Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 15

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Conflict between References and Notes

I'm hoping I'm in the right place. I've just recently learned to use references, and I've come across a problem. The Manual of Style pages do not see mto differentiate between references and footnotes, and I wonder if there is an established way to have both a References and a Notes/Footnotes section in a single article. The problem comes when using <references/> and <ref></ref> , as there appears to be room for only one section; every Ref will automatically link to the References section. I've jerry-rigged a Notes section in the Clan Fraser article that operates effectively like the Refs section, with a link in the article and one from the Notes section back up to the section the note refers to. This is obviously not permanent. Maybe there could be <references1/> as well as a <references2/> tag? Then each ref tag could be either <ref1></ref1> or <ref2></ref2>, or something similar. I've no idea how this would be established, but it would certainly be useful. File:Icons-flag-scotland.png Canæn File:Icons-flag-scotland.png 08:25, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

The cite.php (<ref></ref>) technology does not suit your needs, as you have discovered. Basically there are two workarounds: (1) just combine the digressionary notes with the citations in a general notes and citations section, using normal ref tags for all footnotes. (2) Use the <ref></ref> for citations, and another footnote-creating tag to create the other type of notes. You do not need to jerry-rig a system quite the way you did. Use of a template such as those listed at Template_talk:Ref can solve the problem slightly more elegantly. As for adding the functionality you want to cite.php, this has already been requested at the relevant location, but it waits on developer time and interest. Christopher Parham (talk) 10:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
It is also perfectly acceptable to use Harvard references rather than putting the references into footnotes. CMummert · talk 12:46, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Also note that, per Help:Footnotes and Wikipedia:Footnote3, the {{ref}} template is deprecated and thus should not be used in any additional articles. CMummert · talk 12:54, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Per previous discussions here and at the Ref talk page, I have removed those notices. Though older and less common, {{ref}} is not deprecated. There are two main reasons not to deprecate it: (1) first, the labelled editions in the series remain a major way to achieve labelled footnotes and Harvard style, and are still being used (properly) in new articles. (2) There is a substantial preference for the basic design of {{ref}} (i.e. notes not being inserted in the middle of the source) over the way cite.php works, as seen here. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:36, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree there are many situations ref3 could be used on new articles, but that text has been on the footnote3 page for almost a year undisturbed. Wouldn't that suggest some sort of consensus? Also, the way many active editors use the cite.php mechanism, the notes are not in the middle of the source text. Gimmetrow 17:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Similar text was removed from the other relevant pages (WP:FOOT and the template page itself) so obviously there is a conflict. It is difficult to read a consensus when different pages say different things. Cite.php requires whatever appears in the note to be in the middle of the source; not necessarily the full citation information, but the entire note. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:34, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
I can see that, and the footnote3 page probably gets very little traffic, but perhaps the page is too weak now. Also I have seen editors add references like {{ref|}}. Obviously that doesn't work (and in fact ref converter replaces these with {{cn}}, which is a big problem...), but it muddies the waters of common practice and consensus further. Gimmetrow 17:39, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Please do as you feel necessary to make clear that cite.php is the general common practice for adding footnotes. Obviously it is. By "ref/note is not deprecated" I mean only this:
  1. we are not at the moment intentionally phasing out ref/note (though as soon as its functions are supported by cite.php we probably ought to do so)
  2. there is no formal preference for one or the other, i.e. use of either is fine at FAC, GAC, etc.
  3. switching from ref/note to cite.php is not mandated by any policy, and any such changes are subject to normal requirements for discussion on talk pages in controversial cases.
Christopher Parham (talk) 22:28, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

To my knowledge -- I could be wrong, currently there is no one standard referencing system which can differentiate the veritable source, and the rest, to the reader's perspective, although wiki writers may have raised this awareness when generating the wiki articles. I would suggest wiki admin to use two different templates to categorize these two sources. In terms of the reliability of the source as described at Wikipedia:Reliable sources, my thought is that some kind of sources maybe reliable but may not be necessary of verifiability. The typical examples are those empirical knowledges which could be reliable in most cases but yet to be verified. As different to empirical knowledges, scientific knowledges are of the verifiability in that these knowledges are derived from the steps of observations, evidences, arguments, conclusions and peer- reviewed / examined publishing which are the process of the verifications, alough the degree of the verification varies from one knowledge to another. In another word, the degree of the scientific truth varies, therefore one theory can be superseded by a new theory with the developement of science. For example, light speed is not constant as discovered by modern scientists. By large, nothing is perfect and nothing is absolute on the earth, however accuracy and precision of the relative truth have to be persued endlessly. If wiki is using the two different referencing system, that will satisfy both the academic AND social societies and provide an indispensable platform for both of the group peoples to communicating each other. At the same time, it will reduing the misleading effect in the article.

Space vs no space in citations

    • Incorrect: blah blah. [1]
    • Correct: blah blah.[1]
    • Incorrect: blah blah." [1]
    • Correct: blah blah."[1] This looks much better since the space pushed the quotation mark away from the superscript. So how did no space become the standard?

--Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 23:59, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

TeX does put extra space between quotes and footnotes vs. between spaces and footnotes. I would guess the no-space convention follows from the typewriter era, where footnotes were in full-size type and no space was needed in any circumstance. Professional typesetters certainly know how to do proper intercharacter spacing, but web browsers are notoriously poor at typesetting. CMummert · talk 01:13, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
No space helps prevent detached reference marks. See image. Gimmetrow 04:21, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Times in a video

How much specification is necessary to indicate where in a film/video something you're citing is? For example, how could one reference details of a specific scene in a movie? If it's on DVD should you just note the approximate time at which the scene takes place? Or is just one citation for the whole movie good enough? --Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 03:09, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Give as much information as reasonably possible, including the particular time that the material supporting your claim appears. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:32, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, where might one put a time in a {{cite video}} citation? --Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 20:18, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
It should go at the end of the citation. I don't know how this would work with the tempalte, it may not even be possible. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:25, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I added a time parameter to {{cite video}}; not sure if this is the formal way to write it but I think this is the most comprehendible way, IMO. Any other thoughts? --Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 04:31, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Advice on citation format

I've spent an hour looking through various citation methods, and could really use some advice. Overall, I like the method of using the <ref> tags in the body text, which then link down to a "Notes" section at the bottom of the article. However, where there are extensive references involved, this often results in body text that is very difficult to edit because of all of the embedded citations.

