import.

Transitioning from UVA RefWorks to Zotero

Until 2018, UVA had a campus-wide subscription to RefWorks. The following instructions outline how to transition to Zotero from that specific version of Refworks.

Zotero: Exporting citations from Refworks to Zotero

Before transferring your references from Refworks, you need to install Zotero. View installation instructions.

1. In RefWorks, click on References--Export. Choose All References, or My List, or a folder. Keep the format as Bibliographic Software.

2. A new tab will open, containing some code.  In your browser menu, go to File, and choose Save Page As.  Select Text File, and select a name and location for your file.  

3. Open the Zotero program on your computer. Click the Actions icon Image of gear icon, or go to the File menu, and select Import. Select the .txt file you saved above.  This will create a single new folder with all your imported citations. You can them move them to another folder if you wish.

Note: Zotero will not maintain all the folders in your RefWorks account. If you want to keep your established folders, you could alternatively move your citations one folder at a time--as you import each folder, rename it with the same name you used in RefWorks. This process involves more importing steps total but makes it easier to re-establish your folders.


Need some help with switching or learning Zotero? Here's a list of people and opportunties that can help: