ProQuest recently launched RefWorks Flow. Flow is the latest reference management tool for students, researchers, educators, librarians, and companies, and it is available to the students and faculty of Golden Gate University. If you’re not already using RefWorks to organize your research and references, you might want to consider it. I may be dating myself, but I seriously wish RefWorks had been more widely available during my undergraduate and graduate studies. It would have saved me a ton of time and heartache managing those myriad citations. But I digress… If you are already using RefWorks to manage your research, the jump to RefWorks Flow is a simple one. Flow automatically imports existing collections from your RefWorks account when you create your Flow account.
How is it different than the RefWorks you’ve come to know?
According to the FAQ, Flow is “a new way to collect, manage and organize research papers and documents. You can read, annotate, organize, and cite your research as well as collaborate with friends and colleagues by sharing collections.” I’m not sure I agree that the tool is entirely new; Flow builds on the foundation of RefWorks. However, the ease of adding documents to Flow is an improvement on basic RefWorks. The process of adding documents and citations has been streamlined significantly. The user simply drags and drops documents, such as PDFs, into their library to add them.
Users can also add a “Save to Flow” button to their Internet browser to save and cite webpages. If you’re reading an interesting article online that you want to cite in a paper, simply click the Save to Flow button for on-the-fly citing and saving. I found that this feature is not available for every website, so in some cases, you might have to do it the old-fashioned way. Please note: This feature is not available on library terminals.
In addition to easy saving, ProQuest has added many new features to RefWorks to enhance the user’s ability to collaborate with colleagues and other researchers. It’s cloud-based, which is conducive to sharing documents and information for group work and other collaborative projects. The application allows users to highlight and annotate documents and allow other users to comment on their documents.
It’s free, sort of…
Academics can begin a RefWorks Flow account that includes unlimited references, collection sharing, and 2GB of storage, free of charge. However, if you need more space than that you have the option to upgrade to the premium account, which can be used by 25 collaborators and includes 10GB of storage.
Want to try it out?
If you’re curious about RefWorks Flow, learn more online and set up an account. Flow is available to GGU students and faculty with .edu email addresses.