Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Citation cleanup

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I am opposed to one of the goals of the project, "Maximising the use of {{cite web}}, {{cite book}}, and {{cite news}}". I oppose this goal because these templates cannot be used to cite every conceivable web page, book, or news article, only those for which parameters have been provided in the respective template. Furthermore, when one of the templates cannot be used, the editor who wants to create a manual citation in the same style is at a loss, because the citation templates do not attempt to follow any recognized citation style, so the editor does not know which manual of style to look in for further guidance. --Gerry Ashton 19:05, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

I would say in that case develop a template that helps you insert the source you need. So far I have I have been able to cope with the ones available. Arnoutf 19:24, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
Most editors don't know how to create or modify a citation template, and if they are in the middle of writing an article and discover the existing templates don't accommodate a particular source, they certainly won't want to take time out from writing the article to create or modify a template. --Gerry Ashton 20:18, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
A possibly useful multistep goal which you might support could be
  1. Identify a suitable and suitably documented citation style (or styles)
  2. Change cosmetics of {{Citation}} to this style (or create an alternative template)
  3. Enhance this template to compatibly support what {{Cite web}} (and book, and news, etc.) support
  4. Deprecate {{Cite web}} (etc.) in favor of this alternative
  5. Migrate existing {{Cite web}} (etc.) instances to this alternative template (use a bot)
  6. Delete the now obsoleted {{Cite web}} (etc.) templates -- Boracay Bill 02:59, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Boracay Bill - that is a beautiful solution. However, in response to Gerry Ashton's comment that most editors don't know how to create their own templates, I believe this is the reason the generic {{Citation}} template is available. It's not perfect, but no generic fallback is perfect. Biochemza (21:41, 1 November 2007 (UTC))
Biochemza, the fact that the Citation template is intended to be all-purpose does not help. Citation and other templates support a fixed list of parameters. If it is necessary to include information in the citation that is not covered by the paramenters, the editor cannot use the template, and is forced to format the citation by hand. --Gerry Ashton 02:28, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Or items which would otherwise be handled by template parameters not supported by {{Citation}} can be tacked in manually. — e.g., {{Cite web}} and some other citation templates support a quote= parameter but {{Citation}} does not, so something like the following can be done: <ref>{{Citation |url= |title=Example}} "This would be a quote"</ref> -- Boracay Bill 03:45, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Boracay Bill's suggestion may work, provided the material not supported by any parameter belongs at the beginning or end of the citation. --Gerry Ashton 04:22, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I too feel that not necessarily the promotion of those specific templates should be the goal, but promotion of using inline references with a reference section at the bottom of the page rather than simply linking articles like this[1]. -Drdisque (talk) 06:38, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

(undent) Citation templates can certainly be awkward to work with (as I learned firsthand by helping to clean up citations in the Switchgrass article), but one of the featured article criteria is:

  • (c) consistent citations—where required by Criterion 1c, consistently formatted inline citations using either footnotes or Harvard referencing (see citing sources for suggestions on formatting references; for articles with footnotes or endnotes, the meta:cite format is recommended).

Since one of the goals for Wikipedia is to have all articles attain featured status, making citations follow a consistent per-article style appears to be essential (i.e., one citation style per article; individual articles may follow different styles). The WP:FAIL essay criticizes the slow rate of increase for featured articles, compared to the explosion in total articles (4,862,876 and counting). Since only a tiny fraction of Wikipedia users have slogged through the instructions in WP:FOOT, WP:CITE, and WP:CITET, the prospects for making citations consistent in all Wikipedia articles appear remote (any time soon, that is). I suspect the only hope is to build tools which can reduce the intellectual overhead of working with citations. See my #Proposal for a human-bot hybrid to simplify citation cleanup below. --Teratornis (talk) 22:28, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Ambiguous goal[edit]

What do you mean with the goal "Standardising the use of citations in articles by making them all consistent with each other". Do you mean citations within an article should be consistent (I agree); or do you mean all citation styles over all wiki articles should be following the exact same structure (I oppose as this in direct conflict with the official guideline on inline citations which allows both Harvard and footnote). This has to be clarified. Arnoutf 19:24, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

I meant that they need to be consistent within one article, obviously. May need to clarify it a little though :) Melsaran (talk) 15:48, 9 September 2007 (UTC)


Extra guidelines, based on tasks in the OpenTask list, should be specified for new users looking to join this project. Any discussion/comments would be welcome. Biochemza [21:41, 1 November 2007 (UTC)]

I've moved the guideline section to after the OpenTask list, since many of the guidelines are based on tasks in the OpenTask list. Biochemza [21:41, 1 November 2007 (UTC)]

Test case citation cleanup exercise[edit]

I tried a test case citation cleanup exercise on an article with a {{Citation style}} tag. I picked an article with which I was not familiar and which looked like it had some fairly straightforward and fixable citation problems. I found that things didn't turn out to be as straightforward as they looked.

The article is Eating disorder and my working draft with the citations reworked is here. I ended up using the existing References section in the article mostly as a footnotes section to link inline <ref>s to other endmatter sections where the cited works were described. I left in place two exceptions to that where <ref>s link to external webpages directly. I'm not really happy with the results of this citation cleanup attempt, though I think it is an improvement.

