Wikipedia:Archives as sources

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For the talk page archiving, see Wikipedia:ARCHIVE.

This page concerns proposed alterations to existing Wikipedia policies to allow the use of some unpublished archival materials as sources.


Currently the only proposal being put forth is the one organized from the Request for Comment. If you have an alternative proposal, please list it here.

Proposal from the RFC[edit]

During the FAC for Hopkins School, the issue of the use of unpublished archival materials as sources on Wikipedia came up. Such sources violate WP:NOR, WP:RS, and potentially WP:V for being unpublished. Following a lengthy discussion the following proposal for slight edits to existing policies has been created to allow for justifiable, fair, and verifiable use of reliable archives as sources:

Changes to WP:NOR[edit]

Change the following sentence:

All articles on Wikipedia should be based on information collected from published primary and secondary sources.


All articles on Wikipedia should be based on information collected from published primary and secondary sources. Unpublished archives of information may be used as primary sources if no published sources are available, provided that:
  • The reference includes a website that verifies the archive's existence and that the archive is from a reputable source.
  • The specific information being sourced is non-controversial.
  • The archive is accessible upon request or is open to the public.

Changes to WP:V and WP:RS[edit]

Add to the bottom of WP:V#Sources (under the new subsection "Archives") and to the bottom of WP:RS#History the following information:

"Wikipedia allows for the use of information from public archives. To ensure reliability in the use of such unpublished but publicly available sources the reference(s) must include proof of the archive's existence, reputability, and public accessibility. This will allow the archive to be confirmed by other editors."

Straw Poll[edit]

This is a straw poll to see which proposals have high levels of support. The straw poll begins 00:32, 12 April 2006 (UTC) and ends seven days (168 hours) from that date and time. This is sort of like approval voting—you can support more than one proposal, and if more than one proposal has sufficiently high levels of support, we'll deal with that later.

This poll is now closed. Clearly there is no consensus for the proposed changes. Garion96 (talk) 09:57, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

RFC Proposal[edit]

Support (19)[edit]

