Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 14

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Template:Cite web

I was wanting to use this template on my own wiki and it references another template called Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 14/doc but I cannot find it anywhere.....and of course it shows up as an error now.

Any suggestions on how to fix this or where I can get a copy of the appropriate cite template? 20:40, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

That is Template:Cite web/doc. It is not needed for the template to work, you can simple remove the "noincludes" and the call to it. Or you can upload a copy to your wiki if you really want.
In the future please start new topics at the bottom of the page. Thanks. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:48, 13 February 2007 (UTC)


Where can I get up to speed on Youtube as a source? I've never actually watched a Youtube clip, don't understand all the excitement, don't know what it's about, but I'm cleaning up a lot of references in election articles and need to understand:

  1. Is it a WP:RS?
  2. If an upload violates copyright, how can it be a WP:RS?
  3. If it is a WP:RS, how is it cited in a footnote?
  4. Do we have a page, guideline, description anywhere?

Thanks, Sandy 22:57, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Sandy, Youtube should not be used as a source, except in the sense that there might be clips of documentaries or other films that counted as reliable sources. But in cases like that, the source is the documentary, not Youtube, and providing a Youtube link would only be done as a matter of courtesy to the reader (so long as there's no copyright violation, I suppose). It would be like finding a blog that hosted a copy of a NYT article that was no longer available on the NYT site. So long as we had no reason to believe the article might have been tampered with, it's fine to link to the blog. But the source is the NYT, not the blog, and the full citation should be for the NYT article. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:19, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, SV. See other conversation at the talk page of WP:BLP: more feedback there. Sandy 02:36, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Maybe you should watch a youtube video, rather than wallow in ignorance. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:06, 7 January 2007 (UTC).


This page has grown into a sprawling mess. It needs some serious reorganization and refactoring. I don't have time to do it myself at the moment, but I would encourage someone to be bold and edit this page down to the essential information. A lot of the stuff on this page is old and not especially relevent any more. Also, we should be pushing the use of cite.php more, as it has become a de facto requirement for featured articles. The way we word things here is very non-commital and ambiguous, i.e. "You may want to do this or you may want to do that" rather than giving some definite recommendations. Kaldari 21:32, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Subscription sites

What do we do about links to cited articles where there is an online version, but only on a paid subscription site. For example, Paris Commune cites

Nothing about that citation indicates that you have to pay to see anything past the first paragraph of the online version. That seems wrong to me. Any suggestions? - Jmabel | Talk 04:36, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

For the particular citation you mention, going to the home page indicates that the publication is both in print and online, so you could go to a library that keeps back issues. In any case, I see no problem with subscription sites. Books, magazines, and newspapers have to be paid for, so why not web sites? --Gerry Ashton 05:32, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

I guess what I don't like is that it provides a URL without saying that all it's going to take you to is a teaser. We should have some way to distinguish that, on more or less the same principle that we don't link a book title to the Amazon page selling the book. - Jmabel | Talk 06:44, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

We often link to articles in journals where the full text is only available for a fee. Probably the vast majority of "doi" links only offer free abstracts. What characteristics define when summary information is insufficient for confirming a source? (SEWilco 02:26, 18 October 2006 (UTC))
Occasionally, the information in the article may be taken from the abstract, but usually access to the full text is needed to confirm the article. And of course, learning more than is in the article will usually need the full text. I wouldn't be opposed to coming up with some keyword to let people know it is a subscription site. --Gerry Ashton 02:46, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

What I often do (see Circumcision) is to put “Abstract” in the format tag of the {{cite journal}} entry, which informs the reader that the statement being corroborated comes from the abstract and that the full-text is often not available. For the few times that abstract does not corroborate the statement, I will leave an editors note (see reference #92 in Circumcision for an example). -- Avi 03:53, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

advice needed

Although I have confirmed it from many users I just want to make sure that- If quoting from a different language source, an English translation should be given with the original-language quote beside it. means u should only translate the part of the non-english source which u intend to use in the article (and not the whole source).Plz confirm this on my talk page as I am not sure I will be able to locate this page again! Mahawiki 13:08, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

"Quoting" is the operative word. If you are quoting in English from a non-English source, then inherently the English is there. The issue is to reproduce the corresponding portion of the original, in the original language. [and I'll copy this to Mahawiki's user talk page] - Jmabel | Talk 06:41, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Convenience links essay

I've written an essay on "convenience links" that cites this page heavily and would love to hear any thoughts. Thanks, TheronJ 21:46, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Here is a convenient link to the essay: Wikipedia:Convenience links (SEWilco 02:11, 18 October 2006 (UTC))

Proving I have read the book

I have cited a book, and my honesty about having possession of it was questioned. I went so far as to scan the page I was quoting. My honesty is still being questioned. It's not a rare book; am I required to verify myself before I'm allowed to verify facts in articles? Are there any guidelines that talk about this? --Masamage 05:24, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Umm, no, you're not; as you're an editor in good standing, your word is sufficient. (It should be fairly easy for anyone who actually cares to check; I'm assuming this isn't some rare manuscript we're talking about.) Kirill Lokshin 05:48, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Nope, just a normal book. ^^; Thanks for your reply; sometimes one just needs to hear these things from an outside party. It looks like the discussion is dying down anyway without any intervention, but for the future, maybe there should be some reference to this meta-verification thing? Something official stating that when "you're an editor in good standing, your word is sufficient" might have been handy... --Masamage 05:59, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Even if it's a somewhat rare book, questioning someone who's provided a scan of the relevant page(s) seems to violate WP:AGF in a pretty big way to me. --- The Bethling(Talk) 06:01, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
And anyway, the proper question here was "what does the book say?", not "What was Massmage's connection to it?" If the source actually bolds, or does not bold, whether Massmage got his image by e-mail is irrelevant to the article. (Meat-puppetry, which seems to be implied here, is another question; but I don;t see this as one of the limited number of cases where it matters.) Septentrionalis 19:59, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

"Further reading" goes after "References"? I'm not sure that's a good idea.

I see the rationale - the references are really a part of the article, and things like external links, books on related topics, etc. should appear at the end of the article.

But many of the articles I've worked on have really large numbers of references: Condom, for example, has 59 cited sources, and even in small font the references section takes up 2.5 screens on my monitor. Is it really reasonable to expect readers to scroll through that much text they are not interested in to see the "Further reading" and related sections?

In my view, the Footnotes/References section is integrally tied into the article through the footnote system - where the reader can go back and forth between the text of the article and cites for specific material at the click of a mouse. Because of this hypertext connection, I do not see any benefit to articles of having the cites immediately following the text.

In contrast, "Further reading" type sections benefit from immediately following the text. Readers learn about a topic, and then they learn where they can find even more information. Is there any support to making this change to the Further reading/external links guidelines? Or at least saying the best order of these sections may be different in different articles? Lyrl Talk Contribs 18:29, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

I would expect that most useful works will be listed in the references, because the editors will have consulted them in writing the article. The further reading section is much less related to the article, as it may not, in fact, be where we want to send the reader; quite often, it's a grab bag of related works that, for one reason or another, were not suitable for use as references.
(To give a concrete example: on Battle of Ceresole, the actual works to consult for more information are in the "References" section, while the "Further reading" section contains non-English works and obscure primary sources that really aren't going to be helpful to the average reader.) Kirill Lokshin 19:08, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I think a distinction needs to be made between major sources for the article, and citations for one or just a handful of sentences. Some articles seperate these two types of sources, for example IntraUterine System has both a "References" section (for major sources) and "Footnotes" section (for minor sources, and different page numbers of the references). Major sources for the article, I agree should be located above "Further reading" type sections. In my experience, however, many articles have Footnote sections composed almost entirely of a grab bag of unrelated works that support a single statement or minor discussion, but are not particularly relevent to the article as a whole. In the Diaphragm (contraceptive) article, for example, the "External links" section would be more helpful to curious readers than the "Footnotes" section.
Note also that the Battle of Ceresole article has only eight references, which even at normal font size take up less than half a screen. I think listings of major sources are going to tend to be relatively short like this. But listings of minor sources are going to be very long. The longer the reference/footnote section, in other words, the less likely it is going to contain information interesting to readers, and the more of a pain it is to scroll past it to get to any following sections. Lyrl Talk Contribs 22:23, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, the references are further reading, right? Any of them can give you additional information. The actual Further Reading section just expands on that with things that weren't necessarily used within the article itself. So if you miss it because of a 60-citation References section, you might miss out on four or five good sources, but you'll still have 60 at your disposal. --Masamage 22:28, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
for smooth reading, I suggest the references or end-notes should come after the Further Reading/Bibliography. The reference notes are NOT an integral unit because they are not meant to be read consecutively (they are linked to sentences), but the Bibliography is an integral unit of the article in its own right. Rjensen 22:31, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, the list of references isn't really meant to be read consecutively either. ;-)
Really, the full order can be either "Notes, References, Further reading" or "References, Notes, Further reading" when a "References" section separate from the notes (and offering a condensed bibliography of works used as sources for the article) is present. The such cases, the further reading is basically icing on the cake, and not really needed for the average reader.
The hard case is where (usually because of the cite-many-sources-once issue) the "References" and "Notes" sections are combined)—in other words, where there isn't a bibliography-style alphabetical listing of sources in addition to the actual endnotes. I'm not sure what the most sensible order would be, in this case, but I suspect that it will vary according to the needs of the article and the value of whatever is listed as "further reading". Kirill Lokshin 22:37, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The order of sections in an article is covered by WP:LAYOUT and I suggest that part of the Manual of Style be discussed and possibly modified, rather than bringing it up here. --Gerry Ashton 22:42, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The bibliography should include all the books a user should know about, even if it means duplication from reference section. The reason is that users print out the bibliography and use it as a check list against the local library catalog. Unless the user has access to a big research library, only a few of the titels will be available. Rjensen 22:46, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
There are two possible sections of "bibliography" here: the "References" section (in its alphabetical listing of sources form, when there's a separate section of endnotes), and the "Further reading" section, which is always in such a form. The two need to be kept separate, however, as the first includes only those sources that were actually consulted by editors, while the second can include any source, even if no editor of the article has actually read it. To combine the two would generally be inappropriate, as it would make it impossible to determine which sources were actually used to produce the material in the article. Kirill Lokshin 23:00, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
The solution to the Lokshin problem is to duplicate titles. That is make the Further Reading complete in itself--these are the recommended books to use. Rjensen 23:16, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
As opposed to simply realizing that people will happily print off both the "References" and the "Further reading" if they're looking to do more research? All we need to do is to make both sections available in a sensible place; we shouldn't take reader hand-holding to the point where it's causing us trouble. Duplicating material is a mess, and conflating the references and the further reading (which is often not used as a reference because it's not a suitable source for some reason, a point that is most likely something of which the reader would like to be made aware) is even more of one. Kirill Lokshin 23:33, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

References are not always further reading. A "References and notes" section can be completely filled with pages of citations that have no content other than the one sentence they support. While further reading and external links type sections may, depending on the article, have books or large webpages full of content relevant to the article. In such cases, it makes more sense to put those sections first, and the references and notes sections at the very end of the article.