Some relief from this comes from using <ref name=<name>/> tags, but it still requires the full citation to be placed inside the body text somewhere, and this can get cumbersome when an article is undergoing extensive editing -- If a paragraph is deleted that has the "root" citation, then it causes problems for all the other named citations in the article, unless the root citation is then moved to one of the other locations (a tedious process).

In order to address this problem, is there a way to cite things where the "root" citation is somehow placed as a named note or reference at the bottom of the article, and then all the bodytext citations can just use that name? I checked out the {{wikicite}} technique, but it loses the nice linkable numbers in the bodytext, plus it's difficult to work back from the Notes by clicking the on "a", "b", "c" etc. to pop back up to where that source is actually used.

Somewhere in the plethora of different citation techniques available on Wikipedia, is there a happy medium? A way to cite things once at the bottom of the article, and then just refer to their names elsewhere in the text, while still being able to use the linkable footnote numbers and letters? Thanks, Elonka 21:02, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

The short answer is no, there is no such system. {{ref label}} (see Template talk:Ref for documentation) places all citations at the end of the article and uses footnote numbers and letters, but does not use a ref name element as simple as that of cite.php, and it is quite finicky and not good for use on a heavily edited article. To sort of feature you want has already been requested (see Wikipedia:Ref reform) but basically requires an interested developer. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:19, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay thanks, at least it's good to know that I'm not missing something somewhere. I'll muddle through with the ref name stuff in the meantime.  :) --Elonka 21:59, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
A "ref name" method that can't be broken by cutting is to repeatedly use the same full reference. For example: <ref name = "Smith">James Smith, ''The Easy Years''.</ref> Put the whole thing in for every ref, and the full book details in the references section. The abc thing will come out in the notes.
But I dislike the "ref name" style, partly because of the difficulty of accurately jumping back up, as you mention, but also because they prevent combining refs and adding particular notes to refs. For me the slickest, quickest, and easiest style is to put the full book details in the references section and then ref like this: <ref>Smith, 134.</ref> They are very easy to edit around. qp10qp 22:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
That's the style I've adopted if a reference is used more than once in an article. With a lot of short notes you can use two columns (see Second Seminole War for an example). -- Donald Albury 17:03, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Donald: I do like that method, thanks, as it provides a way to cite the different pages when multiple cites are coming from the same book. But I'm a bit confused by some of the other references, which don't seem to be listed anywhere in the Notes. For example, the Higgs book, or the Tampa Bay Center. Are they being cited in some other way that I missed? Or are things like that supposed to be moved down to a "Further reading" section? --Elonka 21:52, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah, good catch! I split Second Seminole War out of Seminole Wars a while back because of the size, and missed that those references are no longer needed. I do intend to spend some more time on both articles (good intentions and all that ...). Thanks for spotting that. I'll go fix it now. -- Donald Albury 03:24, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Finding articles that contain unreferenced material

That forgotten unlinked and uncategorized page can perhaps be merged here?-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  01:27, 17 February 2007 (UTC)


are "External Links" sufficient verification of an artical? or is an article that has no references, and only a few External Links technically unverified?

and should i be tagging such unverified pages with {{not verified}} because from what ive read on wiki, it seems like i should. Sahuagin 02:26, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I think "External Links" is a form of further reading and therefore doesn't verify particular material. If those links are used under notes, however, they indicate that a specific fact or quote can be found in a particular source, and so, if done carefully (all other things being equal), that counts as an attribution, IMO. qp10qp 02:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
If the number of entries in "External links" is manageable, I would read them and see if I could verify the article with them. If so, I would move them to the "References" section, and possibly provide inline citations. --Gerry Ashton 04:18, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Another question:

If a statement says something does not exist, does it require verification? For example, if it is said that a rulebook does not have a certain rule how can this be cited? (Page 3 section 5 explicitly has an absence of this rule!) Would you just cite the entire rulebook and require the burden of proof to be with the opposition? -- BillyNair 17:26, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

I think it would be acceptable to cite the entire rule book. It would be even better to point out the section that would be most likely to contain the rule, if it existed, but the note should make it clear the entire rulebook was searched for the nonexistent rule, not just the most likely section. I would also be careful that the mention of a nonexistent rule is not original analysis. --Gerry Ashton 17:37, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, that might work. I realize that stating that a rule does not exist is usually not original analysis, but this particular rule comes after a series of specific rules about the rugby playing field then makes a note that the rules do not require a flat or level surface. I just played a game on a sideways slanting, severely convex field a few days before I saw that statement and thought it was actually pretty valid to point out there is no rules saying it needed to be a flat field. And after searching the official online rules of the IRB, the closest it says is that it must be safe and that if either team objects the referee must try to resolve the issue before the games starts.Billy Nair 05:11, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
It might be worth finding a story in a newspaper, or the memoirs of a famous rugby player, discussing some of the more uneven fields, so that the issue can be shown to be a real issue, not just an abstract possibility. --Gerry Ashton 06:04, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

"Tagging unsourced material": clarity

I suggest a review of the "Tagging unsourced material" section, which represents the style guide for the "citation needed" tags. I feel it contains two ambiguous statements. The first is the last sentence of the first paragraph: "...but be careful not to overuse these tags. Don't be inappropriately cautious about removing unsourced material." At first I thought the intent was a warning against being overly aggressive in removing sourceless material, in order to prevent the tagging of trivial and common-knowledge statements. But it could also be read as having the opposite meaning, that the act of tagging a questionable statement can sometimes show inappropriate caution and that if you are really in doubt about the unsourced material, don't be afraid to remove it. So the sentence is a statement that could have contradictory meanings.

The second statement that I feel is ambiguous is in the first summary point: "...use the {{fact}} tag to ask for source verification, but remember to go back and remove the claim if no source is produced within a reasonable time." Again, at first I thought the 'claim' referred to is the claim that a citation is needed and that the tag should be removed after a time, but the equal and opposite interpretation is that the claim referred to is the statement needing a citation and that if no source is found, the statement being tagged should be removed.

