Help:Overview of referencing styles

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Wikipedia uses various systems to include and present citations of reliable sources that support assertions in the article content and to add explanatory and supplementary material.

In-text cites[edit]

The in-text cite is the element placed in the text that indicates or links to the full citation that supports the preceding content.

Footnotes[edit]

Main page: Help:Footnotes

Wikipedia footnotes are a specific method of creating in-text cites and reference lists using the Cite.php software extension. This should not be confused with the concept of footnotes in general.

The in-text cite is placed in the content, usually after punctuation. It is created by enclosing the citation or note within <ref>...</ref> tags. Each in-text cite is formatted as a superscripted alphanumeric character called the cite label and is enclosed by brackets; example:[1]. The cite label has an HTML link to the full citation in the reference list. In-text cites are automatically ordered by the cite label starting from the first use on a page. The cite labels default to decimal but can be styled as alphabetic, Roman or Greek. The in-text cite may be defined with a name so they can be reused within the content and may be separated into groups for use as explanatory notes, table legends and the like.

The reference list shows the full citations with a cite label that matches the in-text cite. The cite label is a caret ^ with a backlink to the in-text cite. When a named in-text cite is invoked multiple times, multiple alphabetic back links are created after the cite label in the reference list.

The reference list is created by use of the <references /> tag or the {{reflist}} template. Example:

Markup Renders as
This is an in-text cite.<ref>citation</ref>

<references />
 
This is an in-text cite.[1]
  1. ^ citation

Shortened footnotes[edit]

In this short example, note that an in-text cite such as [1] links to the shortened citation in the Notes list, which in turn links to the long citation in the References list:

Markup Renders as
The brontosaurus is thin at one end.{{sfn|Elk|1972|p=5}} Then it becomes much thicker in the middle.{{sfn|Elk|1972|p=6}}
The Norwegian Blue Parrot will not move if its feet are nailed to the perch.{{sfn|Praline|1969|p=12}} Its metabolic processes are a matter of interest only to historians.{{sfn|Praline|1969|p=16}}
==Notes==
{{reflist|2}}

==References==
{{refbegin}}
*{{cite book |last=Elk |first=Anne |title=[[Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses]] |date=November 16, 1972 |ref=harv}}
*{{cite book |last=Praline |first=Eric |title=[[Dead Parrot sketch]] |date=December 7, 1969 |ref=harv}}
{{refend}} 
The brontosaurus is thin at one end.[1] Then it becomes much thicker in the middle.[2]

The Norwegian Blue Parrot will not move if its feet are nailed to the perch.[3] Its metabolic processes are a matter of interest only to historians.[4]

Notes
  1. ^ Elk 1972, p. 5.
  2. ^ Elk 1972, p. 6.
  3. ^ Praline 1969, p. 12.
  4. ^ Praline 1969, p. 16.
References

Footnote3[edit]

Footnote3 is a deprecated but still used method of referencing. Although it appears similar to the Footnotes system, it uses the {{ref}} and {{note}} templates.

Markup Renders as
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big.{{ref|1}}
The Moon, however, is not so big.{{ref|2}}

==Notes==
# {{note|1}} Miller, E: "The Sun.", page 23. Academic Press, 2005
# {{note|2}} Smith, R: "Size of the Moon", ''Scientific American'', 46(78):46 
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big.[1]

The Moon, however, is not so big.[2]

Notes
  1. ^ Miller, E: "The Sun.", page 23. Academic Press, 2005
  2. ^ Smith, R: "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 46(78):46
Comparison of Footnote3 and Cite.php Footnote
Footnote3 Cite.php
Use Deprecated for standard footnotes[1] Standard[2]
Number style User applied, free style: can use numbers, alpha, Greek, etc. Automatic with several styles[3]
Reference list order Manual Automatic
Nesting Can nest <ref>...</ref> and other templates Nesting with limitations[4]
Reuse Yes, but creates duplicate HTML ids[5] Yes, unique HTML ids[6]
Error checking No[7] Yes[8]
Markup Fairly terse Can be a bit long, especially when using groups
Preview testing Clicking on a {{ref}} link while previewing an edit will cause the page to reload and changes to be lost No issues
  1. ^ See Wikipedia:Footnote3
  2. ^ See Help:Footnotes
  3. ^ See Help:Shortened footnotes
  4. ^ See WP:REFNEST
  5. ^ {{Ref}} creates an HTML id for the backlink ; when using {{Ref}} multiple times, the id is the same:
    • Per the HTML spec, ids must be unique, thus reuse causes validation errors in the articles where the template is transcluded.
    • Backlinks from the reference list to the inline cite are ambiguous— FireFox and Internet Explorer backlink only to the first inline cite, Opera backlinks to the last.
    • Example: See the use of the dagger symbol in List of baryons and the W3C validation— the HTML id for the dagger is "ref_Undiscovered".
  6. ^ It is possible to define a Note without a matching Ref or vice versa. Example: Governor of New York invokes Ref but never defines the references.
  7. ^ See Help: Cite errors.

Parenthetical referencing[edit]

See also[edit]