I have just had a request to present to a group of RefWorks users on Best Practices for RefWorks Group Projects. 

We have a number of working groups, research assistants, interns and so on, who are asked to update or work in a RefWorks account that is for a long term project. So it's one account, but various users temporarily or permanently share it. RefShare isn't the solution because they legitimately need to add references and help maintain the contents of the project's account.

They want to know how to do this to reduce duplicates, accidental deletion of references (that are linked to active papers), consistent use of folders / mark up, etc.

So, do any of you already offer tips & tricks for multi-user RefWorks accounts? Any personal favorite hints you can share with me?

What I know already: check for duplicates immediately after import. A brand new item won't have already been referenced in someone's paper, so that's the safest to delete. Update the old item with any corrections, attachments, etc, before deleting the new one. As a group, discuss any folders that will help improve workflow and then use them consistently.

Anything else?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience.

~ Krista C,

Kelowna, BC, Canada

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Remember, deleted references are automatically put into a Deleted References folder and they stay there for 30 days.  If the group had an account manager, that person could check that folder regularly and put those deletions back into the database.  It would be great if a deleted ref could be moved to another folder named something like Possible Deletions, but I don't see a way to do that.  Of course, the manager could note the ID for the deleted ref and once it's back in the database move it to a special folder. 

Sorry, but I don't have any suggestions for your other concerns.


Little Rock, Arkansas

Right, I forgot about that deletion folder!

I did discuss taking an idea from Systematic Reviews and having a folder for "excluded" items. I should mention restoring recently deleted, in case they accidentally delete all the selected duplicates (a risky maneuver if you haven't checked them first).



This is my tip: tell the user to log out after using the shared account. I have a shared account and I sometimes see very 'strange' references in our account. They are automatically imported from a 'direct export' database while the shared account was still logged in.

I have a RSS feed on this shared account, that helps a bit to keep track of what's being added. I would also make one user the 'account manager'.

For us it helped to write down some rules, but I also know it can be hard to explain such rules to new members of the group.

Kind regards, Judith

Thanks, Judith, that's another good idea.

You're right that some of these folks have multiple projects on the go (or have personal CV accounts in RW) so they might forget which one they're using from time to time.

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one using RW this way. I was surprised that I didn't find any handouts or patron training materials on this rather specialized application.




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