Zotero is a freely available tool we recommend, and many of us have switched over from RefWorks to Zotero because of its design, the ease of pulling citations into MS Word and Google documents, and the ability to share bibliographies with other users and embed them in websites. Zotero is designed specifically for academic research, and it helps you collect, manage, annotate, and cite your sources. Unlike RefWorks, it requires you to install both an app and a browser extension onto your computer. Check out Using Zotero at Vassar for more information.
RefWorks is a web-based bibliography and database manager that allows you to create a personal, searchable database of citations. These citations can be formatted into your Microsoft Word documents as footnotes or a custom bibliography.
Because it is entirely web-based (i.e. the bibliographic records reside on the web, not on your computer), it gives you access to your bibliographies from Mac, PC, or UNIX, as long as it’s connected to the Internet. To be safe, be sure to backup files. RefWorks also offers a mobile platform.
The Vassar College Library maintains a site license to RefWorks, but we are planning to discontinue this license in Summer 2021. For that reason, we recommend that you transfer your citation files from RefWorks to Zotero or another citation manager.