The article already used citation templates, and I ran into problems with inconsistencies between templates. I used the {{Citation}} template to make the citations linkable from the References section items (though without a backlink), overriding the template's default mechanism for specifying the element ID which is the link target by using the template's undocumented ref= parameter (lowercase r). I used the {{Harvnb}} template to place clickable links in the References section which linked onwards to matching {{Citation}} templates, overriding the template's default mechanism for specifying the element ID which is the link target by using the template's partially documented Ref= parameter (uppercase R). I noticed that {{Cite book}}, which the article already used, supports a documented ref= parameter similar to {{Citation}}, so I used {{Cite book}} where appropriate instead of {{Citation}}. The article also uses {{Cite journal}}, but that template doesn't support a Ref= parameter, so I used {{Citation}} where the cited sources were journal articles.

It doesn't show up in this test case, but {{Ref}}, {{Ref label}}, {{Ref harvard}}, and {{Ref harv}} hook up with {{Note}} and {{Note label}} similarly to the way {{Harv}} and {{Harvnb}} hook up with {{Citation}} and {{Cite book}}, but the ID naming conventions differ and there is no provision in those templates to override the default conventions.

Comments? Observations? Criticisms? Suggestions? -- Boracay Bill 06:22, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

(Update 2007-09-09)I've re-edited my working draft to do some nontraditional things which seem to improve the style a lot. I've used the <span style="display:none"> trick discussed here to group all the <Ref> declarations together in a hidden span, then moved that hidden span to the top of the article. Doing that allows the display order of the expanded Reference section items to be controlled. I then reordered the items into a sensible order. One irritating artifact of this is that all the References section items now have at least two backlinks, and backlink "a" is uniformly nonfunctional.

Comments? Observations? Criticisms? Suggestions? -- Boracay Bill 03:53, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

It is trivial to convert a cite-book to Citation. The names of (almost) all the fields are the same. ---- CharlesGillingham 17:00, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Right. I did not do the conversion because my mindset at the time was to improve the article with as little disturbance as I could manage. -- Boracay Bill 14:33, 11 September 2007 (UTC)


I've added some extra structure to this page (in terms of section breaks), in anticipation of future requirements for clarity of layout. Biochemza [21:41, 1 November 2007 (UTC)]


I have some problem with the lack of clarity in the use of Wikipedia terminology concerning "citations" and "references". I have added a recommendation at Template talk:Unreferenced#Sources vs. Referenced vs. Citation.

Softtest123 02:12, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Citing Wikipedia Articles[edit]

I've been fixing an article (with no proper references in the text) which lists another Wikipedia article as a reference. How do you create an in-text citation for that? <ref>???</ref> What template? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Biochemza (talkcontribs) 23:25, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Don't. Cite a reliable source instead. --Gerry Ashton 23:34, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Bibliographic record keeping discussion.[edit]

On the Village pump (technical) there is a discussion to simplify the citing of commonly used sources, and more generally to improve our bibliographic record keeping. There are a number of options presented, some of which are ready for prime-time, and an organised effort is required to consider their suitability and prepare a well rounded proposal if any option appears to be workable. John Vandenberg (talk) 04:09, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Style guideline for PD sourced content[edit]

A discussion has started at Citing sources on the question: Does this style guideline mean that all PD-sourced content be placed in quotes? --Paleorthid (talk) 07:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Converting BibTeX to Wiki template (found it myself)[edit]

The subject says it all. Is this currently possible? I've looked at OttoBib and the Template Builder, but neither seem capable of it. ImpIn | (t - c) 01:24, 11 June 2008 (UTC) Nevermind, I found it. Didn't even look carefully at the tools of WP:CITE...

What did you find, I've looked for this as well and can't find it. -Reagle (talk) 20:55, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for a human-bot hybrid to simplify citation cleanup[edit]

See my ideas in: User:Teratornis/Mechanical turk. I invite comments, criticism, telling me it's all been tried before, etc., in User talk:Teratornis/Mechanical turk. I'm still looking for any prior art, so it's possible my proposal may be astoundingly ignorant. That's why I'm asking for feedback here. --Teratornis (talk) 22:15, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Where is an ACTIVE discussion going on about WP citation cleanup issues?[edit]

Hi. I am interested in the topic, and I regulary endeavor to both add citations and tag articles for needing sources. This Talk page looks fairly inactive. Where can I go to find an active community of other interested persons to discuss article citation issues with? Thanks. N2e (talk) 14:34, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Try one of the talk pages for the citation templates, like Template talk:Citation. --Blehfu (talk) 07:28, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Or at least try posting something substantive here before claiming that it is inactive. :p I don't see how much we could actually talk about citation cleanup, but give it a shot. II | (t - c) 08:40, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Help needed restoring a worthy deleted list[edit]

Since the list of anarchists article was deleted on the grounds of poor referencing, a few of us have been working on a sandboxed version at User:SwitChar/Anarchlist, building it back up from scratch with rigourous referencing. The problem is that we are few, and the putative anarchists we need to vet and find references for are many. We could really use some extra hands sorting through the potential additions here here, finding references for their being anarchists and adding their names with a brief description to the sandboxed version. If you could help, it would be really appreciated. On behalf of the Anarchism task force, the skomorokh 15:20, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Can someone help?[edit]


