Talk:Allan Sharpe

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Current sourcing[edit]

  • The first source ("Allan Sharpe; Playwright, actor and director". The Herald. 26 June 2004.) has a link to a document behind a paywall. While that is not forbidden, having the source to which so many cites are made (18 at the moment) inaccessible makes the article hard to evaluate or improve. No page info is given so this would be hard to find even in a paper or microform version, although given the date it probably could be done.
  • The second source ("Fifth Estate Theatre Company". National Library of Scotland - Archives. October 2013.) seems to be a collection of primary sources. It would be better if the individual cites were to specific documents within this collection, preferably with page numbers. Also, as primary sources, these do not contribute to notability, and should only be used with care. The ling goes only to an inventory of documents, not to any of the individual documents, which is of only limited help.
  • References 3, 4, and 6 are mostly about specific plays, and do not discuss Sharpe much if at all, and do not discuss the Theater company much.
  • Reference 5 ("THEATRE:The Burgher's Tale Netherbo Theatre, Edinburgh". The Guardian (London). 9 June 1994) is again behind a paywall. So is reference 7 ( "Playing for real in theatre of war - Can drama educate and inform on a subject as difficult as Bosnia? Two plays deal very differently with the conflict". The Guardian (London). 28 August 1995. Retrieved 5 November 2013.) Again, page info for the printed edition is not provided.
  • Reference 8 ("Allan Sharpe". Scottish Theatre Archive - University of Glasgow. 2013.) Is again a mere index of a collection of library holdings. These should be treated as off-line print sources, with full specific citation details provided (title, author, date, and page number in particular). The link is of limited value and perhaps should be omitted. It would do no harm were the full print citation info included, however. The same is true of refs 9 and 10, also to the Scottish Theatre Archive/
  • Reference 11 is to the IMDB, which is generally not considered a reliable source except for some limited types of content. See WP:RS/IMDB, Wikipedia:Citing IMDb

I hope that these points are helpful. DES (talk) 17:51, 14 November 2013 (UTC)


Many thanks for your feedback - very illuminating.

  • In regard to references 1, 5 and 7 (behind the paywall) - I had no option but to use ProQuest as the articles, as far as I know, are not available elsewhere on the internet. Fortunately, I have free access to ProQuest through my local library and I hope that many other Wikipedians have the same luxury. Unfortunately, ProQuest does not display page numbers for these articles.
  • Reference 2 - The National Library of Scotland has recently employed a 'Wikimedian in residence' (July 2013) to help with such queries. I shall ask for their contribution on this matter and keep you posted. Not forgetting these documents have only recently appeared online. (Pure chance I did a search on Allan Sharpe two weeks ago!)
  • References 3, 4, and 6 - (play reviews) - I included the reviews because they critique Sharpe's work as a playwright.
  • References 8, 9, and 10 - (Scottish Theatre Archive) are important as they establish Sharpe's professional acting work outwith his own theatre company. I will seek advice in regard to the specific citation details.
  • Reference 11 - (IMDB) I have read and understand the rules regarding IMDB. I would argue the source establishes Sharpe's professional television and film credits. The programmes and films he performed in are well known in the UK. His credits are due to being part of the cast and crew - clearly not through his own personal contributions as a member of the database.

I hope this answers some of your points. Many thanks.Gomach (talk) 22:20, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your detailed response, Gomach.

  • For the references behind the paywall, you might use the quote= parameter of a citation template such as {{cite web}} to allow editors or readers without free access to know exactly what text in the reference supports the article text. Or you might try to find equivalent references that are more available.
  • For the National Library of Scotland refs, did you see the actual documents, or merely the index summery? if you saw the actual documents online, provide that link of possible. If you saw them on paper, there should be page numbers available. if you didn't yourself see the actual documents, but only the list of documents held by the library, you should not use them as a reference, as you can't verify that the documents actually support the points that they are cited to support. See Say where you read it
  • Play reviews are fine and appropriate, but don't help much with the issue of notability. Note that notability is not inherited nor associative, so writing a notable play does not automatically make the playwright notable, and discussion of the play does not help much with teh playwright's notability. It would be highly desirable to find some critical commentary on Sharpe directly, perhaps a review of the entire body of his work, or at least of several pieces together, or some other published source that discusses him in some depth.
  • Scottish Theatre Archive refs: again did you see the actual documents? if you did, cite what and where you saw them, with a link if available. If you only saw a directory listing indicating that such documents exist, this is not sufficient for a citation. Again, this is per WP:SAYWHEREYOUREADIT.
  • The IMDB issue is a bit murky. Many people argue that cast lists and credits are generally reliable, others that they are not. (Info from the user fora and plot summaries is pretty generally agreed not to be reliable.) It may be possible for random people to alter the IMDB's cast lists, it clearly is possible for anyone to edit plot listings. If another source can be found, since this is simply to support that he appeared or was credited in various productions, it might be a good idea, but that info is probably not controversial. But if this were to be brought up at an AfD, some editors would pounce on the IMDB links.

Please remember that much of the point of a citation is to enable someone else to find, perhaps years later, the same supporting text that you found, and to verify how it does or does not support the statements in the article. Anything that conduces to this end is good.

Please also remember the distinctions between [[WP:PRIMARY|Primary, secondary and tertiary sources, Gomach. Specificaly, our guideline says:

"Unless restricted by another policy, primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia; but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them.[4] Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the source but without further, specialized knowledge."

Remember also that primary sources generally contribute little to notability.

I hope this response is helpful. DES (talk) 23:18, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your advice DES. I have implemented the reference edits to the 'paywall' references as requested. Sought guidance on correct citation parameters for 'Scottish Theatre Archive' from helpdesk as I was not sure you would be online. Could you please review edits Allan Sharpe and review Fifth Estate Theatre Company, if you have time. Thanks.Gomach (talk) 14:46, 20 November 2013 (UTC)