Reference management software helps you keep your literature references in order and store them in the same place. All reference management applications offer the same basic functions. You can import references in different ways from different sources into your reference database and organise them according to your needs. You can also share your references for groupwork and other similar purposes.

In addition, you can use reference management software to easily incorporate citations into your work, for example your thesis, and to generate a list of references of your chosen sources in compliance with a specific citation style. Reference management software makes your work easier and faster, especially if you are dealing with a large number of references.

There are numerous reference management options to choose from. The University of Helsinki has acquired a licence for RefWorks and EndNote for its students, teachers, researchers and other staff members. RefWorks is a browser-based application, which can be used wherever an Internet connection is available. EndNote is a separate application that you can install on a University computer from Software Center or on your home computer from Download Centre.

You can also find freely downloadable reference management software online. Examples include Mendeley and Zotero. These can be installed on University computers from Software Center and on home computers from the software website.

You can consult online comparisons to help you choose the application best suited to your needs. Brief descriptions of the features of various reference management applications commonly used at the University as well as instructions on their use can be found in the

RefWorks can be used by anyone with a University of Helsinki ( or HUS ( email address.

  1. Create your own RefWorks account at
  2. Use your university email address ending in (or as your user ID. Choose a password different from the one that you use for the University of Helsinki email account.
  3. You will receive an activation link by email. Click the link to access RefWorks through the browser.

There is no need to download separate applications to your computer. You only need a plugin if you use RefWorks with Word.

Helsinki University Library regularly offers RefWorks training to members of the University community both on campus and online. The course availability and method of delivery may vary from term to term.

The dates of RefWorks Reference Management courses for each term can be found in the Library’s course calendar. Follow the links in the calendar to get detailed instructions for registration.

The courses are designed for undergraduate and doctoral students at the University of Helsinki as well as University staff. The courses are free of charge for University of Helsinki students and employees. 

The courses can be taken free of charge by all students of the University of Helsinki, including students with the JOO flexible study right and Open University students. 

If you are an external customer of the University of Helsinki and would like to take one of the Library courses, you can find further information under Customers from outside the University. 

After completing a RefWorks course, you will know how to:

  • Import references from databases into your RefWorks account
  • Store and organise references
  • Create source references and compile lists of references
  • Change the referencing style to match different requirement