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Health Sciences and Medicine

General guide of New School (including NYU and consortium) library resources, useful search strategies, and getting subject-area reference help in medicine and the health sciences.

Bibliographic Tools

If the end goal for your research is to produce a work for a class or for publication, it will be necessary for you to provide references to the sources of your research. These references can come in the form of a bibliography, end notes, in-line citations, footnotes, etc. The process of recording and organizing your citations can be painstaking, however The New School Library provides tools which will help you easily store and organize citations, and produce a bibliography, annotations, in-line citations, and other bibliographic notes.

The tools available to you are RefWorks and Write-n-Cite.

RefWorks is an online citation manager. You will create an account for yourself the first time you use it, then make sure that you log into your account whenever you begin your research. If you are logged into your account, it will enable you to import citations directly from BobCat and many databases. In some cases, there may be multiple steps to get the citation into RefWorks. Alternatively, you can manually create citations. You will be able to organize your citations by class, project, or paper, and you will be able to add notes and annotations to your citations.

Most importantly you can continue to access and use RefWorks after you graduate and throughout your career.

Write-n-Cite is a plug-in which you can download and which will embed itself in Microsoft Word for Windows or Mac. It works with RefWorks and your word-processor to create citations while you are writing your paper. With Write-N-Cite, you can cite references in a manuscript instantly.

In the box below, you will find a general guide to RefWorks as a .doc file. It was created by Paul Abruzzo, a New School librarian who also teaches courses on RefWorks. If you are interested in learning more about RefWorks, you can a attend his next scheduled course.

Along the right column of this guide are quick reference instructions for sending citations from common science databases to RefWorks. If you would like me to add specific databases that are not in the column to the right, please contact me through Ask-a-Librarian or e-mail me directly. I can send instructions on adding references from the database to RefWorks and post it in this guide.


How to Get to RefWorks

You can access Refworks by searching for it as a database at


N.B. The RefWorks interface has changed with a recent upgrade to RefWorks 2.0. All of the original functionality remains, but there are some added features not previously available. Also it looks a little different. Even if you have used RefWorks before, I recommend taking a look at the RefWorks Guide below as it is specific to the new versions of RefWorks.

Additional RefWorks Tips and Tips for the Sciences

Apart from the general RefWorks guide (posted above), here are a few science-specific notes about RefWorks and citations in general.

Citation Styles

Scientific journals are notorious for their idiosyncratic citation styles. Sometimes the order of information changes, for example date of publication is often important in science and medicine so sometimes a journal puts the date of publication first. Other times you may find that some information is abbreviated. Modern physics articles, for example, often include dozens if not over a hundred authors. Just like different professors may ask for your bibliographies to be done in accordance with MLA or Chicago styles, different science and medical publishers require different formats.

This means that if you are importing citations from a journal, you should always check RefWorks to make sure that the correct information was imported into the correct field. Equally important is that if you are exporting a bibliography, you can select from different styles. When you go to 'Create Bibliography', you can click on 'Output Style Manager' to see a full list of all the bibliographic styles RefWorks can create. You will notice that the majority of the different styles are for scientific or medical journals. If you are planning on submitting a paper to a journal, you MUST submit it using their style preference.


In some of the science courses at The New School, you will be asked to submit an annotated bibliography with your paper. RefWorks can help with this. After you import a reference to RefWorks, you can edit the reference to include your personal notes or annotations. Then using the 'Output Style Editor' you can create a bibliography that includes your annotations. I have included a step-by-step guide to creating an annotated bibliography in a box to the right.

Shared Folders

Sometimes your professor may ask you to share your references with her/him. Likewise, you may work on a project in a lab with a group of other researchers and your PI may want to set up a shared folder of references so the entire group can be apprised of your collective research. RefWorks makes it possible to share your references and to control how much access another person has to your references. There is a step-by-step guide to sharing a RefWorks folder in a box below.

Sharing a RefWorks Folder

Below is the RefWorks help page explanation of sharing folders:

You can share a folder or database from the Organize & Share Folders tab in the main viewing area of RefWorks.

In the Organize & Share Folders area, you'll see a list of your folders. You have two options:

  • Share your enter database (all references and all folders)

  • Share only a specific folder (or folders)

For each folder there is a Share icon sharefolder.jpgand at the top of the list of folders is the same icon that will Share Entire Database.

Clicking on the Share icon sharefolder.jpg will take you to a Shared Folder Options page.  This page will allow you to set up various permissions for your RefShare Recipients.  

Also, from the Organize & Share Folders area you can manage your shared references.  After you click the Share icon sharefolder.jpg, the icon will change to indicate the folder is shared.  Clicking on the Shared iconsharedfolder.jpgwill display several options:

  • Share Link sharelink.jpg --   takes you into your shared folder or database.  

Using the URL that is generated for your folder or database, you can also create a custom link to a specific reference that is contained in your shared folder or database.  To do this, add the following to the end of the URL:  & rn=XX (with XX being the RefWorks Ref ID assigned to the particular reference).  Entering this custom URL in a browser will bring the RefShare Recipient directly to the Full View of that reference.  The RefShare Recipient has access to the complete folder or database that the linked reference is contained in.  

If you are in your shared folder or database and you click the View link for a particular record, you will find a link to this page link that you can click on to get the URL for that specific record (saves you from manually creating the link as described in the paragraph above).   IE users can just right mouse-click on the link to this page link and copy shortcut to get the link as well.

  • Remove Share folder.jpg-- allows you "unshare" your specific folder or database making it inaccessible to any recipients and removing it from the Shared Area Page (if posted there).  