  1. Support as nominator fully behind the community-formed proposal. Staxringold 00:32, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  2. Support fully support, except who is to determine controversy? --Northmeister 00:57, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  3. Support as worded. Per the previous editor's comment, if the consensus is that an item is controversial then the item is controversial (at least, that is my understanding).--Alabamaboy 01:58, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  4. Support As a former archivist, I must support. There are numerous subjects on Wikiepdia where there may be few published sources. *Exeunt* Ganymead | Dialogue? 03:11, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  5. Support, but do we need to be having a vote so soon? Anyway, I don't see any significant difference between an obscure published work, which may be almost impossible for other editors to find, and an archive. In fact, in some cases archival materials may be more easily verified than published ones, since at least there should never be a question of where to find them. -- Visviva 04:41, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  6. Pro This is needed especially given that the level of professionalism, detail, and variety of information required for a FA increase over time. The privisions (the three bullet points) need to be stongly enforced. In fact I have reservations over the sentence: "...if no published sources are available." The unpublished stuff could be better. Witty lama 05:35, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  7. Pro For instance, the Wiener Zeitung has archives of its newspapers from the beginning of their existence — which is some time in the eighteenth century. Since that time, they've been the official way of proclaiming new laws and so on. Why should we exclude such a source? I see no good reason. —Nightstallion (?) Seen this already? 06:48, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    That material isn't unpublished. This proposal is to allow unpublished archives to be used. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:17, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  8. Support. There are so many subjects that are notable, but that do not have published sources verifying every fact. This proposal allows much more verifiability and citing sources. I just do not think that we are "...delete the WP:V policy while we're at it?"; indeed, I think that (given the information is (at least theoretically) publically available) it furthers the scope, whilst keeping within the spirit, of WP:V. Incidentally, what is the difference between this and books that are long out of print? Batmanand | Talk 07:43, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  9. Pro I regularly use The National Archives to confirm evidence in published documents and am aware that published sources sometimes do not accurately reflect the evidence in the primary documents. As a responsible writer I can then ignore the area of disputed area entirely, or else put forward both opinions with evidence or references for readers to make up their own minds. (see Witty lama above) Geof Sheppard 07:49, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  10. Pro The proposal reflects a sensible compromise between the necessity for verifiable, reliable sources and our desire to encyclopedise all information... Assertions that quote junk archives can get deleted just like assertions that quote junk publications. Sandstein 08:45, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  11. Support as I stated reasons for in the preceeding discussion. --Jannex 10:20, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  12. SupportRFD 10:36, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  13. Support There are many subjects that are notable, but do not have published sources verifying every fact. This proposal allows much more verifiability and citing sources. --Siva1979Talk to me 16:16, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    Support. I think verifiability isn't limited to the internet. Andre (talk) 17:55, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    can you explain what you mean? I ask because I believe verifiabiity should not be limited to the internet too, which is precisely why I am opposed to this. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:08, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    Andre, did you intend to vote support? The proposal is to allow unpublished material to be used as sources i.e. material that could not be verified. Editors who care about verifiability should oppose this. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:09, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    You're right, sorry about that. Andre (talk) 20:40, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
  14. Support on a case-by-case basis. Much depends on where the archive resides, but I think for the most part that is a very good "base" source and should be utilized ProfMoriarty 22:11, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  15. Support. Used carefully, there is no reason archival material shouldn't be just as a legitimate source as anything else. Gamaliel 23:17, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  16. Support. As long as it is reasonable SiriusAlphaCMa 07:19, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  17. Pro As long as the archived material can be obtained, I see the usage of it in a good light. Lincher 13:48, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  18. Support. Its a good compromise but publishing doesn't necessarily mean public anyway. You can publish something for 50 dollars an article to be able to see it in its only form online. How is that public? It has been published but for all intents and purposes it is still not available to the average editor trying to verify it. Ansell 23:39, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  19. Support Even though there isn't a snowballs chance in hell that this will pass, I will vote support. There are many cases where parties have edit warred over very minute hard facts which are best confirmed using archival resources. The WP:V argument doesn't fly at all with me, just because something isn't trivial to verify, doesn't mean it's not verifiable. Also, I would like to add that if people do contribute something from an archival source, that they are required to upload a copy of the document for the rest of us to see. Oskar 21:53, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Oppose (41)[edit]

