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Online Resources for Information Skills

Having trouble meeting deadlines for assignments?

Taking too long to find information?

No idea how to write a bibliography?

Don't know where or how to start using the library?

If the answer is YES! to any of these questions you might want to investigate the toolkit of resources related to our Find it Fast! Information Skills Workshops which are designed for undergraduates and taught postgraduates.

Our Find it Fast! Wiki is a collection of resources designed to help you overcome problems finding good quality information quickly and using the information ethically, to meet that all important deadline. It contains support materials including slides from workshop presentations, worksheets and various library guides.

Information Skills Workshops

Many of you will have information skills talks and workshops as part of your courses. In addition to these we offer free practical workshops designed to help you find information for your assignments, dissertations and theses more quickly and effectively. Learn how to use important electronic databases such as Ebook Central, Scopus and Web of Knowledge, search Primo, use RefWorks to create a bibliography, and even Google better. Our workshops help you to develop appropriate information skills for your level of study.

Find it Fast! workshops are designed for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

They generally last an hour and are held at lunch times in a PC classroom on floor 2 in The Sir Duncan Rice Library. You have a choice of different dates and times for each workshop.

To view our range of Find it Fast! workshops, read course descriptions, and make a booking please go to the course booking web page and search for Information Skills courses. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Materials from these Find it Fast! workshops are available online in our Find it Fast! Wiki.

Researcher Development workshops are designed for research postgraduate students

 They cover all the essential information retrieval and management skills required at research level, and look in depth at major databases such as Scopus and Web of Knowledge. Each session last between 11/2 to 3 hours.

To view our range of workshops, read course descriptions, and make a booking please go to the course booking web pages and search for Information Skills courses. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Terms and conditions for booking workshops

We respectfully ask you to observe the following rules when booking courses via the course booking web pages:

  • Book each different workshop once only. Workshops are repeated several times over the academic session to allow as many students as possible to attend, so you only need to book once.

  • Cancel your place immediately you find a clash in your timetable which prevents you from attending. It will give a student on the waiting list an opportunity to attend in your place.

  • Failure to attend: The Library Service reserve the right to withdraw you from any other forthcoming courses you have booked onto and further bookings may not be accepted if you consistently do not attend courses that you have booked on, without cancelling your booking and/or sending apologies.

How to cancel a booking

  • Go to

  • Log in using your University computer username and password

  • Click on My Bookings near the top of the screen

  • Your Confirmed Bookings will be listed

  • Select the course you want to cancel

  • Then scroll down and click Cancel Booking in the bottom right-hand corner

  • You will see confirmation of your cancellation at the top of the screen

If need help and advice please contact the Information Consultant for your subject.


See our copyright pages to understand your legal responsibilities when copying and/or downloading library materials. Important information regarding electronic resources below.

Downloading from electronic resources

Copyright regulations apply to electronic material in the same way that they do to printed books and journals. In addition, with electronic journals and databases, our access is based on license agreements with publishers. Copyright restrictions and conditions of use do not make easy reading and misunderstanding of what is and is not permitted can occur. To make it easier to understand your obligations as a user of these services you should follow the guidance below.

What's not permitted

Robots and systematic downloading

Systematic downloading using robots, spiders or manual means is not permitted. Publishers keep track of patterns of use and where they suspect misuse in the form of systematic downloading they will cut off access. There have been instances recently where publishers have withdrawn access to their journals to all University of Aberdeen staff and students. This prevents access by the majority of responsible users to information needed for their research and learning.

Downloading more than one article

Downloading, copying or printing more than one article per issue of a journal (electronic or print), without the permission of the owner, is against copyright law. Downloading the entire contents of an electronic journal to your PC, home file space, writable CD or USB stick is illegal.

What's permitted

Viewing multiple articles from an electronic journal on screen

The operation of your Web browser may result in multiple articles being copied to your computer's hard disk. Where there is no intent to store the copy permanently, any such incidental copying involved in viewing an electronic publication is permitted.

Storing or printing a single article per issue of an electronic journal

You can download and copy on to disk or print a single article per issue of an electronic journal.

Most e-journal web sites include a link to the publisher's terms and conditions where consent to copy 'fairly' from an electronic journal may be given by the publisher's licence. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are acting within both the copyright law and the publisher's licence terms.

Referencing and Citing

It is essential you record what you have read and referred to in your written work, both within the text (citing) and at the end of your written work (bibliography). It is vital that you acknowledge what resources – print and electronic (including the Web) - you have referred to in your assignment, dissertation or thesis. If you don’t, you can be accused of plagiarism - the unacknowledged use of other people’s words and ideas. This is cheating.

Check your course handbook or ask your supervisor about the preferred citation style for your School.

REMEMBER - you can lose marks for poor referencing.

Help and advice

Visit the Student Learning Service site for advice on how to avoid plagiarism.

Library Guides on Referencing

For more information see the tab below on Avoiding Plagiarism.

Referencing with RefWorks

What is RefWorks? What does RefWorks do? Accessing RefWorks Guides Write-N-Cite Using RefWorks after leaving Aberdeen


What is RefWorks?

