Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 16

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Book citations

Like journals, essays and reports, can articles be referenced with e.g. (Sugar, 1937)? Simply south 17:59, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Assuming the article uses Harvard-style inline citation, the answer is yes. Just put the full info in the references section at the end. CMummert · talk 18:10, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Citations in the lead

I am sure I've seen somewhere a statement to the effect that lead paragraphs do not need to have embedded footnotes if the information is repeated in the body of the article and is properly referenced there. However, I can't find any such statement and it may have been in an FAC discussion, rather than in a guideline. If such as statement does exist in guideline, I'd appreciate a reference. I've seen a couple of "unreferenced" tags go on articles recently, just referring to the lead, and I don't feel that's appropriate but I'd like to find a policy statement (if one exists) to back me up. See James McCune Smith for an example; the editor who added the note used the edit summary "Intro needs them". Thanks -- Mike Christie (talk) 02:49, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't know if there is a policy or guideline on this, but notes are a practical necessity if the introduction contradicts any widely-held misconception; otherwise the misconception will be reintroduced almost daily. --Gerry Ashton 16:38, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Generally, unless the claim is outstanding as Gerry says then you won't need cites in the lead, so long as the info appears in the body of the text and is cited there, no need to be redundant. IvoShandor 14:45, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, that clears it up. Thanks. Mike Christie (talk) 15:11, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
If you poke around enough, you'll find out that, in general, there is simply no total agreement whatsoever on this particular issue, although in specific cases, it's generally possible to work/hack out a consensus. Circeus 20:33, 8 April 2007 (UTC)


What if I want to cite an interview that I conducted, but do not have a transcript or recording, just a report on my findings? --thedemonhog talk contributions 05:45, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

No good. Is original research. It cannot be used in a Wikipedia entry. IvoShandor 09:48, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I too would like to cite an interviewee. The person I interviewed was the creator of the subject and provided facts that contradicted the wiki article that referenced incorrect infromation on the web.--KnowBoundaries 18:27, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Is the interview published? There is a citation template Template:Cite interview that may help you format the citation (or give you some ideas how to do it without using the template). And if you conducted the interview yourself, you should read the guidelines on citing yourself found at both WP:COI and WP:OR. Hope this helps.-Andrew c 18:38, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Also remember: an interview is a Primary source, even if published, and WP depends on secondary sources. UnitedStatesian 18:50, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

interviews are considered common knowledge, not requiring citing in MLA format because you could get it from anybody that even lives in the same city as the person. usually a person propagates information about himself, so therefore you could get the information from multiple people.

Regardless of MLA format, interviews must be cited. There is no room to argue this. Someguy1221 23:46, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

The use of citation templates

In WP:CITE#Citation templates it says "editors should not add templates without consensus", but what about the removal of templates? // Liftarn

If the templates were added without consensus, then it's fine to remove them. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:58, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Advice wanted about Deva Victrix and large amounts of unsourced and unreferenced material

A user without a userpage: User:Chestertouristcom, but with a talk page: User talk:Chestertouristcom, and who seems to have a very strong link with an external site: Chester Tourist External Site has added a lot, probably the bulk, of the material to Deva Victrix, which was originally under a different name, and before that, was a part of another article. This material is almost entirely unsourced and unreferenced. I tagged the article as being in need of references back in January 2007. Nothing was done, and the user continued to add a lot of unsourced and unreferenced material. I left a message on the user's talk page on 25th February 2007, asking for citations and references to be added, and this was followed up by an email to the user, but no response was received and new unreferenced material continued to be added up to the middle of March when it stopped.

The problem is, what to do? We are supposed to require entries to be adequately sourced and referenced, and yet hardly any of the material for Deva Victrix is. It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to attempt to produce references for this material retrospectively when one isn't even the original author, especially so if one does not have a specialised knowledge of this topic. I have asked for assistance on the other wikiproject that has a template on the talk page: Wikipedia:WikiProject Archaeology but as yet received no response.

My feeling is that one could simply delete all the material, but I imagine this would cause some consternation in certain quarters (the removal of an external site whose inclusion had not been justified has already caused some negative comment about my action by another user.) The article would then probably be almost just a stub article with a lot of photos. Could I ask for some comments on what to do here? Many thanks.  DDStretch  (talk) 23:13, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I forgot to add that I am an active member of the Cheshire WikiProject, which explains my particular interest in this problem.  DDStretch  (talk) 23:17, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
  • This isn't the right place to discuss this (this page is about improving WP:CITE, so I've responded more helpfully on your User talk:ddstretch. (don't delete your comments, if the page gets too large, it will be archived) --Lexein 18:23, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Page numbers

Those editors using the book template seem to be routinely leaving out the page numbers in their footnotes. Also, if the citation is referred to numerous times, it would become difficult to follow the page numbers if they actually included it (imagine: 14; 20; 198; 30; 67; 90; 378). I suggest that either wikipedia discontinue the use of the book template since it encourages users to simply cite an entire book, not a specific page, or demand that they include a separate footnote for each citation that includes a page number. Such a policy should be made explicitly clear on [[WP:ATT] or WP:CITE. Awadewit 23:44, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I would prefer the option that editors be required to include a separate footnote for each citation. It would completely fulfil the need for full citations, be consistent with what I have experienced and thought of as "best practice", and be of maximum use to anyone wanting to follow up any references.  DDStretch  (talk) 12:44, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
There is no requirement that a citation must include page numbers (actually, there is no requirement that articles have footnotes, either). In the case of direct quotes or controversial facts, they are probably warranted. In the case of an article whose title is also a title of a chapter in the book, there is no obvious reason why page numbers must be included in every case. There is a great deal of variation in the norms of citation from one article to another and especially from one field of study to another, so no universal rule is going to fit every situation. CMummert · talk 13:39, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but don't you think that page numbers should be encouraged whenever they can be given (which is most of the time, even for a chapter)? I'm shocked that it is not a requirement. It goes against all of the referencing styles, by the way, that wikipedia supposedly says it adheres it. Awadewit 17:39, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree. In fact, I would tend to think that if the addition of page numbers where they can be given is not a requirement, then it should be, for the reasons given by Awadewit.  DDStretch  (talk) 20:11, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Another advantage to page numbers is that if you're local library does not have the book, a library that does have it will copy a few pages for you for a modest fee, but you have to know which pages to ask for. --Gerry Ashton 20:22, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Resp. to Awadewit. Wikipedia makes no claim to adhere to any citation style. Any reasonable form of citation is acceptable. This guideline does not impose any requirements, it only suggests some recommended practices.
Editors should use common sense with citations - if there is a particular reason that the page number is needed, then by all means it should be included. For more general references, such as general references in an article about the French revolution, less precise references often suffice for noncontroversial facts. CMummert · talk 03:09, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
But all citation styles recommended by wikipedia demand page numbers. Also, I don't think it is a good idea to just reference a whole article about the French Revolution for "noncontroversial facts" (I'm afraid you've picked a poor example there). There is very little about the French Revolution that is noncontroversial, I'm afraid. There are whole schools of revisionist (in a good way) history that interpret the beginning of the revolution at a different time, etc. Why should a reader have to wade through a whole article to find what the editors were referring to? It is a courtesy to give the reader the clearest, most precise information that enables them to find the editors' source. Also "common sense" is not a universal - when Thomas Paine wrote his pamphlet arguing that Americans should revolt against the British in 1776 he entitled it Common Sense, thereby making the argument with the title alone that his position was obvious. Clearly, not everyone agreed with him - historians estimate that over half of the country was Loyalist. Just because we might want something to be "common sense" doesn't make it so - the phrase is a rhetorical flourish. Awadewit 04:08, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
It simply isn't true that all the citation styles recommended on this guideline "demand page numbers"; consider the examples on this page of inline citations without page numbers. I don't have the desire to continue debating this issue; maybe someone else will comment. The summary of my position is that page numbers are important in some situations and less important in others, with the need for page numbers varying with field of study and with the information being cited. Wikipedia policy documents have traditionally been written broadly to reflect this diversity. If you feel that page numbers are important in the articles you write, you should by all means add them, but we should not try to force them into situations where they are not common or particularly necessary. CMummert · talk 11:15, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Are you thinking of {{cite web}} when you say that? While it's true that it's often unnecessary to use the page parameter, it's there for a reason: some online sources have multiple pages and some of those are also large enough to make not specifying the page number very unfair to other editors.-- 15:34, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
MLA, Chicago and Harvard all demand page numbers. Also, the reason that I brought up this problem in the first place is precisely because editors do not seem to be able to make the nuanced distinction between when to cite page numbers and when not to. Too often, I just see them using the book template without any attempt to cite pages. That is why I started by saying we should either discontinue use of the book template or require that editors put in page numbers. (I am not thinking of the cite web template - as I said when I started this thread, I am concerned about how the cite book template is being used.) Awadewit 16:29, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Any serious research demands that facts be fully cited. I agree that there is no requirement to add them but, as ddstretch opined, there should be. We often complain that some academics look down on WikiPedia - this is a way to improve our image. The routine use of full footnotes should, at the very least be encouraged. More work? You bet, but it makes for a better resource. JodyB 21:48, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

It is worth remembering that page numbers can depend on edition, and although citation demands edition data, readers trying to follow up in any much-reissued book may find only a different edition and quite altered pagination. Thus page numbers are not always a complete answer to finding cited text. Iph 18:55, 22 May 2007 (UTC)iph


This issue has been discussed before, and it was decided that there is no need to change the titles to author-date. Google seems to show no or little preference, and the ArbCom has ruled that, in the absense of pressing reasons, there is no need to change terms more common in the UK than in the U.S., and vice versa.

The last time I checked this on Google, the searches returned:

  • "Harvard referencing": 61,000 (774 unique hits);
  • "Harvard reference": 32,600 (529 unique);
  • "Harvard system": 110,000 (200 unique);
  • "author-date" without the word "Harvard": 68,700 (757 unique)
  • "Harvard referencing" without the phrase "author-date": 56,000 (769 unique)

SlimVirgin (talk) 01:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I guess if they have ruled, they have ruled. I just pointed out in my edit summary that the top google hits are almost all in the UK and Australia. (Also, on a personal note, I had never heard of this style which I thought was odd, since I teach referencing to freshmen; but I have now put that down to my US-bias.) I think the author-date description would be clearer - when I first saw the name "Harvard," I thought to myself, "what is that? wikipedia is making up its own reference style?" quickly followed by "wikipedia is following some obscure reference style I've never heard of? Great." Awadewit 05:00, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
For reference, the only discussion I could find in the 14 archives was here: Wikipedia_talk:Cite_sources/archive7#Harvard_referencing??. Author Date is undeniably clearer to the layman, and would seem a better choice if acceptable. However, without much personal background in this field, I cannot say whether it is an acceptable alternative title for this technique. here 02:56, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
People who want to can request a page move to author-date. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:07, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


I'm not sure what this section means, so I've moved it here in the meantime. Can someone explain? SlimVirgin (talk) 01:57, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

"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).
"* In cases where either a FOAS or non-FOAS source provides sufficient information to attribute a point in an article, consider citing both if they will help the reader to explore further in different ways.
"* 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."
  • Personally, while I agree with the sentiment, I think this section is a distraction from the main point of the page. This page primarily explains how to add references and citations; the reader who is coming here for guidance likely has a source in hand already and wants to know what to do next. We should answer that question rather than deviating on an unrelated point. Secondly, reliability is so much more important than free accessibility that the second is rarely going to be the decisive concern in choosing between sources. Christopher Parham (talk) 02:32, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I still can't see what's being said. If we have a reliable source, I don't see what difference it makes that it's GFDL or not. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:34, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Sources that are free to access, especially if they are online, are easier for readers to consult than sources which are subscription only or not online. It seems reasonable to me that they would thus be preferable. This might come into play occasionally, say where the same AP news article is available at a subscription-only newspaper site and a free newspaper site -- all in all linking to the free site is probably easier on the reader and thus more useful. But as I said this is a comparatively minor concern and introducing it likely distracts from the main concern when choosing sources. Since choosing sources isn't even the main topic of this page, the value of these paragraphs is very low. Christopher Parham (talk) 02:40, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I see now. Thank you. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:13, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm sick of going to a million different places to find help on anything. The intent of the passage is 'when citing a source use the easily accessible source if of equal or better quality'. Improve the wording but why delete? Please consider people who are after help and make it easy for them rather than make them trawl through talk pages and archives to find what is best. thanks - Ctbolt 01:59, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
What is meant by "the easily accessible source"? SlimVirgin (talk) 02:11, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I realise you're doing a fine job here, Slim, but you've answered your question below - so why ask it?? - Ctbolt 02:46, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I have reverted the archiving of this talk page, otherwise what comes next looks untidy. If SlimVirgin now sees what the section on free sources was trying to achieve (possibly needing better phrasing, I agree), then to remove the section seems to have been premature. Likewise archiving off above recent threads is unhelpful to understanding the overall discussion on this (see section above Wikipedia_talk:Citing_sources#Free_sources vs Wikipedia_talk:Cite_sources/archive15#Free_sources) - a thread with last posting just 1 week ago is too fresh to be archived off surely, especially when a whole article section is deleted 3 days prior ? David Ruben Talk 21:57, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Could you please undo your unarchiving, as the page is now rather long, and simply copy and paste in the section you want to refer me to? Or just give me a link to it in the archive? SlimVirgin (talk) 02:11, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I see it now, thanks. You wrote: "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."
It doesn't make much sense, with respect, and to have a whole (and unclear) section on one point, which seems to boil down to "quality is the most important thing, but ease of access is helpful too" is overkill. Use both sources if one is hard to find. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:14, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
So why not put it on the page? Unless we assume that people will always choose the easily accessible source - Ctbolt 02:46, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Because it's a distraction from the more important content of the page -- it applies only rarely and in those cases, it is relatively unimportant. Also, this material would make more sense at WP:RS (which is about choosing sources) than here, a page which is mainly a style guide concerning how to cite sources once they are in hand. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:04, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Quotations in citations