  1. Donald Albury(Talk) 02:40, 12 April 2006 (UTC) This opens a big loophole in the requirement that sources be published. It would be impossible for most editors and readers to verify the material for themselves, as it would be available only at one site with limited access.
    The current policy already has this loophole. It does not distinguish between Open Source publications and costly academic publications. It just says published. There are some pretty advanced Peer Reviewed journals that are able to offer their articles for 50 dollars each, or more, how exactly is that verifiable to the average editor?
  2. Strong oppose. The unpublished archives of primary sources? Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, in other words. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:55, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  3. Very strong oppose. Why not just delete the WP:V policy while we're at it? Jayjg (talk) 04:03, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  4. Strong oppose. This appears to be a way to allow PoV material into Wikipedia and goes against the spirit of Wikipedia as a community of equal editors, making some editors privileged because they have access to sources that others don't. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 08:21, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    Without trying to make this debate a tit-for-tat debate, how is this proposal different from long out-of-print sources, which are de facto available to only a select group of editors? And why would published sources be NPOV?! Batmanand | Talk 08:25, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    Batmanad, let's try to keep this civil. His point stands, however, Mel. The policy alteration directly requires accessibility is shown in the citation, making this use of archives more accessible than out-of-print sources (the example used from Hopkins was the long out-of-print Chronicles of Hopkins Grammar School 1660-1935 from 1938). The point of sourcing things on Wikipedia is so there is a source to point to if a piece of information is questioned, and archives are an equally viable source IMO.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Staxringold (talkcontribs)
    Archived material, yes. Unpublished archived material, no. Just as we don't allow unpublished non-archived material. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:12, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    I am really sorry if the my comments sounded snappy - I really do try to be civil, so please continue to tell me if I am not. Batmanand | Talk 11:59, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    Out-of-print sources are normally available in libraries, and thus through inter-library loans. If a source is very rare, then it shouldn't used in Wikipedia. The issue is how easy is it for editors and readers to chesck the sources for themselves. The availability of something that is found in major libraries, even if out of print, is orders of magnitude better than something that can be found only in one location. Reputable and reliable published sources have been through a vetting process, and have been available for reviewers and critics to point out weaknesses and problems. Material in an archive is unreviewed, not fact-checked by disinterested parties, and therefore unreliable. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 11:52, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    Well, first, I agree completely with Donald Albury. Secondly, however, though their use is not forbidden, long-out-of-orint booksare best avoided as the basis of claims in Wikipedia — largely for the very reason that they're not available to most editors. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 13:39, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    Any archived, unpublished, primary-source material would have to be interpreted by the editor or group of editors who had access to it. Why should any other editor or reader accept the results of that personal interpretation? And why would notable archived material (that is available to the public) be unpublished? Why would other sources not have written about it? This whole proposal makes no sense, and would completely undermine NOR and V. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:15, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  5. Forbidden -- This violates extremely basic principles of this project. No original research is explicit. If you believe there is something in unpublished material of value then go right ahead and do the research and publish it. Then we may accept your research and report it here. OR is not okay sometimes or a little bit or only if we really, really have to do it. It is flatly forbidden. John Reid 12:37, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  6. Fat chance per Mel and John Reid. FeloniousMonk 17:08, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  7. I strongly oppose, yet with regret. The web is a wonderful vehicle for increasing the accessibility of knowledge, which is a good thing, and I can understand why some see Wikipedia as primarily a way of doing this. But the web has one huge problem: zero quality control. And quality control is absolutely essential for an encyclopedia. We do not avail ourselves of the mechanisms other encyclopedias rely on to ensure quality - such as an editorial board and requiring articles to be written by PhD.s and other widely acknowledged experts in a field - and I am glad we do not. Instead, we have our policies, and verifiability and NOR are absoluetly essential to this end. If we allow for original research, including drawing on material that is not easily verifiable, then we would have to turn to more conventional forms of quality control like editorial boards. I really do not want this to happen. And that means, vigorously adhering to our verifiability and NOR policies. NOR states that if someone wants their original research to be available for Wikipedia articles, they should publish it, and then it can be used. Same goes here. If someone wants to make material in an archive available, I suggest they seek a separate agreement with the archive to publish the archived material so that it is available to all.Slrubenstein | Talk 18:24, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  8. Oppose As a former student at Hopkins, I would love to see the material on Wikipedia, but we cannot waterdown RS. JoshuaZ 18:04, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  9. While I don't see the Hopkins material as especially problematic, I don't agree with changing policy in this manner. Material which has not been published has not, IMO, been adequately scrutinised. Primary source material is problematic enough in and of itself - it's easy to take an article in a technical journal out of context if you do not know the literature, and it's easy to misinterpret a historical source if you don't know enough about interpretation. Archival material needs expert interpretation in many cases. I could see the selective use of unpublished archival material being approved on a case-by-case basis, but I cannot agree with changing policy to allow anyone to do this. Guettarda 18:29, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  10. Oppose Jkelly 18:46, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  11. Oppose with extreme prejudice, per all of the above. KillerChihuahua?!? 18:53, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  12. Strong oppose This proposal weakens NOR, one of the pillars of wikipedia. Garion96 (talk) 18:59, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  13. Strong oppose. Wikipedia is not a vehicle for new research and should not even be attempting to be on the edge of reliable knowledge. Even long-out-of-print sources are a thousand times more accessible than archival sources. I say this as someone who makes extensive use of archives in his personal research, but does not think that they are at all a viable model for Wikipedia articles. Changing the policy will create more negative problems (endless invocations of material only one editor has seen) than it could possibly match with positive outcomes. --Fastfission 20:22, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  14. Oppose. While there are occasions I wish I could do this myself, researching among unpublished primary source material is definitely Original Research in the Wikipedia definition. An encyclopedia is not supposed to be a place of first publication. For historical material, which it seems that this proposal is intended for, it is generally relatively easy to have a piece published in a local historical journal or the like, and I would suggest that this should be one's approach. I see much too much potential for abuse, for false claims, and for a reduction in verifiability. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 21:33, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  15. Oppose. This is functionally equivalent to "always cite sources unless you can't find one". It blows a giant hole below the waterline of WP:V and also seriously subverts WP:NOR. Original materials should be published elsewhere first, so that the comunity most likely to be able to place it in context, and identify flaws and unwarranted inferences, can do so. Just zis Guy you know? 22:02, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  16. Oppose strongly. •Jim62sch• 22:03, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  17. Oppose for reasons already given by others. u p p l a n d 22:12, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  18. Oppose. WP:NOR and WP:V are non-negotiable. --Carnildo 22:15, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  19. Oppose Wikipedia depends on the outside publisher to separate the wheat from the chaff. How would you define uncontroversial? Currently, the first publisher of record helps us define it. FloNight talk 22:56, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  20. Strong Oppose Wikipedia either insists on WP:NOR or it doesn't, adding get out clauses for specific cases will end up with us being Wiki-lawyered to death. Gwernol 22:59, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  21. Oppose. Raw archives have had zero analysis done for accuracy, credibility, etc. Note that we ask for *reputable* published sources, which is what gets us out of the game of trying to figure out whether we're reading fact or fantasy. Stan 23:03, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  22. Oppose; undermines WP:NOR and WP:V. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 23:48, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  23. Oppose. For reasons more eloquently expressed above. This seems to be a classic Pandora's box problem....and I vote we nail the box shut.--MarcoTolo 00:18, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  24. Oppose. I am sure there would be times and situations that would tempt me to support such a measure, but as others have said more eloquently than I can (I'll single out Slrubenstein's comments as particularly insightful, but I agree with many sentiments expressed above), Wikipedia by its nature depends on certain rules in order to function. Because of our unique position, the use of unpublished sources is simply unworkable, not because there is nothing good to be had from them (on the contrary, they might be very illuminating), but because the wiki model cannot accomodate them without raising problems that will quickly outweigh the benefits gained. Jwrosenzweig 04:46, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  25. Oppose. If the information is that important, publish it. Kaldari 05:02, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  26. Strong Oppose. (Aside to the above voter User:JwrosenzweigKaldari— Did you read anything pertinent here? If the information was important in the 'normal sense' it would have been published somewhere; this is important in a community sense and sensitive to and important to members of that small communitee.) Have to go with SlimVirgin and Mel on this in general, but the salient fact to me is there is no editorial bar to surmount to archived data. Some such papers could be the demented ravings of a discharged professor fired-for-cause because his work was so outré, but his papers would still be in the college archives. It could be something named the Most Fabulous Cake Recipee Ever Invented and a magazine editorial board would pant: "Great! Make us some." and the cookbook publishers editors would try it out the next weekend. Both would archieve it but never publish it as it tastes like warmed over dog turds. We badly need some sort of editorial board for certain types of articles hereon, but until we have a change of viewpoint from the Foundation level on downwards on that, the sword and shield of Wikipedia credability rests on published information meeting some reputable publisher's standards. I'm personally disinclined to accept most web cites out of hand, as many of those can't meet that test. And when they do, we can't guarantee they'll still be connected next week, much less in six months when someone comes along that knows more on the topic and casts the cite into question. I'd like to see all such excerpted and collected in a sub-page 'source materials' cross-referenced by the sentence they support in the article with matching footnotes, just because they do vanish, and if done properly, such extracts would have some context above and below the critical datum. Mel Etitis, SlimVirgin, and I have seen one such cite, on the surface a benign quote, but taken out of it's context, misconstrued and subsequently cause ten or so of us spend over a month of acrimonious edit wars and naming battles resulting in an unconscionable incalculable loss of man-hours. In closing, let me give kudos to the article and the hard work put in by it's creator, it is certainly high-quality. Perhaps a compromise thought, the better solution would be to allow certain subjects to meet a test of overt allowance—that is an RFC could be formulated, annoted with the research level performed, and request the body of editors as a whole to approve the article as the best attempt at compliance with WP:V, and that a specific waiver be allowed this article for it's subject matter versus WP:NOR, because, as in this specific case, the OR is the best kind— uncontroversial in fact, as well as the only available sources. At the least, the cited article will get some of the visibility it richly deserves. Best wishes and Good Luck! FrankB 06:20, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  27. Oppose; undermines WP:NOR and WP:V. Scan it, put at, then everyone can read, make judgements, and wikipedia can cite something anyone can verify: Archivist Mr. Smith of Institution at [www...] claims "whatever". WAS 4.250 10:04, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  28. As someone pathologically fond of archives, it hurts to vote oppose but really there is no choice. This will cause more trouble than it is worth. However, I want to correct a statement made above several times. In the case of the major state archives, like the US National Archives, getting to see something is easier than finding an obscure book in a far-away library. Provided you have the precise catalog number, you can do it right from your desk (after fetching your credit card). So the obscurity of the material is not the right reason to oppose this proposal. I'm more concerned that there are too few editors who have the time and expertise to verify such a source, and also concerned about the fact that amateur interprettation of archival material is notoriously unsafe. We could think of some limited circumstances where it is fine, but defining them in general terms would be hard and this proposal is too broad. --Zerotalk 10:36, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
    Yes, that is precisely it: it is the amateur interpretation, and the fact that the authority of the archives themselves needs to be externally validated, which is the issue here. We use a lot of archives as root sources - Somerset House is the source for a lot of bvirth and death dates of notable Britons, for example - but we need to be sure that (a) it's the real deal and (b) we are not drawing unwarranted inference from those archives. Just the facts please, ma'am, as they say in the old-time cop shows. Just zis Guy you know? 13:02, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  29. Oppose; for the reasons above. - Liberatore(T) 13:09, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  30. Oppose, creates a difficult conflict with WP:V and WP:OR, but I also have a problem with this: WP is already too biased towards web-based sources. Mangojuice 17:17, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
    • Comment Archives aren't generally web-based, and when they are I would think that's published enough for WP already... Staxringold 20:06, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  31. It may be appropriate sometimes, but this not carte blanc approach. Kotepho 20:20, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  32. Oppose per above. Flcelloguy (A note?) 23:49, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  33. Strong Oppose --Terence Ong 04:31, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  34. I oppose this quite strongly, for the reasons eloquently stated by Jwrosenzweig. —Encephalon 06:48, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  35. Oppose per above. Ral315 (talk) 08:10, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  36. Oppose per Zero. Avenue 15:38, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  37. Oppose in part because of how it's written. "non-controversial" is a poorly-defined phrase; also the bullets should include an "and" to make clear that all three conditions are met. Also, I think this is too broad a loophole. Thesmothete 18:29, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  38. Average user can't verify unpublished information. MaxSem 19:49, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  39. Oppose. See my comments in Support, above. Andre (talk) 20:40, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
  40. Oppose weakens NOR and V, which hurts Wikipedia. K1Bond007 21:14, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
  41. Oppose A lot of potential trouble for at best very marginal gains. Honbicot 18:49, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


