User:Joshua Scott/citations

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Many new Wikipedia users are intimidated by the steep learning curve associated with Wikipedia, not only of the various policies and guidelines they must adhere to, but also by the amount of learning required to do citations.

The basic requirement of articles on Wikipedia is that they must be verifiable, which is usually done by citing inline sources. However, accomplishing this goes beyond the typical beginner's knowledge of wiki formatting. This essay will guide you through from beginner to a good working knowledge of inline citations.

The basics[edit]

Inline citations look like this in the main part of the article:

Jane Miller was a member of The Rockers.[1]

Near the end of the article, there will be a list of the sources (usually in the References section, but sometimes called "Notes" or "Footnotes"). These look like this:

1. ^ Doe, John. "The Rockers - Biography". Rovi. Retrieved 2018-03-24. 

This allows readers to see where the information is from, without disrupting the flow of the text.

The <ref> tag[edit]

To create a citation, you need to put the details of the source inside ref tags. This looks like:

<ref>Details of the source</ref>

when you are editing the page. Notice that the first tag is <ref> and the second is </ref>. Almost anything can be placed between these opening and closing tags.

References section[edit]

To make the references appear in the article, you need to put {{reflist}} (sometimes <references /> is used instead) in the References (sometimes called Notes or Footnotes) section. This will list all the references in the article.

Using citation templates[edit]

Since web addresses may not be permanent, we want to include as much information as possible in the reference, so the source can be found even if the link is not working. Trying to remember what to include can be difficult, so templates have been created to make this easier.

Example using {{cite web}}[edit]

We will use the {{cite web}} template, used for citing web-based sources, as a basic example. Here's a blank version of the template, using only the most-used parameters:

{{cite web |url= |title= |author= |date= |work= |publisher= |accessdate= }}

To use this, you would enter the required information after the = sign. You can look at the template documentation (click the cite web template above) to see what all the parameters are for. Filled out, the template might look like:

{{cite web |url= |title=The Rockers - Biography |author=Doe, John |date= | |publisher=Rovi |accessdate=2018-03-24}}

Notice that this source does not date its material, so that was left blank. You can delete the blank parameters, which would leave it looking like this:

{{cite web |url= |title=The Rockers - Biography |author=Doe, John | |publisher=Rovi |accessdate=2018-03-24}}

To use this in an article, remember to enclose the template between the <ref> and </ref> tags. For example:

Jane Miller was a member of ''The Rockers.''<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=The Rockers - Biography |author=Doe, John | |publisher=Rovi |accessdate=2018-03-24}}</ref>

Which produces the output above.

Citation templates[edit]

A more comprehensive list may be found at Wikipedia:Citation templates
  • {{cite book}} Used for citing books. Books found online (e.g. through google books) can be cited using this template as well
  • {{cite journal}} Used for citing periodicals such as magazines. Can be used for the online versions of those magazines as well
  • {{cite news}} Used for newspapers or online news sources
  • {{cite web}} Used for web sources (when they do not fit into the other formats)

These are used similarly, see each template for details on its parameters.

See also[edit]