WP:LAYOUT says that "Further reading" may go either above or below References/Footnotes sections. Which contradicts this guideline (Wikipedia:Citing sources#Further reading/external links). Although both locations say that external links have to go at the end, which I do not understand - external links are further reading in online form, why would a section titled "External links" be treated differently than a section titled "Further reading"? I will post on the WP:LAYOUT talk page also, but I think the discussion should continue here since the two guideline pages are not currently consistent with each other. Lyrl Talk Contribs 01:32, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

So we have a standard section to edit for interwiki links and cats. Septentrionalis 20:43, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
That would mean that all articles should be required to have an External Links section. To me, that is not a convincing rationale either. Lyrl Talk Contribs 22:50, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Lyrl, I'm not sure of the wisdom of the para you added, so I'm moving it here. We would just end up with POV pushers endlessly emphasizing their preferred texts. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:02, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
"Normally, only items that have not been used as sources for the article are placed in these sections. All sources must be listed in the "References" or "Notes" sections. However, if there are a large number of items used as sources, but only a few would be useful to readers seeking a broad discussion of the topic, emphasizing the utility of the source by listing it also in an "External links" or "Further reading" section is acceptable."
I've joined the discussion on Guide to Layout, and so will here too. In regard to "References are recommended reading" argument I want to say that, in the articles I've worked on, references are most certainly not something I would recommend - most of the time they're not even in English. References are reliable sources which support certain assertions in the articles - they are frequently in a foreign language, only a part of a larger work, cover a single aspect of the topic presented in the article, or all three above. Recommended reading and External links should be books and links which are in English, and cover entire topic of the article. Reader will peruse Recommended reading and External links when interested in the topic of the article and want to know more, and only look at references to check whether assertions in article are correct. Some books and websites, parts of which are used as references, may be recommended as further information, and there is nothing wrong with that. Nikola 09:34, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

How to cite...

When writing a new article or adding references to an existing article that has none, follow the established practice for the appropriate profession or discipline that the article is concerning (if available and unquestioned).

Now, the traditional, unquestioned method of citing papers/books in meteorology articles is to use (Author Year) inline notation. While this method is almost universal for printed media on the subject, it just doesn't seem to make sense in a wikipedia setting where clickable footnotes are available. My main concerns are that

  1. (Author Year) notation may disrupt the flow of the article to a non-technical reader, and
  2. (Author Year) might not pass if an article is nominated at WP:GAN.

So which convention do we follow here? Wikipedia's or AMS's? -Runningonbrains 16:09, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

An article which contains both, just in case you were looking for an example.-Runningonbrains 16:25, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Runningonbrains, that article needs cleanup :-) Either method is acceptable, but mixing ref styles is a no-no at WP:FAC; I fixed the footnote punctuation to agree with WP:FN (footnotes after ref). Sandy (Talk) 20:27, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the fixes....the reason it's still mixed that is we were in the middle of a major reorganization, and we stopped until this question got answered. -Runningonbrains 12:23, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't know the current answer to your question, but there seems to be a fairly high demand for modifications to the Cite.php programming to allow clickable (Author Year) notes, automatically formatted in much the way the superscripts currently are. Lyrl Talk Contribs 22:48, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Definitely use the standard method for the discipline. See Wikipedia:Harvard citation template examples for templates that turn Harvard citations into links to the reference information. I can't speak for WP:GAN but they should not fail any article on that basis; Harvard referencing is one of Wikipedia's standard referencing systems. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:35, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Need Help

I got one of those notes on the top of my page Cedar Hill Area to site the refernce I did make a note one the bottom where is info is from but I am unsure how to taqg it so that the not verifyed thing comes off my page.??? --Happypixie 22:05, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

At a minimum, the reference list should give the author, date, title, publisher, and the city & state of the publisher. Idealy, each paragraph or so would be marked to show which reference and which page(s) the information came from. Once the information is there, it can be properly formatted. --Gerry Ashton 04:46, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
Pixie, I found your article at Cedar Hill (neighborhood), and intended to help you set up references, but there are no references there I can help you with. Maybe if you go to WP:FA, scroll down to the Geography section, and look through some of the cities there, you'll see what is needed. Sandy (Talk) 20:31, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Duplication of refs in the "Further Reading" section?

This page specifically forbids duplication of references #: "An ==External links== or ==Further reading== section is placed near the end of an article and offers... that might be of interest to the reader, but which have not been used as sources for the article."

But over at WP:LAYOUT, references are allowed to be listed a second time in the "Further reading" section #: "When there are more than five references about the article, you may want to include them here so that there is a complete bibliography for users in one place."

I don't really have an opinion either way, but two policy pages should be consistent with each other. Which way should it be - duplication prohibited or allowed? Lyrl Talk Contribs 00:10, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Note: I've also asked this question over on the WP:LAYOUT page Wikipedia talk:Guide to layout#This can't be right... Lyrl Talk Contribs 00:14, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I would say that the "Further reading" section should contain links to works that continue beyond the article, preferably in a review-style way, whether or not they have been used as references. The sections serve different purposes - the references back up what's in the article, while the further reading point to stuff that's not in the article and is of interest. I wouldn't say that all references want to be duplicated in it - just those that have a usefulness beyond verification of the article. Mike Peel 08:28, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Folks, I am an absolute newbie, and just added a section under FEMA, under a deadline for my class in Homeland Security, and I have footnotes, but canNOT figure out how to add them, and still meet my deadline. I want to do the right thing, here. How to I make my citations, how do I make them legit and copasetic(spell?), while I go back to my class stuff to finish meeting the deadline? hallebb

I will suggest one method, but others exist too. Do you know how to format footnotes for a paper. If so, after each passage in the material you added, enter the footnote information between reference tags. For example, <ref>''Washington Post'' (December 6, 2006). [ "Situation 'Deteriorating' In Iraq, Panel Says"]</ref>
will appear as Washington Post (December 6, 2006). "Situation 'Deteriorating' In Iraq, Panel Says"
The double-apostrophies go around the title of the work, to put it in italics. The left and right square brackets go around the web link (if there is one); a space separates the web address and the words that you want to appear in the article.
Finally, edit the References section of the article and put <references/> as the first line in that section to make your references visible. --— Omegatron 05:39, 7 December 2006 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Gerry Ashton (talkcontribs) 00:03, 7 December 2006 (UTC).

Scientific citation guidelines

I have added a link in see also to Wikipedia:Scientific citation guidelines, a (modest) proposal which has the support of editors from the mathematics and physics WikiProjects. If you have any comments on the guidelines, we would appreciate hearing them. –Joke 03:15, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I made a section for these guidelines as I think they deserve mention in the body of the text. If I was wrong, just revert. --ScienceApologist 12:50, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

That page has had extremely limited exposure (as far as I can tell), consensus appears based on very few participants, and the title is excessively broad (scientific) considering it appears to be the work of a few members of Physics and Math projects: please correct me if you exposed it to *all* scientific projects, and I missed that. I question the guideline status, considering the limited participation. Sandy (Talk) 14:01, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, I have mentioned it on here before and elsewhere, but I agree. It has clearly not established the consensus of all Wikipedia editors, and not even all the scientific WikiProjects. My next step is to ask participants in the other projects what they think. That is why we adopted the broad title.
I think I made it clear at the top of the page that the guideline was established by members of WikiProjects Physics and Mathematics and that it has not yet obtained the consensus of all of Wikipedia. –Joke 14:09, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I should note that although the exposure has been limited, quite a number of editors from outside the two projects, including a number who were involved in the recent fracas at WP:CITE and WP:GA, have been quite encouraging about the guidelines. –Joke 14:11, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Is it not premature for it to be labled as a guideline, then? I suggest a proposal tag. At minimum, if some version of it is to be accepted, its scope needs to be better defined: "scientific" is too broad. Sandy (Talk) 14:16, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
After reviewing the handful of editors who have participated in the discussion and in editing the article, I switched it to a proposal rather than a guideline. Sandy (Talk) 14:20, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the citation issue for scientific articles was first discussed some time ago on the wiki physics project. Joke started the page and most of what is written there was already broadly agreed to by almost everyone there. If you only look at the page you only see the few people who have invested a lot of their time to work out the "small print". Count Iblis 14:59, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