  • In response to Northmeister's question, I would assume the controversy would be determined in the same way it is for other things on Wikipedia, community agreement. If one person reverts it without discussion, that's silly, but if a community thinks that citing "George Bush is a certified smelly-pants" with the Archive of American Smellypants then it should be reverted. Staxringold 01:10, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Oh, OK. I think that definition is definitive and should be expressed on the NOR page regarding recent changes too. With that above qualifier, I recommend full support and the comments by older/wiser below are good qualifiers as well. --Northmeister 01:26, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't think I can support this unless it states that the cited material in the archive must be accessible (i.e., verifiable). It doesn't have to be online; doesn't even necessarily have to be open to the public. But if an individual requested to see the cited material, it should be accessible in some way. And I think it would help if it were made explicit that published materials on the same topic are preferred. olderwiser 01:15, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Doesn't the statement say that the archive must be publically accessible? I think that covers your concern.--Alabamaboy 02:00, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
It says that in the WP:V and WP:RS alteration, but not the NOR one. Added it. Staxringold 02:01, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

This poll seems premature. I can easily imagine that there may be cases where the use of unpublished archival materials may be fine to confirm or check some detail (such as a birthdate for a person), but mainly as a supplement to published sources and secondary sources. I think the proposal requires more discussion. u p p l a n d 10:42, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

