Library Carpentry OpenRefine: Setup

Getting ready

You need to download and install OpenRefine and download a data file to follow this lesson.

Downloading OpenRefine

You can download OpenRefine from This lesson has been tested with all versions of OpenRefine, from 2.5 to 2.7.

OpenRefine 2.7 is recommended.

There are versions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Installing and Running OpenRefine

When you download OpenRefine for Windows or Linux from the address above, you are downloading a zip file. To install OpenRefine you simply unzip the downloaded file wherever you want to install the program. This can be to a personal directory or to an applications or software directory - OpenRefine should run wherever you put the unzipped folder. The location has to be a “local” drive as problems have been reported trying to run OpenRefine from a Network drive.

If you are downloading OpenRefine for Mac, you are downloading a ‘dmg’ (disk image) file which you can open, and then drag the OpenRefine application to an appropriate folder on you computer.

OpenRefine is a Java application, and you need to have a ‘Java Runtime Environment’ (JRE) installed on your computer to run OpenRefine. If you don’t already have one installed then you can download and install from by going to the site and clicking “Free Java Download”.

To run Refine:

The interface to OpenRefine is accessed via a web browser. When you run Refine normally this should open a window in your default web browser pointing at the address If this doesn’t happen automatically you can open a web browser and type in this address.

Getting Help

If you encounter problems installing or running OpenRefine, a good source of support is the OpenRefine mailing list and forum

If you are installing OpenRefine on Windows, you may want to check the thread on Installing OpenRefine on Windows 7

There are also general and specialist tutorials about using OpenRefine available on the web, including:

Downloading the data

There are a number of ways to get the data we will be using in OpenRefine.

  1. Once you have started OpenRefine, use this link to import the data directly into OpenRefine using the Web Addresses URLs option.

  2. You can download doaj-article-sample.csv, which is a csv file that will open in a new browser tab. Be sure to right click or control click in order to save the file (NOTE: In Safari, right click and select download linked file; in Chrome and Firefox, right click and select save link as). Make a note of the location (i.e the folder, your desktop) to which you save the file.