Searching Your RefWorks Database

There are three ways to search your RefWorks database:

Search Your Database (Quick Search)

The Search Your Database box searches all fields (with the exception of Reference Type), including Abstract and User Definable, and all search terms are connected by the Boolean connector OR. It also searches for embedded terms, i.e., if you search for "art" you will retrieve references with "heart", "part" etc. To narrow your search to specific fields and specific combinations of terms, use the Advanced Search feature. Searches are not case sensitive so you do not need to use capital letters.

In addition to searching all references in your RefWorks database, the Search Your Database option allows you to extend searching to file attachments stored with your RefWorks references.

To Perform a Search:

  1. Type your search terms in the Search Your Database box.  If you wish to include file attachments in your search, click the Attachments icon. By default attachment searching is disabled, which is indicated by this icon no_attach.jpg.  Click on the attachment exclusion icon will enable attachment searching and display a new icon includeattach.jpg.  You can click on the attachment inclusion icon to disable the feature as well.   (Note:  Individual subscribers will not see this option).  Only .pdf and .txt files, along with file names are searched when the attachments checkbox is selected.

  2. Click Go.

The results of the search are always ranked by relevancy. A document earns a relevance rating based on the number of words in the search query that it contains, and the weight value of each of those words.

References containing all of the words in a query several times are ranked at the top. References containing all of the words in a query are ranked above references containing only some portion of the words. The first word in your search query is given a higher priority than other words, so references containing just the first word rank above ones containing just the second or third word.

After you have performed a search, the results appear in the main view area. From this view you can delete references, add them to a folder, or add a descriptor to a reference.

Advanced Search

Use the Advanced Search option for a very specific search of your database, choosing a specific field (or fields) in which you want to search.   File attachments may also be included in your search strategy.  You can connect multiple fields (up to four in one search query) by Boolean operators and search strategies may be saved for viewing and retrieving. The results of an Advanced Search appear alphabetically by author.

To Perform and Save an Advanced Search:

Note:  Saving an Advanced Search is optional and not required to run the search strategy.

  1. From the Search menu select Advanced or click Advanced Search from the Quick Access bar.

  2. Select the first field to search.

You can also select Anywhere to perform a search for a particular term or phase in any field. The Anywhere search is similar to the Search RefWorks feature but may be combined with other criteria.

File attachments may be searched by selecting Attachments in the Search Field drop-down and entering a search term.  Additional search criteria can be included as with any advanced search strategy, otherwise only file attachments will be searched for the entered term.

  1. Enter a corresponding search term. If you want RefWorks to include empty fields in your search, check the Search for Empty Field box next to the search value.

Note:  Certain fields do not have the Search for Empty Field option.  These fields are Source Type, Reference Type, Ref ID, Attachments, All Authors, All Periodicals and the Anywhere field.

  1. To add additional search criteria, click on the plus icon plus.jpg(you can include up to 3 additional search criteria for a total of 4 criteria for your search strategy).

  2. If you are searching more than one field, select the Boolean connector you want to use:

Connector Description
AND Use AND to narrow the search to retrieve records that contain all of the words it separates.

OR

Use OR to broaden the search and retrieve records containing any of the words it separates.
NOT And use NOT to narrow the search and retrieve records that do not contain the term following it.
  1. Repeat the process for each field you want to search.

  2. To search the entire database click the All References option in the References to Search area. To narrow the search, click From Selected Folders and then select the individual folders to be searched.

  3. If you want to save your search, click the Save button and you will be prompted to give your strategy a name.

  4. Click the Search button.

In all fields except Descriptor, Advanced Search is similar to the Search Your Database feature in that it looks for embedded terms. In the Descriptor field, Advanced Search looks for the exact search term. If you type in the word "art" you find only references with the word "art" as a descriptor; you will not find words like "heart" or "part".

Tip:  If you are searching any of the author fields for a specific name, we suggest searching on the last name followed by a comma and then first initial without a period after the initial (ex. Smith,R not Smith,R.).  This will give you the broadest results and will include any references where the first name is spelled out and not abbreviated.  You can also use the Author Lookup to easily locate all occurrences of an author's name.

After you have performed a search, the results appear in the main view area. From this view you can delete references, add them to a folder, or add a descriptor to a reference.

To Retrieve Saved Search Strategy Results:

  1. From the View menu expand Saved Search Results and select the name of the saved search you wish to view.

  2. Your search results will be displayed.

To Edit a Saved Search Strategy:

  1. From the Search menu select Advanced or click Advanced Search from the Quick Access bar.

  2. In the top drop-down menu, select the name of the search strategy to edit.

  3. Modify the existing search strategy.

  4. Click the Search button to save and run the search strategy.

To Delete a Saved Search Strategy:

  1. From the Search menu select Advanced or click Advanced Search from the Quick Access bar.

  2. In the top drop-down menu, select the name of the search strategy to delete.

  3. Click the Delete button.

Author, Descriptor, Periodical Lookup

You can use the look-up options to access browse-able indexes of author, descriptor, or periodical information.

To search by a specific author, descriptor, or periodical:

  1. From the Search menu select the appropriate lookup option (Author, Descriptor, or Periodical).

An alphabetical list appears followed by the number of references containing that term.

  1. Click the author, descriptor, or periodical you want to retrieve. You can use the alphabetical listing at the top to navigate to additional windows or use the Search option to locate the references.