Wikipedia:Citing sources/Further considerations

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This page includes some additional considerations for citing sources. The information is here so as not to distract from content on the main Citing sources project page - which should allow new editors to get quickly started. What's here is felt to be of relevance to further interested editors.

Pre-emptive archiving[edit]

The content of any webpage may alter of course, and may in time disappear completely. In any case where a webpage is referred to from an article, where it may be subject to future change or removal, the specification of an alternate archive URL will ensure link accessibility and stability. When referenced content can be retrieved from an archive source such as the Internet Archive or WebCite then archive information can be included along with the original reference information. Anticipating the possibility of future alteration or deletion, archive URL information can thus be added pre-emptively, at the time of reference's initial inclusion and ahead of any potential issues with the original link.

Internet Archive[edit]

The Internet Archive, also known as the Wayback Machine, allows on-demand archiving as well as periodically crawling web pages on its own schedule. Where possible and subject to copyright protection,[nb 1] it makes an archive copy of each page.

Enter the original URL of the web page of interest into the form at http://archive.org/ and then click BROWSE HISTORY to see if a particular URL has already been archived. Alternatively, prepend http://web.archive.org/web/*/ to the URL of interest.

The next screen may show a calendar indicating the snapshot dates for all archived copies of that page. Click a date to see that archived copy. For some requested pages, the Wayback Machine will return an error message explaining why that particular page has not and cannot be archived.

If the page has not yet been archived, there may be a box near the bottom of the page with a link inviting the user to Save this url in the Wayback Machine. Clicking the link will show the current version of the requested web page and start the process that will attempt to archive the page. If successful, the archived copy will become available immediately the process is completed.

WebCite[edit]

WebCite also allows immediate archiving of individual webpages upon request. Subject to copyright protection,[nb 2] WebCite allows you to pre-empt the possibility of future page alteration or deletion with its archive form - http://www.webcitation.org/archive.php. As part of the archiving process, a message is sent to your specified e-mail address giving a unique archive URL that can be used to access the content. As well as a confirming e-mail, submission of a request results in an on-screen message advising you of the archive URL there and then - so you can use it in your article reference straightaway.

Archive.is[edit]

Per WP:Archive.is RFC, the consensus is that archive.is should not be used on the English Wikipedia. Links to this site should be removed and alternate archive sources should be found. In the closure of the RfC the closing admin, Hobit, stated: "To those removing Archive.is from articles, please be sure to make very clear A) why the community made this decision and B) what alternatives are available to them to deal with rotlink." Upon request, Hobit clarified comments made in the closure and added the following with respect to removing archive.is links: "There is a clear consensus for a complete removal of all Archive.is links. ... [I] suggested that the removal of Archive.is links be done with care and clear explanation to editors".

Templates[edit]

Many citation templates explicitly address pre-emptive archiving, including Template:Cite web and Template:Cite news (all Citation Style 1 templates do). These have |archiveurl= (a URL to the archived copy), |archivedate= (the date it was archived), and |deadurl= (whether the original URL is already inaccessible or unavailable) parameters available. For pre-emptive archiving, set |deadurl=no. Later, if the external page goes down, someone can simply remove the |deadurl=no parameter, or explicitly put |deadurl=yes. The formatting of the reference is adjusted accordingly so the accessible link (the original or the archived version) is made prominent.

Archiving bookmarklets[edit]

Archiving of a page being viewed can be easier with the use of bookmarklets. These cause the archiving to be performed by clicking on the bookmark.

Bookmarklets to create an archive of the current page
(all open the response form the archive site in a new tab or window)
Archive site Bookmarklet
Archive.org javascript:void(window.open('https://web.archive.org/save/'+location.href))
WebCite javascript:void(window.open('http://www.webcitation.org/archive?url='+escape(location.href)+'&email=YourEmailAddress@Here.com'))

Note: WebCite requires that you provide an email address. You will need to substiture your email address for the text "YourEmailAddress@Here.com" in the WebCite bookmarklet above. In addition to displaying the archive URL, WebCite will email you confirmation that the archiving has occurred.

Cleaning of URLs used in references[edit]

When adding references it is sometimes necessary to clean up the referenced URL into a standard or canonical format.

These actions may include, but are not limited to those detailed below.

Add a trailing slash to root homepage URLs[edit]

  • http://www.example.com

becomes

  • http://www.example.com/

Although most browsers will treat both links the same, the trailing slash may give the reader a little more confidence that the stated URL has not suffered a cut and paste error or simple typo, such as example.co or example.ne where example.com or example.net was meant.

Remove default filenames[edit]

  • http://www.example.com/somefolder/index.html or http://www.example.com/somefolder/default.asp

becomes

  • http://www.example.com/somefolder/

Should a website change the site technology, and therefore the page name, from e.g. index.html or default.asp to index.php the longer format URL is likely to become a dead link. The final more basic URL is more likely to continue working.

Remove session IDs[edit]

  • http://www.example.com/somepage?sessionid=5345512676730914

becomes

  • http://www.example.com/somepage

Session IDs identify a single usage session by the original editor and should always be deleted from reference URLs.

Remove Google tracking parameters[edit]

  • http://www.example.com/somepage?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=somekeyword&utm_campaign=somename

becomes

  • http://www.example.com/somepage

Parameters used to track visitors should be removed from reference URLs.