Is there a convention on whether or not to include the relevant quotation from a source in the citation? ShadowHalo 04:16, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Not that I know of. A short (one or two sentence) quote is occasionally useful, especially if there is some ambiguity, but probably it's not appropriate for every citation. CMummert · talk 04:54, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
It's a good idea to do it if it's a contentious issue, especially if the source isn't online. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:12, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, my question stems from the Love. Angel. Music. Baby. article. The statement in the article is "Love. Angel. Music. Baby. also introduced the Harajuku Girls, an entourage of four Japanese women who Stefani treats as a figment of her imagination." The source (which is online and requires no subscription) states, "The [Harajuku] Girls silently accompanied her on photo shoots and to public appearances, and subsequently appeared on her tour. Stefani regarded the Girls, all of whom looked as if they had come straight off the streets of the capital city's hip Harajuku district, as a figment of her imagination brought to life in a culturally positive manner." It seems really easy to find, so it seems unnecessary to quote (and probably preferable not to since I thought the idea of using a reference was to transform copyrighted text into free text using it as a reference) but I didn't want to undo someone else's edit without asking here first. ShadowHalo 14:13, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


Am I right to suppose that Wikipedia must not contain references to illegal material (in terms of copyright)? There is a discussion whether the tv documentary posted on youtube could be a valid ref . Alaexis 11:58, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

The TV show is not the youtube clip. You can cite the TV show itself, whether or not a youtube clip exists. According to WP:EL#Restrictions_on_linking, don't link to clips that violate copyright. Gimmetrow 12:18, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Alaexis 12:25, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Gimmetrow, but remember that the editor should cite where the editor obtained the information, so if the only place the editor saw the information was a site that obviously violates copyright, the editor should not cite the material at all. --Gerry Ashton 20:07, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
It should still be cited, just not linked to. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:06, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Location of citation template information.

The current how to cite section describes 3 possible techniques, (embedded, harvard, footnotes), and then immediately describes the citation templates, a topic not required for any of these methods. The how to cite section should get new editors inserting some form of citation as quickly and painlessly as possible. Often editors seeking citation help have no idea how to use a template, and a lesson on templates should not divert their efforts to add citations. The correct location for citation template information is as a sub-heading under 'full citations', where they can be used in conjunction with any of the 3 methods. Editors capable of using the templates will find the citation templates after selecting embedded/harvard/footnotes as an option for full citations. My attempted move was reverted ( diff ), so I bring it up here for discussion. here 06:41, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

The templates aren't required for anything, Here. The point of the section is to make that clear to editors, and it needs to be fairly prominent and not buried. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:03, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Tools and techniques which are not necessary in this process, such as the citation templates, have no business at the top of the section. Even stranger, they are sandwiched between an introduction to 3 specific techniques and the explanations of those 3 specific techniques. The citation templates are an intermediate citation topic, and should be placed after the basic instructions and principles of the three primary options. They are optional, and not immediately important to the primary target audience of this section.  : shrug : here 17:17, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Show/hide references

Apologies if this has been discussed previously: Is there a view that we must always make references visible? Articles with long references sections sometimes look ugly and a reader may be uninterested in browsing the references. I was imagining references and notes being placed inside a collapsible table with a hide/show button (defaulting to hide). Is there a view on this idea? —Moondyne 16:40, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

At the moment, as I understand it, there is no way to do this without breaking the references; if the references section is hidden by default, then when you click to go to a footnote it will do nothing. Last time that hiding references was brought up, I recall this being the most serious objection. Unless the technical issues have been fixed there is unlikely to be much movement on this issue. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:59, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
That makes sense. Thanks anyway. —Moondyne 01:57, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Citing myself...

On the page that I have recently been maintaining titled "Pine Creek High School", many "(citation needed)" links have popped up. I am a student at Pine Creek, and I know for a fact that the things I say about my school are true. For example, the choirs that I have listed are from my own knowledge of the choirs that I am enrolled in, and I have verified these facts with the choral instructor. How do I get rid of these links? Why do I have to cite information that is my own? (12 April 2007) Live your life 17 01:51, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia:No original research. In order for information to be included in Wikipedia, it does need to be verifiable through a reliable source. Jkelly 01:53, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Theoretically, you could ask the choral instructor if you can name him as a source. That may not be a pleasant thing for such a minor issue on a Web site that is frequently browsed by the spam mafia ;-), but I don't see no real reason why such a person should be unreliable. In such cases, people use terms like "According to < insert position here > < insert name here >, this-and-this is such-and-such. A disclaimer such as "as of < date >" is often useful.
OTOH, the information might be on the school's Web page. In such cases - when it is a source of major significance for the article -, it should generally go under "References" instead of "External links" to denote this fact.

"Needs more in-line citations" label

Once I came across an article with not a {{references}} or {{fact}} tag but a label saying an article with a list of general references needs more in-line citations. It wasn't aimed at specific information but a good general statement. This is good for long articles for which we have no idea how or which part of the general references (often books with no page no.s) were used. Does anyone know this label? Kind regards --Merbabu 14:21, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

There's no actual benefit to adding templates like that. Look at {{Unreferenced}} - there are tens of thousands of tagged pages, and no sign that the backlog will ever be cleared. If there is a particular fact you dispute, you should discuss it on the talk page. There is no policy requiring that everything must have an inline citations - only that articles are verifiable in a theoretical sense. CMummert · talk 14:33, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
hmmmm - i tend to disagree with the benefit of them. And my point was not about disputing any particular facts. There are a number of large articles that have several, even many, general references. But not one inline citation. THere may not be a policy, but there are some who would like to see each piece of information backed up, or at least detailed references provided. Simply providing a list of books, etc, doesn't do the trick. It's the standard in academia. Why aim low here? Merbabu 14:40, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
It's standard in some areas of academia and not standard in others. That's why we generally avoid one-size-fits-all policies on WP. If you would like to see inline references, why not add them yourself? There is no evidence that tagging articles in general leads to them being improved - look at {{unreferenced}}. CMummert · talk 15:02, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't know, I think it depends, if an active WikiProject uses the tags then they can lead to articles being improved. IvoShandor 15:10, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
They are presently being used in an uncritical manner. I propose to inser the following paragraph:
  • While articles about many subject do need specific links, especially in possibly controversial facts are included, articles about many subjects do not, and there is no policy requiring them. Often the background for an article will be adequately covered in a sufficiently up-to-date manner in a book or magazine article, and this can be sufficient. There is, in particular, no requirement that all (or any) sources be online, or be free. Any reliable source can be used, though it should be available to the public in some form. Naturally, it is desirable to provide free sources or equivalents when they do exist, but these are considered as convenience links, not essential links. DGG 23:06, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Use of <small>

In the past the ue of <small> has always been discouraged; aside from anything else, it can cause problems for people with visual impairments as well as for those using small monitors. The main MoS on citations doesn't mention its use, but it's crept in to a great many articles, is part of citation templates, and appears on some MoS sub pages. Where would be the bext place to have its use discussed? --Mel Etitis (Talk) 15:57, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Possibly somewhere on the MoS, but I have no idea where. The thing about it is that it's introduced under a number of different categories — templates and such like, and they all have their own reasons for wanting it. You might have to set up a central discussion yourself. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:00, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Visually impaired users typically will have their ducks(tools) in a row for accessibility issues. However, when using someone else's browser, this can be a problem.
  1. Fully portably, Wikipedia offers per-user customization. <small> can be overridden as a matter of personal preference in one's own Wikipedia style sheet Special:Mypage/monobook.css(if you're using the Monobook skin). See Help:User_style. This requires some setup.
  2. Per browser: <small>In a browser's local CSS or preferences. Also requires setup.
  3. Ad hoc: With a browser which supports text zooming. Internet Explorer, (View menu, Font size, Smaller/Larger), Mozilla:(ctrl +), (ctrl -). Opera:(+),(-).
    Opera also has a View | Style menu which allows disabling (parts of) CSS on the fly. --Lexein 22:05, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
All the solutions mentioned by Lexein are a pain in the ass. What is the benefit of <small> that would make all this trouble worthwhile? --Gerry Ashton 23:29, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Delete this template!

Sorry if this is in the wrong discussion section, if it is let me know where this needs to go.

Anyway: I know that this was already up for deletion, but I'm going to dedicate to myself to this one issue (look at how boring and single minded my profile is!):

The citation needed tags are useless. I can't say this enough. As an editor, there's something in an article you doubt, look it up. If you find something, cite the link, if you can't in good faith find anything to verify another user's claim, then delete it, obviously it doesn't belong there. People who are using them are essentially shrugging off work they're fully capable of doing. I feel strongly about wikipedia citing it's sources but a citation needed tag is just lazy.

Let's put this back up for deletion. --Friendship hurricane 07:17, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree mostly, but they can be useful when you can't find a source for something, but you're not certain it's false. It gives other editors time to look, and it's faster than leaving a note on talk. Deleting things immediately is often seen as too aggressive, unless it's a BLP. SlimVirgin (talk) 11:37, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I strongly disagree. I consider {{fact}} tags to be requests for assistance, when placed by an editor who has contributed to an article. I have both (researched and) cited them when found, and placed them as needed. I tagged Idiocracy's unsourced statement that "Early working titles included The United States of Uhh-merica ", because I looked and couldn't find it in a non-blog, and lo-and-behold someone else found the cite. The system works.
  1. {{fact}} tags update the database, making browsing for such tags easy for those editors who relish that research. Deleting this template is simply a non-starter. However:
  2. To improve the experience for everyone, perhaps the superscript[citation needed] should be replaced with the superscript[?] or[cite].
  3. Deletion is not the next step. I tend to comment out an unsupported sentence, with a note in the comment and in Talk. This permits trivial in-place repair when finally cited.
  4. Deletion of uncited (yet) but plausible assertions is also lazy - only the omniscient can guarantee that no usable supporting evidence exists.[Google not sole source of truth.] Aggressive deletions induce revert wars, or haven't you noticed?
  5. Yes, some lazy editors are performing tag hit and run. Damn you punks (shakes fist)! --Lexein 20:52, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Citation date consistency

Notice the current discussion about citation date consistency in Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Date formats in cite templates. (SEWilco 02:16, 15 April 2007 (UTC))

Citing the same source multiple times

How do you cite the same source multiple times without creating a duplicate footnote? Sr13 (T|C) 08:29, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

You could use named <ref name="multiple">...</ref> footnotes as described at Wikipedia:Footnotes#Citing_a_footnote_more_than_once, or also more than one (Author 2007) style Harvard reference ( Wikipedia:Harvard referencing ) which refer to a full citation. here 09:30, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Allow users to switch off citation and other article quality messages

Would it be possible to modify the Mediawiki software to allow users to switch off article quality messages? I'm increasingly finding that my use of Wikipedia is being distracted by the citation needed messages and banners at the top of articles declaring they are disputed, not of neutral tone or of poor quality. While these notes are important for the editors and some readers, for much of my casual rather than formal use of Wikipedia, I don't need to know about disputes, any more than I need to read the talk pages, and their agressive nature is offputting Jrbray 13:06, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

If you are editing articles, rather than just reading them, this might not be a great idea. But it can be done with no software changes using CSS, assuming that the templates are set up properly. For example, to turn off the fact tags you could use
sup.Template-Fact { display: none; }
in your monobook.css file because {{fact}} is set up correctly. Any template that doesn't have an associated CSS class will have one added as soon as you raise the issue on its talk page. CMummert · talk 13:17, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

It's interesting to see this point-of-view expressed. I wonder how many other casual readers are being put off my what some may see as an overabundance of "butt-covering"? 23skidoo 16:07, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't call it that, but it does tend to air dirty linen in public. What is most offputting is the blaring 'this article is poor quality, you must improve it' tone. The CSS suggestion works well, but I suspect there are too many tags, especially stub ones, for it to be truly effective. Wikipedians do need t be less strident to retain their popular support. Jrbray 04:00, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

WP:CITE#How_to_cite_sources - propose changing order of citation styles

I propose changing the order of listed citation styles in Wikipedia:Citing_sources#How_to_cite_sources to:

1. Footnotes (most often using <ref> and <references/> elements)
2. Harvard referencing
3. Embedded HTML links (deprecate or ban from body of articles).
  1. New users who see this revised order will think footnotes or Harvard style are preferred. This is preferred.
  2. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, see WP:5. Embedded links are Wiki-ish and web-ish, not encyclopedic. Encyclopedias use either footnote or Harvard style, so should WP.
  3. All citation details should be visible (without having to click or hover), and if the article is printed out. Embedded links hide URLs. Simple footnotes reveal URLs in <references /> or {{reflist}}. Well formed footnotes or Harvard references may obscure a URL, but reveal the publisher, author, date, title, etc.
  4. Even though WP:CITE#Embedded HTML links "require" a full citation at the page bottom, it's extra work, for which no automation support is provided. As a result, it's rarely done, and when done, there's no connection between that link and the full citation.
  5. Footnote cites and references can be formatted automatically with <ref>{{cite ...}}</ref> and require entering information only once in the article, and provide bidirectional "where used" links. Harvard-type cites can unidirectionally link to Harvard-type refs.
  6. The use of templates should be encouraged in the WP:CITE article.