I have tagged Sitakunda Upazila for citation style. Rifleman 82 has lent some help, for which I am most grateful. But, to meet FA criteria it may need a bit more help. Can someone lend a hand? Please? Aditya(talkcontribs) 07:19, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Request for Assistance with International Space Station[edit]

Hi folks - we recently failed a FAN for this article, and one of the main complaints was that it apparently needs a good review of citations. If you could spare some time to go over the article for us and give us the OK, it'd be much appreciated! Merry Christmas! :-)Colds7ream (talk) 16:27, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

You might also want to put a request in at Wikipedia:WikiProject Fact and Reference Check if you haven't already. OlEnglish (talk) 03:14, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Use of WebCite[edit]

I think there should be more emphasis put on archiving citations with tools such as WebCite. Not just here in this WikiProject but throughout Wikipedia. I think it's very important for maintaining verifiability and reliability to preserve the countless web citations used on most articles. I'm guessing the vast majority of references cited are web sites, which because of link rot just aren't that reliable, and with link rot being so prevalent who knows how many featured articles' cites are now broken, and it'd take forever to check them all. That's why I think we should make a stronger effort to archive any web references we use as they are cited when writing new articles.

Plus it's very easy to do and only takes 30 seconds! Just enter the url to be archived at and then use the new archived url with |archiveurl= and |archivedate=

- OlEnglish (talk) 03:29, 17 January 2009 (UTC)


I draw your attention to Template talk:Ibid and Wikipedia talk:Footnotes#ibid., op. cit. and loc. cit.. Input from project members might prove useful there. jnestorius(talk) 00:49, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Multiple ref syntax[edit]

I wanted to clarify whether the use of <ref name=x> initially and then <ref name=x> </ref> for multiple citations is less preferred than using <ref name="x"> and then <ref name="x"/> after. Should I be using one over the other? - Shiftchange (talk) 22:39, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

See WP:FOOT. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 21:00, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Style Question[edit]

I'm trying to start clean up on Mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some of the references provided are cited inline and others are generally applicable (or perhaps not applicable at all.) Is there an appropriate way to divide the references into "inline" and "general" categories pending the conversion of all to inline? Mishlai (talk) 13:43, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


According to

..."it is illegal to link to any of WebMD's content (other than our home page) without accepting our terms and conditions. WebMD is eager to provide you with a convenient and simple way to quickly review and accept these terms. See our online linking form."

As of February 2010 reports almost 1500 matches for "" in all sites, 973 of which are in the articles (based on a separate search).

The online linking form is at It includes WebMD's Terms and Conditions. If webmd pays attention to their referring links I'd guess that they would have figured out that wikipedians are referencing their web pages already. Regardless, does anyone know if someone with legal expertise from the Wikimedia Foundation has reviewed webmd's t&c's? Is there's a broader policy about what to do when a website objects to other websites reaching into their site for specific links? (talk) 19:53, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

That's an interesting assertion. Some googling turned up this, this, this, and other somewhat relevant items but, AFAICS, no definitive answer to the question, "is that assertion valid?"

Wikipedia's broken plumbing[edit]

There are thousands of articles that have minor technical problems in their citation format. I think we should try to centralize the discussions about them here.

Almost all of these can be fixed without controversy. I've listed a few here, and I hope this gives the flavor of the kind of fixes I have in mind. Feel free to add more, to suggest better fixes, or to disagree. Help me to find the relevant discussions. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:29, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Misused <cite> spans[edit]

These are misused as anchors in some articles. We can replace this:

<cite id=<anchor name> >{{cite book <citation parameters>}}</cite>

with this:

{{cite book | ref=<anchor name> <citation parameters>}}

For handwritten citations, we can replace this:

<cite id=<anchor name> ><citation></cite>

With this:

{{Wikicite | ref=<anchor name> | <citation>}}

There are several discussions of this topic, starting at least with this and recently including this. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:10, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the best introduction to this issue here. (Bill may have archived this discussion by the time you read this.)

There may be as many as 2,000 articles that use cite spans. We need to check if these cite spans are used correctly. A list from February 2010 is here. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 07:41, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Unnecessary uses of Wikicite[edit]

Fixed. I removed over 1,000 misuses of Wikicite. There are only 130 left. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:27, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Most of the time that {{Wikicite}} is used it is unnecessary. We can replace this:

*{{wikicite | id=<anchor name> | reference={{cite book <citation template parameters>}} }}

with this:

*{{cite book | ref=<anchor name> <citation template parameters>}}

And replace this:

[[#Reference-<anchor name>|text]]

with this:

[[#<anchor name>|text]]

See (a very old and one sided) discussion here. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:10, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Broken {{Harv}} links[edit]

If an article contains this:

{{Harvnb|<author>|<year>| ... }}

and if this is found:

{{cite book| ... last=<author> ... year=<year> ... }}

replace it with this:

{{cite book| ref=harv | ... last=<author> ... year=<year> ... }}

This fix should also be extended to cases that have multiple authors and should also include {{sfn}} and {{harvnb}}, and would include all the {{cite| }} family of templates