And I reinstated the previous text, which clearly stated the status of the page, unlike the generic proposal banner. Scientific is not too broad, and the scope is clearly defined. It is for writing articles about scientific and mathematical subjects, and it currently has the consensus of editors in physics and mathematics. –Joke 14:38, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I do believe it is too broad, and that consultation with all "scientific" areas should be included, if the title is to include "Scientific", rather than just math and physics. Sandy (Talk) 15:37, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that the other projects should be consulted, and they will be. I suppose, if, for example, the geologists are vehemently opposed to the guidelines, then the page will have to find a new name. Until then, I think it is reasonable to leave it at the present name and clearly indicate that it only has the support of these Projects. This doesn't seem too unusual for proposed Wikipedia policies and guidelines. The reason it was the math and physics editors who have been initially involved in this proposal is that it was principally they who were involved in the discussions at WP:CITE and WP:V. I thought that it was clear that we would never be able to change WP:CITE – because there was more to say about the issue than could reasonably be added to the page, and the red herring "every sentence needs an inline cite: yes or no?" kept rearing its ugly head – so it seemed to make sense to write a complementary proposal. –Joke 15:50, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I do think it should be labeled and tagged as a proposal until broader consensus across all scientific areas is achieved. For example, WP:MEDMOS has had broad consensus in the Medical project for many months (previously under a different article name), clearly states it only applies to medicine articles, no one that I'm aware of has disagreed with it, yet it is still not labeled a guideline. The "scientific" and "guideline" labels are premature, until this proposal receives broader consensus. All I'm saying is, first things first, no need to hurry a broad guideline. Sandy (Talk) 16:01, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Move all discussion to article talk page?

Would it be more helpful to keep all discussion in one place, at Wikipedia talk:Scientific citation guidelines ? Sandy (Talk) 16:03, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Discussion of whether the science/math citation guideline should be mentioned in the Citing sources guideline should remain here. --Gerry Ashton 17:56, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
As being discussed on the article talk page, WP:CITE overrides this proposal, thus, I don't believe it belongs here. At any rate, since it is now linked here, I've put a disputed tag on the "science" "guideline", as it does not have consensus across all science areas, and as such, is currently mistitled at least. Sandy (Talk) 18:00, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Any time you want to stop the rules lawyering and discuss the content, it would be helpful. -- SCZenz 20:47, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Should we really have footnotes after these facts?

Someone has tagged the following sentences in the American football article with "fact" tags:

"Super Bowl Sunday, the day of the game, has become an unofficial February holiday in the U.S.[citation needed]

It has ???? Since when? Sandy (Talk) 01:09, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
How about since before this ref?: User:Pedant 19:03, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

"College football is also extremely popular throughout North America. Four college football stadiums seat more than 100,000 fans, which regularly sell out. Even high school football games can attract more than 10,000 people in some areas. The weekly autumn ritual of college and high-school football—which includes marching bands, cheerleaders and parties (including the ubiquitous tailgate party)—is an important part of the culture in much of smalltown America.[citation needed] It is a long-standing tradition in the United States (though not universally observed) that high school football games are played on Friday, college games on Saturday, and professional games on Sunday (with an additional professional game on Monday nights).[citation needed]"

The facts tagged here are common knowledge in the U.S., not challengable assertions. Putting footnotes after them wouldn't look professional -- it would look like something done by amateurs trying to look professional.

Anyway, what would you cite for "proof" here? Friday Night Lights?

That 1987 would be a good source to cite. 01:45, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Advice would be appreciated. Thanks -- Mwalcoff 00:22, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Umm, what about readers who happen to be from some other part of the world? As a general rule, assertions about how important or widespread something is should always be cited, for the benefit of readers to whom the topic may be an entirely foreign one. Kirill Lokshin 01:05, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm a football watcher, from the USA, and I don't know this "holiday" fact. Sandy (Talk) 01:09, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if there were published references to it in that context; but there are probably undue weight issues tangled up in our presenting it that way. Kirill Lokshin 01:12, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
The fact tags were added by User talk:Djdickmutt. Perhaps you should ask that user why they were added. I agree that citations for this sort of thing are sophomoric. CMummert 01:14, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
OK, the holiday "fact" should be removed then. But when it comes to something like "high-school football is an important part of the culture in much of small-town America," what can you cite for that? That's not something that comes from a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. That's just something that's obvious from living in the country. -- Mwalcoff 01:19, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm sure the point has been mentioned somewhere; presumably there have been newspaper or magazine articles that have commented on football's cultural impact. (I wouldn't be surprised if there were some sociology papers available as well, actually.) Kirill Lokshin 01:21, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but the fact that a columnist at a newspaper somewhere says something does prove anything. The columnist wouldn't be using any footnotes or anything, either. She would be doing the same thing we were doing -- stating what she thinks is obvious. There's no point in citing a "fact" that can't be traced back to a primary source. -- Mwalcoff 01:37, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
What's wrong with secondary sources? (Indeed, they tend to be better than primary sources, in most cases.) And remember that we're not trying to prove the claim is true, merely that we aren't the ones who came up with it. Kirill Lokshin 01:42, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with secondary sources. It's fine to cite, say, a history book that consists of facts gleaned from primary sources and analyses of them. But there's no point in citing a "fact" that is just what some person's saying (unless you're quoting that person by name as an expert on the subject). In other words, if our policy is that we shouldn't allow uncited "statements of the obvious," why would we cite someone else's uncited statement of the obvious? -- Mwalcoff 01:54, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Because the key point is that a newspaper article isn't the same thing as a virtually anonymous wiki. Even if the newspaper is not considered to have any particular expertise, it is presumed to have some rudimentary fact-checking process, something that Wikipedia itself has no particular claim to.
(Obviously, a newspaper isn't the best possible source for this; something like an actual research paper would be much better. But I think it's better to have some source than to have none at all.) Kirill Lokshin 01:58, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I would disagree. I think that footnoting the obvious -- like the days of the week most football games are played -- would look pedantic and amateurish. Even in scholarly publications, where careers rest upon proper citations, they don't put a footnote after every single sentence. -- Mwalcoff 02:05, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
It's worth noting that footnoting and citing are not the same. There are numerous ways to provide specific citations for facts that are totally invisible to the reader, which can be useful in situations like this. Christopher Parham (talk) 01:28, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
In the spirit of "I think it's better to have some source than to have none at all" (an interpretation of policy I disagree with), here are two hyperlinks that you can use as sources for the "disputed" facts, so you can get on with your regular editing. The irony that these count as sources is not lost on me.
Super Bowl Sunday is the Biggest Unofficial Holiday [2] [3]
"In Texas, football is king" [4]
While I appreciate your search for sources, I think the Super Bowl article you mention is an example of a case where a citation would actually be bad. The article is on an unknown site, by an unknown author, with no citations of its own. I'm sure most writers would say it's better to say something on your own authority rather than to give yourself a false aura of authenticity by footnoting your statement with an improper citation. -- Mwalcoff 02:10, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
There has been copious discussion of issues like this recently, and no consensus came out of it. CMummert 02:03, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps we should say that you shouldn't, or at least don't have to, footnote anything that the writer of a scholarly article wouldn't footnote? -- Mwalcoff 02:12, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
A proposal very similar to that was vigorously debated for about a week last month, and no consensus was reached. CMummert 02:14, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Only if by no consensus you mean some didn't want to include such a statement in the policy (despite the same folks refusing to disagree with the substance of the argument). I haven't seen anyone put forward a serious argument that uncontroversial, trivial facts always require inline citation. dryguy 12:20, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
In this very thread, both Kirill and Sandy implied that Mwalcoff should look up references for some uncontroversial, trivial facts about American football. They do not affirm (or even mention) the option of not including inline citations for the facts. A reasonable person reading their comments might think that the policy states every fact requires an inline citation, which is doesn't. The question which did not reach consensus is whether this policy should explicitly say that some facts do not require inline citation (when they are trivial and uncontroversial, presumably). CMummert 13:34, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Umm, if they are contesting it, that's pretty much the definition of a controversy. If I recall correctly, those are some of the same folks objecting to modification of the policy, but when pressed, they would not come out and say that all trivial uncontested statements should have inline citations. I think there is consensus that not all trivial statements need inline citations. For some inexplicable reason, we can't seem to get consensus to make WP:CITE reflect the consensus. WP:Catch 22. dryguy 18:37, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Haven't we had this discussion before? ;-) Somehow I doubt it will go anywhere, because I think people have contradictory goals; but, for what it's worth, I would support putting something like "Not all facts require inline citation; but any good-faith request for a specific source for a statement must be satisfied." into the guideline.
(More to the point, though: the issue here isn't that the statements aren't cited—although they obviously aren't—but rather that they're not sourced at all. "Everybody knows that" is pretty meaningless.) Kirill Lokshin 18:54, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

The first sentence is problematic not just because it is uncited but because its meaning is rather unclear. The current presentation in the Super Bowl article is even worse -- calling it a "de facto national holiday" makes little sense when national holidays are by definition de jure. Christopher Parham (talk) 01:22, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

How much ignorance is to be assumed

The issue raised here is "How much ignorance shall we attribute to readers of the article?" If you lived in a small town in the US, it would be self-evident that Friday Night is High school Football night. I've seen the "citation needed" tag slapped on numerous statements that are either equally self-evident, or found in a level 099 textbook on ths subject. At least when the "citation needed" tag is slapped on a statement, an editor has an idea what is being challenged.

When a Wikipedia article has ten or more references, and the "citation needed" header is applied to an entire section, or article heading, people who know the field don't know what needs citations/is being challenged. Even worse, asking in the talk pages of the article what needs citating gets zero response. Personally, I am about ready to call every use of those tags wilful vandalism of Wikipedia, unless there is a note in the talk page stating why the tag is added. 01:43, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely right. Here's a related example: On, a superseded page, look for the word "obvious". Those statements (as a group, not -- as you point out -- individually) were challenged by two people who wanted citations for the obvious!