I propose replacing each statement with less ambiguous wording that is in accordance with the Wikipedia:Verifiability core content policy, which states "Any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged needs a reliable source," meaning that in each case my second interpretation should be made unambiguously correct. 22:53, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I'll try to clarify these points. On the first, however, both interpretations are correct. If information is suspicious, malicious, or otherwise seriously problematic, removal is more appropriate than adding a fact tag. But at the same time, adding fact tags to common-knowledge statements, especially doing so repeatedly or widely, is disruptive and unhelpful. Christopher Parham (talk) 01:57, 18 February 2007 (UTC)


Is adding sources with passim acceptable, even if one has not read the source but is extrapolating from the title. Should someone wishing to verify the source be able to ask for page or paragraph details? See Talk:Kingdom of Germany#Last King of Scotland for a discussion on this. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:39, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Citing a source you haven't read is obviously not appropriate in sourcing a disputed statement. As for the rest, I don't really want to wade into the dispute but whether a citation is specific enough depends on the situation and is a matter for talk page discussion. An RFC might be appropriate. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:12, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Previously this page included recommendation on page numbers with citations [1] Given the example above, it is probably a good idea to reintroduce such a paragraph. --Philip Baird Shearer 17:51, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Citing Wikipedia articles on Wikipedia

When a citation on a piece of information on a Wikipedia article is required, are we allowed to cite another Wikipedia article? Scourge441 22:35, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Nope. :-) Kirill Lokshin 22:36, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Well… I think Scourge is asking if the information is about the article as a Wikipedia article, not a source on information on that topic itself, in which case the answer is yes. For example, the John Seigenthaler Sr. Wikipedia biography controversy requires citations of Wikipedia pages, handled as external links (i.e. use single brackets, not double). --Fbv65edel / ☑t / ☛c || 03:23, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely. User: Private Person who would rather remain anonomyous March 5, 2007

It is important to recognize that Wikipedia is building a a reference source that is in, and of itself, a known quanitity. As time passes the level of 'authority' which it comes to be viewed by those who reference it has, and will most likely continue to increase. As such, to ignore the fact that the Wikipedia has already had the same kind of impact on the world as the first dictionary did is to ignore history and ignore what is going on today. To find that a "fact" can only exist if it has been documented somewhere ELSE besides the Wikipedia is utter nonsense. Why do the Wikipedia at all if this were the case. If the Wiki is ultimately just supposed to be a gathering of facts documented elsewhere then why bother? Wake up. Of course the Wikipedia can cite itself. A good example is the sillyness of flagging the word "Freeware" in this Wikipedia as not citing outside sources. In this case "Freeware" has only come into use in the age of the Wikipedia. This entry about Freeware in the Wikipedia is most likely the only place that many people have bothered use to look up more info on it. In this case, the documentation provided here IS the foundation. Wikipedia people must not be so arrogant and start valuing their product as much as they value their process. For it is in this strange attachment to the process over the product that has lead to the Wikipedia people's growing problem with arrogance. Wake up. People are noticing you're doing something good but you've gotten off track.

Since anyone can add anything they want to Wikipedia, its value as a reference source is solely dependent on the sources used to build articles. Articles in Wikipedia that do not cite independent reliable sources are worthless. In fact, they don't even give you a clue of where to look for sources on the subject. -- Donald Albury 03:13, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Citing printed sources, not available on the web at the touch of a button, only in a library or bookshop

If you do this, how does it meet Wikipedia's verifiability standards for the user? He/she is not going to want to go to a library that may or may not have this book that claims that a certain fact is true...--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 03:13, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

The intent of the verifiability policy is not that any user be able to verify a fact at the touch of a button. It is simply to ensure that all claims are supported by reliable sources. In judging sources, accessibility is very much a secondary concern to reliability. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:09, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Antoine Howard

can a source be your own knoledge, as what i've written is stuff i've known for years, i can't remember who told me what. post resonses on my homepage. Millm0w 12:40, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Information has to be verifiable from published reliable sources. Your personal knowledge or what was told you by someone else doesn't qualify, and is considered to be original research. -- Donald Albury 02:39, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

i've done the work, is it aright now ;Antoine Howard. Millm0w 08:56, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Citing nonpublished sources

Here's a hypothetical and slightly complicated situation. Editor X states that Dr. Y does not provide certain details about his methodology, and indeed a thorough search shows that these details can be found neither in print nor on the web. Editor Z says this is wrong: Dr. Y told him that he will provide details upon request. The actual communication between Dr. Y and Editor Z is not publicly accessible. Is it still correct to state that the details in question are not publicly available, or is the statement by Editor Y sufficient to establish their availability? Raymond Arritt 04:31, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

If the concern is to place information about the methodology in Wikipedia, then the information must be published. If it is available upon requst to Dr. Y, it still isn't published, and still can't be used in Wikipedia.
If the point is to explicitly or implicitly criticize Dr. Y for not making public information about the methodology, that criticism would have to be published in a reliable source before it could be included in Wikipedia. --Gerry Ashton 05:16, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
If Dr Y controls who sees his information, then it is not public and cannot be considered reliable. If Dr Y wants a better reputation, he has to publish for all the world to see and criticize. Rjensen 09:54, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

User notification template

{{Unreferenced msg}}
{{Unreferenced vgdate msg}}

I've made this template to notify users on their talk page when an edit of theirs has been reverted because it could not be verified. A bit like the warning templates, but then just a notice of what's happened to their edits.

I've also made one specifically for video game releasedates, since that's the issue that brought up the idea.

Feedback or ideas are welcome. JackSparrow Ninja 21:17, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

It might annoy people. Maybe editors will be watching the pages they're interested in and notice for themselves. I'm set to have any page I've edited come up on my watchlist. qp10qp 22:44, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
It's mainly for new users and ip's, who might not understand why their edit has been reverted and try to add it again. Just a little notice of explanation to people. JackSparrow Ninja 23:34, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Google Books?

