Guide to referencing
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|Using references (citations)|
I thought you might find it useful to have some information about references (refs) on wikipedia. These are important to validate your writing and inform the reader. Any editor can remove unreferenced material; and unsubstantiated articles may end up getting deleted, so when you add something to an article, it's highly advisable to also include a reference to say where it came from. Referencing may look daunting, but it's easy enough to do. Here's a guide to getting started.
A reference must be accurate, i.e. it must prove the statement in the text. To validate "Mike Brown climbed Everest", it's no good linking to a page about Everest, if Mike Brown isn't mentioned, nor to one on Mike Brown, if it doesn't say that he climbed Everest. You have to link to a source that proves his achievement is true. You must use reliable sources, such as published books, mainstream press, and authorised web sites. Blogs, Myspace, Youtube, fan sites and extreme minority texts are not usually acceptable, nor is original research (e.g. your own unpublished, or self-published, essay or research), or another wikipedia article.
The first thing you have to do is to create a "Notes and references" section (unless it already exists). This goes towards the bottom of the page, below the "See also" section and above the "External links" section. Enter this code:
The next step is to put a reference in the text. Here is the code to do that. It goes at the end of the relevant term, phrase, sentence, or paragraph to which the note refers, and after punctuation such as a full stop, without a space (to prevent separation through line wrap):
Whatever text you put in between these two tags will become visible in the "Notes and references" section as your reference.
Open the edit box for this page, copy the following text (inserting your own text where indicated), paste it at the bottom of the page and save the page:
(End of text to copy and paste.)
It should appear like this:
You need to include the information to enable the reader to find your source. For an online newspaper source, it might look like this:
When uploaded, it appears as:
Note the single square brackets around the URL and the article title. The format is:
Make sure there is a space between the URL and the Title. This code results in the URL being hidden and the title showing as a link. Use double apostrophes for the article title (it is quoted text), and two single quote marks either side of the name of the paper (to generate italics). Double square brackets round the name of the paper create an internal link (a wikilink) to the relevant wikipedia article. Apostrophes must go outside the brackets.
The date after The Guardian is the date of the newspaper, and the date after "Retrieved on" is the date you accessed the site – useful for searching the web archive in case the link goes dead. Dates are wikilinked so that they work with user preference settings to display the date in the format the user wishes.
You can use sources which are not online, but which you have found in a library or elsewhere—in which case leave out the information which is not relevant. The newspaper example above would be formatted like this:
When uploaded, it appears as:
Here is an example for a book:
When uploaded, it appears as:
Make sure you put two single quote marks round the title (to generate italics), rather than one double quote mark.
These formats are all acceptable for dates:
You may prefer to use a citation template to compile details of the source. The template goes between the ref tags and you fill out the fields you wish to. Basic templates can be found here: Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles/Citation quick reference
The first time a reference appears in the article, you can give it a simple name in the <ref> code:
The second time you use the same reference in the article, you need only to create a short cut instead of typing it all out again:
You can then use the short cut as many times as you want. Don't forget the /, or it will blank the rest of the article! A short cut will only pick up from higher up the page, so make sure the first ref is the full one. Some symbols don't work in the ref name, but you'll find out if you use them.
You can see multiple use of the same refs in action in the article William Bowyer (artist). There are 3 sources and they are each referenced 3 times. Each statement in the article has a footnote to show what its source is.
The above method is simple and combines references and notes into one section. A refinement is to put the full details of the references in their own section headed "References", while the notes which apply to them appear in a separate section headed "Notes". The notes can be inserted in the main article text in an abbreviated form as seen in Harriet Arbuthnot or in a full form as in Brown Dog affair.
More information can be found at:
I hope this helps. If you need any assistance, let me know.
Ty 11:20, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Possibly unfree Image:Kolo_lapis_lazuli_1.jpg
An image that you uploaded or altered, Image:Kolo_lapis_lazuli_1.jpg, has been listed at Wikipedia:Possibly unfree images because its copyright status is disputed. If the image's copyright status cannot be verified, it may be deleted. You may find more information on the image description page. You are welcome to add comments to its entry at the discussion if you are interested in it not being deleted. Thank you. Jusjih (talk) 03:16, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
You appear to have posted on the article by mistake instead of the talk (discussion) page. However, the latter is not for opinions, just discussion of material to go in the article. Ty 11:21, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I have restored the text which you removed, as I have already replied to it, and changing it now distorts my response. If you want to amend it, then instructions are at Wikipedia:TPG#Own_comments. Then it is clear what has occurred in the dialogue. Ty 11:46, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Hello. In case you didn't know, when you add content to talk pages and Wikipedia pages that have open discussion, you should sign your posts by typing four tildes ( ~~~~ ) at the end of your comment. You may also click on the signature button located above the edit window. This will automatically insert a signature with your username or IP address and the time you posted the comment. This information is useful because other editors will be able to tell who said what, and when. Thank you. Ty 11:46, 28 February 2010 (UTC)