RefWorksRefWorks is web-based reference management software which makes storing references and generating bibliographies easy.

Login to or Sign Up for RefWorks.

Very Important Information

Please note that RefWorks is a sophisticated tool and our normal training would spread over 2 hours. Due to the current complexities of students training off-campus on a multitude of different personal devices rather than in a networked classroom environment, when we do offer training later in the term it will be on simplified aspects of RefWorks. This will not involve Write-N-Cite. 

Library guides on RefWorks

Due to time investment needed for RefWorks it may be worth looking at simpler alternatives to get started with, e.g. Zotero, Cite This For Me, Mendeley. There is a software comparison guide in the Taught Postgraduates tab (Part 5) of our wiki

New RefWorks Interface

There are two version of RefWorks: Legacy and New (ProQuest RefWorks). We are using the Legacy version while RefWorks improve the options and features within their new interface. Please ensure that you use the Legacy version - New RefWorks is not yet powerful enough for our users. We may move to the updated system in summer 2020 and will notify users in advance if this is the case.

Please note that we do not currently provide support in using New RefWorks or the RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) plug-in.

RefWorks and Mac computers

The Microsoft Word plug-in for RefWorks, called Write-N-Cite, does NOT currently work with Word 2016 on Macs. RefWorks are currently working on this compatibility issue.

It is still possible for such users to make use of the One Line/Cite View method of inserting citations into Word 2016 documents on Macs.


Please note that RefWorks does not support the OSCOLA referencing style used by the School of Law. [top]


What does RefWorks do?

  • Stores useful references in a personal database
  • Imports references from the University of Aberdeen Library Catalogue
  • Imports references directly from external databases, e.g. Scopus, CSA and Web of Science
  • Formats bibliographies and citation styles automatically for essays, papers, reading lists and project/thesis work

We give advice and training on using this important software. [top]

Accessing RefWorks

Who can use it?

All registered members of the University of Aberdeen are eligible to use RefWorks.

How do I access it?

Go to RefWorks login

Do I need a password?

Authorisation to use the RefWorks software is by login name and password. The facility can be accessed from on and off-campus and initial registration is also possible from any location.

Please note that when registering off-campus, you will be required to enter a Group Code in addition to a login name and password. Full details are given on our passwords page. [top]

RefWorks Guides and Help

The Library provides a number of guides to using RefWorks. They can be found on our Library Guides webpage. [top]


What does Write-N-Cite do?

Write-N-Cite helps you create a document in Word with RefWorks open at the same time - citations can be chosen and included in the text as you write. It can then create a bibliography at the end of your document, in a referencing style of your choice, at the

How do I install it?

Write-N-Cite is already installed on the desktop of all classroom networked PCs, but you must install this utility onto your personal computer.

How do I install Write-N-Cite on my personal computer?

  • Login to your RefWorks account

  • From the Tools menu select Write-N-Cite

  • Choose the version you need for your computer (Windows or Mac) and download and install

  • Read the Installation Instructions before downloading and installing. [top]

How do I install Write-N-Cite on an office PC? (for staff and PGR office machines)

  • Click on the Windows icon at the bottom of the screen on your PC and click on Microsoft System Center
  • Select Software Center
  • Check the Installed Software tab first. Is Java installed?
    • if no: click on the Available Software tab, find Java and install it. Then install Write-N-Cite
    • If yes: install Write-N-Cite

RefWorks Citation Manager

RefWorks Citation Manager is an add-in that helps you insert in-text citations and bibliographies into your document and is compatible with newer versions of Microsoft Word.
For a variety of technical reasons, we do not currently support RCM or provide guidance in using it.

Using RefWorks after leaving the University of Aberdeen

Can I keep my RefWorks account when I leave?

Yes you can! RefWorks very generously allows former members of this University continued access to their RefWorks account.

What do I need to do?

Very little really. Just a couple of things before you leave the University of Aberdeen:

  • If you registered your account using your University email address but do not intend to continue to use this in the future:
  • Log in to your RefWorks account
  • Click on the Update Profile link located at the top right hand side of the screen
  • Amend your email contact details as necessary
  • Keep a note of the Group Code for accessing RefWorks. This Group Code was sent to you by RefWorks via email when you originally registered your account. If you have not kept this on file please use your University username and password to access the code which is held on a protected library webpage. [top]
Other Reference Management software

See PDF for a comparison of popular Reference Management software and methods.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Be under no illusion, plagiarism - copying another person's words or ideas without proper acknowledgment - is cheating.

It is regarded by the University as a serious academic offence that can result in disciplinary action.

Here are some practical tips on avoiding plagiarism:

  • Paraphrase in your own writing style your interpretation of the work of others and refer to these sources of information consistently both within your text and in full in your bibliography.

  • Show very clearly, by using "quotation marks", all text that is lifted directly from work belonging to someone else. Direct quotes longer than two or three lines should be inserted as a new paragraph, indented and single-spaced, to show clearly that these are not your own words. They should also be referenced both within your text and fully in your bibliography.

Help and advice

Visit the Student Learning Service site for further advice on how to avoid plagiarism.

Library Guides on Referencing