See this discussion. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:10, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

  1. Please note that cite book and cite journal are still in a bit of flux re handling of the coauthor and coauthors parameters (see corresponding talk pages). Also, just today there was another change to {{Citation}} intended to fix an omission which crept in during recent changes (my error, my fix). Hopefully, all these will stabilize in the next few days with versions which don't use info from coauthor and/or coauthors parameters to construct the id of an anchor target. While all of this is stabilizing, some articles using coauthor and coauthors parameters in cite xxx and Citation templates may not provide anchors matching links in those articles. (I hope that is not too confusing. for more info see WP:CITEX, which also has been under revision recently and may currently be a bit unstable.)
  2. Re hand-crafted cites, we ought to arrive at a consensus re use of the HTML Cite element. As has been discussed elsewhere, the HTML 5 draft standard says that the Cite element is only to be used for titles. It seems to be that there should be some consensus guideline about whether or not (and, if so, exactly how) hand-crafted cites should place titles in HTML Cite elements. Related to this, see this and this).
  3. Unless {{Wikicite}} has changed since my recent changes adding the optional ref parameter there, your example above should be {{Wikicite | ref=<anchor name> | reference=<citation parameters>}}. I had thought about making it optional to specify the body of the citation as an un-named parameter as an alternative to the named reference parameter, but didn't do that as I wanted to avoid complicating discussion of my intended addition of the optional ref parameter. See an edit which used Wikicite and the ref parameter to wrap some hand-crafted cites here.
Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:51, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
On Wikicite: no, the fix above is correct. There were redundant Wikicites like the ones above years before you added |ref=, and they're still here. See for, example, Vicente Martinez Ybor or Trench raiding. There are hundreds of them. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 11:21, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
On ref=harv. This problem is just plumbing: a link that used to work doesn't work any more, because {{cite book}}, etc. changed and no one has fixed all the articles that were broken. It's not related to the issues with coauthors, unless they broke them a second way. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 11:33, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
On wikicite and my #3 above, you're correct. I think I misread your example. I've stricken #3.
On ref=harv, there's a further problem with the coauthors paramete. {{Citation}} has been fixed and a fix is in the works for cite book and cite journal; see the talk pages there.
On recent changes to wikicite, the added ref parameter is an alternative to the id parameter. typical uses might be be:
  • {{wikicite | ref=<anchor name> | reference=<hand-crafted-cite>}} as a target for [[#anchor name|Authorsurname year]]
  • {{wikicite | ref={{harvid|AuthorsurnameYear}} | reference=<hand-crafted-cite>}} as a target for {{Harvnb|Authorsurname|Year}} Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:54, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Too many citations[edit]

Monetary economics - this is really not normal. :) I think in such way the user is preventing others from editing the article - look at history. --Aleksd (talk) 18:56, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Multiple similar references[edit]

I'm trying to remove "Ibid" reference from the Immaculate Conception article but my edit was reverted because "the format seemed off". I agree that the repeated reference looks aesthetically unpleasing.

The references in question apply to two different paragraphs of the same web page. How should I mark this up?

I tried using:

  <ref>{{cite web|work=Name of Website|title=Title of Page|url=|paragraph=20</ref>
  <ref>{{cite web|work=Name of Website|title=Title of Page|url=|paragraph=35</ref>

Heavy Joke (talk) 10:09, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

The Matty Johns Show[edit]

Hi. The Matty Johns Show references this URL, from 2009. The link is now dead. However, a copy appears in Google Cache. WebCite doesn't appear to want to archive from Google Cache. I managed to get to archive it, but this website is on the spam blacklist. Can someone help me archive this reference and put it into the article? - Richard Cavell (talk) 01:47, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Try Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:28, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

The Great Backlog Drive[edit]

PanydThe muffin is not subtle 22:44, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

I'd support joining it, especially since it seems like what we are doing already. Reaper Eternal (talk) 12:45, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

We are no longer allowed to fix citations without prior concensus on the talkpage[edit]

... if this is closed as suggested at the end. I hope some of you WP:WCC members realize this and leave a note there. —bender235 (talk) 17:14, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

bender235, I just read the whole sorry ANI on the incident(s) you are involved in. Suffice it to say, at a minimum, your assertion that "We are no longer allowed to fix citations without prior concensus on the talkpage" is NOT what I think that discussion is about.
That discussion is about the wisdom of, and the lack of broad community support for, an editor making stylistic changes to references sections on a large number of articles where, despite previous meta-discussions, the community has not successfully formed a standard. So I recommend other WP:WCC members tread into that long ANI very carefully, and only after substantial reading of the debate. Cheers. N2e (talk) 22:02, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
This project (which doesn't seem to be very active) is involved in cleaning up articles. That is (we hope) we are only fixing articles that have broken and badly formatted citations. This project doesn't involve changing an article with working citations. In my view, this project doesn't support things like:
  1. Adding citation templates to articles that don't already use citation templates (or removing citation templates from articles that use only citation templates)
  2. Changing parenthetical references to footnotes (or vice versa)
  3. Changing {{harvcol}} to {{harv}} (or vice versa)
  4. Changing shortened footnotes to {{rp}} (or vice versa)
  5. Changing from {{cite *}} templates to {{vcite *}} templates (or vice versa)
  6. Linking shortened footnotes (using <ref>{{harvnb| ... }}</ref> or {{sfn}}) (or unlinking them)
and so on. That's just off the top of my head. There are several other of these kinds of choices (it would be nice to have semi-complete list; I feel like there's about twenty or so). I think we could now add the ones that came up in your dispute:
7. <references/> vs {{reflist}}
8. adding columns to {{reflist}}.
Even without doing these things, there is still an enormous amount of work to do. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:19, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
@N2e: The phrase "large number" is misleading, because it were no more than 13 articles. And "stylistic changes" is actually what we do here: we clean-up references, which inevitably changes the style of the refs. Now the ruling on that ANI was, that no one is allowed to make those minor changes (on articles he has never edited before) w/out asking for a priori permission from the articles main contributors. That doesn't just put WP:BRD to death, but also makes WP Citation cleanup's work nearly impossible. —bender235 (talk) 19:55, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't think that the outcome of that discussion was that we are not allowed to improve references. I can't think of anybody objecting to changing this:

<ref>[ example]</ref>
<ref>[ example]</ref>

to this:

<ref name="example">{{cite web|url=|title=example|first=John|last=Doe|accessdate=18 December 2010|work=A work from}}</ref>
<ref name="example" />

Doe, John. "example". A work from Retrieved 18 December 2010. 

Reaper Eternal (talk) 00:01, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes. This example has "broken or badly formatted" references. (This example is "broken" because the print version of the encyclopedia can't describe the source.) You can fix this without prior approval of local editors; basically because it's impossible they would disagree that you're edit is an improvement. However, consider:
<ref>[ example1]</ref>
<ref>Smith, John (2002) ''[ A work from example 2]''. Retreived 19 December 2010.</ref>
Here you probably shouldn't do this without checking with local editors: N
<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=example1|first=John|last=Doe|accessdate=18 December 2010|work=A work from}}</ref>
<ref>{{cite web|url=httl://|title=example2|first=John|last=Smith|accessdate=19 December 2010|work=A work from}}
But you can definitely do this: YesY
<ref>Doe, John (2002) ''[ A work from example 1]''. Retreived 19 December 2010.</ref>
<ref>Smith, John (2002) ''[ A work from example 2]''. Retreived 19 December 2010.</ref>
Some changes are seen as an improvement by all editors. Some changes are seen as an improvement by only some editors. You can always do the former, but you should give notice on the talk page about the latter. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 01:59, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree—what I was saying was that nobody would mind us fixing bare URLs or URLs with only titles. People may dislike us changing all {{harvnb}} to {{cite book}}. Reaper Eternal (talk) 02:55, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Agreed with the substantive points made above. While I personally think that it would be better to have a smaller number (very limited set) of acceptable citation formats, and have a tool that could easily transform one form to another for purposes of presentation in any particular style for any particular article (which would, of course, require parsable citation syntax of some kind), I have given up for now any idea that the wider WP community will do something like this in the foreseeable future.
Since there is so large an amount of Wikipedia that is not sourced at all, and a lot of what is sourced, is sourced with bare URLs or deadlinks, I've moved on and decided to focus on getting citation info added in the format that is quickest for me, which is far in excess of the minimally accepted WP standard (which seems to be, in practice, no source at all; or to think adequate sourcing is a bare URL between reftags): I just write up something very simple like:
<ref>[ Title of the source], publisher, date, accessed=2010-12-19.</ref>, maybe adding a quotation if the source would benefit from it.
...and then I move on to the next of millions of sources needed in Wikipedia.
What I'm saying here is that, given the reality that exists, not the one I would like to exist, I am unwilling to spend the time to learn and cite in any one of the many (confusing to learn them all) article-specific citation formats, so just put the essential info between reftags and leave it to the future for citation standardization, if ever. Cheers. N2e (talk) 05:24, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Too many citations/citation pile up at end of paragraphs[edit]

A couple of articles I have been editing recently suffer (to my mind) from having citations piled up at the end of the paragraph or even a lone sentence. Is there an appropriate way of flagging this up as an issue? (I have found a template called "lessfootnotes"). GraemeLeggett (talk) 14:42, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

If they're singletons, then you could put them in one separated by <br/>s, then just one. RDBrown (talk) 03:07, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
See WP:CITEBUNDLE. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:28, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Citation templates now support more identifiers[edit]

Recent changes were made to citations templates (such as {{citation}}, {{cite journal}}, {{cite web}}...). In addition to what was previously supported (bibcode, doi, jstor, isbn, ...), templates now support arXiv, ASIN, JFM, LCCN, MR, OL, OSTI, RFC, SSRN and Zbl. Before, you needed to place |id={{arxiv|0123.4567}} (or worse |url=, now you can simply use |arxiv=0123.4567, likewise for |id={{JSTOR|0123456789}} and |url=|jstor=0123456789.

