Wikipedia:Tutorial/Citing sources

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If you add information to an article, be sure to include your references, as unreferenced facts are subject to removal. It is best to use inline citations so that other editors and readers can verify the information you add. Also, make sure that every source you use is reliable.

Footnotes

A screencast that walks through the essentials needed in citing your sources

The most usual way to create an inline citation is with a footnote. You can create a footnote with Wiki markup, by adding ref tags around your source, like this:

<ref>Your Source</ref>

If you're adding the first footnote to an article, you also need to make sure that there is text that tells Wikipedia's software to display footnotes. That text will look like this:

{{Reflist}} or <references/>.

That text should be immediately below the section heading ==References==. If that section doesn't exist, you will need to add it (both the heading and either the "Reflist" or "references" text above). Place the new section near the bottom of the article, just above the "External links" section (if that exists).

Once you have saved your edit, the ref tags will convert your citation of a source into a footnote reference (like this one[1]), with the text of the citation appearing in the References section at the bottom of the article.

If the citation you are placing between the ref tags as your source is a link to an external website, place the website address (URL) within single square brackets along with some text, which the reader will see as a link. For example:

<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/article_name.html Article in The New York Times]</ref>

Though it is not required, it is highly recommended to provide more information than that in a footnote. Here is a more complete footnote:

<ref>Name of author, [http://www.nytimes.com/article_name.html "Title of article"], ''The New York Times'', date</ref>

It is not recommended to use bare URLs for your external link references, because of link rot.

Although material that is from external websites is a common reference source, Wikipedia has no preference for online sources. If your source is a book, journal, magazine, newspaper article, documentary or other source, then you would place identification information about that source between the ref tags.

For a more visual summary, see the guide below (click show on the right hand side).

Please see Wikipedia:Citing sources for further instructions on writing footnotes. Also, there are templates that help with the proper formatting of references (footnotes); see Wikipedia:Citation templates for further details.

You can also watch a tutorial video on how to use the built-in reference tools in the editing interface.

External links section

Many Wikipedia articles have a separate section called External links. This section is for linking to websites with significant and reliable additional information on the article's topic. Only a relatively few, very relevant external links are appropriate for this section: see the guideline Wikipedia:External links for details. If an article already has more than a few links in the "External links" section, and you're an inexperienced editor, you probably should suggest any new links on the article's Discussion (talk) page before actually adding one.

To add a new external link, just type, inside a single set of brackets, the full URL for the link, followed by a space and the text that will be visible. For example:

[http://www.example.com/ Official website]

will display the following, whilst linking to the full URL:

Official website


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