Are links/refs to books available on Google Books allowed as links? I have this edit in mind. Sorry if this has been answered before, but it might be a good idea to give it a mention on the Project Page. Ekantik talk 05:14, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

If the pages being referenced are available online it seems like a good idea to link to them, all else being equal. If you are actually using Google Books as the source, rather than a convenience link as it appears to be in this case, you could note that in your reference. Christopher Parham (talk) 05:20, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Linking to Google.books is a very good idea, but optional. Rjensen 05:28, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

COinS tags

A recent edit claims that some templates support machine readable COinS tags. The term "COinS tags" is wikilinked, but there is no such article. So, what is a COinS tag? --Gerry Ashton 18:17, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

My bad. It's at COinS.Circeus 18:36, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I tested this in my sandbox. I could see the COinS tag if I used subst:, but not if I didn't. Is this feature of any use if the subst: feature is not used? --Gerry Ashton 19:18, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
It,s worked just fine for me so far with Zotero.Circeus 00:08, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

[citation needed] overload or we missed the point

I'd not for a minute suggest we don't need to cite source or put in our reference sources. In the military hardward section of our store we now have come to the sorry conclusion that our customers don't need to do anything as silly and stupid as to be actually able to read our articles... We have lost sight of our primary purpose when we scrapped after legitimacy. I have one guy running amok putting 60+ [citation needed] in an article and walking off... then threating anyone that starts to remove any so that article might actually be readable again... and make no mistake there is no reading it when every sentence is now marked with a [citation needed] and our customers are not always going to be interested in editing. We need a single small mark like an inline footnote for this or a way to mark a section for review of footnotes. Its gotten to the point where we now have a subclass of editor that thinks running through a article pasting [citation needed] 60 times and leaving it that way (contributing nothing whatsoever to actually footnoting it either) and calls it a day well spent... 5 minutes and done and days of work for anyone that cares... we have lost completely our mission... to have a wonderful readable online resouce... and only our customer suffers. We might well and truely lower our heads in shame. Have we completely lost our sense of mission? If anyone really cares about our customers and how our product looks to the world would you please let me know? Tirronan 01:09, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

While I sympathize, the reality is that reliability is a much bigger part of our obligation to our "customers" than aesthetic quality. The best solution to these problems is to provide sources for any of the tags for which this can easily be accomplished. If you believe a particular editor is disruptive or uncooperative in a situation such as this, you may want to contact an administrator. Christopher Parham (talk) 01:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
You could try replacing the individual {{fact}} tags with one big {{verify}}. — Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 18:43, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Now that is darned useful! I wondered why #60 tags were needed in a article. Tirronan 19:18, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

{{citation needed}} is not for facts that "could" or even "can" be sourced specifically, but for those that should be sourced, and it,s better to just remove them, especially if they reek of original research or unsourced attacks. Example of accurate such tags would be a population number for a Canadian city in 2004 (the last canadian censuses are 2001 and 2006).Circeus 22:55, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Not only do I consider there to be an overload of [citation needed] tags, there are also rather too many citations. I find they make reading articles difficult. I don't care about citations if they make it unpleasant to read text. Is there any setting to hide them, or even better have them in a margin rather than inline with the text? Uberdude85 00:44, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

No. --Gerry Ashton 00:46, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Original research (was: Please give me advice)

Hello! I'm writing an article but it is my first one and I'm feeling quite insecure. My article is about a singer, Justin Hayford. I contacted him personally and he gave me biographical information, which is not available anywhere else on the net. This means that the only source which proves that the information I provide is correct is the email he sent to me. How must I indicate this? What kind of reference must I give? Thank you! :-) Trilby*foxglove 16:23, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

You can't use information that isn't published in a reliable source. Find a magazine that would like to publish an article about Justin Hayford, get your article published, then write the Wikipedia article. Publishing interviews is the job of magazines, newspapers, and similar publications. The job of Wikipedia is summarizing information that has already been published elsewhere. --Gerry Ashton 18:29, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
If you can't find a magazine or some reliable source to publish your article, you could try Wikinews, which allows original research. However, note that Wikipedia does not consider Wikinews a reliable source, and many magazines will want exclusive rights. — Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 18:41, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
If there is no information on a subject that is already published in a reliable source, it is very likely that the subject is not sufficiently notable to be included in Wikipedia. Finell (Talk) 01:26, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
You also can publish your information on WikiSource. However, first learn about copyrights and permissions concerning unpublished material. Justin Hayford owns the copyright to his e-mails to you. Una Smith 16:05, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank you all for your help! :) Trilby*foxglove 09:45, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Citing television documentaries

How do I cite television documentaries? Patiwat 07:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Try to get down the following information: title; date of broadcast; network; production company; executive producer or director. If it is part of a running series, also include the name of the series. Format is less important, but a try to be reasonable consistent with other references in the article; a good general format would be Person, Title, Network, Date. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:30, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
We have {{cite video}}, which might help.Circeus 16:18, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Order of Information

When citing something, does the particular order of what one is citing matter? For example, let's say I end up getting, ", Resident Evil 5 debuting simultaneously on 360, PS3 Retrieved on February 19, 2007", (which is Publisher, Article name, and access date). Is okay to use that particular order on Wikipedia, as long as I consistently use it throughout an article? --  ShadowJester07  ►Talk  09:03, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

For similar articles (i.e. web sources with no author) that order would be okay, although the citation might be improved by adding the date of publication. For books, articles with authors, etc. you need to include different information, usually putting the author first rather than the "publisher". Christopher Parham (talk) 17:23, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Alright then, thanks for the help! :) --  ShadowJester07  ►Talk  18:34, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
{{Cite web}} uses a Article, Publisher format, and since it,s very widely used, you might preer to copy it. Consistency is good. Circeus 16:17, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Maintaining a separate "References" section in addition to "Notes"

A few recent edits made to Maintaining a separate "References" section in addition to "Notes" have presumed that the only time one would maintain separate References and Notes sections is when the notes are explanatory, rather than just bibliographical. This is not the case.

When writing footnotes in a paper publication, the order of the notes is predictable and fixed. Thus, the first note can be complete, and later notes can be shortened. If two consecutive notes are from the same work, the second note might just read "ibid. 98". But since Wikipedia articles are subject to frequent revision, note lists that depend on the order of the notes can quickly become corrupted. A way around this, which I don't think is mentioned in any printed style manual, is to use short notes, such as "ARRL Handbook (1990) 2-13." and then place the full bibliographical information in an alphabetical reference section.

I suppose the same think could be achieved with Harvard reference templates, but when I started editing about a year ago, I found the cite.php system more commonly used, and better explained, than the Harvard reference templates; I still have not figured them out, and I don't know if I would like them.