Secondarily, I prefer a superscripted numeral[1] or a (Harvard, 278) reference over a blue arrow used as a textual elephant element. To sum up:

  • List embedded HTML links last in WP:CITE#HOW, and everywhere else citation styles are mention as guidelines
  • Strongly deprecate embedded links, except in specific circumstances: (and what would those be?)

Please discuss, or point me to prior discussion. --Lexein 17:55, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Good reasoning, I agree. Would you care to comment my recent open question regarding Location_of_citation_template_information, as you would also like to see them emphasized. here 18:03, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
The use of templates (assuming you mean citation templates) should not be encouraged, since there is no consensus to do so. Many people feel they should be discouraged. The current position is to do neither, due to the lack of a general consensus. As to the other points, we shouldn't deprecate any type of citation. Embedded links, used correctly, are fine, and even if used incorrectly are far better than nothing. On the whole, however, I agree that presenting our two main "ideal" methods first makes sense. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:20, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Entirely agree with original argument, also with last point. Circumstances being "if nothing better is available". Many Web sources can be mined for proper details (author, version date, publisher etc). Dysmorodrepanis 21:57, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Where are discussions/voting on citation template usage? Is there a Project where such discussions usually take place? I've struck some text above, agreeing with encouragement of citations in general. --Lexein 21:24, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I would also be interested in knowing where the discussions take place about citations templates, since I cannot understand why they should be discouraged. I also think more examples need to be provided, such as how to cite a book or article more than once, with different page numbers in each citation, because I don't know how to do this without duplicating the citation apart from the page-number field.  DDStretch  (talk) 06:59, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
The archives of this page discuss the issue in various places, but check towards the end of the first archive for the earliest discussion. The main reasons for disliking citation templates are thus: (1) in combination with cite.php, they make it so that any article with significant referencing is unreadable in edit mode; (2) by increasing the barrier to "correct" referencing they worsen our biggest problem regarding referencing (that people don't do it); (3) at the time they were introduced, and indeed now, they have no apparent usefulness. Christopher Parham (talk) 14:02, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I'll check. re: (1) unreadable in edit mode; - agreed, but so does any verbose interjection, including <ref>[with long link] text</ref>. Harvard citation templates coupled with Harvard reference templates (WP:CITET) neaten this up, as do the old Wikipedia:Footnote3({{ref}} and {{note}}) system. But those both complicate editing, requiring either a full-article edit, or separate editing of an section and references -for lots of references, that's a separate problem.
re: (2) increasing the barrier - this is because template insertion is not assisted by automation (say, popup) which presents the full blank template to be filled in. We're using powerful computers (servers and personal), but they are not being used to assist editors, who are forced to cope. To wit: an editor has to first learn the arcane details of WP footnoting methods (absurd), when an automation tool could exist to assist in the process.
re: (3) no apparent usefulness - other than conformed formatting: relatively free-form input results in consistently formed output, usually not requiring further edits. To be actively useful, template insertion should have some automation assistance. --Lexein 16:04, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Citation tools?

1. Can I make persistent private modifications to the Wiki Markup panel below the Edit window?

2. Is there an existing tool or bot which automates conversion of embedded links into cite web or cite news footnote stubs?

3. Where should I have posted these questions? --Lexein 05:36, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Require some formatting and encourage templates in adding new content.

"The use of citation templates is not required" is being quoted back to me as justification for adding a simple <ref> around a bare url as a substitution for the inline cite in new content. It looks like a mess in the References section.

I would change this text to: "Citations must be formatted to include relevant information such as title, author, date, publisher where relevant. The use of citation templates is a good practice to achieve a uniform appearance, but not required". patsw 13:58, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

This is a guideline. Like all wikipedia guidelines and policies, it recommends, but it cannot require anything. If you see a citation that you wish had more information, why not just add the information yourself? If the other editor is putting in any sort of inline citation, that's already a step forward. CMummert · talk 14:15, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
This is a guideline. Like all Wikipedia guidelines and policies, it should promote best practices and discourage incomplete, poorly formatted editing. The other editor is quite capable of adding the information himself but believes that he is not being guided by this guideline to add anything but the bare url. I believe the guideline should be changed to encourage the practice of including relevant information such as title, author, date, and publisher where relevant. patsw 15:12, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Point him at the section Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Full_citations. CMummert · talk 17:26, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I take that as support for the clarification edit I propose above. patsw 18:35, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Citation templates may be used to achieve a consistent appearance, but I don't think consensus exists to call citation templates a "good practice". They have both advantages and disadvantages compared to other means. As for URLs, if someone adds a "bare URL" the guideline says to add an entry with appropriate bibliographic information in the References section. Is it not OK to have the formatting there? Gimmetrow 18:54, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
This page already establishes that all citation methods require "full citations" containing date, author, and other publication to exist somewhere in the article, either in the inline citation or in a separate references section. So your suggested addition would appear to be redundant. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:06, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
My point is that some now read "The use of citation templates is not required" as the guideline requiring nothing but the url. I would agree with Christopher, if it were rare new content lacked full citations, but bare url's are all too common. I may have been mistaken is assuming that the fact that (1) new content written very often includes bare urls as citations, and that (2) this guideline ought to discourage that, has some consensus here.
The guideline requiring full citations needs a reminder here. I see it as clarity and not redundancy. Suggest your own replacement wording which you believe ought to discourage bare urls as citations. patsw 20:42, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Is it possibly misleading to have the "How to cite sources" section immediately followed by "citation templates are not required"? Would putting "Citation templates" after "Full citations" sufficiently clarify the issue, Patsw? See also above. Gimmetrow 21:39, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I do not concur that citation templates are good practice. One of my objections is that they can only be used in situations anticipated by the temlate authors, and there are many situations not covered by citation tempaltes. --Gerry Ashton 23:47, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Totally agree. Try citing doi:10.1126/science.1114103 in a way that fulfuls academic standards with the available templates. Note that "academic standards" require listing all authors in the full citation, and note also that there is a fulltext available on the Web, as well as electronic supplementary material, which both should to be included in the citation (or is WP now a paper encyclopedia?) Dysmorodrepanis 10:08, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

I've edited the wording on WP:FOOT to bring it into harmony with the wording on this page WP:CITE. patsw 23:09, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure that's appropriate. When WP:CITE talks about cite templates, it means in reference to citation as a whole, but when WP:FOOT talks about cite templates, it talks about them specifically located between the ref tags. Citation templates are optional in the citation as a whole, but more so between the ref tags because footnotes don't need to be bibliographic at all, and you certainly don't need a template to write "Smith, p.5". Likewise, it's acceptable under WP:CITE to have <ref></ref> as a "bare URL" if the bibliographic information is given elsewhere in the article. Gimmetrow 01:48, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the edit Gimmetrow made to WP:FOOT to address my concerns. patsw 12:05, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Request for consensus: External Links => Incline Citation Bot

Moved to Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Request_for_consensus:_External_Links_.3D.3E_Incline_Citation_Bot per user CMummert. --Paracit 21:13, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Citing the same source multiple times in the same paragraph

If I have a paragraph consisting of three consecutive sentences backed by the same source, should I put the reference at the end of every sentence? This seems like a good idea, since further editing could lead to the addition of facts not supported by my source but which may appear to be, if the source is cited only on the first or last sentence. I think this should be addressed on the project page. -Seans Potato Business 17:42, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

People can add facts in the middle of sentences as's a given with our current technology that any syntax for sourcing can and will be disrupted. (Fortunately the sources offered by the person who originally added a fact can always be recovered from the edit history.) Given that, I think we should just write normally, and putting the same citation on sentence after sentence is not normal. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:26, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

citing the same source in different places

If I want to cite something with the ref /ref tags and I want use the citation in two different places in the text for example

Statement 1.[1] Statement 2[2]. Statement 3. [1]

1. reference 1

2. reference 2

how would I do that? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:29, 26 April 2007 (UTC).

You would enter it like this:
Statement 1.<ref name=ArbitraryNameForSource1>citation of source 1></ref> Statement 2.<ref>citation of source 2</ref> Source3.<ref name=ArbitraryNameForSource1/> :--Gerry Ashton 16:28, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Citation templates

I tried to read this talk page but I am getting a headache so I'll just put my remarks here. The section Citation templates does say that some templates make articles "harder to edit" What it does not to say is that it also raises the bar on who can edit articles. How many would be editors give up when, after clicking on "edit this page" can not even find the text they want to edit? The first time I ran into it (tet offensive) I thought it might be deliberate to prevent editors with a different POV from editing. I am still not sure that is untrue. KAM 14:53, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I add Jimbo Wales Statement of principles #3 "You can edit this page right now" is a core guiding check on everything that we do. We must respect this principle as sacred. KAM 17:51, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Same goes for < ref > tags, only more so. Consider the following:

Long in a private collection, the '''Thermopolis Specimen''' (WDC CSG 100) was discovered in Germany and described in 2005 by Mayr, Pohl, and Peters. Donated to the [[Wyoming Dinosaur Center]] in [[Thermopolis, Wyoming]], it has the best-preserved head and feet; most of the neck and the lower jaw have not been preserved. The "Thermopolis" specimen was described in the December 2, 2005 ''Science'' journal article as "A well-preserved ''Archaeopteryx'' specimen with theropod features", shows that the ''Archaeopteryx'' lacked a reversed toe—a universal feature of birds—limiting its ability to perch on branches and implying a terrestrial or trunk-climbing lifestyle.<ref>Mayr G, Pohl B & Peters DS. (2005). ''A well-preserved Archaeopteryx specimen with theropod features''. [[Science (journal)|Science]]. '''310'''(5753): 1483–1486. {{doi|10.1126/science.1120331}} [;310/5753/1483/DC1 See commentary on article]</ref> This has been interpreted as evidence of [[Theropoda|theropod]] ancestry. The specimen also has a hyperextendible second toe. "Until now, the feature was thought to belong only to the species' close relatives, the [[Deinonychosauria|deinonychosaurs]]."<ref name ="Natgeo2">[ National Geographic News- ''Earliest Bird Had Feet Like Dinosaur, Fossil Shows''] - Nicholas Bakalar, December 1, 2005, Page 2. Retreived 2006-10-18.</ref> This tenth and latest specimen was assigned to ''Archaeopteryx siemensii'' in 2007.<ref name ="10thfind">Mayr, G., Phol, B., Hartman, S. & Peters, D.S. (2007). ''The tenth skeletal specimen of Archaeopteryx''. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 149, 97–116.</ref> The specimen itself, currently on loan to the [[Senckenberg Museum|Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg]] in [[Frankfurt]], is considered the most complete and well preserved ''Archaeopteryx'' remains yet.<ref name ="10thfind">Mayr, G., Phol, B., Hartman, S. & Peters, D.S. (2007). ''The tenth skeletal specimen of Archaeopteryx''. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 149, 97–116.</ref>

