"How to" Guideline series is coordinated by Helen Mongan-Rallis of the Education Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions to improve these guidelines please me at e-mail hrallis@d.umn.edu.

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Guide to Using UMD Library Research Tools

By Helen Mongan-Rallis. Page last updated: December 1, 2006

Links to UMD Library Research Tools

  1. Master of Education Research Guide: Provides information on and links to: Indexes & Databases for Locating Journal Citations, RefWorks, Finding Journal Articles, Finding Books, APA Style Manual, Distance Education Services, Library Services.
  2. Suggested resources for Education - Indexes & Databases to Articles. These are useful places to start doing research.
  3. Databases by title and subject.
  4. UMD E-Journal Locator.
  5. RefWorks import directions for databases. Thanks to Martha Eberhart of the UMD library for providing this step-by-step directions on how to import citations into RefWorks from over fifty different databases.


This is a very powerful research tool that enables you to: create your own personal database, import references from your UMD's databases and automatically enable you to format your papers and bibliographies.

  1. To create a RefWorks account go to RefWorks New User page --> fill out the form on this page to sign for an individual account, including selecting the type of user you are and the focus area of your research. Important note: I advise you not to use your UMD password as this is not a secure site. However, it's fine to use your UMD login name (easier to remember) and you should use your UMD email address --> click on the "Register" button. You will then receive an email confirmation with your username and password.
  2. To access your RefWorks account later on, once you have set it up, go to the the UMD library page --> then click on the "Research" tab (near the top of the page) --> then, from the left-hand navigation area of the Research page, click "RefWorks." It is important that you access RefWorks this way, rather than connecting directly to the RefWorks page, so that you authenticate as a UMD student (by having to login). Once you have authenticated, you then have access to resources not available to non-UMD people.
  3. Import references:
    1. Create folders to organize your references. Do this by clicking on the Folders tab --> then select "Create new folder" --> type in the name of the folder in the box provided and click "OK." When you add new references either manually or by exporting them directly to RefWorks from a database, it is important to move them form the "last imported" folder into one of the folders that you have created.
    2. To enter references manually:
      1. from the RefWorks tool bar select "References" --> "Add new reference."
      2. In the window that appears, enter all the necessary information in the designated boxes, beginning with selecting which format you wish to use (e.g. APA 5th edition). You do not have to enter information into all boxes, but you should complete the green checked boxes up to, but not including the descriptors box (as this information is necessary if you want to generate a bibliography). It is useful to enter descriptors, abstract (which you can copy and paste from the article) and notes to assist you later when you are reviewing all your resources.
    3. To import references from a database: When you locate references either using Google Scholar of one of the many UMD Library databases, you can import these directly into RefWorks without having to type them in manually. I have given some examples of how to do this for Education Fulltext and ERIC (see below) but Martha Eberhart of the UMD library has provided excellent detailed, step-by-step guidelines on how to do this from over fifty databases (see: RefWorks import directions for databases), as well as providing guidelines for Importing citations into RefWorks.
  4. Creating a bibliography: Once you have references in your RefWorks folder and are ready to create a bibliography:
      1. click on the bibliography link in the toolbar.
      2. In the window that appears, choose output style (e.g. APA 5th edition), click in the button next to "Format a Bibliography from a List of References," choose the file type in which you want the bibliography to be created and finally which references to include --> then click the words "Create bibliography."
      3. A small window will pop up and ask you if you want to open the file or save it to disk. Make your selection and click "OK."

For more detailed directions on how to use RefWorks, go to Barb Johnson's Track and Organize Resources.

Searching and importing into RefWorks from Education Fulltext

  1. If you are connecting to UMD from off campus, before you do library research, be sure either to access library resources by first going to the the UMD library page so that you can authenticate or you can launch VPN first and authenticate that way (if you don't do this, you won't be able to access the library resources).
  2. From the UMD library page, click on the Research tab --> then click on link for Databases (under the Search section) --> click on the link to Education Fulltext --> this links you to the WilsonWeb education fulltext database. You can do an advanced or basic search. Here I will describe the advanced search.
  3. Click on the advanced search button --> then complete the search boxes, filling in terms and choosing from drop down menu. Also can also choose to limit dates and other options. Once you have defined your search, click the "start" box.
  4. Your results are displayed. Review these, clicking in the box next to the items that you want to save.
  5. From the menu on the left of the screen, click on the "exporting/citing" button. You can print, email, save, or export your findings.
    1. Exporting to RefWorks: Click on the Export to RefWorks, Endnote software
    2. Make your selection from the boxes that appear --> then click the "export" button
    3. This opens RefWorks and exports the items from your search into your RefWorks account. When this is done, click on the button "view last imported folder."
      1. If you have not yet created folders in RefWorks in which to store items on your research topics, from the top tool bar menu in RefWorks, select "folders" --> create new folder --> type the name of your folder in the box that opens, then click the "ok" button.
    4. Usually your search is on one particular topic, and you have exported to RefWorks all the items that you want to keep, so: click on the box next to each item. Then click on the drop down menu next to "put in folder" and select the folder into which you want to save these items. You will asked to confirm that this is where you want to put the items. Click "OK" and then again "OK" to confirm that this has happened.
    5. Even though these items have now been saved in the folder that you selected, they still show up in the browser window. To get rid of them from here (knowing that they have been copied safely to a folder), click on the "remove from folder" button. You will be asked to confirm that you want to remove the XX selected references from the Last Imported Folder. Click "OK."
    6. Note: if you import or enter references and do not put them in a folder, they will remain in a list called "References not in a folder" which you can view by selecting the "Folders" menu --> from this select "view" --> "References not in a folder."

Searching and importing into RefWorks from ERIC

  1. From the UMD "suggested resources in education" page, click on the link to ERIC
  2. In box for "search terms" type in the term that you are searching e.g. distance education
  3. In box for "search in" select from drop down menu e.g. title
  4. Click the search button --> this shows a list of items found using your search strategy (in the above example, this yielded 2230 results)
  5. You can narrow down your search at this point (repeat above steps, using more specific search terms, or using advanced search strategy). Alternatively, you can sort the results according to relevance, publication date, author, and source.
  6. Once you have narrowed your search, add the items to your clipboard by clicking on the folder to the right of each item --> when you are done, scroll to top of the page and click on the link to your clipboard.
  7. The clipboard lists all the items that you have saved. You can:
    1. Save to My ERIC for future use (to do this you will first need to register with ERIC)
    2. Email citations: This opens a window that enables you to send an email to yourself (or anyone else)
    3. Export citations to (a) Citation Manager File (which includes RefWorks) or (b) Text file (.txt) in brief citation, brief citation and abstract or detailed citation and abstract.


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