14 December 2015

What is RefME?

Scanning book

Add books to your reference list by scanning the barcode

RefME is a referencing management tool that has both a website and an app that work together. The app makes it easy to keep your references organised as you can quickly save the referencing information of the sources you have used wherever you are. Referencing management tools like RefME are great to use, because they save all your references in one place making them easy to find and saving you time in the future if you need them again.

RefME will also construct the reference for you in the style you choose and create a bibliography. This will save you time when constructing your references, but always remember to check them.

To get started, download the app and create a new account either with your email address or Facebook account.

Project screenshot Once you’ve signed into the app, you will need to create a project. This could be anything you choose, e.g., module name or your topic.

Now you are ready to add your references!

  • Add references for books by scanning the barcode on the book.
  • Add other resources, like journal articles, by searching for the title or author or the DOI number, which is at the top of most journal articles.
  • Websites can be added easily, by quickly copying and pasting the URL from your phone browser.
  • If you are working as a group, then you can all share your references by pressing share and inviting people to see your lists

This short video demonstrates the app in use

[vimeo 136204179 w=500 h=281]

Pros & Cons

It’s really easy to use the app to scan in your references for books. It also has the Harvard style of referencing (according to Cite them right) used at UWL.

However, unlike some other reference management tools, it doesn’t have a plugin that works with Word. The advantage of these (like Zotero and Mendeley) means that you can quickly add your references into your Word document as you go.

RefME allows you to neatly organise your references into separate project areas, however, unlike some other reference management tools, it doesn’t let you break down your projects into smaller subfolders. This could potentially make using it for large projects a bit more cumbersome.

Like with all reference management software you will need to check the references it produces to make sure they fit in with the style you are using.

Ideas for use in Education

RefME is a good tool to use to get started with referencing and managing a variety of sources; an essential skill required in higher education and beyond.

The sharing function is great for student collaboration and group work and for lecturers to share references with their students.


available on the app store resized get it on google play resized

RefME is also available for your computer on the RefME website

  1. Download the app
  2. Create an account
  3. Create a project, e.g. the name of a module, assignment or research project
  4. Click add reference and then scan a bar-code from a book; see how the details are automatically populated
  5. Now try adding a website. Go to your phone internet browser, copy the URL and add reference
  6. Try exporting them and emailing to yourself

What do you think?

Is this app useful for you? How do you use it? Do you know of an app that does the same thing but better? Any tips for us? Share your ideas by leaving a reply below, or tweet us @UWL12apps or use the hashtag #UWL12apps


rachel and Julia 1

Written by Rachel Sleeman and Julia Randall

Academic Support Librarians at the University of West London


Creative Commons Licence 12 Apps of Christmas by the University of West London is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.