A novice user will hardly be able to edit this without breaking it. Half of this paragraph consists of stuff that does not really belong here. And such reftag-obfuscation is rapidly becoming WP standard. Frankly, I find it disgusting, especially since the ref section thus created is a pain to use for serious research, as the refs are not ordered (alphabetically as per academic standard) but are one big and ugly humble-jumble mess. Not to mention that they're excruciatingly hard to read for anyone w/o 20/20 vision. Dysmorodrepanis 10:15, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
At least the citations exist and can be edited when Wikipedia technology improves. WP:V can be most obviously met by every fact being cited, and although such could be presented to readers in various pleasing ways, the editing technology does not yet make every edit as easy as it could be. m:Wikicite is one approach to improvements. I think WP:FOOT still has a link to my Bugzilla suggestion for a second edit window for References (whether the citations are stored in References text or <ref> blocks is not relevant to the user interface). The <ref> does make citation editing somewhat easier than some other Wikipedia ref/citation technology. We don't have "best" yet but we do have "better" (for some values of "better"). (SEWilco 13:05, 21 May 2007 (UTC))
I don't see any movement in the various attempts to address this problem. Wikicite has had 1 discussion item in the last 6 months. There are several disorganized and uncoordinated individual attempts to blow up the Cite template (which is almost universally despised, for good reasons) even more. The referencing (not: sourcing) situation is the one major point where WP's quality continues to go down, down, down. For sourcing issues, simply providing the refs is enough. But proper referencing will also provide them in a format that makes the references themselves useful as a research resource. With tagged refs, it is a tradeoff: the better sourced an article is, the less is the value of the references as a whole. This is neither good, nor does it have to be like that.
Also, as sourcing improves, sourcing vandalism will inevitably increase (i.e. miscitations or bogus sources). With tagged refs, this is not at all easy to fix. Dysmorodrepanis 20:42, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Someone says that Wikicite is being tested, although that won't help here until it becomes available here. #Multiple_cites_in_one_work (SEWilco 01:00, 23 May 2007 (UTC))

Help citing text in a template

Hello. what is the preferred way to cite the content of a template? I read nesting the cite template inside another template is probably over my head so I am looking for a simple solution. I see three options for Template:MinneapolisPeople. We can do 1) references in 'noinclude' on the template page, or 2) references on the template talk page (to save some page load time/server load), or 3) write out the references and include them in the article itself. There might be other ways. #1 and #3 seem equivalent so just moving them to the article in a set of group 'ref's might be simplest. (This template text is off the article Minneapolis, Minnesota to discourage random additions to the list.) Thank you. -Susanlesch 20:41, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

This template seems like a bad idea to begin with. The purpose you envision this template serving (inhibiting editing by making it more difficult) is rather contrary to the general principles of the project. Is nobody watching this article who can revert undesirable changes? Christopher Parham (talk) 20:59, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Have you ever maintained a similar list? (I would guess not.) Never mind the question above, we'll figure something out. Best wishes. -Susanlesch 23:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I've certainly maintained pages that attracted large numbers of unhelpful edits, and I found aggressive reversion of such edits fairly effective. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:24, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Would you like another page to maintain? Only kidding but I am quite tempted to try again sans the template. Also, thanks to your note and thinking about it, I did figure out how to cite from a template. Just make 'ref's without the inner 'cite whatever'. So thank you very much. -Susanlesch 08:08, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikilinks as cites

I have noticed that assertions similar to this: "The Olympic Council of Asia has announced that Boracay will host the 2014 Asian Beach Games." are often tagged as needing supporting cites. It seems to me that there is an implied citation of the wikilinked pages is assertions similar to this example, but I see no guidance regarding this in this article. -- Boracay Bill 00:12, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia pages can't be cited on other Wikipedia pages, for issues of circular logic. So it actually does need a citation. -Amarkov moo! 00:14, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Logic circles can be detected and broken. The opposite approach of not being able to cite wikipedia pages on other wikipedia pages, if driven to the limit, leads to an undesirable normalization of all pages, where all pages contain the sum of all the references ever made. Even if you only just start interpreting the rule in that way, you end up making pages top-heavy and unmanageable, and it is a lot of make-work. So don't do that. As stated below for reasons of attaining even marginal efficiency, defer references to the furthest page away from yours (as counted by number of links) --Kim Bruning 13:28, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

The example above is from the Boracay article. You say that mentioning the wikilinked 2014 Asian Beach Games page in asserting that those games will be held on Boracay is insufficient, and that the guideline on this from WP:CITE (considered a standard that all users should follow) is that the outside source which supports that assertion being cited on the wikilinked 2014 Asian Beach Games page isn't sufficient to support the repetition of that assertion on the Boracay page without duplicating the supprting cite of an outside source as well.

It seems to me that this has profound implications throughout wikipedia. For just one example, think of all the pages which mention that the SCOTUS case Brown v. Board of Education resulted in the landmark ruling that the establishment of separate public schools for black and white students inherently unequal, while wikilinking to that article but without duplicating in the Reference section of each of those articles the cite to the outside source supporting that assertion which is present in the Reference section of the Brown v. Board of Education article.

Another example.. take an article like Status of religious freedom by country. That article lists (presently) 33 individual countries, and summarizes info relating to the subject of the article about each. In many cases, the article references a main article about a particular country, wikilinking that main article, and restates or summarizes info from that article without duplicate the supporting cites for each assertion repeated from those articles -- doing that would make for a very large References section.

There are lots and lots of articles out there which repeat assertions from other articles, mentioning and wikilinking the articles from which the repeated assertions are sourced without duplicating the supporting citations from the wikilinked articles from which the assertions are repeated. -- Boracay Bill 07:00, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I have seen people apply this kind of reasoning on pages which are practically blue (like Internet).

The only solution for a page like that would be to recurse through the web of links and coalesce all the links on one page, eliminating duplicates. However, you would find that strict interpretation of this rule (which is both theoretically possible and is theoretically codable in a bot)... well, strict interpretation would leave every single reference ever made attached to that page (and to every other wiki-page).

That is obviously absurd, so that interpretation of the rule cannot be considered correct.

If you're not sure what I just said. Try to add references to Internet, by getting all the references from the subpages. No wait, don't actually do that... just think about what that would mean? The entire list of references would be longer than the article itself. This is a weaker argument than above, but still, you can see that can't quite be right, right?

A third approach is even simpler. If you need all the references on all the pages... then what was the entire point of wikilinks and different wikipages in the first place? They're there to keep blocks of information (and their associated references) separate and manageable.

Finally, as part of a good divide and conquer algorithm, people should defer references to the furthest-away (as counted by number of links to follow) linked page wherever possible. Refactor as appropriate!

--Kim Bruning 13:24, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Kim Bruning and I seem to be on the same page, if perhaps having arrived there by different routes. I think that I'm leaning towards regarding wikilinked pages as implied cites -- with the assertions implicitly attributed to those pages being implicitly expected to be supported by cites on those wikilinked pages. I don't think this can be a hard&fast rule or even a soft&slow guideline but, AFAICS, it is a useful rule of thumb. Would I be causing a problem by adopting that rule of thumb in editing pages? -- Boracay Bill 13:42, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Ouw, on rereading I'm using really formal language here though. I typically try to sound more silly :-P Lemme scratch my head and translate to english sometime... or is it clear enough to most? --Kim Bruning 12:47, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

This is fine unless the linked articles are unreferenced, which is the case a lot of times. Someone shouldn't have to dig through 400 wikilinks to verify something. IvoShandor 13:34, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

(unindent) A rule of thumb I've seen some people advocate is to provide references, not wikilinks, for all quotations, and facts that are likely to be challenged, unless the section indicates there is a main article on the topic (by using Template: Main. Within a section with a Main template, facts need only be wikilinked, not cited, if they are cited in the Main article, but quotations should be cited. This approach seems reasonable to me. --Gerry Ashton 17:22, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

That sounds reasonable to me as well -- As a rule of thumb, do not provide cites for assertions taken from a wikilinked Main Article; also, do not provide cites for assertions taken from a wikilinked article which is implied by the context to be the source of the assertion taken from it; however, do provide cites if the assertions are/contain quotations or are considered likely to be challenged. In any case, if/when items are challenged, provide supporting cites. I think there should be some guidance about this in this Citing sources article, though. -- Boracay Bill 22:57, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Maybe Internet is an extreme example, but would that actually work there? If you tell folks that internet is about
Main article: [[TCP]]
Main article: [[IP]]
, a common service is the
Main article: World Wide Web
, the most traffic is caused by
Main article: Bittorrent
, and that it started out as
Main article: arpanet
. Is that practical?
Eek, that looks awful. I guess not huh? <scratches head>. How would you solve the paragraph above? --Kim Bruning 01:55, 14 May 2007 (UTC) possibly you need to edit/view source to view it as something readable at all

3rd opinion, page numbers and citations

I am in a small dispute over at Talk:Gospel of John. One editor added a sentence that an author held a specific position and cited a book that the author wrote. I asked the editor to please supply a page number with the citation, and my citation request tag has been repeated removed from the article. We have discussed things on talk, and the editor believes that because this page says page numbers are only required when quoting text, that there is no need for a page number. I say, if the author makes the claim that we say he makes in the article, there has to be a page (or pages) where the author makes the same claim in the book. How does it hurt the article or verifiability to simply add the pages numbers to the citations, right? However, the editors have still refused to supply a simply page number. So, is it unreasonable for me to request that they cite the page when the cite a book?-Andrew c 14:17, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Based on the comments on that talk page, it looks like this is a content dispute (does the source actually say what is claimed?) rather than a style dispute (given that the source does say something, is a page number necessary?). You are always free to move the disputed content to the talk page if you feel it is likely to be incorrect. It is up to the person who wants to insert material to satisfy reasonable requests for precise citation of doubtful material. CMummert · talk 17:59, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Add "dubious" to WP:CITE#Tagging_unsourced_material

I think the {{dubious}} tag (see Template_messages) should be mentioned in WP:CITE#Tagging_unsourced_material, as an "in between" action for unverified facts where the editor isn't sure if the statement is harmful, or for cases where the editor believes the statement is harmful if untrue but is not sure if the statement is true or not. The reason being you do not want to delete a statement that turns out to be true or one that turns out to be harmless. Davidwr 12:40, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I think mentioning more templates that serve basically the same purpose will only confuse, and that just presenting {{fact}} should do for now. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:53, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Primary or Secondary Source?

I am editing National Anthem of Manchukuo. I got hold of the government registers for the defunct WWII-era country that is related to this article, and next to the document proclaiming the second anthem there is also an official interpretation of the anthem. Given that anthem was entirely new at that time that there would be no "folklore interpretation", should the official interpretation be considered primary or secondary source? --Samuel CurtisShinichian-Hirokian-- TALK·CONTRIBS 15:25, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I would say it is a primary source, but consult with an expert on this. Your local public or university librarian would be a good person to ask. BTW, you need to cite the source material. If the government registers are publicly accessible, then cite them as you would any other defunct-country public government document. If they are not publicly accessible, consult with an expert on the proper citation. Speaking of citations, the whole article needs to be better cited. Davidwr 16:09, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I know I have cleanup to do, but I would have the citations ready when I go to the library again tomorrow. These registers are publicly accessible.--Samuel CurtisShinichian-Hirokian-- TALK·CONTRIBS 16:24, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd say primary source if there ain't a direct record by the person(s) that ultimately "invented" the interpretation. I.e., closer to the decision-making process. Government files can usually be cited very well, but IONO if you can use the tags for something as non-US as this. Dysmorodrepanis 21:47, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

IMDb Profiles

I've been having some disputes regarding IMDb profiles for movie articles. Some editors use them as references, but do not fully cite them. An editor has stated that there is no need to add a full citation, since there are no clear authors for the profiles. Is the editor correct? Or should I place refimprove tags on the articles and request that editors include full citations? BoricuaeddieTalkContribsSpread the love! 23:43, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

As you will see here. Just linking the page at the bottom is adequate. --Djsasso 00:17, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Please note that "External links" are not references, but pointers to further reading. If a source is used as a reference it should be clearly identified as such either with a footnote or with a listing in the references section. IMDb should be used with caution as a references, as many editors do not consider IMDb a reliable source (except for Writers Guild of America credits, which the WGA provides directly to IMDb). Gimmetrow 15:57, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

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

I don't think this section belongs on this page. I think that the content of this section ought to be integrated with WP:GTL, and the info presented there, not here. It would probably be useful, though, to point up on this page that the WP:GTL page should be consulted for information about organizing and maintaining these sections.