I would like to point out that there are three issues here:

common knowledge (e.g. Friday night is Football night -- CITATION NEEDED!)
easy logic ("for example, the name Deane will be recognized by someone who [sees the name and] knows Deane to be an authority in the field" -- CITATION NEEDED!)
wholesale tagging (CITATION NEEDED!)

TH 02:33, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

You were being asked for references for your edits about the advantages and disadvantages, and that Harvard referencing in mostly used in certain subjects, and the term mostly used in Commonwealth countries. Not obvious at all and you didn't supply a reference. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:35, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Another footnote

In John Dee, there occured the following paragraph:

About ten years after Dee's death, the antiquarian Robert Cotton purchased land around Dee's house and began digging in search of papers and artifacts. He discovered several manuscripts, mainly records of Dee's angelic communications. Cotton's son gave these manuscripts to the scholar Méric Casaubon, who published them in 1659, together with a long introduction critical of their author, as A True & Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and some spirits. As the first public revelation of Dee's spiritual conferences, the book was extremely popular and sold quickly. Casaubon, who believed in the reality of spirits, argued in his introduction that Dee was acting as the unwitting tool of evil spirits when he believed he was communicating with angels.{{cn}} This book is largely responsible for the image, prevalent for the following two and a half centuries, of Dee as a dupe and deluded fanatic.

I have added a tag at the point challenged. Now, is there any reasonable doubt which book of Casaubon is meant, and where the assertion about evil spirits is to be found? Yet the result of this complaint is that some Wikipedian has spent bits adding the following footnote:

Meric Casaubon (1659 Republished by Magickal Childe (1992)). A True & Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and some spirits. ISBN 0-939708-01-9.

Does this add anything to the full name and title of the book, already in the text? This is only one of the several reprints in modern times; the earliest being from 1974. The publisher does not appear to be a mainstream scholarly press; others are. Yet some Wikipedian's time has been wasted on this. Septentrionalis 02:47, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Publishing information is generally a useful thing to have, particularly for a book of that age; another missing point is the page numbers (as I'm assuming the book is of a decent length?). More to the point, though, there's a second, implicit claim in that sentence ("Casaubon... believed in the reality of spirits") for which the provenance is unclear; it's not a statement that one would expect to be made on the basis of the book in question, in any case. Kirill Lokshin 03:46, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
That is a legitimate concern, although I suspect that Casaubon's book does indicate his position on the subject. If the footnote included the page number, that at least would be a gain, although its significance might be questioned (especially in one edition of a book with several, of which this is perhaps the least accessible: the original 1659 edition has even been scanned onto the web in several places). Septentrionalis 15:39, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

My revert

Toohoo, I've reverted your edits because I don't see the point to them, and because I'm concerned about the edits you're making to various guidelines, which are not always consistent with WP style, and yet you revert continually in the face of objections. Can you please say succinctly what your aim is? Cheers, SlimVirgin (talk) 05:49, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Mmm, I'm not sure what exactly he's doing, but the general idea of making the "Footnotes" section more closely resemble those of the other styles in structure isn't necessarily a bad one. In particular, the "Technical issues with footnotes" section, aside from being given rather undue prominence, currently contains a non-sequitur (1), a note on a historical issue that's no longer relevant (3), a general warning not to switch styles (4), and a single halfway-relevant (but rather biased) point (2). Kirill Lokshin 05:54, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree about the technical thing being out of date. The warning not to switch from one system to another is still current; there are editors who object to people changing from Harvard referencing to footnotes. Or at least they did when I last checked. Perhaps not anymore. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:05, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I removed the whole subsection. Some of it can go back but it should be reworded. Feel free to revert me if you think it should be there. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:09, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the warning not to switch without discussion is important. I also think that the section above shows that we need a statement that the purpose of citation is to show what came from where; insofar as the text achieves this, other forms of citation are unnecessary. (There's a example at Albert Einstein where the book is fully cited in the text, and the note is the page number; one clueless FAC reviewer objected.) Septentrionalis 15:46, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
In any case, the first point in the section isn't a technical issue, nor an issue at all. I have no idea why anyone thought it worth mentioning, particularly in a negative context. Kirill Lokshin 16:57, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I think it is an attempt to identify the sorts of citation possible. Since it is redundant with the list above, I don't miss it. Septentrionalis 18:08, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Septen, the advice not to switch citation systems is already in the text twice elsewhere. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:48, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes come after punctuation

[Positioning] This document could use a short sub section on positioning in-line citations after the relevant punctuation mark. This is mentioned in the sub articles on the various styles of reference, but since it's common, it belongs here. I'm not feeling bold enough to do add the section, since I find I've been doing it wrong for months. Now back to fix all those edits. :( --J Clear 18:03, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

I added something about it. :-) SlimVirgin (talk) 21:54, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Apparently the Harvard system puts the in-line reference portion before the punctuation, while embedded HTML and ref/footnote go after the punctuation. Don't you just love consistent inconsistencies? Or is that inconsistent consistencies? --J Clear 00:34, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the difference falls out from the fact that author-date does not use a special font, but foonotes use supserscripts. If the period comes after the superscript, it tends to get lost or look out of place. Meanwhile, author-date users are so used to writing
Smith (1998, 29) says such-and-such.
that they naturally fall into writing
X is not Y (Smith 1998, 53), but Fong claims X could easily be Z (2001, xvii).
In general, it seems to me that author-date folks rarely put the citation in the same place that documentary-note folks do (meaning that J Clear may not only have to shift notes re punctuation but also move them halfway to the other end of the sentence?).
TH 00:57, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

According to the Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.), footnotes come after punctuation (16.30), while in-line (Harvard/author-date style) come before (16.112). -- Avi 03:42, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

"Foo is five, [1] bar is six."
    • ^ Foo=5, bar is unknown, 2003
    Why do we use logical punctuation for everything except references? -- Jeandré, 2006-12-25t20:31z

    Often footnotes support the preceding sentence or paragraph, and in the latter case having the footnote inside the punctuation for a sentence does not seem proper. Harvard style has the reference woven more conversationally in the sentence. There may be exceptions; I recently had one footnote which fit within a sentence, while following the sentence was a footnote for the source for the preceding two paragraphs. (SEWilco 08:21, 26 December 2006 (UTC))

    I think we should we consistent: either use both logical quoting and logical referencing (ref oustide the fullstop if it's for the sentence, inside if it's for the last part of the sentence and not the whole sentence), or start using the archaic form for quoting also. -- Jeandré, 2007-02-24t10:12z

    Errors and redundancy


    I changed one paragraph in Citing sources to read this way:

    First, here's the original paragraph, with my markup:

    The Harvard referencing MISLEADING NAME system places a partial citation WRONG TERM — the author's name and year of publication SERIOUSLY INCOMPLETE within parentheses — usually WRONG at the end of the sentence, within the text before the punctuation, and a complete citation WRONG TERM at the end WRONG of the text in an alphabetized list of "References" WRONG PUNCTUATION. According to The Oxford Style Manual MISLEADING EXAMPLE, the Harvard system MISLEADING NAME is the "most commonly used reference method in the physical and social sciences" (Ritter 2002 INCOMPLETE CITATION) MISLEADING EXAMPLE.

    No discredit to the last editor here -- Avraham is NOT responsible for any of the flaws in the paragraph above.

    But the errors flagged above are not the worst problem we have here. A worse problem is redundancy -- we have "similar" explanations in at least two other places in WP. So even if that paragraph gets fixed, there are two other pages that may have to be fixed. And notice that I said that redundancy is "a worse problem", because we haven't gotten to the worst problem yet.

    The worst problem is that SlimVirgin will defend to the death the existence of these redundant explanations -- making maintenance a nightmare. A "maintenance nightmare"? I didn't say thas. Ling.Nut said it. Trödel said it. 29 Sep 2006, "Harvard referencing" Talk. See the maintenance nightmare that SlimVirgin has defended -- perhaps created -- by comparing Harvard_referencing with Wikipedia:Harvard referencing with this article.

    Here's how the paragraph should read:

    The author date system places a citation — the authors' names, the year of publication, and the page number or range, all within parentheses — often near the authors' names and often at end of the sentence or phrase before any punctuation; and a corresponding reference in an alphabetized list of References near the end of the text. According to Ritter (2002, NEED PAGE NUMBER), the Harvard system is the "most commonly used reference method in the physical and social sciences". An example: "Metz and Ankney (1991) documented increased hunter-caused mortality of male ducks with brightly colored plumage compared to dull individuals". Another example: "In mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), Omland (1996a, b) found that females strongly prefer males with brightly colored bills and that females also show a preference for overall plumage condition (Holmberg et al., 1989; Weidmann, 1990)".

    TH 16:44, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

    You're likely to be blocked if you vandalize a page like that again. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:09, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
    If there really is a need to give the same citation instructions in several places, a template could be created. The format might not be as attractive as regular text, but it would be easier to maintain. --Gerry Ashton 20:01, 31 October 2006 (UTC)


    This does not make sense. They do not need to be cited. RRRGH

    I absolutely agree. If citations are needed for commonly known facts, you will invite weasel words to creep in, in the attempt to make those known facts appear limited in scope.The attempt to eliminate valuing language is praiseworthy in a reference article but taken to extremes just invites staid and pointlessly overworked writing —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 10:08, 1 November 2006 UTC.

