Organizing Your Full Text Files

If you are doing a lot of research, you’ve probably downloaded scores of full text articles from various library databases and other sources.  Organizing them on your computer so you can find them again can be chore, and if you downloaded an article onto one computer you won’t be able to access it when you are working on a different computer.

There are various ways to solve the problem of organizing your full text files, but if you are already using RefWorks to organize your references, one good solution is to use it to organize your full text files as well.  The idea is to add the full text file as an attachment to the RefWorks reference; you can then access the file anywhere you can log into RefWorks.  

The process for doing this isn’t automatic, but it only requires adding one more step to your routine when you important a reference to RefWorks and download an article. 

Start by downloading the full text document (PDF, HTML, DOC, or whatever) to your computer as normal, making sure you remember where you put it and what name you gave it.  Import the reference into RefWorks, again using your normal method (most library databases allow direct import).  Then go to the “Last Imported” folder, either by clicking on the View Last Imported button in the import results screen, or choosing View->Folder->Last Imported from the RefWorks menu.  Click on the small Edit link next to the new reference to go into edit mode.

A little way down the screen you will the reference’s attachments field:

RefWorks Attachment Field

Click on the Browse button to bring up a file selector, and navigate to the place on your computer where you saved the full text file and select it. This should fill in the box with the full path to the document (though only a bit of it will be visible). Then click on the Add attachment button, and after a bit of a delay the file will be uploaded to RefWorks, and you should see a little thumbnail version of it.

RefWorks With Attachment

Click on the Save Reference button on the top to save your change.

From now on, when you view the reference in a list it will have a little paper clip symbol next to it to remind you it has an attachment, and you can view or download the attachment by viewing or editing the reference and clicking on the thumbnail.

These attachments will not be visible to others if you use RefShare to share your references.  And there are a few limits on file size.  An individual file can’t exceed 20MB, and the default total size limit for each user is 1 GB.  If you need additional space, you can contact BU’s RefWorks Administrator to request it.

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2 responses to “Organizing Your Full Text Files

  1. Pingback: Find @ BU « RefWorks @ Boston University

  2. Thanks! It helps me a lot.

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