I think that both the info now presented in this section and the info in the WP:GTL#Standard_appendices_and_descriptions section have problems. I don't have time to expand on that right now as I'm leaving on a trip within the hour. I will try to get back to that when I have more time to expand on it. One illustration of what I'm talking about, though, might be the recent edit to this section which added (in part) "A References section, which lists citations in alphabetical order, helps readers to see at a glance the quality of the references used." One problem I have with this is that the References section of most articles I've seen has been populated by the cite.php <ref>, </ref> and <References/> tags -- and this forces items into order-of-occurrence order. -- Boracay Bill 02:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

The suggestion is that the cite.php stuff be under "Notes" (these could just be short form citations) and that the full citations be organized alphabetically under "References". Christopher Parham (talk) 02:25, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
The intro to this WP:CITE page begins: "This page is a style guide, describing how to write citations in articles."
The WP:GTL page intro begins: "The Wikipedia Guide to Layout is an annotated, working example of some of the basics of laying out an article. It is a summary of what some articles look like.".
WP:GTL#Notes says: "A footnote is a note placed at the bottom of a page of a document that comments on, and may cite a reference for, a part of the main text. The connection between the relevant text and its footnote is often indicated with a number or symbol which is used both after the text fragment and before the footnote. "
WP:GTL#References says: "Put under this header, again in a bulleted list, any books, articles, web pages, et cetera that you used in constructing the article and have referenced (cited) in the article."
Contrary to the Bulleted list guidence about References above, common practice is to use the cite.php <ref>, </ref>, and <References> markups to populate the References section with numbered references sorted by the cite.php mechanism into order by order-of-occurrance.
I believe that guidelines about how sections of an article should be organized, how items within sections be numbered, etc. should appear in WP:MOS and/or WP:GTL and/or more detailed pages regarding specific article sections, and that discussions regarding such matters should take place in WP:VPP or, possibly, WP:MOS and/or WP:GTL talk pages. I believe that discussions regarding how sections of articles should be organized are outside of the scope of this article, that this section should be removed from this article, and that discussion about those topics should take place in a more appropriate venue. Please excuse my brusqueness -- I am still traveling and am posting this in haste from an internet cafe. -- Boracay Bill 03:10, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
This guide should explain the mechanisms of creating a notes section, a references section, or both. If we are not going to explain how to do it, this guideline serves no purpose and shoud be deleted. --Gerry Ashton 03:58, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. I think this info should not be presented in several likely-conflicting forms in several separate articles. I think this info should be presented in one article only, and other articles which need to mention this info should point readers to the single article where this is explained fully. AFAICT, this info is presently most comprehensively explained in WP:GTL#Standard_appendices_and_descriptions. Also, I think that this WP:CITE article serves the useful purpose of (as its intro says) describing how to write citations in articles -- and that this purpose is useful in itself without also attempting to explain how article sections containing these cites should be named and organized. It is useful in this article to explain the use of the cite.php tags, citation templates, the ref/note family of templates, a bit about harvard referencing (with a wikilink to the article on that), A bit about relibility of sources (with a wikilink to WP:RS), etc. -- Boracay Bill 03:50, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
The information is useful here. It wouldn't be good for the guidance on this page to be subsumed under the MoS, which is widely ignored, because it gets edited so much. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:29, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
My concern is mainly that the guidance provided in this article contradicts and is inconsistent with the guidance provided in WP:GTL. IMO, providing inconsistent and contradictory guidance is not a good thing. IMO, the practice of providing guidance on the same subject in several separated and separately-maintained places leads to the result that inconsistent and contradictory guidance is provided. -- Boracay Bill 03:46, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand what contradictions you see. However, the layout guide does not make clear that sections of footnotes are often titled "references" if they contain full citations. It also fails to observe that many articles split citation footnotes ("References") and explanatory footnotes ("Notes") into different sections. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:18, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

(unindent) I see in WP:GTL##Standard_appendices_and_descriptions

  • Common appendix sections should be named See also (sometimes named Related topic), Notes, References (or combined with Notes into Notes and references), Further reading (or Bibliography), and External links. Section names may be either in singular or plural form.
  • Order doesn't matter except that Notes and References should be next to one another if both are present.
  • Notes is only for footnotes (explanations or comments on any part of the main text). Reference is only for referenced materials (books, websites etc. cited in the main text). Otherwise Notes and references should be combined.

I see in the relevant section of this article

  • Sections used for footnotes should be named Notes, Footnotes, References. Notes and Footnotes seem to be alternative names for a section containing footnotes but not references. References should contain cites of external sources, and it is useful to maintain this section in alphabetical order.
  • One other optional section, alternatively named External links or Further reading or Bibliography, can contain a bulleted list of any books, articles, web pages, et cetera recommended as further reading.

Few (if any) of the wikipedia articles I've seen seem to follow either of these sets of conventions. Most of the articles I've seen place cites of external sources in a section usually named References but sometimes named Notes, usually populated by cite.php tags, which places the cites, arranged arranged in order of appearance, in a numbered list with links and backlinks hooking refs and matching cites together with one another. Footnotes seem to be rare, I sometimes see them collected into a Notes or Footnotes section late in an article (e.g., British_Museum#Notes, Galaxy#Notes, Ethic of reciprocity#Footnotes, Nature#Notes, Plato#Notes, but I more often see them placed below tables (e.g., ASCII#ASCII_control_characters, Religion in India#Demographics, Kent#Economy, Planet#Dwarf_planets).

My point? (1) the guidance offered in this article and in WP:GTL seem to conflict. (2) As a practical matter, neither seems to reflect actual practice within wikipedia very well. I wonder how much practical help guidance in this area from either or both of these article is to editors. -- Boracay Bill 07:19, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I tend to make any footnotes a subsection of a (Harvard citation) References section. Dysmorodrepanis 10:20, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Giving plot details of works of fiction

Say an article were describing the plot of a work of fiction that's available online legally. Is it a good idea to cite the work itself when giving plot points? If so, do you need a separate reference for every single plot point?

I'm mainly asking because the list of reference links for Light Warriors (8-Bit Theater), an article about webcomic characters, seems to be getting unnecessarily and ridiculously long, although I'm sure there are many other examples for this phenomenon, especially in webcomic articles. --R. Wolff 15:15, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

The amount of detail in a plot description is a separate issue from citing the source. At a minimum, the source should be cited. Since works of fiction don't usually have an index, it would be better to indicate where in the source each major plot detail comes from. The method would vary depending on what kind of source it is; page number for a book, minute for a video, etc. --Gerry Ashton 17:59, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Multiple citations per statement

The note about Light Warriors (8-Bit Theater) above brings up an issue. In most articles, having one citation for a sentence generally seems sufficient. If more citations are necessary, they are often combined into a single footnote. Only in highly contentious articles would multiple citations per clause seem justifiable, to me. Is this mentioned anywhere, and if not, would it be appropriate to have text here to the effect that multiple citations should generally be combined into one footnote, if possible? Gimmetrow 15:57, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Is this necessary, or are we talking about instruction creep? I'm concerned because putting multiple sources into a single footnote is appropriate only when the sources aren't used for other footnotes. So if you're going to add this exception to the guideline, you need to add an exception to the exception.
My sense is that editors do a pretty good job of deciding when to use multiple sources, as separate footnotes or in a single footnote, and that where they do it wrong, someone else comes along and corrects the problem, from which those who did it wrong can learn to do it right.
In other words, if this is a hypothetical problem - if in fact there aren't fights raging throughout Wikipedia on how to handle this issue - then let's not expand the guideline with relatively unimportant details. People tend to read guidelines only after someone disagrees with what they've done and pointed to a guideline as support, so it's not as if expanding this guideline is likely to prevent many mistakes in the future. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 21:21, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
It's not hypothetical. Gimmetrow 21:25, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Citing Sources for Plot Summaries

I've seen many articles with long plot summaries but no references. Are plot summaries written by the authors of the articles considered original research? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Boricuaeddie (talkcontribs) 01:17, 8 May 2007 (UTC).

Sorry. I've never forgotten to sign before. BoricuaeddieTalkContribsSpread the love! 01:19, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Summaries are not original research. However, if the source is not cited, how are we to know that it is a summary, and not an original plot written by the person posting it to Wikipedia? --Gerry Ashton 01:38, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Common sense says that a plot summary about the book or movie this article is all about are sourced from the very book or movie. No further citation is needed. You should put the book or movie in the references section, in proper bibliographic format. This is one of those times when not using an explicit reference is not only forgivable but almost the norm. Now, if you are writing a plot summary for something other than what this article is about, then by all means cite properly. For example, if the article is about an author and you write a summary of one of his books, then cite it properly as you would anything else. davidwr 09f9(talk) 04:20, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Providing full bibliographic information is important. Different editions of works may be dramatically different -- think extended DVD versions of films, but sometimes this is true of books as well...Down to a Sunless Sea comes to mind. I don't think that inline citations are necessary or useful in general for a plot summary. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:48, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Page numbers and full citations

The Full citations section is a little confusing to some editors (though to me it is clear). The text clearly states that page numbers are essential and that publisher info and ISBN are optional. However, the listed examples have both the publisher info and ISBN but no page numbers listed. Thus creating a discrepancy. I am currently in a small dispute with another editor at Talk:Gospel of John over including page numbers. I have requested that the editor include page numbers for specific inline citations, and there has been way too much drama over this one small thing.

For WP:CITE, would it make sense to add page numbers in the example citations listed under the "Full Ciations" section? Or have I grossly misunderstood the text portion of the guidelines (also, if interested, you are welcome to give a third opinion over the dispute at Talk:Gospel of John). Thanks for your consideration.-Andrew c 17:12, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

I have fixed the section mentioned by Andrew c in two ways. The description claimed the example was for a book by two authors, but in fact the examples were for two books by the same author in the same year. I fixed that, and I also changed the hypothetical examples to real books, and added page numbers. --Gerry Ashton 18:02, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Much appreciated. Good catch on the "two authors" thing.-Andrew c 18:22, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I think your change has added confusion; in Harvard referencing the page number would usually be cited inline, not included in the full citation in the reference section. The whole section is confusing because, while page numbers are essential in general, they are in no way essential to the full citations and will often be included elsewhere. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:08, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
The "... and page numbers would usually be added at the end." bit is confusing to me. At the end of what? In what sort of format? For example, presume that the text contains two references to two different pages in Clancy's Executive Orders, perhaps this article is suggesting that those references in the body of the text should look something like this: One reference in the text.[Clancy 1996:12] ...(several paragraphs of text)... Another reference in the text.[Clancy 1996:34]
and also wondering whether or not the citation also should have page numbers mentioned at its end, something like:
  • Clancy, T. (1996). Executive Orders. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 0-399-14218-5 - Pages 12 and 34
Or, using the ref harv and note label templates to provide useful links and backlinks, possibly something like this: One reference in the text.{{ref harv|clancy1996|Clancy 1996|a}}:12 ...(several paragraphs of text)... Another reference in the text, but using the template differently.{{ref harv|clancy1996|Clancy 1996:34|b}} Or, using the ref label template, possibly something like this:[clancy1996p56-78]
(... numerous paragraphs of vertical separation ...)
I would hope that this article would clarify and provide guidance about such things. -- Boracay Bill 00:12, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
If using endnotes and only a Notes section, without a References section, the Chicago Manual of Style (1982) on page 409 indicates the page number should be separated from the rest of the note with a comma, for example:
1. David Bettleson, The Lazy South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), 90.
Ordinarily with endnotes, citations from the same book can be shortened after the source is first mentioned. Later in the endnotes, a citation to the preceeding work might look like this:
18. Bettleson, 90.
The problem with doing this in Wikipedia is that the order of parts of the article may be rearranged, and references may be inserted and removed; few editors take the trouble to makes sure that full and shortened citations still appear in the correct order after the changes. Some articles deal with this by having a Notes section in which all the citations are shortened, but include page numbers when appropriate. There is also a References section in which the full citations (without page numbers) are listed in alphabetical order.
Since Wikipedia has no standards concerning how to cite sources properly, except that the information should be complete, and consistent methods should be used within one article, I see little hope of giving a concise and clear explaination. --Gerry Ashton 01:28, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Year articles

Virtually every year article (e.g., just a random bunch of choices, 1763, 1451, 1128, 205 BC etc.) has no sourcing, some explicitly say they are based on what WP articles linked there (e.g., 455 BC). So the question is: are a few thousand articles the "occasional exception" noted in the guideline, or should the guideline either be modified to be more inclusive, or should all the content of virtually every year article be tagged with {{fact}} and after no one bothers to notice or repeat the sources in the linked articles then be deleted? Seems to me the guideline should yield to common sense, relying on editors at the various articles that link to 1763; however, without a leap of trust we won't know that when someone adds "George Bush is born" to 1693 that George Bush really links there, or the tag is added to 2000 and we don't know that even though there exists a link, that link has nothing to do with his birth. It is a series of the most linked articles at WP so if we believe people follow links, the issue is a common one with a high degree of noticeability particularly where vandalism, misinformation, or just unsourced stuff gets added to already unsourced articles. Carlossuarez46 02:32, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Just a quick follow-up: I came across Wikipedia:Most_referenced_articles, which is more than a year out of date, but there is no reason to think that the relative positions of steady-state articles would move too much. 2000 appears to be the most linked article in all WP, 2005 seemed to be 3rd (United States of America being second), and other years if interleaved in the non-year articles would be fairly represented in the top 10, top 50, top 100, top XXX... Carlossuarez46 02:41, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Despite being the most linked-to article in WP, 2000 has not a single citation, source, reference, footnote, or anything, but one editor did flag that a citation was needed for the purported population change in Europe. Carlossuarez46 02:44, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Note the discussion section Wikilinks as cites, above -- Boracay Bill 03:13, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
That discussion doesn't seem to be consensus: of 5 participants, one is clearly against any wikilinks as sources, another's comments are ambiguous (relating only to when "main" articles are available and flagged thus apparently), which is not the case in any of the year categories. If however, the "result" is consensus, it should be added to the guideline; the fact that it hasn't seems IMHO to indicate that there may not be consensus on the subject. So it should be teed up. Carlossuarez46 18:02, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