    Zotero Firefox extension for citations

    I'm trying to figure out if we could use this. I'm not sure if it can output things in the way we would want. http://www.zotero.orgOmegatron 17:22, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

    Ok. It would be tremendously convenient if I could enter books into Zotero either from ISBN numbers of books I own or from Google Books or whatever, and then go to the Wikipedia article I'm editing, click on the reference I am citing in Zotero and say "Zotero, generate a reference tag", and it just generates it for me, with all relevant information, citation templates, hidden meta-data, and so on in the ideal Wikipedia reference tag format. Then copy and paste and I'm done. I'm wondering if this is already possible, but I don't know how to do it.

    This site says:

    COinS is an attempt to make OpenURL work the *same* way in our browsers. If you publish OpenURLs, please read the COinS spec and tweak your site templates to publish your OpenURLs in COinS. We're starting to see the benefits of this approach: the biggest non-profit book database in the world (worldcat) supports COinS. The biggest user-generated encyclopedia in the world (wikipedia) supports COinS. Two awesome firefox extensions (zotero and libx) support COinS. This means that with COinS, and with things set up properly in your browser, you can get big benefits from the common OpenURL interface rendering today: browse worldcat or wikipedia, save good references for later citation in zotero: two great tastes that taste great together.

    So you would think they could already cooperate. But I have no idea how. Anyone know what this is about? — Omegatron 18:17, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

    I've been talking to some people and I think I will try to create an output citation style for Wikipedia. Just so people aren't duplicating effort. Contact me if you want to help/etc. — Omegatron 14:43, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

    footnotes and referenes poorly adviced

    Maintaining a separate "References" section in addition to "Notes" is certainly useful, but its main use is IMO to distinguish between general references and accurate sourcing of statements. However, that is not clearly suggested in this guideline, if I see it well. See also my comment on .

    Harald88 10:47, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

    Including both a "References" and a "Notes" section is useful when different page in the same work are used in many places in an article. The footnotes can include a shortened name for the work and the page number; the full publication information can placed in the "References" section. This allows the length of the combined "References" and "Notes" section to be shorter than just a "Notes" section would have been.
    Paper media can use tricks such as only giving the full publication information in the first footnote, or using words like ibid, but that is not suitable for Wikipedia because articles are constantly being changed, so the order of notes is also constantly changing. --Gerry Ashton 18:54, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
    Interesting, thanks for that practical information. But as I commented in the link above, there can be a strong need for both a "References" and a "Notes" section independent of such trivial arguments, in order to better comply with Wikipedia policy. I had been looking for a way to comply with both WP:V and the WP:RS guideline in difficult cases, see User_talk:Agne27#Luminiferous_aether, second question. As you apparently didn't read my above-linked comment, I'll copy-paste it here, including all references:
    - Secondly, for verifiability one should sometimes link to a verifiable source without necessarily wanting to include that fact verification in the list of presumably reliable sources for the subject. For example we could include in the Holocaust article a link to a statement that according to Holocaust deniers people's hair was cut for health reasons, but we would not want to include a reference to such an unreliable and in some places unlawful publication in the Holocaust references section. In my sandbox I thus ended up with (on another subject), 'Such criticisms and research activities have also been coined "anti-relativity"[1][5]'
    Obviously that will work, with both purely inline verifiers as well as references to notable published articles, but it looks ugly. Your advice (or of someone else of your crowd) would be helpful.
    And my link mentioned at the top:
    I now started editing based on this Scientific citation guideline[6]: I find it particularly helpful as it not only encourages inline citation, which is essential for verification but at the same time it distinguishes between such footnotes and general references. That answered my question on how one can refer to sources that are only reliable for the purpose that they are cited for (necessary in case of doubts about factual accuracy, as often occurs with controversial subjects), but not generally reliable or useful as reference for the general topic of the article.
    Harald88 19:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

    Why is this site so Anal about citations?

    I have noticed that 9 times out of 10 any citations that are put into any of the articles are merely credits to having attained the information from a web page, and typically these web pages have the same odds of providing incorrect information as anything else (for example, reviews, fan-sites, etc.)

    Wikipedia is far to anal about citations! Mrlopez2681 18:03, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

    I think the real problem there is that we need to cite better sources, not fewer. --Masamage 18:52, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
    9 times out of 10? Have you measured this, or how do you come up with the figure? Maybe we shouldn't take it too literally. Nonetheless it sounds like an unfounded generalization designed to obscure WP's need for references. Read the history articles and you'll find a much higher score for print references. By contrast pop culture articles tend to cite webpages as references.
    A glance at User talk:Mrlopez2681 shows what kind of user he is. This is not a personal attack, just a pointer to add context to Mr Lopez's opinion.
    Arbo talk 01:34, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    You can examine the collective psyche of wikipedians. We are worried about insertions of original research and pov's. We are also worried about the reputation of wikipedia form the outside and whether it is considered a trustworthy source. Citations can be seen as a partial solutions to both problems. A citation can help eliminate OR as there has to be some source somewhere to verify a statement. Citations also give an air of academic respectability. In someways citations are a cheep solution to the problem, to really obtain a balanced POV on an issue you would need to examine a vast literature on a subject, synthesise the material giving appropriate weight to different views. This differs from the collection of atributable statements which can be found in some articles. Citations can be a step on the way to NPOV but do not guarantee it. --Salix alba (talk) 02:11, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    It's not just about making wikipedia a trustworthy source. In many cases, wikipedia itself may not be a suitable citation for whatever your doing but high quality citations from wikipedia may very well be... Nil Einne 13:41, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

    How can I avoid plagiarism?

    I am using sources as an inspiration for the article Prema Sai Baba that are formally non-reputable. Because they are not reputable according Wikipedia policies, I cannot cite them. These non-reputable sources in turn cite reputable sources that I cite in the article. However I think I am plagiarizing the non-reputable sources. The sources that I used as source of inspiration were written by Brian Steel and Alexandra Nagel. I do not think that I can link to them because of the arbcom decision regarding Sathya Sai Baba How can I avoid plagiarism and still draw ideas from these formally non-reputable sources? Andries 13:48, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

    Do you have access to the reputable sources? --Gerry Ashton 18:05, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    Yes, but the only interesting sources are non-reputable. So the Wikipedia article is modelled after the non-reputable sources without citing them. Andries 18:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
    I do not understand what do you men by "inspiration for the article". Either you are writing about facts written only in these non-reputable sources or not. You should only include facts that you found in reputable sources. The non-reputable sources can publish information they just heard from their neighbour. Unverified information, hoax, call it as you like. It is less likely that this happens in reputable sources (like e.g. New York Times). They have processes (as Wikipedia does) to verify information they publish.
    The other thing is that facts cannot be copyrighted. If you take a fact and describe it in your own words it can never be a copyright violation (or plagiarism if you want). I would not be worried that your sentences are similar to original ones. Certain facts tend to be described by similar words - sometimes it is almost impossible to find another words. So only include facts you found in reputable sources and you will be allright. You can use non-reputable sources to find a reputable ones.--Jan Smolik 16:08, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    The issue is that if you have facts A, B, C, D, E (which can be verified from a reputable source), you still have multiple ways of presenting those facts. So if the non-reputable source presents them in the order C, B, A, E, D, and you (noting that this is a sensible arrangement) decide to have the same order in the article, you have borrowed an idea (the order in which particular facts are presented) from the non-reputable source, and really ought to give some attribution to it. Kirill Lokshin 16:15, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    Yes, Kirill, that is what I mean. I extensively borrowed ideas from non-reputable sources. And then avoiding plagiarism seems impossible because I cannot cite these non-reputable sources according to this guideline. Andries 18:19, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    Facts and interpretations should be cited to reliable sources, or omitted. Beyond that, I would think that style of presentation should be sufficiently flexible that you need not be derivative of any source. Could you post, perhaps in user space, a more specific example of what you see as being problematic? Dragons flight 18:28, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    See my essay user:Andries/Wikipedia:plagiarism. Andries 19:02, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

    Wikipedia:Editor honesty?

    In light of the previous thread and the recent copyright violation study, I'll propose something that's been on my mind for months: let's draft a guideline along the lines of a typical university academic honesty statement. WP:Citing sources really just deals with the nuts and bolts of citation and markup for people who already know what proper citations are. Many contributors honestly don't know what plagiarism is and this page doesn't explain it even though Wikipedia:Plagiarism links here. Citing sources is a good Manual of style page - let's keep this page what it is and draft another to fill the gap. Durova 01:31, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

    Must say I was a bit surprised that Wikipedia:Plagiarism redirects to Wikipedia:Citing sources - would have expected it to redirect to Wikipedia:Copyright problems. True, also non-copyrighted works can be "plagiarised": but then either they're dealing with "facts" (in which case the plagiarism aspect isn't the problematic aspect, but the aspects covered by WP:V and WP:ATT), either the plagiarised sources are dealing with artistic creation (in which case the applicable guidance would be Wikipedia:Don't include copies of primary sources).
    As for Durova's suggestions:
    • Yes it might be useful to explain what plagiarism is. Maybe Wikipedia:Plagiarism could be made into a short page explaining the basics of plagiarism, and providing the links to Wikipedia:Copyright problems, Wikipedia:Don't include copies of primary sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability,... for the different aspects of plagiarism.
    • Don't know about "declaration of intent"-style guidance. We have User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles, which I think very forceful for any "intellectual honesty" type problem, e.g. "Doing The Right Thing takes many forms,...". Jimbo's Statement of principles is often quoted in situations that deal with intellectual honesty, and I don't know what a guideline/policy/essay could add to that, because you can't exactly legislate intellectual honesty, unless through its factual aspects like copyright violations, verifiability, etc. --Francis Schonken 09:33, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

    Usefulness of inline citations

    Something that came up in during a rewrite of WP:RS might go better here, if it has consensus (title changed):

    Use of sources and inline citations
    Sources are used for one of two ways within Wikipedia.
    • To support an specific assertion made in an article. It is good form to directly cite the source for the point that is being supported, so that other editors and readers will be able to figure out which sources go with which assertations.
    • To support the assertations represented in the article as a whole. In this case, it may still be a good idea to cite the souce once every paragraph or section, to remind the reader where the information is from, but it is not as important. It may also be useful to do this in case more sources are used in the future.