In summary, I think this style guide should accept the practice of maintaining separate sections even when the notes are purely bibliographical, until such time as a better system is clearly explained in this style guide. --Gerry Ashton 18:40, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

The 15th ed. CMS actually does advocate using shortened notes (of the form "Author, Short Title, Page") throughout and pulling all the publication information into a separate alphabetical listing. Kirill Lokshin 21:30, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
We already do that in most new FA that relies on book (see Aspasia, Today's FA for an example) Circeus 16:15, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

How do i do this (maintaining separate sections for them) anyway? -- Jokes Free4Me 12:24, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

You put a normalized list of references in a "References" section, then create shortened notes in whatever format you like (I can think of 3 off my head) inside the <ref></ref> tags and a <references/> under your "Notes" header. Circeus 16:15, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Circeus, but let me expand on his answer.
  • Where each citation occurs in the text, put a short footnote, such as
    • The Chicago Manual of Style explains how to shorten notes.<ref>''Chicago Manual,'' §248–261.</ref>
  • Create a "Notes" section that only contains <references/>
  • Create a "References" section which is a bulleted alphabetical list of all the works mentioned in the "Notes" section, together with general references that are not mentioned in any note. The reference for each work may be formatted by hand, or with a citation template, whichever is the general practice for the article. If it is a new article, you can use whichever you prefer. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Gerry Ashton (talkcontribs) 18:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC).
Thanks for adding the specifics. Personally, I like it when "general references" and "cited references" are kept separate. For example, if the "references" section contains ONLY general references, I'll merge the two in the following way:
<div class="references-small">
*<list of references here>
Circeus 16:50, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Citing a Flash Website

Hi. After looking around a bit on Google and this page, I couldn't really find an answer to my problem.

I'm currently working on the article about Derrick Carter. On his record labels site ( are biographies about the artists releasing on that label, including Derrick Carter himself. The site is build entirely in Flash. I'm facing the following problem: I can't include an URL to the actual article, because with Flash-only sites the addressbar-URL always stays the same. (ie no deeplinks)

My questions:

  • Is it OK to use Flash-only sites as references/resource, if it is 100% certain the information on it is correct?
  • If it is OK, what is the correct way to include a reference to the specific section on the site?

Thanks for your input. DaSjieb 11:13, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

You obviously CAN'T link to a specific section, so your best bet is to cite the page as a whole and specify [flash content], or whatever.Circeus 16:11, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Ofcourse you are right about the specific section, stupid me :) Thanks for responding DaSjieb 19:13, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

essay on referencing style and formats

User:Circeus/Referencing styles is an essay about the various referencing styles used on Wikipedia, and specifically FAs. I'd really appreciate some input to it, as I intend to eventually place it in projectspace.Circeus 16:21, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Citing brochures

Is there a template or model suitable for citing a brochure? I have in mind in particular brochures released by CERN about an experiment there. -- SCZenz 12:32, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Brochures are generally cited the same as books. Christopher Parham (talk) 02:11, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Using Textbooks

Is it perfectly acceptable to use textbooks as references on Wikipedia? Of course the information would be fully copy-edited and fully referenced. Thanks. Bobo is soft 03:13, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, of course. Essentially any book published by a large professional publishing house or university press is considered a reliable source. CMummert · talk 03:39, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Look at Polar coordinates. Most of the sources there are actually textbooks.Circeus 04:56, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Nice, thanks for your help. Bobo is soft 07:23, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

tagging what needs to be cited

Lately I've been running into articles with the a article needs citation tag on the top. Which is fine. But then I scan the article and don't find one cite needed tag within. So what facts need to be cited? Has it been taken care of and the top tag not removed? I've looked on discussion pages and sometimes nothing is mentioned on what needs to be cited. Could and should the top of page tag be removed if nothing within is asked to be cited. If the person who set the top tag wants citations should they not take the time to show where? --Xiahou 02:42, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Basically, everything in every article needs to be supported by citations from independent reliable sources. Anything you can provide reliable sources for helps the article and Wikipedia. -- Donald Albury 03:16, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, WP:ATT says:
Although everything in Wikipedia must be attributable, in practice not all material is attributed. Editors should provide attribution for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or it may be removed.
So the issue of what "needs" citations is not so clear cut. CMummert · talk 03:26, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
As WP:ATT says, everything in Wikipedia must be attributable (emphasis added). If someone challenges a fact, it needs to be either sourced or removed. The best practice is to assume that anything and everything may be challenged, and source it all from the beginning. -- Donald Albury 23:31, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
As you must know, there is substantial disagreement over whether that is indeed best practice. CMummert · talk 00:46, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Citing maps

I posted this over at Category talk:Citation templates a week ago, but it seems that is not checked very often. I am after some one (who knows what they are doing) to create a template for citing maps. This would be very useful, especially when some maps contain some quite relevant information on their reverse side, particularly hiking maps. I am thinking the citation should show something similiar to what is listed here. Anyone up to the challenge? Nomadtales 05:32, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Citing myself

I asked about this on the Just another Perl hacker discussion page, but got no answer, so I'm asking here.

Someone posted an example of a JAPH that happened to be written by me. Whoever it was left it with a "(Attribution is missing)" notation.

I am the author of that JAPH; I wrote it in August of 2004. But I haven't published it, except to use it as an occasional e-mail signature, and to show colleagues and friends. I'm more than happy to have it appear in Wikipedia (it is rather unusual in that it is a syntactically correct Perl program that contains no alphanumeric or whitespace characters, and actually does something non-trivial); but I'm wondering how to remove the "missing attribution" note.

Suggestions? Sue D. Nymme 18:26, 7 March 2007 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sue D. Nymme (talkcontribs) 18:23, 7 March 2007 (UTC).


Hello everyone. This medium is popular enough I think someone should specify the procedures for it. I personally do not think that is a good source, whatever the circumstance is. If you agree/disagree/comment, please let me know. Does anyone want to add a section on it? Yongke 07:44, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Blanking of fact tags

What is the proper procedure when an editor removes {{fact}} tags without providing neither a source nor a reason for doing so? // Liftarn

Did you ask him why? If so and he responded helpfully, try to resolve the issue through discussion. If he did not respond, you could replace the tag if you feel the statement requires specific attribution under our guidelines. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:54, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Should I ask on the talk page of the article or the editors own talk page? The first may be ignored while the second may be seen as agressive. // Liftarn
I don't think it would be seen as aggressive to drop a polite query on his talk. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Disruptive tagging

What is the proper procedure when an editor adds dozens of {{fact}} tags to article after article, week after week, in a disruptive, disfiguring and one-sided way? For example, adding 6 fact tags to a tiny section outlining alleged antisemitism in Sweden, including tags on obvious and noncontroversial statements that Sweden has a relatively small Jewish population, while perfectly willing to go find links to obscure facts about Yiddish being an official language there?[2] Or tagging almost every sentence in a small article? [3] Jayjg (talk) 14:09, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

