How do I create an annotated bibliography in RefWorks?


These instructions are fairly advanced. It is recommended that you seek out in-person help with a reference librarian for assistance.

Suppose you want to make RefWorks output something like this:

Example of an annotated bibliography. Three references in APA format with an abstract appearing below the citation, indented.

The trick is to make sure your annotations are in the "Abstract" field, then use an existing style that's annotated. I found a couple examples of RefWorks styles that use annotations:

APA 6th - Annotated with Abstracts
MLA 6th edition, Annotated with Abstracts

But not all styles in RefWorks come with an annotated version (e.g. Chicago). And it's possible that you want to include your own annotation and not the abstract that came over automatically from a database. In either case, I would need to introduce you to what's probably a new concept: editing a RefWorks style output.

  1. In RefWorks, go to Bibliography > Output Style Editor.
  2. In the lower left corner of the new window, click "New".
  3. In the Style dropdown menu, choose the style that you usually use. I chose "Chicago 15th edition (Notes & Bibliography)
  4. In the lower right, click "View"
  5. You'll be looking at one of three tabs, "Bibliography". Do you see the "Reference Type" box? It's set to "Generic (Defined)". Set it to something like "Journal, Electronic [defined]"
  6. Now look at the "Output Field Order" box. That's the order in which pieces of the reference are placed in a bibliography. I'm assuming that your annotation will be last, so click once on the last field.
  7. Look at the box next to it, "Fields for this Type". Choose "User 1", then press the green right arrow. That pushes the "User 1" field over to the Output Field Order. It should be in the last position. If it's not, select it, then use the down arrow until it's in the correct spot.
  8. You probably want your comments on a new line, or maybe even two lines down from the citation. Click on "User 1", then on the right, in the "Field Settings" box, look for the "Precede with" box. Type "\n" for one carriage return or "\n\n" for two carriage returns.
  9. Once you click "Save As", you will create a modified version of a style that includes the User 1 field below every reference in your bibliography of the type "Journal, electronic". Unfortunately, now you have to repeat steps 5-8 for every reference type that you want to annotate: Journal Article [defined], Book, Book Chapter, etc.
  10. When you are finished with your edits, click Save As, and give it a meaningful name. I might do something like "My Chicago 15th with User 1 Comments (Notes & Bib)". Save that.

Now you can edit the User 1 field in your references to include comments in your bibliography. When you create a new bibliography, make sure to choose your custom style from the dropdown menu.

Written by Charlie Heinz, Physical Science and Engineering Library, 3/9/2012.


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