  • A comment: I do volunteer work at my alma mater Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Wisconsin with the archives. I just got finished moving 79 years worth of history in a room which became available. People do use the archives and it is accessible. Thank you-RFD 11:00, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Uppland, I'm always in favor of more discussion, but we just finished a slightly over a week long Request for Comment (open discussion) that was linked from all three involved policy talk pages and the CBB. What more discussion can be had (the RFC went stagnant at the end). Staxringold 11:42, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
    • I don't think this proposal is clear. What is "non-controversial" and what amount of "non-controversial" information is supposed to be allowed? I think verification of small pieces of data (such as a birthdate, as mentioned above) might be OK on a case-by-case-basis, but I am also afraid that this is a slippery slope. It is really better to publish stuff somewhere else first and then reference it in Wikipedia. I'm pretty sure most places will have a journal of local or regional history interested in a thoroughly researched article about some non-trivial aspect of the history of a school. u p p l a n d 06:28, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  • A question (after a long prologue...): without use of archives, many articles (particularly, but not exclusively, about schools) will have considerable problems finding enough verifiable sources to cite for their articles. Most schools are simply not important enough for someone to publish a book about them, particulary if they do not have an illustrious history. The best that one can often hope for - outside of archives - are internal school publications, such as school magazines, which often have low or non-existent historical research standards.
One minor consequence of this is that they are unlikely to ever be able to become FAs, even though (in theory at least) any article that can survive an AfD should be potentially featurable. A major one is that these articles will often never be able to be as good as they could be at what they are meant to do: provide information. Now, I understand that Wikipedia is not a collection of truth, but rather notable, verifiable information. But what about things that are notable, true and verifiable if the archives were usable? I am thinking things like school histories. Some of the archival material requires no interpretation (eg a list of headteachers before 1900, say). But OK, some of it may require a degree of interpretation (eg a contradiction between two sources). And obviously, as WP:OR says, these would not be allowed. So, my question is: if not through unpublished archival materials, how are articles about schools et al. meant to find sources to cite? Or are they doomed to be short and non-FAble forever? Batmanand | Talk 00:15, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
    • Ah, yes, an interesting question. I see a problem with your phrasing. My phrasing would be, if a school is not important enough for anyone to have published usable information about it, how can it be important (notable) enough to have an article in Wikipedia? A lot of our articles will never be featured articles. If you can't raise an article to FA status without OR and otherwise violating verifiability, then it shouldn't be an FA. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 00:57, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
  • But that's a rediculously simplified version of how information works. Things can be notable enough to warrant articles that have interesting features that aren't published anywhere. For example, the major section sourced from the archives in Hopkins' school is the history of "The Hilltopper" mascot. It's too recent to be covered in the 1660-1935 chronicles, as the myth has far superceded the actual history so all the Hopkins' websites don't talk about it. Notability of subject does not mean all information on the subject will exist in published sources. Staxringold 01:07, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
        • How do you prove notability without published sources? Remember, what is notable to the students and alumni of the Hopkin's school is not necessarily notable in the wider world. This looks to me like an effort to MAKE the Hopkin's school notable by having an article in Wikipedia. There is a reason we have Wikipedia:Vanity guidelines. If you are too close to the subject you are writing about, it is hard to be objective about the notability of the subject, and to find NPOV. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 01:37, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
          • Huh? Where have I pushed for such a thing? Once the arguement was made clear I removed every mention of the archives from the Hopkins School page. I don't want this for one article, I merely use this one article as an example as I am intimately familiar with it (especially for this topic). If Bill the Goat is notable enough for an entire article the Hopkins mascot is notable enough for a subsection mention under athletics. And given the mascot's recent but falsely remembered story there is no published source I can find despite searching that explains the actual history. The archive does. This is why the example is good, not because I have some feeling of ownership over the article or am too close to it, but because the archive provides accurate, uncontroversial information that is far more publicly accessible than some old out-of-print book (my link for the suggested requirement for proof of existence would be a page like this that provides a direct link to contact the archivist. Staxringold 01:50, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
            • I've had my say. It looks like this proposal is failing, for which I am thankful. I need to get back to adding content (from published sources). -- Donald Albury(Talk) 02:04, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