  • Shared Folder Options  sharedoptions.jpg-- takes you to the Shared Folder Options Page where you can edit or update sharing options.

  • Email this shareemailrefshare.jpg-- launches an email template that you can use to send your unique URL to someone.  

Once you click on the Share icon sharefolder.jpgto share a folder or database, a URL is created.  This URL can be emailed to your intended RefShare recipients.  You can copy and paste this URL into your own email or, by clicking on the Email this share icon emailrefshare.jpg, RefWorks will create a message with the URL and some information for the recipient on how to use RefShare to view your references.  

After clicking the Email this share icon emailrefshare.jpg:

    • Add the Recipients' e-mail addresses, separating multiple addresses with a semi-colon

    • Make any changes to the Reply to, Subject or Message areas in the appropriate text boxes

    • Click Send email

There is also a Reset button that will restore the default text in the text box.

EBSCO Databases (including Nature and Medline) to RefWorks

The EBSCO databases which include the Medline Database and the journal Nature, work directly with RefWorks. It is a simple 2-step process to pass bibliographic citations from an EBSCO database to RefWorks. As always, begin your research by logging into MyNewSchool and RefWorks if you plan to save citations.

1) Once you have done a search in an EBSCO database and have found a record you want to save, go to the Detailed View of the record by clicking on the title of the record.

2) On the right side of the screen you will see a list of tools. Click 'Export'. This will open the 'Export Manager'. Click the button next to 'Direct Export to RefWorks' and click 'Save'.

Your record should now be passed to RefWorks where you can move it to your project folder, add notes, etc.

Web of Knowledge to RefWorks

Web of Knowledge does not have a direct import-to-RefWorks option like some databases do, but there is a very simple two-step process to import citations.

1) From any results-list or full record in Web of Knowledge, click the button. It will be below the results-list record or above the full record.

2) This opens a GetIt page. To the right of the page you will see under the 'Export Tool' heading, 'Import Citation Into Refworks'. If you are logged into RefWorks, it will open RefWorks and import the citation into your 'Last Imported' folder.

Don't forget to move your reference to the appropriate project folder!

Multiple Records

If you would like to import more than one reference from the 'results list' (only those showing on the current page of results, you cannot go to the next page of results and save reference from the previous page), it is a slightly more complicated process.

1) From the search results page in Web of Knowledge, select the records you would like to import by checking the boxes to the left of the records.

2) At the bottom of the page in the "Output Record" section, select "Save to other Reference Software" and Click "Save".

3) You will be prompted to open or save a .txt file. Open the file.

4) Log into RefWorks and select "Import" from the "Reference" drop-down menu.

5) Copy and Paste the contents of the .txt file into to the "From Text" box. It is not necessary to separate records or change the data in the file in any way.

6) Set the following parameters: Import Filter/Data Source = "Thomson Reuters"
Database = "Web of Knowledge"
Import Reference into Folder = the folder where you would like your records imported

7) Click "Import".

BobCat to Refworks

You can save any BobCat record to RefWorks simply. Be aware that BobCat Records for a journal will only export the record for the entire journal, not for an individual article. To do that you must find the article in a database or journal and export the record from there. To export a BobCat record:

1) Go the to GetIt screen for any record.

2) Click 'Import Citation Into RefWorks' from the right column of the GetIt screen.

Your record should now be passed to RefWorks where you can move it to your project folder, add notes, etc.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

The first step in creating an annotated bibliography with RefWorks is to add your annotated notes to your records. I recommend that you create your notes and/or annotations as you analyze each source although you can add your notes at any time. Whether you do add annotations as you save your citations or at a later date you will follow the same steps.

1) Go to your project folder in RefWorks and click the edit icon to the upper right of the citation to which you want to add an annotation.

2) You can now add all kinds of notes, abstracts, and annotations to your citation. You can add your annotations to Notes, Personal Notes, or a User field, it doesn't particularly matter which field you type your annotations in. However, make sure you use the same field for each record.

Now that you have references with annotations and notes, you can output them as a bibliography with annotations.

To do this:

1) Click on 'Output Style Editor' under the 'Bibliography' drop-down menu.

2) Select the style you want to use for your bibliography from the drop down menu. Your professor will likely give you her or his preference. Common Styles are Chicago Manual, MLA, and Harvard.

3) Click view

4) Under 'Fields for this type' find the field in which you added your annotations. Click the right-pointing green arrow to add it to 'Output Field Order'.

If it does not appear at the bottom of the list, highlight it and use the down-pointing green arrow to move it to the bottom of the list.

5) With your annotation note field highlighted in 'Output Field Order', look under 'Field Settings' and in the space next to 'Precede with' type "\n" or "\n\n" if you want a full space between the record and the annotation.

NOTE: You can preview the output at the bottom of the screen.

NOTE: At the top of the editor where you have options for 'Reference Type', you must repeat steps 4 and 5 for each type of reference you will include in your bibliography, eg. journal, book, etc. The reference type is identified next to the Ref ID at the top of each record in your folder.

6) Click 'Save As'. Give your style a name like 'Chicago with annotations' so that you can identify it later and use it again.

7) Click 'Create" under the 'Bibliography' drop-down menu. Your newly created style with annotations will appear in the Output Style list. Select it.

8) Select the 'File Type' for which you would like you bibliography created, usually Word for Windows or Mac.

9) For the 'Reference to Include' option, select your project folder.

10) Click 'Create Bibliography'. RefWorks will create your bibliography with annotations in it as a file to be saved to your computer.