Building a Bibliography on RefWorks

American Roots FYS


RefWorks is an online bibliography manager that you can use through SJU’s Drexel Library.  You will be able to save your sources for this class and other classes in an online database and export them in a variety of formats. 


Let’s suppose that my goal is to build a bibliography on RefWorks that includes the following references:

  • The book Romancing the Folk, by Filene.
  • The article “Really the ‘Walking Blues’: Son House, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and the Development of a Traditional Blues,” by Cowley.
  • James Bland’s original sheet music for “O Dem Golden Slippers”
  • The YouTube video of John Dee Holeman and Algia Mae Hinton improvising on “Yall Come,” recorded by Alan Lomax.


Here are the steps I followed to make the bibliography.

  • From the library’s web site, click on RefWorks Citation Software and create a RefWorks account.  Log in to your account.
  • Under “Folders” create a folder called “American Roots” or something like that.
  • Under “Tools” go to “Customize” and choose “Chicago 16th edition (Notes & Bibliography)” for Output Styles.
  • Finding a citation for a book.  Under “Search” use the dropdown menu to choose “Search Online Catalog or Database.” Under “Online Catalog or Database to Search” I chose “Library of Congress” to search for a book. I typed “romancing folk filene” in the Quick Search box and it showed me two references, one of which is the book I’m looking for.  I checked the box and clicked “Import.”  When the reference has been imported, go to the Last Imported folder and move it into your American Roots folder.
  • Finding a citation for an article.  For the “Walking Blues” article, I started by going to JSTOR, which is on the main library site under e-Resources A-Z.  I searched for “Muddy Waters blues” and checked the box next to the article.  Then I chose “Export Citation” and RefWorks.  The article was automatically added to my RefWorks “Last Imported” folder.  Then I moved it into my American Roots folder.  (If you found an article on Project MUSE, save it, go to Saved Articles, then export it to RefWorks.)
  • Web sites, field recordings, sheet music etc.  These resources aren’t in the standard databases, so you must enter the information manually.  From RefWorks, select “References” and “Add New Reference.”  Select the type of reference you want to add, then put in as much information as you have. 
  • Adding references to your paper.  Once you have all your references, open your American Roots folder (under View) and select Print.  Choose Chicago 16th edition (Notes & Bibliography) for the Output Style.  Email the references to yourself or copy and paste them into your paper.  Unfortunately you sometimes have to do some further tweaking to get everything in proper format...
  • Audio and video recordings.  Under Chicago Style, audio and video recordings should be in a separate list.  If a recording was originally issued as part of an album or single, you should cite the album info (record label and album number).  There is a good summary of citation style on the Williams College web site.
  • When is it appropriate to cite YouTube? YouTube should only be used if the video or audio is NOT taken from a commercially released source, or if the video was posted by an “official” source—either the artist him- or herself or a foundation like the Association for Cultural Equity.  (In most situations, it’s illegal to post excerpts from movies or albums on YouTube!) The AlaxLomaxArchive channel (created by the Association for Cultural Equity) or Tim Eriksen’s batfancy channel (created by the artist himself) are good examples of YouTube videos that are appropriate to use for your paper. If you reference a movie or documentary, you should cite the movie, not YouTube.


Here’s what I got from RefWorks.  I would cut and paste the video into a separate list.


Lomax, Alan. "John Dee Holeman & Algia Mae Hinton: Yall Come (1983)." Association for Cultural Equity, accessed February 28, 2011,

Bland, James A. Oh, Dem Golden Slippers!. London: C. Sheard, c. 188-?.

Cowley, John. "Really the 'Walking Blues': Son House, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and the Development of a Traditional Blues." Popular Music 1, no. , Folk or Popular? Distinctions, Influences, Continuities (1981): pp. 57-72.

Filene, Benjamin. Romancing the Folk : Public Memory & American Roots Music. Cultural Studies of the United States. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

American Roots FYS / Rachel W. Hall