Tyrenius 02:24, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Guide to referencing
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|Using references (citations)|
I thought you might find it useful to have some information about references (refs) on wikipedia. These are important to validate your writing and inform the reader. Any editor can removed unreferenced material; and unsubstantiated articles may end up getting deleted, so when you add something to an article, it's highly advisable to also include a reference to say where it came from. Referencing may look daunting, but it's easy enough to do. Here's a guide to getting started.
A reference must be accurate, i.e. it must prove the statement in the text. To validate "Mike Brown climbed Everest", it's no good linking to a page about Everest, if Mike Brown isn't mentioned, nor to one on Mike Brown, if it doesn't say that he climbed Everest. You have to link to a source that proves his achievement is true. You must use Reliable sources, such as published books, mainstream press, authorised web sites, and official documents. Blogs, Myspace, Youtube, fan sites and extreme minority texts are not usually acceptable, nor is Original research, e.g. your own unpublished, or self-published, essay or research.
The first thing you have to do is to create a "Notes and references" section. This goes towards the bottom of the page, below the "See also" section and above the "External links" section. Enter this code:
The next step is to put a reference in the text. Here is the code to do that. It goes at the end of the relevant term, phrase, sentence, or paragraph to which the note refers, and after punctuation such as a full stop, without a space (to prevent separation through line wrap):
Whatever text you put in between these two tags will become visible in the "Notes and references" section as your reference.
Test it out
Copy the following text, open the edit box for this page, paste it at the bottom (inserting your own text) and save the page:
(End of text to copy and paste.)
Information to include
You need to include the information to enable the reader to find your source. For a book it might look like this:
An online newspaper source would be:
Note the square brackets around the URL. The format is [URL Title] with a space between the URL and the Title. If you do this the URL is hidden and the Title shows as the link. Use double apostrophes for the article title, and two single quote marks either side of the name of the paper (to generate italics).
The date after The Guardian is the date of the newspaper, and the date after "Retrieved on" is the date you accessed the site – useful for searching the web archive in case the link goes dead. Wikilinks (double square brackets which create an internal link to a wikipedia article) function inside the ref tags. Dates are wikilinked so that they work with user preference settings.
You may prefer to use a citation template to compile details of the source. The template goes between the ref tags and you fill out the fields you wish to. Basic templates can be found here: Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles/Citation quick reference
Same ref used twice or more
The first time a reference appears in the article, you can give it a simple name in the <ref> code:
The second time you use the same reference in the article, you need only to create a short cut instead of typing it all out again:
You can then use the short cut as many times as you want. Don't forget the /, or it will blank the rest of the article! A short cut will only pick up from higher up the page, so make sure the first ref is the full one. Some symbols don't work in the ref name, but you'll find out if you use them.
You can see refs in action in the article William Bowyer (artist). There are 3 sources and they are each referenced 3 times. Each statement in the article has a footnote to show what its source is.
When you become familiar with the process, the next step is to have one section, "Footnotes", with links embedded in the text, and another, "References", which lists all of your references alphabetically with full details, e.g. for a book:
If you're ready to go into it further, these pages have detailed information:
I hope this helps. If you need any assistance, let me know.
Tyrenius 02:24, 21 March 2007 (UTC)