    See link.

    Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 18:54, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

    dead links and MLA style

    I've listed an article, Turkish Airlines Flight 1476, to GA list. Article is about a recent subject, and all sources that i use is from news. And a reviewer ask me to use MLA style referencing on talk page, Talk:Turkish Airlines Flight 1476. What can i do, is it better to use MLA style and if it's better how can i use MLA style. Btw, i checked all sources and 4 of them goes dead. 2 of the dead ones are from CNN, and it's difficult to find again exact information from other sources. What can i do about dead ones, replace them and rewrite these parts with what can i find. I've read What to do when a reference link "goes dead" part, and checked CNN sources on but i couldn't find the article. Thanks in advance --Ugur Basak 11:10, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

    Use WebCite to avoid dead links in the first place.--Eysen 16:39, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

    Oral tradition

    What's the policy on citing stuff passed down orally? - Peregrinefisher 20:42, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

    I'd think you'd have to find a citable reliable source that recorded the oral tradition. It all boils down to verifiability. It also helps if the article text states something like: "the oral tradition of <some group> is that the world is flat and sits on the back of a turtle" rather than stating "the world is flat ... turtle" in the article and "hiding" the oral tradition part in a footnote or ref. Also if it is your own oral tradition, then you run afoul of "no original research". If it is not your own tradition, then you should already have a source. If you feel the source meets the reliablity standard and is verifiable, then include the information and cite the source. --J Clear 01:47, 8 November 2006 (UTC)


    Please don't add again to the project page comments that would be more appropriate on talk. [7] This is the third or fourth time you've done it here and elsewhere. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:37, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

    either it's ambiguous, we need to be honest with readers -- or it's not ambiguous, you can fix it now


    Hey, don't jump on me -- I'm not the committee that made an ambiguous mandate.

    Okay, I was a bad boy in the past, but I've reformed. This situation is different.

    If we (Wikipedia) make an ambiguous statement, we need to be honest with the readers and say "we are being ambiguous here". Honest revelation of ambiguity in Wikipedia pages belongs on main pages, not on talk pages.

    Either the mandate is ambiguous -- and readers need to know that.

    Or it's not ambigous -- and anyone who knows what it means can repair (not delete) my statement of ambiguity.

    Masamage, I'd fix it if I could -- but I don't know what the committee meant. All I know is that it's unclear as it stands.

    But I did rephrase it -- I hope you like it better now.

    Is it true that if one of you reverts now, you'll cross the line into 3RR? I haven't figured out yet how the counting works.

    If one of you attempts to repair (not delete) my last version, I will applaud, not complain.

    TH 05:45, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

    Umm, the explanation of what citation styles are considered acceptable inline citations is right on the page:
    The following are different citation systems you can use to insert references into Wikipedia articles:
    • Embedded HTML links,
    • Harvard referencing, and
    • Footnotes.
    All three are acceptable citation systems for Wikipedia. Do not change from Harvard referencing to footnotes or vice versa without checking for objections on the talk page. If there is no agreement, prefer the style used by the first major contributor.
    What's the ambiguity here? Kirill Lokshin 06:00, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

    Thanks! you've answered my question.

    TH 06:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

    blacklisting known expiring web sources

    Some sites like always bring down their articles after a fairly short amount of time has passed. Could we add a warning to the policy page about which sites follow this practice, and advise to search for equivalent articles at other, nonvolatile sources? A built-in warning for editors when they add a link like that inside a <ref> tag would work, too. Phoenix-forgotten 19:21, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

    This woud suggest that it is a particular problem to use a "blind URL" citation to these, since afterwards no one has even a clue what you were citing. - Jmabel | Talk 02:27, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

    Convenience link please

    Humbly requesting the follow appear near the top of the page

    For more templates to assist formatting, see the citation templates.

    Makes it easier to find them, I come here via WP:CITE

    Thanks, Cheers. --Uncle Bungle 04:38, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

    Youtube: main site versus hot links

    An editor af Quixtar would like to use an old promotional video as a source. Youtube hosts the video, and at least two Quixtar-related websites hotlink to it - one site belongs to a supporter and the other to an opponent. There is no licensing information at any site. My view is that linking directly to Youtube is the most NPOV (if we need to use the video at all) though that doesn't address the copyright issue. The other editor is concerned that if we link directly to Youtube the link will be removed. Talk:Quixtar#Controversy. Any thoghts? -Will Beback 18:56, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

    Scoped References

    Is there a way to limit references to a subpart of a page? Say someone is proposing new text in the talk page of an article. In their text they have references, and they add the <references/> tag at the end. Then someone else does the same thing with a different block of text, which will now give one reference block (twice?) with all the references, not just the ones in their newly added text. Disregarding that said texts should have been sandboxed somewhere else, is there a way to limit these references, so I can have one set of references for the first block of text and a separate set for the second? Obviously not a huge problem, simply wondering if it is technically possible. *Spark* 15:42, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

    Not currently, though that is one of the upgrades suggested for the Cite.php system. Lyrl Talk Contribs 22:43, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

    How to cite PDF

    How do I cite a pdf file from the internet?Wai Hong 06:51, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

    That depends on the style in which you are intending to cite, but you do it generally as with any other web source. The easiest and most straightforward way to cite is to simply place the URL in behind the period after the text you need to source like [] which will result in a reference like this.[8] For footnoted references, the easiest and most straightforward way is to use Wikicite. CyberAnth 10:14, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
    Use WebCite to archive the PDF and then cite the WebCite URL which is stable.--Eysen 14:55, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
    It depends on what you mean by a PDF file from the internet. Remember that these have to be reliable sources. With that in mind there are several types of PDFs that you may cite. If the PDF is just a journal article, then you would cite is as with any other journal article. You can provided a link to the PDF if you want, but the main thing is the journal title, page number, article title etc Nil Einne 09:39, 1 January 2007 (UTC)


    Citing/Referencing help pages desperately need to be simplified.

    It took me 20 minutes to uncover the fact that cite.php/inline/Harvard style is the preferred method and I am not a newbie. And I'm still not sure. New users will be baffled. A clear consensus on a cite style is needed and someone with a big stick needs to keep the discussion going until it is achieved. --Nickj69 10:27, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

    Needs to be brought inline with WP:V and WP:RS

    This guideline needs to take in account WP:V and WP:RS, especially regarding online sources as references. -- Jordi· 09:30, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

    Embedded HTML links

    Seems to me that the advice here for citing with "Embedded HTML links"—what I prefer to call "blind URLs"—is a liability. You end up with inline citations in the article where only by following the link off of Wikipedia can someone tell which of the refrences this cites. And, of course, it only works for Internet citations, you still need a different means to cite any print source.

    Embedded HTML links are an OK temporary placeholder to let you work quickly on an article & clean up later, but in the long run they are a lousy solution to citation. - Jmabel | Talk 21:16, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

    Citing information from DVD documentaries

    How do I do this? HK51 12:07, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

    If the DVD is easily available, then for verifiability you can simply quote verbatim from it, adding the timecode (hh:mm:ss) from which you took the quote. Many DVDs have ISBN numbers, so you can use the ISBN number on the reference as well. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:11, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
    Cheers thats really helpful, thanks very much :-) HK51 17:13, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

    River Mimram

    I've discovered this article is actually plagiarism as it almost copies word for word a landscape character assessment from North Hertfordshire Council. What should be done about this? I still think the article should be kept however. Simply south 21:11, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

    See River Mimram and [9]

    Good work. The other contributions by the same editor, Chris Stokes (talk · contribs), should also be reviewed. -Will Beback · · 22:36, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
    See Wikipedia:Copyright violations. It could be a false alarm, for example, the author might have written the material for the North Hertfordshire Council but retained copyright for himself, and then posted it on Wikipedia. If it is a true violaton, the options are
        • obtain a suitable license from the copyright holder
        • rewrite the article to avoid copyright problems
        • remove the article --Gerry Ashton 23:22, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

    It looks like Chris Stokes only contributed in 2005 by placing random images and doing links. About 10 edits only. I still think the article is notable enough to eist, if be rewritten. Simply south 00:29, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

    Special situation

    I need some input about Saipan Sucks. Is it appropriate to cite the html source of (Open page, go to View > Page Source) at line 39 which shows the page's author? C.m.jones 22:15, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

    References before Notes

    Can we make it standard practice to put the Notes sections after the References section? To me, it seems stupid to give page numbers before even mentioning what's being cited. For example, on today's FA, Great Fire of London, if I want to scan through what was cited, I have to jump past the Notes section, check the References, then jump back to the Notes. It seems more logical to have the References come first, so that one can know what's being cited before one sees the page numbers. However, if notes and citations are seperated, I'm fine with notes coming before the references, but usually the notes section is filled with citations.--SeizureDog 05:38, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

    This seems like one of those points where there are stylistic preferences but little practical effect (does it really matter whether you need to scroll up or down from the notes section to get to the full bibliography, once you've jumped to it?); it seems better to just leave it up to editor preference rather than trying to force everything into the same mold. Kirill Lokshin 05:49, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

    AfD: Roguelike

    Currently the article Roguelike is nominated for deletion. The article deals with a genre of games named for their similarity to Rogue.

    Whilst the article includes an extensive selection of external links, User:ChrisGriswold has tagged it as being unreferenced.