This page previously gave no hint that Template:Citation has additional linking functionality that makes it particularly suitable for Harvard referencing used with inline {{Harvard citation}} templates, and effectively recommended {{cite book}} and {{cite journal}} which lack that functionality, but are a complete pain to change over if an article is "upgraded" to Harvard referencing. Having raised the problem at Wikipedia talk:Citation templates#Template:Harvard reference obsolete? I've boldly amended both articles to draw attention to this template as an option. ..... dave souza, talk 12:58, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

This may be an improvement in many cases over using the <ref></ref> tags and footnotes, rather than Harvard citations. However, it intertwines the use of citation templates with the linking mechanism between the inline citation and the reference list. When using <ref></ref> together with citation templates, one could always use a hand-formatted entry for an unusual source, for which no appropriate parameters existed in any citation template. But with Harvard referencing and Template:Citation, some sources will be excluded because there are no appropriate parameters to cite them. Am I wrong? How would you cite an unusual source that requires a hand-formatted reference list entry? --Gerry Ashton 17:49, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry to be rather slow coming back on this. My first experience of this was with Charles Darwin, where we've been a bit inconsistent in that where sources seemed inappropriate for the References section we've used simpler hand-formatted references which, like the inline {{Harvard citation}} templates, are enclosed by the <ref></ref> tags and so appear in the Citations section. From a practical viewpoint, if the Template:Citation is used inline it's easy to convert to the Harvard referencing in future, but if "Cite book" etc. templates are used it's a lot of work to change over. Having produced a Harvard References section, it's very easy to re-use these references in other articles without having to hunt through the text for the relevant inline citation, so I've come round to this approach. In the Darwin article we've also used a Notes section for comments or quotations, and perhaps to a Harvard purist the non-standard situations might be better there, but I'm well pleased with the way it's turned out. ... dave souza, talk 17:35, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for giving an example that illustrates the system you had in mind; I can frame my question a bit better now. I'm interested in the case where a source should appear in the Reference section, because it is an ordinary source, but it can't be put there using {{Harvard reference…}} because there is some aspect of the source that needs to be described, but {{Harvard reference…}} has no parameter for it. It appears one could put a hand formatted reference in the Reference section, but I suspect there would be no link between the Citations section and References section. --Gerry Ashton 19:07, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Further apologies for being slow, got diverted again. As far as I can see there's no difficulty in adding bits outside the inline Harvnb template or the citation template in the References section: as an example the References at Charles Darwin using the now obsolescent {{Harvard reference…}} template had no parameter for "Retrieved on....", so we simply added that and a formatted date outside the template, and it works with no difficulty. Similarly, I've experimented with adding text before and after the inline Harvnb template, and that appears in the citations list with no adverse effect on the linking function. So from my uninformed viewpoint the system works as long as the inline Harvnb template and the References section {{Citation…}} template include the author name (or "anonymous" if the author is unnamed) and date, and anything else added outside the template appears in the relevant place, but doesn't affect the functioning of the templates. Hope that answers your concern. .. dave souza, talk 08:33, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Some info related to this appears in the Multiple cites in one work section below, which discusses how a harvard reference in the text can hook to a note in the References section, which can then hook to a full citation in a Bibliography section -- with links and backlinks for navigation. As explained there, it would be fragile and difficult to maintain -- it needs some helper templates to hide the details. I've fiddled with this a bit and have two almost-working templates similar in concept to {{ref label}} and {{note label}} to implement it. If the templates were named {{ref bib}} and {{note bib}}, they would be used something like the following:
blah blah blah.{{ref bib|Clark|2003|a|15|}} blah blah blah.{{ref bib|Clark|2003|b|19|}} blah blah blah.{{ref bib|Jones|2000||5|a}} blah blah blah.{{ref bib|Jones|2000||15-16|b}}
  • {{note bib|Clark|2003|a|15|}}{{cite book|author=clark|year=2003|title=2003, part 1}}
  • {{note bib|Clark|2003|b|19|}}{{cite book|author=clark|year=2003|title=2003, part 2}}
  • {{note bib|Jones|2000||5|a}}{{note bib|Jones|2000||15-16|b}}{{cite book|author=Jones|year=2000|title=Book about something}}
I'm not enough of a template coder to easily take these templates from almost-working to really-working. If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to pass the current template sources on as-is. -- Boracay Bill 01:48, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
This is way above my head, but as far as I'm aware the current Template:Citation does all this, if need be with bits added outside the templates as above. Note that at Charles Darwin we have a Notes section using Roman numerals in {{Ref_label|C|III|none}} as well as the Citations section using Arabic numerals, and it all seems to work. .. dave souza, talk 08:33, 28 May 2007 (UTC) ... correction dave souza, talk 09:13, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
The {{Citation}} template formats the supplied parameters into a citation. {{Citation}} is one member of a family of citation templates. See WP:CITET.
*{{ Citation | last1=Lincoln | first1=A. | last2=Washington | first2=G. | last3=Adams | first3=J. | title=All the Presidents' Names | publisher=The Pentagon | place=Home Base, New York | volume=XII | edition=2nd | year=2007 }}.
  • Lincoln, A.; Washington, G.; Adams, J. (2007), All the Presidents' Names XII (2nd ed.), Home Base, New York: The Pentagon .
The discussion just previous, though, was more about where to place the citation within the article than about how to generate it. Alternatives include (1) wrapping the {{Citation}} between <Ref> and </Ref>, which would place it in the numbered list produced by expansion of <References/> and (2) manually placing the citation in a References, Notes, or References and notes section (seeWP:GTL) or perhaps in a Further reading or Bibliography section. If the first option is used, links and backlinks are automatically generated. If the second option is chosen, links and backlinks can be generated between {{Ref}}-family templates in the article text and matching {{Notes}}-family templates placed just prior to the {{Citation}}. See Template_talk:Ref#Documentation. -- Boracay Bill 00:21, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

a dilemma about attribution to correct author!

...apologies if I'm being dim-witted, but I'm a bit confused about something. I am currently reworking the article on Joseph Szigeti, who was a writer as well as a violinist so a lot of my references come from his own books. (His memoirs, and a book about violin playing as he understood it.) However, in one case, the reference I need is from the introduction to one of Sz.'s books, and the introduction was written by a friend of his, one Mr. Spike Hughes. So who do I attribute the reference to? I suspect I should use something like "Hughes, Spike; introduction to Szigeti on the Violin by Joseph Szigeti, Dover Publications, 1979", but could someone advise me on what best to do? Thanks, K. Lásztocska 03:56, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Your approach sounds good. If you want something more official, look in a style guide to see how a chapter in a book would be cited when each chapter is written by a different author. --Gerry Ashton 15:36, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I'll check Strunk and White just to be sure. K. Lásztocska 17:44, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Peter Nehr

~~My name is Anita Nehr. I am the subject's wife and was assigned to establish the Wikipedia listing for my husband and to set his history down. I placed a basic outline down and was going to go back and put things in more detail as I got more information from his family as most speak German and I have to translate. I find the site now "Locking me out". How to I gain exclusive access to complete this historical editing of his page and further updating as his political career progresses. this is my only contribution to him as my gift to him. Please help me to understand what it is I am doing wrong. Thank you in advance for your help. Anita

Anita, I see no indication that you have been locked out of Wikipedia. Your user name is Anitanehr and your account is not blocked. What do you mean that you are locked out? On the other hand, what do you mean by gaining "exclusive access"? No one has exclusive access to Wikipedia articles; everyone has equal access. Also, the fact that you are the subjects wife and were "assigned to establish the Wikipedia listing for [your] husband" suggests the potential for violating the Wikipedia:Conflict of interest policy. I am putting a copy of this exchange on your Talk page. Finell (Talk) 07:21, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Quick Question about Lexis-Nexis news archive

I have access to Lexis-Nexis through my University account and I wanted to make sure that citations were ok. Normally I just add the citation as it appears in the L-N archive. So two questions: (1)Is it necessary to show that the info came via this online resource, and if so, (2)is there a template to show that I accessed it through L-N? (I normally use the 'citenews' template for references). R. Baley 09:33, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

One standard is to simply note at the end of the citation that it was retrieved from Lexis Nexis on so-and-so date. Providing a URL is usually not helpful since it is a private database (and the URL may change depending on your provider). I do not know if this practice works with the citation template. Christopher Parham (talk) 09:39, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. i don't know if this is a good solution or not (it certainly isn't elegant). But for now I've decided to add the code:
<nowiki>*Reference accessed via Lexis-Nexis.</nowiki> below the reference section.
Then if I use the nowiki code and * just prior to the last name, in the last name section of the citenews template, the * appears just right of the wikilink for each reference so that it looks like this. This is a lot of trouble though, any thoughts? R. Baley 20:52, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
You could also write:
<ref>{{cite news|blah blah blah}} Accessed via Lexis Nexis.</ref>
The advantage of this is that it would not corrupt the "last name" field with an asterisk, which contradicts one of the main supposed advantages of using the citation template in the first place. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:32, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I prefer your solution, it's less "code", and I have to apply text to every ref as it stands now anyway. Much appreciated. R. Baley 21:45, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Multiple formats?

Hey, just something I've been thinking about as I peruse and edit etc... Doesn't it make sense for Wikipedia to just pick one reference style and use it uniformly? That way it can both be optimized (in terms of templates and such, for formatting/style consistency), as well as predictable. It just seems strange that an author can just pick whatever citation system s/he feels is best. I personally feel footnotes make the most sense, since they are automatically updated by a single tag in the article body, rather than the other two systems which require the maintenence of separate reference lists. Of course, reference lists can be useful for people looking to do further research, but is that enough to justify including those other formats? And isn't it ironic that the article on Wikipedia:Harvard_referencing uses footnotes? Yuletide 20:16, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

It is impossible to build consensus for any particular reference style, so we are unlikely to pick one anytime soon. The cite.php system has problems that would not make it a good choice for a uniform reference system, were we to want one. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:24, 15 May 2007 (UTC)


What is wikipedia's policy on citing sources that are not available on the web. Say for example citing a source from an old book with the ISBN or citing a journal. Short of taking a walk to the library there is no way to verify that the source actually exists or if it does is the information cited correctly. I see this quite frequently in many articles.Muntuwandi 22:53, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

This is perfectly acceptable. (As an addendum, many journals are available online through subscription services.) Christopher Parham (talk) 22:58, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
but what if someone makes one up. Many do not have access to JSTOR or other subscription services, how then can they be verified. This is a little strange because if someone cites from a website there is often rigorous debate over the quality or reliability of the source as everyone can read it. But if someone cites from a journal that is not available online this debate will be absent because not everyone has access to it. As a result Journals will appear as gospel truth because nobody can check them.Muntuwandi 23:06, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Plenty of people can check them; you can at least use free online resources like Google Scholar to check the existence of a paper. In practice we don't have a significant problem with this. Do you have a particular instance in mind where you believe someone is manufacturing citations to journal articles? Christopher Parham (talk) 23:15, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Refusing to allow references to sources that are not available for free, online, is roughly equivalent to burning all the books that are not yet online. Such a policy is intolerable. --Gerry Ashton 23:23, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

There was just an incident where a user posted some controversial information claiming it was cited the table.I could not seem to find the source of the information based on the references.
But if google scholar can track references, wouldn't it make more sense then to attach links to google scholar search results.Muntuwandi 23:45, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
All Google Scholar will tell you is that this book exists, which you can easily find out online. If you believe that this information doesn't reflect what is in the book, you might have to go to the library to compare. Any other editorial problems with the information may be addressable via discussion, without even a copy on hand. Christopher Parham (talk) 23:50, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I think that wikipedia should encourage users to cite from the web so that we can avoid those trips to the library, in some cases libraries may not even have the journals in question. Preference should be given to sources that can be verified at an instant.Muntuwandi 00:00, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
All other things being equal, websources probably are somewhat preferred, but reliability is by far the more important concern, and the most reliable sources tend to be peer-reviewed, professionally edited books and journal articles that aren't freely available on the web. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:06, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
When possible I tend to use the amazon reader or google books previews such as [1] or [2] with page numbers. Not all pages of the ebooks are available for preview but if they are it will save any reader a trip to the library to confirm.Muntuwandi 02:53, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Other things are seldom equal. In my opinion, it is more important to use the most reliable sources than the most readily available ones online; most Wikipedians still have access to libraries. Most reliable books and many journals still are not on the Web. On the other hand, a large percentage of what is on the Web is not not sufficiently reliable. Finell (Talk) 07:06, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Proper way of citing references

I would just like to ask for help regarding the proper way of citing the references section of this article: Unreferenced Section of Fly Fishing. Should a separate section be added (may be a 'Notes' section) so that those footnotes be separated from those references using the Harvard referencing method. Bu b0y2007 15:34, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Unless I missed it, the article does not appear to use any Harvard referencing; that is, you don't see anything like (Schullery, 1996: 12) in the article. Since the article is already using endnotes for citations, Harvard referencing should not be used.
You could separate the notes section from the references section, but if you did, all the references, including those already mentioned in the notes section, should appear in alphabetical order in the references section. --Gerry Ashton 16:01, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Multiple cites in one work

Yes, I know this would be non-trivial, BUT...