This whole Notable arguement is off target. If the article is well written, looks good, and feels realistic and reasonable, it's not going to be killed by Vfd (or Afd, whatever the fashion to call it now). That it can't be FA is a horse of another color, but hardly a reason to change a fundamental policy. But if it can't meet FA status so what? It merely joins most good articles herein. No one guaranteed me when I first logged in that every article I've started has a crack at FAC. It won't happen, because I have more interest in writing new one's than in polishing an older one to that high a state. Different strokes for different Folks, and all that. Too many editors to get in their two cents makes getting emotionally attached to any one body of work a self-flagelating loosing proposition. Easier on you to bang your head against the wall with great force for ten minutes—at least when you stop it will feel better! But fearing AfD for a good school article is borrowing trouble. As is changing policy because your heart and soul went into any one article. They're both much the same — unbalanced reactions without sufficient gravitas. FrankB 06:54, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

As you say, this policy is currently looking highly unlikely to be enacted, and as such, this will be my last contribution too. I hope all interactions so far have been civil, in good faith and added something to the discussion of this policy. I am sure that I once saw something that said that all articles that can survive an AfD vote could in theory become featurable, but maybe I was just mistaken. And hell, I think that WP:SCHOOL is wrong; to me schools are not inherently notable. But, just as I have been defeated on that, I will fold my tent on this. Batmanand | Talk 09:32, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
(moved from the oppose section)I'd just like to interject here that a large number of the comments made hereinafter indicate strongly that the voters have neither read the article, nor the RFC which arrived at the consensus of proposing this straw Poll. I'd advise doing that before making lengthy comments below or paint yourself a fool, as IMHO, these references are something of a special case. FrankB
So you want to change two of the most fundamental policies in Wikipedia to allow for this 'exceptional' article? The particular article should not be relevant to the question of changing these policies, although it does seem to go the heart of why this change was proposed. You see, you make an exception for a special case, and the next day there are 20 more 'special cases' clamoring for their exceptions, and the day after that you no longer have a policy. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 12:51, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
I have only skimmed this and so I hope this hasn't been discussed above, but are there currently specific situations (besides the Hopkins example) that want to use archival materials? Ardric47 02:24, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
RFD mentioned Aquinas High School earlier in this discussion, and Gnetwerker mentioned Reed College during the FAC for Hopkins (off the top of my head). Staxringold 03:45, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I'll support if it is added that whoever uses the archival source is required to submit a copy of the document/s that he used. Oskar 18:32, 14 April 2006 (UTC)