    My question is: this being an article about a genre of games which is developed by the open source community, to what extent are blogs, personal sites, and newsgroups, able to be cited? For example: the best source for a definition of a roguelike would probably be item 1.2 from this FAQ.

    Thanks,Garrie 03:47, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

    Attempt at simplification

    I removed the majority of the details below the three methods. We should only describe how to do these once, and in one place. That place appears to be their respective pages -- which could also use some serious reduction. This place should show enough for a most-average case, and a link further. here 12:59, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

    My initial changes were reverted, but I'd like to keep at this. I arrived here seeking help with the <ref> tag and ended up 10 tabs buried under tangential information. My major complains are:
    • I can't find any page showing an example of using citation templates and ref elements together -- a relatively common occurance! <ref name="dubs 2004">{{cite web ...}}</ref>.
    • If reading, it is difficult to reach the Footnotes section, without getting first lost in the other techniques. My most important change allowed the most common case of all three techniques to be viewed on one screen's worth of space. Once decided on a technique, the details may be found on that technique's page.
    • The Complete citations in a "References" section under Harvard style applies to all techniques depending on usage.
    • Very few visitors to this page really wants to (or should!) end up at meta:Cite.php, but should end up finding examples of <ref> usage at Wikipedia:Footnotes. The footnotes page links further, which should satisfy the few interested in Mediawiki code and community.
    • Wikipedia:Inline citation is redundant and unhelpful, it should be unlinked and probably redirect here.
    Any additional comments on the changes? May I start again with smaller pieces? See prior edit diff. here 20:33, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

    Unclear paragraph

    At the risk of appearing dense, I found the following hard to follow at first reading:

    Facts that are fully sourced in text need not be further cited; this will most often apply to sources with a well-established and traditional citation system ("Mark 16:48"; Lycidas, l. 135); but other cases are possible: "In the preamble of Magna Carta", "on the first page of the Washington Republican for February 6, 1824".

    Since being sourced and being cited are not the same thing, why "further"? Also, something which is fully done can't be further done anyway.

    "This will most often apply..." Imprecise and unhelpful.

    "Other cases are possible". Self-evident, but in this context, water-muddying.

    "Sources with a well-established citation system..." What does that mean? Well-established within that source or beyond it? What's that got to do with Wikipedia's citation system, which can be applied to sources with or without a citation system of their own?

    "Sources with a traditional citation system..." How does that affect anything? CMS gives examples of many systems and recommends a few. It's how Wikipedia cites the sources that we are interested in on this page.

    ("Mark 16:48"; Lycidas, l. 135): Placing the Mark and Lycidas examples together between brackets made me read them at first as one citation (I thought this was the author Mark's edition of Lycidas, or something).

    I presume that "Mark 16:48" is a bible reference; shouldn't it be wikilinked, then? And why has it got speech marks round it? (Forgive my non-religiosity, but I first read this one as some kind of Harvard reference—which I had assumed, before I worked out what this paragraph is getting at, would count as a "traditional citation system"—for a book written by an author called Mark—you know, Jan Mark, or someone.)

    As for the Lycidas and Magna Carta examples, surely the edition should be cited.

    Is the fact that in the examples these are given lines or preamble descriptions the point? I presume from these examples that what is meant by this paragraph is that if you mention the verse number, line, or section of a source in the text, that counts as a reference and doesn't need doubling up in the footnotes if the source is referenced as a whole at the bottom of the page. That's true enough; but it's the same for any reference made explicit in the text, not just for "well-established and traditional" ones. So long as readers are somewhere given the means of checking the reference, that's fine.

    Washington Republican. Why saddle ourselves with a red link here?

    Finally, why is this point under "Material that is, or is likely to be, challenged", in particular? (Scratches head.)

    qp10qp 02:40, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

    I removed this paragraph. I agree and don't see it necessary anywhere in the article. here 06:48, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

    Citations when describing locations?

    I can't seem to find the requirements for citing locale descriptions. I specifically need to know how to make an article on a school acceptable when there aren't any published sources to cite .. Thanks in advance for any and all help. Phentos 07:04, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

    If the description is not published, then it would be original research, which is not allowed Wikipedia:No original research. Am I missing something? here 00:14, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
    You need to be more specific with your question in order to get helpful advice. If the "description" is that the school is red, you could just take a picture. CMummert 00:40, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
    In particular, I need to - as this has become a sort of assignment - go into such depth as the school's history, which I can recieve from persona present at its founding. Without published material, and under the stringent stipulations of the original research & citation policies, I need to find a way through or around. Phentos 05:48, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

    Anything inherently wrong with blogs?

    This edit has a comment strongly implying that links to blogs are wrong. My understanding is that a blog is like any other source, and should be evaluated in terms of its reliability. Can some more experienced Wikipedian clarify? Of course the edit in question may have substituted a more reliable source, which is of course a good thing, but that's beside the point for my question - Cheers, 01:46, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

    See WP:RS#Using_online_and_self-published_sources. CyberAnth 03:53, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

    Use of Wikipedia:Citations quick reference

    I would suggest that the How to cite sources section of this article should amount to roughly quantity of information found at Wikipedia:Citations quick reference. The rest of the details should be covered on the respective technique pages. I would recommend removing the page numbers section entirely and moving the notes discussion out of how to cite sources into a 2nd level header along the lines of further reading/external links. Comments? here 06:30, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

    Inline citations with page numbers are important. The importance of these should not be buried in a subsidiary page. --Gerry Ashton 18:46, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
    Many details are important. Page numbers deserve: When citing books and articles, provide page numbers where appropriate. This is especially important when distinguishing between different editions. The current page numbers section is Harvard ref specific, these details belong on the harvard ref page. For similar reasons, there is no Editions, Authors, or Publication Date sections, but rather notes that they should be included if possible.
    At some point, the complete references section needs to be pulled from the Harvard references information and made more general, which would include all of this. Anyone willing to help move some of the Wikipedia:Harvard references information or ideas toward how to teach proper complete citations much appreciated! here 01:40, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

    rename Wikipedia:Embedded Citations to Wikipedia:Embedded links

    Would like to rename and redirect Wikipedia:Embedded Citations to Wikipedia:Embedded links. Clarity and multiple articles already using term embedded links (Wikipedia:Harvard referencing). Discuss if problems at Wikipedia_talk:Embedded_Citations. here 08:27, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


    I have just removed the following WP-centric material from the WebCite article and replaced it with a Template:Selfref hatnote with a link here. Here is the extracted material:

    --zenohockey 23:11, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

    I've made some edits to the effect of strongly recommending to permanently archive cited URLs (WebCite) before they are cited to combat link rot and to provide a possibility to check cited sources even if the original source has disappeared. Hopefully, somebody will write a bot for automating this. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Eysen (talkcontribs) 19:57, 4 December 2006 (UTC).

    I have removed Eysen's edits. It's fine for the person holding the copyright for a work to use WebCite, but rarely does a Wikipedia editor hold the copyright to the sources used for a Wikipedia article, so it would be a copyright violation for the editor to copy a work to WebCite. --Gerry Ashton 22:28, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
    Copyright concerns related to recommending to archive cited material using WebCite are unfounded. Even if there would be a copyright violation (see below why it is not), it would certainly not be the editor who would be liable and would have to deal with this, but WebCite (which is a third party server). Copyright issues are discussed on the WebCite FAQ - Quote:

    "Caching and archiving webpages is widely done (e.g. by Google, Internet Archive etc.), and is not considered a copyright infringement, as long as the copyright owner has the ability to remove the archived material and to opt out. WebCite® honors robot exclusion standards, as well as no-cache and no-archive tags. Please contact us if you are the copyright owner of an archived webpage which you want to have removed.

    A U.S. court has recently (Jan 19th, 2006) ruled that caching does not constitute a copyright violation, because of fair use and an implied license (Field vs Google, US District Court, District of Nevada, CV-S-04-0413-RCJ-LRL, see also news article on Government Technology). Implied license refers to the industry standards mentioned above: If the copyright holder does not use any no-archive tags and robot exclusion standards to prevent caching, WebCite® can (as Google does) assume that a license to archive has been granted. Fair use is even more obvious in the case of WebCite® than for Google, as Google uses a “shotgun” approach, whereas WebCite® archives selectively only material that is relevant for scholarly work. Fair use is therefore justifiable based on the fair-use principles of purpose (caching constitutes transformative and socially valuable use for the purposes of archiving, in the case of WebCite® also specifically for academic research), the nature of the cached material (previously made available for free on the Internet, in the case of WebCite® also mainly scholarly material), amount and substantiality (in the case of WebCite® only cited webpages, rarely entire websites), and effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (in the case of Google it was ruled that there is no economic effect, the same is true for WebCite®)."

    Eysen (talkcontribs) 19:57, 4 December 2006 (UTC).

    Well, that's WebCite's opinion. Even if they're right, there is still the question of whether the source web page or the WebCite copy will turn out to be more permanent; they may aim to provide a permanent copy, but whether that will be achieved or not only time will tell. Also, some sites have desireable periodic updates, and the WebCite copy will not benefit from updates. --Gerry Ashton 22:11, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
    Regarding copyright, it's not WebCite's opinion, it is a legal / court opinion (see Field vs Google. Regarding the second point, concerns on WebCite being discontinued, WebCite is used and supported by over 200 academic journals, as well as permanent preservation partners, such as libraries - whose primary mission really is archiving and preserving material. U of T library, which backs this project, will certainly be around for the next hundreds of years. The academic journals who are members of the consortium are using WebCite to cite URLs, and they have a vested interest in keeping this service alive. Together, they act a guarantors and custodians for the service. Yes, you can wait 50 years to see if WebCite is still around, but then it is too late to preserve cited material. Besides, no harm is done in caching cited URLs prospectively beginning right now. If the format is used to link to snapshots (rather than the alternate short format using the snapshot ID) then it can always be reverted to the original link should WebCite cease to exist. Thirdly, regarding the last criticism that authors sometimes want to link to the live version, it is up to the citing author to decide whether he wants to use WebCite or link to the "live" version instead. I would say in the majority of cases the author is more interested in having a stable link/snapshot. A future version of WebCite will be able to compare the cached version and the live version, displaying the changes, similar to Wiki's history feature. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Eysen (talkcontribs) 14:47, 7 December 2006 (UTC).