The obvious would be to either add the facts (that's always a good idea especially with controversial statements) or take it to the talk page. An alternative would be to change the tags into a single {{Unreferenced}}. Also keep in mind that what you may feel is "disruptive" is subjective. // Liftarn
One can also consider starting an RFC on that editor. Beit Or 16:25, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Nah, that is for discussing specific users who have violated Wikipedia policies and guidelines. // Liftarn
In situations like this, when there are no sources at all for the section, I usually remove the fact tags and replace them with {{unreferenced|section}}. This has the same benefit to readers without clogging up the article. CMummert · talk 16:41, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
But what if there are some sources, but also many unsourced statements? If adding several tags is considered disruptive and a single tag wrong because some sources are given. // Liftarn
There is not a tag for every situation. I would recommend discussing the issue on the talk page, finding out what the sources are, and adding them yourself. What I find disruptive are editors who neither actually desire to see the sources nor have any interest in editing the article. CMummert · talk 17:33, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
You do? I sometims do that when I pass by an article that is lacking sources. For instance I recently added tags to the Fiat 124 Sport Spider article that made a few bold claims like "the best soft convertible top in the world" and "with great looks", but I have no real interest in Fiats. // Liftarn


I am trying to improve three business articles I created that are have proposed delete tags because someone does not think they have primary criterion, but some of my sources are on databases. Can I cite newspaper articles that are only avivable through databases such as ProQuest? If so, can I use a cite tag, or do I need use another method? I found Wikicite, but I do not have windows, so I can not use it. Can I use standard MLA format if there are not templates to cite my source? Thanks a lot. -ChristopherMannMcKay 15:29, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you are welcome cite articles or papers that are only available through databases. You can use any relevant template or format that you find convenient; the format matters extremely little, as long as you provide all the relevant bibliographic information. Chances are this is available on the database page itself, so you could even just copy and paste it in here. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:58, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The {{cite news}} tag has a field for "quote" that can be used to insert the relevant text. Also you could perhaps use // Liftarn


I'm working on Comparison of online music stores which has been tagged with not having not enough sources. I went looking for sources on [] but the entire site is made out of flash and javascript so I can't properly source pages talking about price and such. How are pages in flash and such, where the URL doesn't change, sourced? Chevinki 23:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I would give a brief description of how to navigate from the home page to the information you wish to cite. --Gerry Ashton 00:50, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Referencing advice / whinge / minor rant

The article Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead is drawn mainly from one source, *A record of the Great Fire in Newcastle and Gateshead, 1855, George Routledge & Co, from Google Book Search. It was rightly knocked back from consideration as a Good Article for lack of inline refs.

Can anyone provide advice on how best to reference the article in a way that might get it to GA, in light of the single source problem. (There are actually three references cited at the foot, and I've found one or two other passing mentions in other publications, none of which are better sources than the main source.)

The issue for me is that I could, with ease, reference every second sentence to the same book. That doesn't seem helpful.

Is there a case for accepting as a valid form of reference a single pointer at the foot of the document to the primary source. Alternately, do we debar from GA status articles which have only a single (albeit relatively unimpeachable) source?

(This same issue applies to articles ripped from EB1911. Assuming the coverage has not dated, we again have a single source situation, what is probably a good article, but we deny the article promotion for lack of (arguably redundant) inline tags.)

Thoughts? --Tagishsimon (talk)

I had one article which was created from a single source, and cited only that source. Then other info was added in. I cited the first source at the end of each Wikipedia section (when everything in the section was still from the first source), and also added a citation to the first source before the inserted material. My intent was to try to retain citations for blocks of text, but don't know how well it will survive future editors. Note that m:WikiTextrose will help track such sourcing. (SEWilco 02:50, 9 March 2007 (UTC))

Citing to/Quoting the Bible

Does Wikipedia have a policy for citation to the Bible? Some parts of Criticism of Christianity have an inline parenthetical of the form (Book chapter:verse) after the quote. Should there be a footnote instead? What is the appropriate way to indicate the translation used? Elliotreed 17:45, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

See the Talk page for {{bibleverse}}. Also see Wikipedia:Citing sources/Bible. (SEWilco 03:33, 10 March 2007 (UTC))

Long Reference Sections

I've noticed lots of articles with really long 'References' sections (100+ citations). Is there any way for the citations listed in the 'references' section to be placed behind some sort of 'click here for full listings' link, that would reveal (in the same page) all of the references (kind of like the hide contents function used for the table of contents? Dr. Cash 17:59, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Choose a style!

I would like to propose that wikipedia choose one or two common citation styles (such as MLA or Chicago), lay them out extremely clearly on a citation page and require all articles to use those. The endless debates on FAC and article talk pages regarding citation styles is counterproductive. I suggest that the community either vote (an endless discussion regarding the merits of one style over another would be ridiculous) or ask Jimbo for his opinion. Publishing companies have in-house styles that authors are required to adhere to when they publish with them (meaning, if you as the author don't like it, too bad). To encourage editors and reviewers to focus on substantive issues in the articles, I ask that wikipedia make its policy regarding citation as clear as possible. Awadewit 01:40, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Even if a common style could be chosen, doing so would essentially mean upsetting a large number of contributors for minimal gain. (See also "Why isn't everything in AmEn/BrEn?", "Why isn't everything in AD/CE?", and so forth.) Kirill Lokshin 01:49, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Looking over some of the FACs might demonstrate what I mean. Instead of being debates over substance, they often descend into debates over form. If there were a standard, that wouldn't happen. So, actually, I do think there is a lot to gain. More articles would be put up for FAC (see WT:FAC for proof that editors are reticent to nominate their pages due to this problem) and FAC in particular would result in better articles rather than bad feelings. Yes, initially there would be contributors who were upset, but instituting such a standard would be to the benefit of the content of the encyclopedia. Less time spent on the small things and more time spent on improving the content of the articles themselves. Awadewit 02:13, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
It's made pretty clear that either citation style is acceptable. Unfounded objections in FAC are routinely ignored, as I understand it. I don't see the problem. -Amarkov moo! 03:02, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
I must say that I was surprised to find the MoS so vague. However, it advises the use of certain recognised style guides, and so I stick to CMS. The tricky thing is that where a different style is used on a page, I have to conform to that, which can be counter-intuitive. The best principle is that all the information be clear and available to the reader. I sense that consistency over the whole encyclopedia is always going to be a bridge too far, but I don't see why FA couldn't insist that articles stick to one of, say, five recognised systems, and thereby deprecate hybridity. qp10qp 14:14, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Verbatim transcriptions

I'd like to propose an addition to the Wikipedia:Citing sources#How to cite sources section, along the following lines:

Transcribe citation details and quoted content verbatim; do not correct spelling errors or otherwise copyedit cited material. You may wish to use [sic] to indicate incorrect material is quoted verbatim and is not a transcription error.