The full list of supported identifiers is given here (with dummy values):

  • {{cite journal |author=John Smith |year=2000 |title=How to Put Things into Other Things |journal=Journal of Foobar |volume=1 |issue=2 |pages=3–4 |arxiv=0123456789 |asin=0123456789 |bibcode=0123456789 |doi=0123456789 |jfm=0123456789 |jstor=0123456789 |lccn=0123456789 |isbn=0123456789 |issn=0123456789 |mr=0123456789 |oclc=0123456789 |ol=0123456789 |osti=0123456789 |rfc=0123456789 |pmc=0123456789 |pmid=0123456789 |ssrn=0123456789 |zbl=0123456789 |id={{para|id|____}} }}

Obviously not all citations needs all parameters, but this streamlines the most popular ones and gives both better metadata and better appearances when printed. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 14:38, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Quick question[edit]

Does anyone know if Wiki has any policy regarding reference sections being primarily or entirely in a foreign language? I saw a link recently to how much foreign language is acceptable within an article but can't relocate it now. Thanks! Ken Tholke (talk) 14:06, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

You might be interested in Wikipedia:Foreign sources. benzband (talk) 13:04, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to use "Vol.", "pp.", etc. in citations instead of ambiguous formatting like "9 (4): 7"[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Help talk:Citation Style 1#RfC: Use "Vol.", "pp.", etc. consistently between citation templates, instead of ambiguous formatting like "9 (4): 7". The talk page at Help talk:Citation style 1 is where the discussion about most of our citation templates is centralized. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:12, 19 March 2012 (UTC) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:12, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Help needed: Jayne Mansfield[edit]

A mid-importance article supported by WikiProject Actors and Filmmakers that was reviewed by Version 1.0 Editorial Team and selected for Version 0.7 and subsequent release versions. The article has come a long way from a fan boy mish mash to a fair enough GA. Now is the time to take it to the next level. Currently it's going through another peer review. Serious help is needed to standardize citations. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Aditya(talkcontribs) 08:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

The article need may more in-line citations. Can uninvolved editors tag the article, post on the article talk page, post to my talk page or the peer review page to identify information that requires in-text citation? I may be end up identifying it inappropriately. Help is reall needed. Aditya(talkcontribs) 11:36, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

"Cite on Wikipedia" tool at National Center for Biotechnology Information website[edit]

I am in contact with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (who run web services like PubMed Central) over them providing references in a way that allows for easy copy-pasting into Wikipedia articles (similar to what Europeana does or the Biomedical citation maker). Where would be the best place to discuss what Wikipedia template formats (e.g. {{Cite web}}, {{Cite journal}}, {{Citation}}, {{Cite book}}) would be best to implement at what NCBI projects? Thanks for any pointers. Please reply at WikiProject NIH. -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 03:47, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Two things: 1) Good on you for doing that interface work with the world of scholarly publications. 2){{Cite journal}} for journal articles and {{Cite book}}) for books would be my vote. Cheers. N2e (talk) 07:34, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Template:Cleanup-link rottemplate:cleanup-bare URLs. See Template talk:Cleanup-link rot#Requested move. – Wbm1058 (talk) 18:08, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

and then what?[edit]

If I pick up an article for cleaning, how do I indicate this? - don't want two cleaners fighting! Is there an intermediate tag could be applied? And when I think I've done enough, is there a mechanism for having the page re-assessed and the {{cn}} tag removed? John of Cromer in China Philippines (talk) mytime= Wed 18:02, wikitime= 10:02, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Template:Cite Hansard[edit]

People here might be interested in a proposal to make extensive changes to the template in question, or to create a new one, for improved citations to debates of the British Parliament. Waltham, The Duke of 11:49, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Coincidentally I used this only yesterday. I thought it was really poor, because it didn't really cover the options, and what it emitted wasn't the same citation as Hansard itself uses. John of Cromer in China Philippines (talk) mytime= Wed 20:17, wikitime= 12:17, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Converting Kindle locations to page numbers in sourced material[edit]

Is there a simple way to convert page numbers to Kindle locations(and vice versa)? This website offers a convoluted means: 36hourblock (talk) 19:23, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Veto right for the first one to establish a citation style?[edit]

If this was true, the purpose of this whole project would be in doubt. --bender235 (talk) 19:00, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Signalling which references are free to read and free to reuse[edit]

Based on the assumption that readers would like to know whether a particular reference is free to read and that editors might want to know whether a reference is licensed in a way that allows for reuse of images, multimedia or text in Wikipedia articles, I have laid out how the openness of references could be signaled on Wikipedia: Wikipedia:WikiProject Open Access/Signalling OA-ness. Your comments and suggestions would be much appreciated. -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 20:36, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Come and join The Wikipedia Library[edit]

The Wikipedia Library is an open research hub, a place for organizing our amazing community of research and reference experts to collaborate and help improve the encyclopedia.

