RefWorks and Zotero: Exchanging bibliographical records using BibTex format

RefWorks is generally better integrated with library databases. And Zotero generally works better with public web sites. You can transfer records by exporting your records from one tool and importing them into the other. For a successful transfer, both systems must be able to read export to or import from an interchange format. I have been able to transfer about 500 entries using BibTex as an interchange format. The steps are basic and designed for users unfamiliar with exporting and importing data.

To transfer from Zotero to RefWorks:

  1. In Zotero, click Export Library, BibTex and save file in .BIB format, preferably to an obvious location that you can remember, like your computer Desktop. The default file name is My Library.bib, but you can change file name if you like.
  2. In RefWorks, from Folders tab, create new folder called “Zotero.”
  3. After folder is created, click References, Import.
  4. For Import Filter/Data ource, select “BibTex.”
  5. For Database, select “Latex.”
  6. For Import References into Folder, select “Zotero.”
  7. Browse to locate file you exported from Zotero (My Library.BIB), and click “Import.”

To transfer from RefWorks to Zotero:

  1. In RefWorks, create new folder (in Folders tab) called “Zotero.”
  2. Copy or transfer the records that you want to export to “Zotero” folder.
  3. Click References, Export. Choose “References from Folder” and select “Zotero” folder.
  4. For export Format, click “BibTex – RefWorks ID.”
  5. The export may start automatically, or you may need to click “Download it” and save file with name “RefWorks Export.txt.”
  6. In Zotero, click “Import” and select “RefWorks Export.txt.” Zotero will automatically create an “Imported” folder with today’s date.

The process is for just a basic transfer, by someone who wants to give transfer a try and needs basic procedure. I have not tried to troubleshoot or tested multiple transfer formats. Additional intermediary work on exported file could improve quality of record data.

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