Template:Tertiary

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 This is a tertiary source that clearly includes information from other sources but does not name them.

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Purpose[edit]

This template indicates that a specific cited source, while presumptively correct and better than no source at all, could be of insufficient reliability because it is clearly based on other work yet its own sources are unspecified or unclear; thus it is better to ultimately replace it with a source that cites, or more clearly cites, its own sources. It is intended for tertiary sources that are not encyclopedias or other works with dedicated editorial staff or peer reviewers who ensure that the works are accurate and based on reliable sources.

Some common examples of sources this template may be appropriate for:

  • An overview of a cat, dog, horse, etc. breed in a pet owner's guide, children's animal book, or a pet fanciers' magazine, summarizing the history and traits of the breed, but not naming specific published authorities as sources (in-text or in a bibliography). Such summaries are often oversimplified, very selective (e.g. preferring a particular organization's breed standards), and/or overly credible of unusual claims about the breed and its history. Such works are often reliant on fanciers' websites, promotional material fro breeders, non-authoritative books, and other non-peer-reviewed materials. They frequently cite no sources at all.
  • A biographical profile of a sports figure on the official website of a sporting league, relied upon for various personal details like marital status and favorite color. For sports statistics, such a source may generally be considered primary, but non-statistical bio details of this sort often rely on incomplete or dated sports journalism work or statements made by the subject.
  • Snippets of interesting alleged facts presented in bullet, list or other summary format, as is often found towards the front of news, popular science/technology/computing, and entertainment/celebrity magazines. Such "news bites" are very frequently incomplete, biased, or even outright wrong and later retracted. They may be "engineered" to create negative or positive slanted media coverage, especially when based on press releases or gossip.
  • Newspaper articles and news broadcasts that provide non-common-knowledge information about a subject without any indication of where this information came from. "Press cannibalism" (recycling of news from one source by another with no fact-checking) is a common and sometimes serious problem, as in the Negativland/David Brom scandal. News reports may of course be reliable sources for quotations and paraphrases they contain from named sources, as well as other clearly sourced material, especially in cases of investigative journalism. (For common-knowledge information, such as the population of a city or birth and death date of a famous writer, news media sources are usually non-authoritative tertiary sources and probably not useful for citation as such at all).

This is not a dispute template, it is a citation and verifiability maintenance template that serves as a simple identifier of known "weak" and therefore potentially problematic sources that are best replaced with better ones as time and availability of material permit. If a particular source is specifically challenged as being inaccurate, use Template:Verify source, Template:Dubious or some other appropriate inline dispute template, or simply remove the questionable material (especially in a biography of a living person) and discuss the matter on the talk page. If it is simply unknown by an editor whether or not a source added by another properly cites its own sources, this is a matter for talk page discussion between editors and/or reading of the source by the editor who has the concern.

Usage[edit]

This template is appended inside and at the end of a <ref...>...</ref> source citation in an article:

Article text.<ref name="foo">{{cite news|title=Title|first=Art|last=Thor}}{{tertiary}}</ref>

Results in:

Article text.[1]
...

References
  1. ^ Thor, Art. "Title".  This is a tertiary source that clearly includes information from other sources but does not name them.


It is not used as an inline template in prose:

Wrong: Article text.<ref name="foo">{{cite news|...}}</ref>{{tertiary}}

It is not formatted as such a template, and the potential issue it flags is only of interest to Wikipedia editors and to those who care to investigate the reliability of the sources of our articles, thus it should not be "in the face" of all readers.

Parameters[edit]

  • |1=type – An optional parameter (it does not need to be named unless it contains a "=" character), the value of which is a word or phrase describing the type of cited resource, such as article or sidebar or book (especially useful for noting that some aspect of a work has this problem but not the whole work).

    {{tertiary|flow chart}}

    or

    {{tertiary|1=flow chart}}

    yields:

     This flow chart is a tertiary source that clearly includes information from other sources but does not name them.

  • |biblio=yes (or =y or any other value) – An optional parameter that indicates that the source in question does provide a bibliography or some other indication of overall sources, but neglects to specify what facts come from what source. This is less of a concern in most cases than not citing sources at all, so this parameter should thus only be used and the template applied to such a source when it is presumably reliable, but the fact(s) in question controversial or otherwise in need of very particular sourcing.

    {{tertiary|biblio=yes}}

    yields:

     This is a tertiary source that clearly includes information from other sources and names them, but does not cite them in detail.

  • |date=August 2014 or |{{subst:DATE}} – Like other maintenance templates, this one takes a date parameter. This template does not sort tagged articles into dated categories, but the date may be of interest for backlog clearance purposes.


See also[edit]