We are working together towards 5 big goals:

Connect editors with their local library and freely accessible resources
Partner to provide free access to paywalled publications, databases, universities, and libraries
Build relationships among our community of editors, libraries, and librarians
Facilitate research for Wikipedians, helping editors to find and use sources
Promote broader open access in publishing and research

Sign up to receive announcements and news about resource donations and partnerships: Sign up
Come and create your profile, and see how we can leverage your talent, expertise, and dedication: Join in

-Hope to see you there, Ocaasi t | c 14:59, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Are we in conflict with WP:CITEVAR?[edit]

The purpose of this project is to correct and complete citations in Wikipedia. For instance, adding issue, pages, and DOI to cited journal articles. This of course, by its very nature, changes an existing citation style. And for my part, instead of trying to emulate a look-a-like style, I simply implement citation templates. Like in this case. The edit, however, has been reverted by another user, claiming a violation of WP:CITEVAR. As it reads, one is supposed to "first seek consensus for the change" before actually improving the article. That is practically infeasible, not only because of the expenditure of time, but also because in most articles the "first major contributor" has left Wikipedia or was anonymous in the first place. In the previously mentioned article, basically all of its content was created by an anonymous IP in 2009. Therefore, this project faces the same obstacles with these "orphaned articles" as one faces with orphaned works due to copyright law.

My reading of WP:CITEVAR has always been like this: it is meant to end debate (or edit war) over style changes, not to prevent style changes in the first place. The only bold sentence in CITEVAR reads "if there is disagreement about which style is best, defer to the style used by the first major contributor". I always thought the principle "defer to the style used by the first major contributor" applies if and only if "there is disagreement". So, if there is no disagreement at all, why revert? Am I wrong? --bender235 (talk) 08:16, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Difficult one. I think if the article is established then editors are entitled to say that the existing citation style, wherever it came, from, should stay. (Though when is an article clearly established or not? And if there are two untemplated citations is that really enough to say there's a "style" or not?) However, on other articles an editor has undertaken a complete re-write and changed citation style, and then it was OK. So you can't be sure what response you'll get. Fortunately 99% of the time a reformat to introduce citation templates and all of the cross referencing, indexing and consistency benefits, will not be challenged. If it is then I think all you can do is accept the revert and try to discuss on the talk page how to get the indexing & cross referencing improvements in agreement with the editors involved.
One compromise could be this: at least using {{DOI}}, {{JSTOR}} microtemplates allows database scanning/cross referencing without using the full cite templates. Rjwilmsi 09:37, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
This compromise would only work in corner cases. Most of the time more than just DOI is missing. In some cases, the author was missing; regardless of where I add it, I'm changing the citation style. Or, which happens a lot, a working paper gets published in a journal; if I update the citation, I change the citation style. Should I, in all of these cases of quick minor edits, first start a month-long discussion on each article's talk page? I'm sorry, but sounds to me like bureaucracy overkill.
I don't mind if, after I fixed the citations, one of the article's creators doesn't like it and reverts. But I do mind if some editor, who had nothing to do with the article in the first place, reverts my edit simply because of CITEVAR. Because this is not what CITEVAR is for. --bender235 (talk) 10:05, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
The main thing to remember is that changing from template to non-template references, or changing from non-template references to template references, is not a form of "clean up". The sitewide consensus and compromise is that neither style is preferred over the other, and both perfectly acceptable. The site-wide consensus is that we want editors to respect the original style, not to go around changing it (remember there are plenty of people who would go around removing all templates if they were permitted to, and who would consider that a form of clean up). So the real issue with the original question is that the underlying premise is wrong. The problem is not that it takes too long to make edits that would otherwise be acceptable - the problem is that an editor is trying to make edits that are strongly discouraged overall, namely changing citations solely for the sake of changing them. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:08, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
"The sitewide consensus and compromise is that neither style is preferred over the other, and both perfectly acceptable."
Yes. That is what WP:CITEVAR says.
"The site-wide consensus is that we want editors to respect the original style."
No. There is no such consensus. You just made that up. --bender235 (talk) 15:52, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The Wikipedia Library, connecting with WikiProjects[edit]

Hey folks! I wonder if we could connect the library portal to this wikiproject by placing the Library navigation box somewhere in these WikiProject pages.

Let me know what you think. Best, Ocaasi t | c 12:58, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

BACKLOG OF THE WEEK Category:Pages with broken reference names[edit]

Hello - some editors fight off the vandal hordes, as I do repairing pages with citation errors. If I didn't - there would be a large backlog in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting and in Category:Pages with missing references list as in Category:Pages with broken reference names (more than 1500 yesterday). But it is impossible to work it alone. Do you know how to do a "Blitz" (excuse the comparision) to find willing editors to work on it. It is much more easier to repair references if you do it one hour, one day or one week ago after the errors were made instead of months and years after the error was done. Very, very difficult to find these errors.

Only with WikiBlame Search it is possible to find and repair such errors.

Best wishes --Frze > talk 08:22, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Monitoring backlog categories[edit]

A good idea of User:TheJJJunk: He monitors certain backlog categories using {{User:TheJJJunk/Backlog}}, a template he made:

Backlog status (Purge)
Category Current status
Pages with missing references list X mark.svg Not done
Persondata templates without name parameter X mark.svg Not done
Articles with incorrect citation syntax X mark.svg Not done
Pages with URL errors X mark.svg Not done

which determines if the category is empty or not. --Frze > talk 18:13, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Interaction of {notelist}/{efn} and {reflist}/<ref[edit]

Hi. I need (to know where to go for) help on the interaction of {notelist} and {reflist} or perhaps {efn} and <ref] tags. One aspect of the problem is apparent in the Nntes and References sections of our Jennifer Donnelly biography (current version). --P64 (talk) 01:00, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

This page will do, but the general Wikipedia:Help desk has more people watching it. At Jennifer Donnelly you have run into bugzilla:22635. That arrangement of list-defined notes and list-defined references looks very neat, but unfortunately it is too complicated for the current software to handle. The solution is to avoid using "notes=" in the "Notes" section, and instead define the notes further up the article where they are used. I have edited the article. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:39, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Removed citation/learning question[edit]

I'm trying to learn how to participate in this project by fixing broken reference names. When I looked at my first article Lion last week, there was a broken citation. I didn't fix it because I wasn't sure what to do. When I went back today, the page was fixed, but by just removing the citation.