Your thoughts? --Muchness 06:41, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

The "verbatim" part, maybe, but that is common sense. I think there are various ways, though, to transcribe citation details, and you need to make them consistent with other styles on the page. [sic] doesn't need mentioning: nothing to stop editors using it, but this is a general encyclopedia where most readers won't know what it means. qp10qp 14:08, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Multiple References

I explained our case at Talk:Winston Churchill#Multiple References quite understandable, I hope. But as the experts I asked will look around here more often, I'll crosslink it, OK?
Thanks, FloK 20:46, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Inline book references

I first asked this at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Inline book references, and was advised to ask here instead. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If an article refers to an actual book (the book is not a reference), does ISBN information need to be included? From Download This Song:

The lyrics of the song are based on the book The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution (ISBN 0-87639-059-9), by Dave Kusek and Gerd Leonhard.

Is this the proper way to handle book references? I've got a reference for this statement that would go at the end of the sentence, but would the book get its own footnote with ISBN info, etc.? Or is the inline information correct (I don't think I've seen anything alike elsewhere)? Please advise, thanks! —Daniel Vandersluis(talk) 16:56, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

You are referencing the web site, which makes a statement about the song. That is sufficient; it is not necessary to give an ISBN for the book. Indeed, an ISBN refers to a particular form of a book, and it changes depending on which edition it is, or whether it is hardcover or paperback. So for just a general reference to the book as a whole, there is no advantage to giving an ISBN.
Even when making a reference to the book itself, and even when citing a certain page of a certain edition, the ISBN is optional (but nice to have). --Gerry Ashton 17:09, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
The way the information is presented in the sentence is fine the way it is. It would also be acceptable to use a footnote reference after the title to provide a citation with the details of the book. Or if the sentence was something like "The lyrics of the song are based on a book." then all the details of the book could be in a footnote. But unless "a book" is better due to the context, the current sentence looks nice. (SEWilco 17:40, 12 March 2007 (UTC))

This page must be consistent with the policies

Someone has added material that contradicts ATT:

Wikipedia, in the spirit of the GFDL, encourages referencing of freely available sources, when information is available from both credible free/open access sources (FOASs) and sources which require registration and/or payment (non-FOASs).

  • If a FOAS is deemed to be less reliable than a non-FOAS, use of a non-FOAS is perfectly acceptable.
  • Use of reliable FOASs available on the web is encouraged, as it enhances the credibility of Wikipedia if the reader can speedily verify the veracity of a given fact by use of an outside source with a simple click of the mouse.

First, we don't allow open-access sources. Secondly, we don't engage in checking the veracity of facts; all we do is attribute material to reliable sources. Please be careful to read ATT before adding anything to this page.

Also, there's nothing wrong with "didn't" instead of "do not," and in fact the latter is usually preferable, so there's no need to keep changing it. SlimVirgin (talk)

If you follow the Wikilink to Open access, you find it means "immediate, free and unrestricted online access to digital scholarly material, primarily peer-reviewed research articles in scholarly journals" [footnote omitted]. So anyone who takes the trouble to follow the link will understand this section is not advocating the use of self-published material. However, it might be better to find a less ambiguous phrase.
Also, when it comes to verifying the veracity of a given fact, the passage is talking about what the reader might do, not what the editor did. Still, all the reader can really do with his mouse is check the reference, not verify the fact. --Gerry Ashton 21:13, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, Gerry. Perhaps it can be worded to exclude self-published material, and the last bit about veracity of facts probably isn't necessary at all. This page is meant to be about how to write citations, not about which sources to use or why, so it's best to restrict it to that. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:18, 14 March 2007 (UTC)


Please don't keep adding the different kinds of templates people can use depending on whether something is OR or unreferenced or primary source. All it does is confuse people, because it's impossible to remember them all. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:39, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

When a link goes behind a subscription wall

The section on what to do if a link goes dead should be expanded a little to discuss a variation of "going dead" which is falling behind a subscription wall. Many people cite online news sources such as newspapers, perhaps not realizing that in 99% of cases those links are only available to the general public for a couple of days before they become available only to subscribers. In fact is the only site that I've found that doesn't do this, so when I find a source on a newspaper site, I try to find the equivalent article on and use that link for Wikipedia. Anyway, I think some words of advice as to how to handle subscription links would be helpful. I know WP:LINKS indicates that links requiring registration should be avoided, but a lot of people don't seem to equate news links with membership-required links. 23skidoo 23:38, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure that this is much of a problem in this context. The important thing is to provide attribution to the source where you found the information. Frequently this will be a subscriber-only site, and that's not really a problem if things are being cited properly. The external links guideline is not intended to apply to citations, at any rate. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:28, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps but given the realities of the Internet age, and the number of articles on Wikipedia that are based upon current (or recent-current) events, more and more articles are going to be relying on these sources. In the case of one example I found (a link related to Doctor Who that had gone behind the subscriber wall) I suggested the link be replaced with a date-and-page citation for the newspaper. But the odds of anyone having that information at hand is almost nil. So although as stated both in WP:CITE and WP:LINKS the very fact a link was at one time accessed serves to indicate a source at one point existed at that location, it still damages the ability to verify (or follow up on) the information. I guess my concern is whether the use of citations for web-based articles that disappear from public access could affect an article's survivability on Wikipedia given the increasing emphasis that articles must be cited or face possible deletion. And it works the other way too, as someone who is unable or unwilling to find a source/citation could simply make up a link and then claim it had already gone behind the subscriber wall. 23skidoo 01:33, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your issue; there's no obligation that sources be freely available, or even accessible online at all. Whether the cited source is publicly available should not affect the survivability of an article. Why would it? Christopher Parham (talk) 04:10, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

One of the useful things about Wikipedia:footnotes is if the citation is given with the author of the piece, the full title and the date of publication, it is quite often possible to find a backup site or mirror site, which contains the external article, even if the original web site no longer has subscription free access. But with just an inline citation it is often impossible to re-find the external article. In case where newspapers only allow a limited time to view their articles, as does the NYT for example, the original link can be left in place, but with a "backup site" or "mirror" in parenthesis for ease of access those who do not wish to subscribe, but leave the original in place for those who which to check that the backup site is a true copy of the original article. I have quite often found that with foreign affairs articles they are often just copies of new agency articles from the likes of Associated Press or Reuters and even if one English language newspaper no longer has the article freely avaliable, papers like the International Herald Tribune do, so just switching the newspaper in the citation is all that is needed to "fix" an article link.