Check out the Battle of Ia Drang. Note that the majority of cites come from a single source, just different pages. I know I could simply insert a bunch of ref/ibid. pp.43/ref, but then if the article gets edited you might end up with the ibid above the ref.

Is there any way we could automate this? IE, if the parser sees that a bunch of CITEs are the same, could it not use a more compact format?

Maury 19:50, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Simply putting "Moore and Galloway, 289-290" would be a simply way to solve this. I would oppose the feature you suggest; I find the existing compacting (specifically the way it destroys the convention of numbering footnotes sequentially) is annoying and reduces the usefulness of the "refname" feature. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:59, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm not sure what you are referring to at the end there. Which compactifying do you refer too? Can you give an example of the problem you mention? I'm not sure I'm familiar with it. Maury 20:20, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
For instance the second source in USS_Wisconsin_(BB-64)#Notes. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:29, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Ahhh, I see! Well I think the good news is that my proposal might actually help these situations. I am not proposing that they be collected into a single line, as in this example, but simply have the full citation shortened on those following lines. Does that make sense? Maury 21:17, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
You could have a Notes section, where all the citations, even the first, are shortened, and also have a References section, where the sources are listed in alphabetical order with full details. The disadvantage of this would be that by clicking on the footnote number, you could go to the short footnote, but you would have to find the long reference by eye (or use the search feature of your browser). --Gerry Ashton 21:34, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
One way to do something like this might be something like the following:
1. inline: <sup>Clark 2003a:48</sup><ref>{{ref label|Clark2003a|^|^}}Clark 2003a:48</ref>
2. inline: <sup>Jones 2001:57</sup><ref>{{ref label|Jones2001|a|a}}Jones 2001:57</ref>
3. inline: <sup>Jones 2001:125</sup><ref>{{ref label|Jones2001|b|b}}Jones 2001:125</ref>
4. inline: <sup>Clark 2003b:75</sup><ref>{{ref label|Clark2003b|^|^}}Clark 2003b:75</ref>
5. in a Notes or References or Notes and References section:
6. in a Bibliography section:
  • {{note label|Clark2003a|^|^}}{{cite book|author=Clark, J.|title=Book One|Year=2003}}
  • {{note label|Jones2001|a|a}}{{note label|Jones2001|b|b}}{{cite book|author=Jones, J.|title=A Book|Year=2001}}
  • {{note label|Clark2003b|^|^}}{{cite book|author=Clark, J.|title=Book Two|Year=2003}}
1-4 should give you the familiar inline cite.php links to entries in a References section, each labeled with a recognizable Harvard referenceish superscripted label giving (author+work year:page) info. Readers not recognizing the work from the label could click the link and go to the References section entry, where a second click on the link to the work should get them to the full citation in the Bibliography section. Clicking the proper backlink in the Bibliography section should navigate back to the References section entry, where clicking the backlink there should navigate back to the inline ref in the text. In practice, though, this is very fragile and would probably be quickly broken by multiple wiki editors updating the page. -- Boracay Bill 00:10, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
edited the above to show the page info in the Reference section entries. -- Boracay Bill 01:17, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Well my biggest complaint with the cite system is that it's too much work, and it seems the last suggestion, while addressing the layout problem, dramatically increases the workload? Out of curiosity, what is that "note" template? One of my complaints about the engine is that sometimes I want to put footnotes into the article, but most people use REF tags for this. Is there a better way? Maury 14:27, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

What is so bad about ref tags for footnotes? (Actually, that's the other primary purpose of the tag, or maybe even the pre-cite.php idea) I use it a lot and find it rather convenient. OTOH, I don't use ref tags for citations that much, so I can have a References and a Notes section. See for example Penguin. Dysmorodrepanis 22:04, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I do not seriously suggest that what I described above be done -- It would be much too fragile. To make it practical, helper templates would be needed to hide the details. I don't know about better ways than <ref>, </ref>, and <references/>, but there are other ways. The {{ref label}} and {{note label}} templates are often used for putting footer notes below inline tables, for example. (e.g. in ASCII#ASCII_control_characters). -- Boracay Bill 00:32, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Have you looked at the proposal for m:Wikicite? (SEWilco 04:57, 21 May 2007 (UTC))
FYI, we're actually doing a pilot trial of m:Wikicite and m:Wikicat in the next few weeks on a server at my college, so this may come to fruition. Walkerma 05:55, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
One requirement that I would put on any such interface is that it facilitate frequent saves, because Wikipedia experiences frequent glitches, and it would be foolhardy for anyone to write more than a few sentences before saving the changes. --Gerry Ashton 01:21, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

"Can" we cite this source?

I laughed when I saw this edit, though it does raise a serious point:

"from ingredients on can. i don't know how to cite a can"

It's a reliable source, but hard to cite. Any suggestions? Walkerma 16:53, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I've added cites of other sources. -- Boracay Bill 02:12, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! The article is much better! Still, does anyone know how to cite a list of ingredients off the product itself? Walkerma 03:06, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
I would just treat the name of the product as the title, and the manufacturer as the author or publisher (some citation formats seem to lean toward treating a corporation as an author, others as a publisher). In the area that the citation format reserves for special notes about the form of the publication, just put "product label".
Yes, this seems sensible! Thanks a lot, Walkerma 16:09, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Indexing cited sources via templates

I don't know if this is the right place to ask this, or if the issue is already addressed by the existing templates; please point me in the right direction if so. It occurred to me that it would be useful to know where a given work is cited. If something is cited using one of the standard templates, is there any way to find all the articles that cite it? This could be of interest in a number of ways -- for example, replacing an unreliable source with a more reliable one -- as well as simply being an interesting fact about a source. E.g. I would like to know which articles cite Frank M. Stenton's "Anglo-Saxon England", because though it is a major reference, it is also quite old, and there are more recent references that could be cited that would have more recent information. Mike Christie (talk) 02:28, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Beyond looking for it on Google with the domain limited to Wikipedia, as far as I know there are not yet any special applications which do this. Christopher Parham (talk) 02:33, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Does m:Biblio have that ability? (SEWilco 04:54, 21 May 2007 (UTC))

"Footnotes come after punctuation"

Do they? Because if they do, a reference that pertains to the last sentence of a paragraph is indistinguishable from one that pertains to the entire paragraph. As it is now, it might be even in violation of WP:CSB I'd bet (the "ref after fullstop" format is not a global standard). Dysmorodrepanis 11:10, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

This rule applies only to a footnote that is adjacent to a punctuation mark, and it is based on typographic appearance. Further, the rule is not limited to sentence ending punctuation; it applies to every punctuation mark. If there is a footnote earlier in the paragraph, there is no ambiguity about a footnote at the end of the last sentence. If not, and you are concerned about potential ambiguity, you can rewrite the last sentence or the paragraph to avoid the ambiguity. Or you can ignore the ambiguity because it is not so terrible in the scheme of things, and is far better than the more common problem of insufficient adherence to WP:SOURCE. English WP is written in the English language, so following the conventions of that language does not violate WP:CSB. On the other hand, it is nice to see another editor concerned about such fine points! Finell (Talk) 06:53, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Is The Book of General Ignorance a valid source?

I don't know whether this question has been raised already. I have spent some time studying Wikipedia policy discussion pages looking for prior coverage of the point. The book (TBOGI) is a phenomenon & a bestseller, and its cover is an illustration in the above linked Wikipedia article. It covers a great many topics but does so very briefly and, by its style and nature, does not itself give references. So, although it presents a collection of purported facts about a wide range of general knowledge topics, assures us that the statements it makes have been researched carefully by the people at QI, and (judging from its sales) is clearly being widely read, it is perhaps not quite like any major encyclopedia in the degree of authority that can be ascribed to it. The important point, and the problem from the point of view of this query, is that it appears to make some claims that remain contentious without itself indicating which ones can be so regarded. To give just one small example, TBOGI says that Champagne (sparkling wine) was invented in England. The current Wikipedia article Champagne (wine) says the idea came from Russia, but using stronger bottles developed England. This might lead to these alternative consequences:

  • TBOGI is not a reliable source and Wikipedia article content should not be changed relying on it as a source. This is a major exclusion.
  • TBOGI is a reliable source and perhaps many articles, that on Champagne included, could be altered basing information on what TBOGI says. This is likely to lead to a considerable number of changes and is a fairly major inclusion because of the number of topics the quite small book touches on in passing, simply because (unlike most other encyclopedias or compendium-type books) it is dedicated to topics about which key questions are widely thought to have answers different from those it gives, and probably some Wikipedia entries differ from its findings. Has anyone addressedthis issue already? Has anyone been doing any of the work of going through TBOGI seeing to what extent Wikipedia agrees or disagrees with it?

Iph 19:36, 22 May 2007 (UTC)iph

Who is the publisher? To be considered a reliable source, it should be published by a reputable publisher. Note that the standards for referencing sources found in WP:CITE and WP:NOR only apply to Wikipedia articles; reputable publishers can do whatever they want so long as they don't commit plagarism. --Gerry Ashton 20:20, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Faber and Faber. For more information (of which plenty is already available in Wikipedia) see General Ignorance#Books, and the article on John Lloyd who co-wrote it and is the guiding hand behind QI which spawned it. Iph 22:40, 22 May 2007 (UTC)iph
Pursuing the main question: I know it may be difficult to lay down any alternative policy that could work; but it is is surely established by past experience that having a book published by a reputable publisher does not guarantee that everything in that book is 100% accurate information; and the kind of book that focusses on presenting statements that contradict previously supposedly well-known "facts" must carry the risk of presenting as certain some findings that are still controversial; my point in raising the point about this particular book at all is that it (and any similar books before or since) is unlike all other non-fiction books which one might cite as authorities: it is neither an encyclopedia with the weight of authority such as a Britannica, nor a specialist book on any given topic (such as a properly researched history title in a narrow fields, or a biography etc.) This is why simply following existing standard policies for authorities may not be entirely adequate. I should perhaps emphasize that I have not against this book; I own a copy, find it fascinating, and would just love to be 100% confident that every statement in it is 100% correct; but I perceive this risk.

By the way I noticed at least one Wikipedian, called QI elf, who may perhaps (judging by the username) be connected with TBOGI. Iph 23:46, 22 May 2007 (UTC)iph

The location of citations

In general it is considered good practice to place all the references (e.g the source where one got the information from) between "ref" and "/ref". In this case all references ae shown at the bottom of the page in a section called "references" or "notes".

However, on the articles related to religions (e.g. Islam) many scholars cite verses from the religion's holy scriptures, or sayings of an important figure in that religion. Thus wikipedians, quite correctly, have begin to either add references to the Quran, or even provide the verse of the Quran.

My question is: should these references to the Quran be put in a "ref""/ref" markup? Please note that the citations to the Quran are actual links using a template.Thus a reference would look like this.

The Quran ([Quran 1:151]) teaches Muslims to deal kindly with their parents.

Or the sentence could look like this:

The Quran teaches Muslims to deal kindly with their parents.[2]

One thing to be noted is that, often there are many verses in the Quran that are cited. Thus something could look like this.

The Quran ([Quran 3:63], [Quran 4:64], [Quran 13:36], [Quran 39:67], [Quran 52:43], [Quran 60:12], [Quran 72:2] and [Quran 72:20] ) commands Muslims not commit polytheism.

Putting the verses as references would make the sentece look like this.