Beware of sites with separate URLs for desktop and mobile access[edit]

Where a site has multiple URLs depending on which type of device the reader is using, choose the desktop version of the page URL where available. e.g. choose http://www.example.com/somepage rather than the mobile site at http://m.example.com/somepage

Other considerations[edit]

Editors will encounter these and many other situations. In all cases, apply common sense when making a decision. Above all, make sure the referenced URL works when it is accessed.

Wikilinks to full references[edit]

Wikilinks can be created from short note citations to their appropriate full references.[nb 3] For full details about using these wikilinks, see Template:harvard citation documentation#Possible issues.

All of these methods produce this result. Note that clicking on the link in the footnote moves to the full citation, which in some browsers is then highlighted.

The Sun is pretty big,[1] but the Moon is not so big.[2] The Sun is also quite hot.[3]

Notes
  1. ^ Miller 2005, p. 23.
  2. ^ Brown 2006, p. 46.
  3. ^ Miller 2005, p. 34.
References
  • Brown, R. (2006). "Size of the Moon". Scientific American 51 (78). 
  • Miller, E. (2005). The Sun. New York: Academic Press. ISBN 98-76-54321-0. 


Using template Harvnb[edit]

Templates {{harv}}, {{harvnb}} and {{harvtxt}} link to {{citation}} automatically, and link to {{cite book}}, {{cite web}}, {{cite news}}, {{cite journal}}, if |ref= is set to "harv". This is the most common method used in Wikipedia.

The Sun is pretty big,<ref>{{harvnb|Miller|2001|p=23}}</ref>
but the Moon is not so big.<ref>{{harvnb|Brown|2000|p=46}}</ref>
The Sun is also quite hot.<ref>{{harvnb|Miller|2001|p=46}}</ref>
== Notes ==
{{reflist|2}}
== References ==
*{{citation | last=Brown | first=R | year=2000 | title=Size of the Moon | magazine=Scientific American | issue=78 | volume=51}}.
*{{cite book | ref=harv | last=Miller | first=E | year=2001 | title=The Sun | publisher=Academic Press }}

Using the shortened footnote template[edit]

Template {{Sfn}} links to {{Citation}} automatically, and links to {{cite book}}, {{cite web}}, {{cite news}}, {{cite journal}}, if |ref= is set to "harv". {{Sfn}} also combines identical footnotes automatically, so footnote names are not necessary. The method was introduced much more recently than {{harvnb}}.

The Sun is pretty big,{{sfn|Miller|2001|p=23}}
but the Moon is not so big.{{sfn|Brown|2000|p=46}}
The Sun is also quite hot.{{sfn|Miller|2001|p=46}}
== Notes ==
{{reflist|2}}
== References ==
*{{citation | last=Brown | first=R | year=2000 | title=Size of the Moon | magazine=Scientific American | issue=78 | volume=51}}.
*{{cite book | ref=harv | last=Miller | first=E | year=2001 | title=The Sun | publisher=Academic Press }}

Using freehand anchors[edit]

Most citation templates (for example {{citation}}, {{cite journal}}, {{cite book}}, {{cite web}}, {{cite news}}, etc.) can cater for wikilinks by using the ref parameter to create hyperlink destination anchors, thus allowing the short note citation to link to them using # (in the same way as would a link to a same-page section heading). For references written freehand anchors can be created with the inclusion of some identifying tags.

The Sun is pretty big,<ref>[[#refMiller2005|Miller (2005)]], p.23.</ref>
but the Moon is not so big.<ref>[[#refBrown2006|Brown (2006)]], p.46.</ref>
The Sun is also quite hot.<ref>[[#refMiller2005|Miller 2005]], p.34.</ref>
== Notes ==
{{reflist|2}}
== References ==
*{{cite journal | ref=refBrown2006 | last=Brown | first=R. | year=2006 | title=Size of the Moon | journal=Scientific American | volume=51 | issue=78}}
*{{cite book | ref=refMiller2005 | last=Miller| first=E. | year=2005 |title=The Sun | publisher=Academic Press | location=New York | isbn=98-76-54321-0}}

Using Wikicite[edit]

The template {{Wikicite}} method is used in about 100 articles (as of 19 January 2011).

The Sun is pretty big,<ref>[[#refMiller2005|Miller (2005)]], p.23.</ref>
but the Moon is not so big.<ref>[[#refBrown2006|Brown (2006)]], p.46.</ref>
The Sun is also quite hot.<ref>[[#refMiller2005|Miller 2005]], p.34.</ref>
== Notes ==
{{reflist|2}}
== References ==
*{{wikicite | ref=refBrown2006 | reference=Brown, R (2006). "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 51(78).}}
*{{wikicite | ref=refMiller2005 | reference=Miller, E (2005). "The Sun", Academic Press.}}


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Internet Archive observes the robot exclusion standard.
  2. ^ WebCite observes robot exclusion standards as well as no-cache and no-archive tags. Authors may request removal of archived material. Caching and archiving of webpages is otherwise well-established practice (e.g. including by others, such as Google, and the Internet Archive).
  3. ^ Similar approaches can also be used to wikilink parenthesised author-date (Harvard) citations to their full references.