But having given those tips as Christopher Parham points out, there is no reason why the citation has to be to an online article that is freely available.--Philip Baird Shearer 09:55, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Marking links as inactive

Is there a template for marking links as inactive? I mean one for links that are in references but cannot be found using the Internet Archive or WebCite? What to do when a reference link "goes dead" states that they shall be marked with the date when they were identified as broken. — Ocolon 22:08, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone have an answer to this? I haven't found a way to mark the date a link was identified as broken. Gruber76 20:37, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Citation from another language's Wikipedia

Hi. I roughly translated the Italian Wikipedia page for Images (album). What is the proper template to use? - PGSONIC 19:03, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Microformat for citations

Please be aware of the proposal for a microformat for marking citations in (X)HTML. See also Wikipedia:WikiProject Microformats. Andy Mabbett 14:40, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

{{Cite news}} formatting error?

In {{cite web}} (and several other citation templates), the date appears just after the author. Is it supposed to be different for newspaper references? {{cite news}} has it appearing after the "work" parameter (the name of the newspaper). Is that correct? -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 17:57, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Since the citation templates do not claim to follow any particular style manual, nor do they follow any master Wikipedia specification, there are no criteria to judge whether they are correct or incorrect. --Gerry Ashton 18:32, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Hm. But shouldn't they at least be consistent? -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 19:40, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Citation Systems and Autonumbering Confusion

I'm raising this topic before editing the article. I've seen confusion (in Harry S. Truman) with autonumbering of citations. Basically, each citation system uses its own autonumbering sequence, so if all the citations aren't the same, then there will be duplicate numbers (for example, two 1's: one for the first embedded citation and one for the first footnote). I think it's important for this article (probably as another bullet in How to cite sources to emphasize the importance of consistency within an article --- if all the citations use the same method, it's very important to use the same method if you're adding a new citation. Rickterp 14:17, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Citing Google

What is Wikipedia's stance on citing Google search results? For instance, when making a statement regarding the popularity of an opinion, it is very handy to cite the number of hits returned from a Google search. SharkD 19:21, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Handy, but unfortunately mostly meaningless. Extrapolating popularity from Google numbers is original research. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:29, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Citing personal communication

I'm working on editing the entry for the (late) writer Gilbert Odd, and have sent out requests for information to his former publisher and various professional groups in the UK that he was involved with -- the information received is certainly believed to be factual, but is to my knowledge heretofore unpublished. Two questions:

  1. Can I use this information for a biographical entry?
  2. If so, how do I cite it?

--Tthaas 14:03, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Free sources

I have reinsert the points about free sources as discussed at Wikipedia_talk:Cite_sources/archive14#Proposal_for_policy_on_freely_available_sources_--_encouraging_open_content_.26_open_access. In essence reliable sources and the discussion held would seem to clearly indicate that the best source (whatever that might be) should be used, and if this is a hardcopy of an article that is not available on the web and only by subscription or a trip to a library, then so be it. The points Nephron discussed and added are only where two otherwise equally reliable sources are available, in which case the free access may be safely preferred to the not-free access, and likewise if all else is equal a web-accessible source over one that is not so readily accessible. David Ruben Talk 01:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I am not satisfied with the way these points are expressed. There is no consideration given to the likely longevity of the link; long-term links are preferable to short-term links (and I would expect a mixture of outcomes on this score; sometimes the free source can be expected to outlast the non-free source, and sometimes the reverse). Also, no two sources are the same, unless one is a copy of the other, so it may be appropriate to cite both a free source and a non-free source, because each provides useful material. Remember that backing up the material in Wikipedia is not the only reason to cite information; allowing the reader to explore further is another reason. So if two sources allow the reader to explore in different directions, cite both of them, even though one is non-free. --Gerry Ashton 05:13, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, interesting and valid points - feel free to reword/rephrase "the way these points are expressed" :-) Would some sort of indication to the reader as to whether a source is freely available or not be useful ? - there again probably too complex (eg BMJ has an open access that then is shortly afterwards restricted for a period of time before again free longterm access, but throughout of course freely available from a science library in hardcopy).
For medical articles I regularly edit on, the (USA) National Institutes of Health's PubMed abstract site for biomedical journals is likely a perminantly accessible abstract of articles. It maintains direct links to orignial journals' webpages where available (which may or may not require a subscription). So the references I tend to see/edit are marked up for the original hardcopy published paper in the journal, and with an additional PMID parameter link to PubMed. I appreciate though that for non-biomedical journal sources, having longterm accessible sources will be more problematic :-) David Ruben Talk 12:16, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Gerry: Your points are well taken and I think using several sources is a good practise. Also, I agree that long-term links are ideal. That said, I specifically made reference to the GFDL because a GFDL source can readily be copied and I think is more likely to remain free/libre. Personally, I think GFDL and Creative commons sources should be preferred over other open access sources-- but I didn't want to make the section more complicated. Also, I believe that a compromise can be made--especially when large publishers are actively attacking free information sources. [4]
Looking at the articles I most often edit-- a significant number of journals in the life sciences are open access-- see open access journal. I think open access journals should be cited and I believe that this fits neatly into Wikipedia's mission (“... a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.” - Jimbo - [5]). Also, it would be nice to see what my professional association does[6]... expand to other ones (like the IEEE, ASME). On that note, as someone that came from engineering, I still find it amazing that there isn't anything like PubMed[7] (a collection of all significant medical abstracts on-line & freely available that is continually up-dated) for engineering publications. Nephron  T|C 20:33, 7 April 2007 (UTC)