The Quran commands Muslims not commit polytheism.[3]

What do you guys think?Bless sins 14:24, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

It's not uncommon in literature focusing on a single text to use short parenthetical citations for the text in question while putting all other citations in footnotes. Additionally, adopting standards of the relevant academic field is never a bad idea; not knowing anything about Islamic literature I wouldn't know if this applies here. Christopher Parham (talk) 15:59, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
The issue seems similar to quotations from the Bible. There are many editions, and they all say pretty much the same thing, and use pretty much the same book names, chapters, and verses. Pagination, however, would vary greatly from one edition to another. In this situation, giving verse numbers is more useful than giving page numbers from a certain edition. If it is known that there are important differences in the way different editions treat a certain passage, a footnote that states the edition would be important. --Gerry Ashton 17:27, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Source backs up fact, but the rest of it is pretty biased

I tried to find English speaking sources to verify that German politican Heiner Geißler recently joined attac. There is an abundance of sources in German, but the only non-blog English source I could immediately find was this. The problem is that while that link seems ok to verify the assertion, the rest of it seems somewhat biased and not very journalistically neutral or professional. So my question is: Can I still use this link, simply to back up the fact that Geißler joined attac? I'm not sure, so I'm using reliable German speaking sources from Der Spiegel in the meantime. I'd be grateful for any advice. —AldeBaer 17:44, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

LaRouche publications aren't allowed as sources on anything except the LaRouche movement in articles about them, and even then with restrictions, per V, BLP, NOR, and two ArbCom cases. It's better to ask questions like this on WT:V, because this page is about how to write citations, not about reliable sources. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:30, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
I see, thanks. —AldeBaer 20:22, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

References that link to illegal content

I have removed the reference links to the website which distributes illegal fan translations for the games Tsukihime and Fate/stay night. Both of my edits were reverted, and I have removed them again. I have brought up the discussion on both of those articles' talk pages, referring them to Wikipedia:External links#Restrictions on linking and to a discussion at Wikipedia talk:External links#Linking to illegal content. I have brought up the issue here since at WP:EL, it specifically says not to provide links (though web references DO in fact provide links) and at Tsukihime, User:Ganryuu reverted my change under the fact that the website was used as a reference, seen in this edit by him. I'm sure that referencing a site that distributes illegal content should be removed.-- 00:17, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

That section probably shouldn't even be in the article. The translation doesn't appear to be official, and I doubt any reliable third-party sources have covered it. ShadowHalo 02:27, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
In general, links used as references should not simply be removed (in this case, the link and the rest of the section, which is trivial, ought to be removed; as ShadowHalo says, the reason a bad link is used as a reference is that no good references are available). Note that WP:EL at the top limits itself to links not being used for citing material in an article. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:19, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Broken CIA World Factbook URL

At least several pages still link to the old URL, [3], instead of the new one, [4]. The old one doesn't even give a redirect. A way of automatically locating and/or replacing them would be a really good idea. Thehotelambush 21:52, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Fortunately such a service exists, see Special:Linksearch. Good luck, Christopher Parham (talk) 21:55, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I counted 228 hits on pages with the old URL with [this google search]. -- Boracay Bill 21:56, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to request a bot. It seems the CIA has made a similar change before (see Wikipedia:Bot_requests/Archive_8#Create_a_bot_to_update_CIA_World_Factbook_links here), so it should be easy. Thehotelambush 22:33, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and since most of the links are under "References" or "Notes", that search only uncovers a small percentage of them. There are actually >2000! Requesting help from user Alphachimp. Thehotelambush 22:49, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

How to cite tabular data

I just added a bunch of detailed information to East African shilling#Coins in the form of tables. I'd like to reference my source, but am not sure how. This whole section is sourced from one book. I can use {{cite book}}, but don't know how to indicate that the whole section (or perhaps one ref for each table?) is from the one book. Can anyone help me? Ingrid 00:27, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Just put a citation at the beginning or end of the tables, and write in the footnote that it covers all the tabular information. A good place for the citation would be at the end of an introductory paragraph before the tables. Such a paragraph would be useful anyway, to explain things like what is meant by catalog numberChristopher Parham (talk) 00:30, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

How do I cite a book with multiple authors and one senior editor?

I'm using {{cite book}}. I tried:

{{cite book|last=Krause|first=Chester L.|coauthors=Clifford Mishler; Colin R. Bruce II (senior editor)|title=SCWC|isbn=0873495934}}

which shows:

  • Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler; Colin R. Bruce II (senior editor). SCWC. ISBN 0873495934. 

but I wonder if there's a better way to do it. The authors are Chester L. Krause and Clifford Mishler, with Colin R. Bruce II as the senior editor. If I put Bruce in a editor section, it puts "in " which doesn't make sense since all authors/editors relate to the whole book. Ingrid 21:41, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Ordinarily you wouldn't give the editor's name unless the book is a collection, so there is probably no citation template that would accommodate this information. The way you have it at the moment seems fine. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:52, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Eh, why not use Template:Citation#Citing edited books, or parts of edited books, including encyclopedias and encyclopedia articles?? ... dave souza, talk 22:07, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Unless the documentation is in error, that would appear to have exactly the same problem as {{cite book}}; it is intended to support editor information for collections. Both templates return something like: Author. "Chapter." In Editor, Book., but what is wanted is something like, Author. Book. Edited by Editor. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:12, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Um, looks correct. Why should the "ed." thing work in some cases, then show "in" in other cases. Baffles me. .. dave souza, talk 22:17, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
For that matter, {{citation}} also appears to be missing a "translator" field, which would be useful. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:21, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the quick replies (and to my previous question). Just to clarify, this book is a catalog, and in some editions, no authors are listed, just the editor. In the edition I used as the example, the two authors are also listed. I only mention it because in this case, the editor seems important. I don't need to use the cite book template, but I'd like it to look "right". Would putting "Edited by Editor" at the end manually make more sense, or should I just leave it as is? Is there some source I could check (I know there are many styles -- which is generally used by the cite templates)? Ingrid 22:30, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

I decided to put "Krause, Chester L. and Clifford Mishler; Colin R. Bruce II (senior editor)" as the author, and leave it at that. I'd be happy to hear if someone has a better suggestion though. Ingrid 00:36, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Look carefully at the {{cite book}} documentation. {{cite book}} has a field for Editor, so that is where the editors should go; editors are not authors. Also, I don't think that a title like "(senior editor)" belongs in a citation. Standard bibliographic citation form requires the Year (also a field), and Publisher and place of publication (there are fields for those too) are normally included as well. If you are citing specific matter within the book, indicate the pages (also a field). Finell (Talk) 06:29, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
As stated above, {{cite book}} does not format the editor field in a way appropriate for this text; it formats it in a way appropriate for collections, not for single-author texts. For instance:
{{cite book |last= Shakespeare |first= William |title= Othello |editor= Jimmy James |year= 2002 |publisher= Signet |location= New York}}
Shakespeare, William (2002). Jimmy James, ed. Othello. New York: Signet. 
which is silly looking and certainly non-standard. In cases where you want to enter an editor for a book that is not a collection of multiple contributions, the template simply cannot quite do it. Christopher Parham (talk) 06:58, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I see the problem now. My mistake. Is it necessary to cite an editor for a book that has an author? Finell (Talk) 15:29, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Frequently yes, especially when (as with Shakespeare, even more so with foreign language texts) there are multiple editions that may be different. (Being able to credit a translator is useful here as well.) It's also useful if the editor lends credibility to the work, for instance: "Chris Parham. Physics. Ed. Albert Einstein..." Christopher Parham (talk) 15:51, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
You are clearly correct, again. You are the expert here. I am now hesitant to ask, but in the {{cite book}} template, isn't the others field appropriate for indicating a translator or, in this case, an editor of a book that is not a collection (i.e., that has one or more authors of the entire book)? Finell (Talk) 16:40, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

(unindent) Thanks for pointing out the need for more details/fields. I did include them in the actual citation, but didn't bother here since I wanted to keep it shorter. I should've made that clear. Here's what the complete citation looks like now:

  • Krause, Chester L. and Clifford Mishler; Colin R. Bruce II (senior editor) (2003). 2004 Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1901-present (31st ed. ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87349-593-4. 

If I use the others field for the editor, it comes out like this:

  • Krause, Chester L. and Clifford Mishler (2003). 2004 Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1901-present. Colin R. Bruce II (senior editor) (31st ed. ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87349-593-4. 

Does one look better than the other? The catalog has introductory text for each country, followed by pictures and tables of info about each coin produced in the country. I'm referencing info from the tables. I don't know if the authors or the editor are responsible for that, so my feeling is that they both should be mentioned. I'm also basing that on the fact that they're both mentioned on the front cover of the book. I know it probably doesn't really matter, but I'd like to be as correct as I can. I appreciate the time you've both taken considering this issue. Ingrid 01:29, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Is citation necessary when referring to other articles?

I'll keep this neutral as I am trying to avoid an edit war (or rather am giving up on one!). Say I have an article on Clothing and I have a overview of socks. Socks is an article in its own right. In summarising socks I clearly refer to this article and make some general comments about how socks are generally useful for keeping feet warm. My common sense view is that, as there is nothing contentious about such a statement, it does not need a citation. If people are uncertain about the warming properties of socks they would go to the sock page and read more. I have a personal view that there is too much enthusiasm for citing undisputed facts which interferes with legibility (the actual example uses the excuse of citation to delete material which in one opinion is irrelevant). Spenny 16:11, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

If you don't believe the fact is likely to be challenged then there is no urgent need for a specific citation. As for leaving uncited sections that clearly refer to other articles, this practice is a bit disputed. But if the necessary citations do indeed appear in the subarticle, there should be no great problem; they can always be imported at a later date. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:24, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Having just read the circular reference discussion above, I see that confusion but that seems to be more where there is some ambiguity as to which is the main article. It seems to me that a bit of divide and conquer could help. I'll a suggested wording to add the main page along the lines of:
Where text is a brief and uncontentious summary of a further section or another detailed article which adequately justifies its source material, then there should be no need for further citation within the summary.
Spenny 16:35, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Personally, I'd find that entirely acceptable, with the proviso that quotations and paraphrases should be cited as usual. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:37, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
No reason to cite obvious items of fact. But I don't think Wikipedia articles meet Wikipedia:Reliable sources so in general I would say that using another article as a primary reference for another article is bad practice. IvoShandor 16:55, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
That goes without saying, but it is not quite the issue at hand. The other article in this case is not a reference; it is just the place where the citations are kept. All statements of fact still depend on external sources. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:07, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
That would be perfectly fine I would say, IMO. No point in overkill for its own sake. I think the only exception would be if there was something that was rather extraordinary or controversial, then just drop the cite from the other article in so people don't have to go poking around too much, and I am sure some people read only the article they came to read and don't click wikilinks. IvoShandor 06:31, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Citing sources and the need for context

There is a growing number of articles on books, that are suffering from lack of guidelines. Such articles often contain sections labeled "Cited in other sources", in which a list of works that cite the book are presented to readers. This poses a problem if no context is provided.

For example, lets assume an article on the book, Peter L. Berger's, Political Ethics and Social Change, Basic Books (1974), which is cited in Echoes from the Holocaust: Philosophical Reflections on a Dark Time:

To be accurate and NPOV, we need to provide the context of the citation, as follows:

The book is cited on Myers & Rosenberg's Echoes from the Holocaust: Philosophical Reflections on a Dark Time in the context of how modern societies would not be modern without the pervasive use of "functional rationality," the thinking tool of technologists, managers, business persons, and bureaucrats.

and not

The book is cited on Echoes from the Holocaust: Philosophical Reflections on a Dark Time, which is about the murder of six million Jewish men, women, and children during World War II was an act of such barbarity that it constitutes one of the central events of our time.

The latter version, is misleading as it describes the content of the book that cites the book rather than the context in which the book is cited, and implies that the Political Ethics and Social Change is about the Holocaust, which is not.

Any thoughts? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:14, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't think this is as much a citation issue as a general editorial issue. The material in the second example simply isn't relevant to the topic of the article. The proper context should be provided not because to do otherwise is misleading (I don't think your latter example is particularly misleading) but because it is the only part that is relevant to the article topic. Even better than either of your examples, in my view, would be a statement that indicates exactly what statement other authors used this book to support. For instance, "cited blahblah as [supporting/dissenting from] the view that modern societies would not be modern without the pervasive use of "functional rationality," the thinking tool of technologists, managers, business persons, and bureaucrats." Christopher Parham (talk) 18:27, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Christopher. The problem I faced is one the editor I was co-editing an article with, created a long list of "cited in xxx" by searching one of the on-line cite databases, and does not have access to these sources at all. My view is that if you do not have the source and you do not know what, where, and in which context the book is cited, you should not include any commentary at all besides the author, title and ISBN. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:50, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
What you describe above isn't really appropriate even if you do have the sources -- an article about a book shouldn't be a directory of citations. A list of citations might be useful background for us to write a section about how the book was received, but the list itself doesn't feel like encyclopedic content. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:59, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I would then argue that only if you have access to the sources and you can extract and provide the context you could add to the section "cited in other works". Otherwise, don't. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:15, 31 May 2007 (UTC)