Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-02-04/Tutorial

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Wikipedia Signpost

Tutorial: Adding citations

by Jonathan, Jeepday, and John Broughton, February 4, 2008

This week, we'll talk about the basics of adding citations to articles from the sources you used to create verifiable content.

What are citations?

Citations (or references) are a vital part of articles, Wikipedia:Verifiability is one of Wikipedia's core content policies and all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation.[1] This is true with all Wikipedia content but particularly true with Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons for which Wikipedia is very firm about the use of high quality references. Unsourced or poorly sourced material should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles,[2] talk pages, user pages, and project space.

How do I add citations?

How you add citations is dependent on the reference and on the subject. For books or other sources that support a significant amount of the material in the article, place them at the bottom of the article in the section marked with the header ==References== if the section header is not there add it. For statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, including contentious material about living persons, and for all quotations; inline citations (references within the text) that provide source information for specific statements should be used. Inline citations, are increasingly mandated by the featured article and good article criteria.

The three inline citation styles used in Wikipedia are -

  • Harvard referencing, widely used in the academic world.
    • Placed inline (in the body of the article) with:
      • (Author 2005:183)
    • In the Reference section, put:
    • The example above requires minimum markup knowledge. But the inline cite and the full information at the bottom of the article are often linked using templates: see Wikipedia:Harvard citation template examples. A variant of Harvard referencing uses the footnote system, with the footnote text being "Author 2005:183" and the full source information being in separate section, with the two not linked in an automated format.
  • Embedded citations Example -
    • Placing this [] inline immediately after the text being referenced gives a quick easy link to the online source, a web page. [1].
    • In addition, a separate entry in the References section of the article is required, giving full information about the source.
    • This approach has benefits and disadvantages which are discussed at Wikipedia:Embedded Citations#Notes.
  • Wikipedia:Footnotes, with or without using Wikipedia:Citation templates, has the basic format <ref>[CITATION INFO OR TEMPLATE HERE]</ref>. Using an appropriate citation template helps provide cleanly formatted and complete information about the source, but is not required. For the footnote information to be visible to the reader, the tag <references /> or the template {{reflist}} must be placed in the article, normally directly under a "References" section heading.[3] Examples -

Web cite

<ref Name="NAME">{{cite web
  | last =
  | first =
  | authorlink =
  | coauthors =
  | title =
  | work =
  | publisher =
  | date =
  | url =
  | format =
  | doi =
  | accessdate =  }}</ref>

Second cite of same web

<ref name="NAME"/>

Book Cite

<ref Name="NAME">{{cite book 
|url= }}</ref>

Second cite of same book

<ref name="NAME"/>

Why are references so important to biographical articles?

Most, if not all, facts in a biographical article must be verified, but why? Rumors can be used to defame a person. Rumors are unacceptable; a fact must be verified by reliable sources such as CNN or the BBC, or it's not acceptable in an article. It should be promptly removed by any editor who sees it.

For example, a pregnancy rumor for a young celebrity must be removed unless a good source for it is cited in the article.

Can references be used on pages other than articles?

Sure! References are good anywhere on Wikipedia, and are sometimes (though not commonly) used in projectspace and userspace.

Ref tags can also be used for notes (rather than sources/citation), if a fact doesn't fit well on a page but should be included somewhere.

Helpful links


  1. ^ When content in Wikipedia requires direct substantiation, the established convention is to provide an inline citation to the supporting references. The rationale is that this provides the most direct means to verify whether the content is consistent with the references. Alternative conventions exist, and are acceptable when they provide clear and precise attribution for the article's assertions, but inline citations are considered "best practice" under this rationale. For more details, please consult Wikipedia:Citing_sources#How_to_cite_sources.
  2. ^ Jimmy Wales. "WikiEN-l Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information", May 16, 2006 and May 19, 2006
  3. ^ Wikipedian, User; You (6 January 2008). "Footnotes" (Webpage). page is considered a style guideline on Wikipedia. Wikipedia. Retrieved January 18, 2008. 

Also this week:

2007 in review — Newsroom use — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Tutorial — Dispatches — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

(← Previous Tutorial) Signpost archives (Next Tutorial→)