Is that the right way to do it? When I originally looked at the page, the reference was to ref name=CA. There were already refs on the page with a name of CAP so my guess was that the person that added the CA meant CAP.

Which was more correct, to delete the reference or correct its spelling to CAP? Maybe it would have been better before fixing it to ask the person that put in the CA to see what their intent was? The error was just added in the past two weeks... Bill Smith (talk) 23:26, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

I guess I have an answer in this specific case. I looked at the talk page of the user who made the bad reference and he/she has a pattern of making bad edits. I would say that I agree now that removing the bad reference was the right thing to do in this specific case. Does anyone have guidance on the general case? Bill Smith (talk) 02:09, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Discussion notice[edit]

A discussion is occurring at Template talk:Find sources regarding updating the Find sources template with links to the Google News and Google newspapers searches. Interested editors are invited to contribute to the discussion. The discussion is located here. NorthAmerica1000 08:07, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Free subscriptions to journal and source websites[edit]

Free access subscriptions to high quality paywalled journals, newspaper archives, and online reference works are presently available for Wikipedia editors. For more information, see Wikipedia:TWL/Journals. NorthAmerica1000 11:34, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Leaflet for Wikiproject Citation Cleanup at Wikimania 2014[edit]

Project Leaflet WikiProject Medicine back and front v1.png

Hi all,

My name is Adi Khajuria and I am helping out with Wikimania 2014 in London.

One of our initiatives is to create leaflets to increase the discoverability of various wikimedia projects, and showcase the breadth of activity within wikimedia. Any kind of project can have a physical paper leaflet designed - for free - as a tool to help recruit new contributors. These leaflets will be printed at Wikimania 2014, and the designs can be re-used in the future at other events and locations.

This is particularly aimed at highlighting less discoverable but successful projects, e.g:

• Active Wikiprojects: Wikiproject Medicine, WikiProject Video Games, Wikiproject Film

• Tech projects/Tools, which may be looking for either users or developers.

• Less known major projects: Wikinews, Wikidata, Wikivoyage, etc.

• Wiki Loves Parliaments, Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves ____

• Wikimedia thematic organisations, Wikiwomen’s Collaborative, The Signpost

The deadline for submissions is 1st July 2014

For more information or to sign up for one for your project, go to:

Project leaflets
Adikhajuria (talk) 17:22, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Comment on the WikiProject X proposal[edit]

Hello there! As you may already know, most WikiProjects here on Wikipedia struggle to stay active after they've been founded. I believe there is a lot of potential for WikiProjects to facilitate collaboration across subject areas, so I have submitted a grant proposal with the Wikimedia Foundation for the "WikiProject X" project. WikiProject X will study what makes WikiProjects succeed in retaining editors and then design a prototype WikiProject system that will recruit contributors to WikiProjects and help them run effectively. Please review the proposal here and leave feedback. If you have any questions, you can ask on the proposal page or leave a message on my talk page. Thank you for your time! (Also, sorry about the posting mistake earlier. If someone already moved my message to the talk page, feel free to remove this posting.) Harej (talk) 22:47, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject X is live![edit]

WikiProject X icon.svg

Hello everyone!

You may have received a message from me earlier asking you to comment on my WikiProject X proposal. The good news is that WikiProject X is now live! In our first phase, we are focusing on research. At this time, we are looking for people to share their experiences with WikiProjects: good, bad, or neutral. We are also looking for WikiProjects that may be interested in trying out new tools and layouts that will make participating easier and projects easier to maintain. If you or your WikiProject are interested, check us out! Note that this is an opt-in program; no WikiProject will be required to change anything against its wishes. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!

Note: To receive additional notifications about WikiProject X on this talk page, please add this page to Wikipedia:WikiProject X/Newsletter. Otherwise, this will be the last notification sent about WikiProject X.

Harej (talk) 16:57, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Major citation clean-up is needed for: Draft:Alan Jones[edit]


Hello WikiProject Citation cleanup crew: A draft: Draft:Alan Jones needs your help! Since my days on Wikipedia, I have always seen articles that lack citations, but this draft has too many citations! Please, citations are excellent, but this has very clustered citations, that need clean-up. Please volunteer, and clean up this draft. Sincerely Yours, CookieMonster755 (talk) 06:27, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Brahaha! I spent a lot of time researching the citations for the original version of this page, only to see it deleted by a bunch of tossers who thought its (inconsequential) vandalism merited it. I'm not going to waste any more time on lost causes. Unbuttered parsnip (talk) mytime= Sun 20:19, wikitime= 12:19, 29 March 2015 (UTC)