    Note: Extensive discussion of this has occurred on the External links talk page. The consensus appears to be roughly that a) discussion of how this should be done should move here, b) that the format should retain the original URL as a link, c) editors should be given guidance on services for caching and their attributes, as well as their policies towards Wikipedia citations. Note that this is my interpretation of the consensus; others may not agree.

    I suggest a citation method/template/etc that yields something like this:

    and if the URL is no longer available or no longer contains the information:

    jesup 23:33, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

    One more thing: since many editors may go on a "archive every citation" rampage (see recent mass removals of youtube links), we'll need to give guidance on what is appropriate to archive (based on volatility, site type, odds of the site disappearing, etc), though they'll all come down to guesses and judgement calls in the end. — jesup 23:40, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
    I notice that you people are discussing part of the same issue that I brought up on WP:V, see [10], and I commented there. Harald88 10:11, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
    I agree completely with the WebCite approach and think that the edits made by Eysen should never have been deleted and should be restored. The copyright argument is not valid, especially because the policy currently mentions the Internet Archive / Wayback machine, which does exactly the same as WebCite and for which the same copyright concerns apply (both systems do honor removal requests by copyright owners and no-cache tags etc.). The advantage of WebCite over IA is that it allows on-demand prospective archiving of a webpage by the citing author. A citation method/template as suggested by Jesup - asking authors to cite whenever possible both the original URL and the "webcited" (cached) version makes sense and should be included in the policy as soon as possible. --Greg4711 02:47, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

    Just a note that Eysen is the creator of WebCite and could be seen to be promoting his own technology -- this violates the COI policies of wikipedia.

    Cite news template

    I changed the example to use the cite news template, as this provides consistency and is pretty common on Wikipedia. Sorry, I marked the change as "cite web" by mistake. ---Remember the dot 06:54, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

    Full citations section

    I've just made a major change (3 edits) adding a Full citations section under How to cite. As all three listed techniques require that a full citation show up under References, it seems appropriate to address this directly, rather than inadequately under each technique. It needs work, but I think the idea behind this structural change to this guideline is a good one. Comments and improvements encouraged! Done for now... here 09:24, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

    Positioning of article references

    I'm thinking that external links at the end, has dated back to the days before cite.php. WP:LINK states that the "most common" way to place external links is "at the end of an article".

    Some articles now have quite extensive references sections, and it often looks better to place these after the article proper (including external links) rather thasn above the "see also" or "external links" sections. Otherwise one potentially has the following article finish:

    • Article
    • See also
    • Long section of footnotes, comments and citations
    • External links (lost between footnotes and categories)

    It seems better that with extensive referencing and citations coming to be the norm, then references should generally go at the end of the article proper, that is after the (usually shorter) sections for notes, links and the like. Would this be acceptable to others to change the MOS slightly to suggest cite.php and similar references should usually be placed after all other sections, or at least may be placed there if 'long'? FT2 (Talk | email) 19:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

    Whatever you do, it should agree with Wikipedia:Guide to layout --Gerry Ashton 19:44, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
    Reposted and moved to existing discussion at: Wikipedia_talk:Guide_to_layout#Order_of_appendices. Thanks. FT2 (Talk | email) 01:07, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

    What happens when someone edits and doesn't cite sources?


    I put in an article on Post Secondary Transition Planning for High School Students with Disabilities. Admittedly I need to wikify it, but the original article was replete with references, and I believe this was noted by a reviewer. Before I have been able to do this, someone added to/ edited the article and did not include references. So now, the article has been 'dunned' (I believe that's the right word). What's my recourse? Phil Vitkus 19:55, 7 December 2006 (UTC) Phil Vitkus

    You can use the history tab to find a version before the unsourced material and restore that version. --Gerry Ashton 21:15, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
    Based on the history, it looks like the unreferenced notice was added after the wikify notice, which was a mistake (since the article clearly has references, and these would be more visible after wikifying). The unreferenced tag just means there isn't a references section, not that there are specific statements that need to be referenced. It doesn't look like more content was added since 2006-11-02. You can just wikify the article, add a references section, and then remove both tags. CMummert 21:43, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

    A project of interest to Wikipedians

    It's proabably too late for us to get a seat in this Working Group, but I hope someone with better credentials than me will monitor what the US Library of Congress's Working Group Established To Discuss Future of Bibliographic Control decides to do. (And maybe we can convince them to recruit one of us to assist in future Working Groups.) -- llywrch 22:20, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

    Citeing Emails and similar

    I have been trying to assertain the derivation of the place Horndean (See the talk for details) - The current (9th Dec) 'derivation' has once again changed to a popular one but not that which my source is indicating. I would like to have both the academic source I have and leave the popular answer inthe article. So my question is that I wish to cite the email source that I have (from the respected academic university answering my questions) but I am unsure how, and can't find much on citeing personal or email sources anywhere. Are there any suggestions (examples) on how to do this? Thanks Ben 17:01, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

    Emails are not verifiable so you can't cite them. --Gerry Ashton 17:07, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
    The same is potentially true of written correspondence (see below). However, admissibility in court would seem to belie the notion that emails are not verifiable. The question from Wikipedia's standpoint is how to verify them so that they become admissible as citations. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 16:00, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
    The court analogy does not apply in the Wikipedia context. In court, a witness can be put under oath and state that he received an email or letter, that the email came from the address the correspondent usually uses, that the signature on the letter looks like the correspondent's usual signature, etc. In Wikipedia, the editors are anonymous, they don't take oaths, and they don't face any consequences if the information turns out to be false. If the information isn't published, we can't use it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Gerry Ashton (talkcontribs) 17:49, 10 December 2006 (UTC).

    Citing letters / correspondence

    One can use Template:Cite web to provide citations to letters and correspondence on the web. I'm wondering what citation template you would suggest for use in citing same where the text has not been placed on the web. Further, is there a perceived need for a specific Template:Cite correspondence that would have custom parameters such as 'sender' and 'recipient'? Thanks for the input. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 15:58, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

    First, this illustrates a disadvantage of the citation templates. They can't cover every situation, so sometimes an editor will have to format citations by hand. Providing a correspondence template would plug one hole, but many others remain.
    Second, if the correspondence is not published, we can't use it. --Gerry Ashton 17:53, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


    Just wondering, is there a way to properly cite microform? I don't know if I'll need to use it or not, but in the case I do I'd like to know. It's probably a lot simpler than I think it is... --Wizardman 22:15, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

    I don't think it is any different from citing something on paper. There will be an author, title, publisher, and (usually) a page number. If it is an archival source there will be a reference number (but there is an issue over whether such things are "verifiable"). --Zerotalk 23:31, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
    I'd say they're as verifiable as any hardcopy source. The form doesn't matter much; the source and authorship does. WP:V sources (especially non-online ones, doubly-so for unusual or rare hardcopy forms) may not be easy to verify, but that doesn't make them un-verifiable. I've in one case referenced documents in the archives of the Smithsonian Air & Space museum. Anyone can go there and see them - though I doubt anyone will. — jesup 16:51, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
    Most microform that I am aware of is a photo of an original that could be cited directly (e.g., various newspapers, public court records). If there is no reason do doubt that the microform is a true copy of the original, one should simply cite the original. Careful editors of scholarly journals follow this practice, especially as more libraries discontinue storing hard copy publications in favor of more compact microform . And, of course, digital archives will replace both print and microform. Finell (Talk) 04:00, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

    Example of Cite.php

    Decode the text to find the hidden meaning!

    There are several reports<ref>[ ''Miscellaneous'', Evenimentul Zilei daily, March 24, 2005]</ref><ref>[ ''Miscellaneous'', Evenimentul Zilei daily, March 14, 2005]</ref><ref>[ ''"The Lia Roberts hope"'', Evenimentul Zilei, January 19, 2004]</ref><ref>[ ''"Hot Art, Cold Cash"'', pages 177,184, by Michel van Rijn, Little Brown & Co., October 1994.] Also [ the report "DEVASTATING ART NEWS", October 29, 2001, by the same UK police expert in art smuggling.] For more on [[Michel van Rijn]]'s credentials, please, see [ 1] and [ 2.]</ref> that the Romanian Communist authorities obedient to Stalin presented King Michael with 42 valuable [[The Crown|Crown]]-owned paintings shortly before the King's abdication, some of which<ref>[ ''"Hot Art, Cold Cash"'', pages 177, 184, by Michel van Rijn, Little Brown & Co., October 1994.] Also [ the report "Devastating Art News", October 29, 2001, by the same UK police expert in art smuggling.] For more on [[Michel van Rijn]]'s credentials, please, see [ 1] and [ 2.]</ref> were reportedly sold through the famed art dealer [[Daniel Wildenstein]]. One of the paintings belonging to the Romanian Crown which was supposedly taken out of the country by King Michael in November 1947, returned to the national patrimony in 2004 as a donation<ref>[ "Raibolini's ''Madonna'' at the National Museum of Art of Romania" (in Romanian), Ziua, November 20, 2004]</ref><ref>[ ''Miscellaneous'', Evenimentul Zilei daily, March 24, 2005]</ref><ref>[ "A Prestigious Donation: ''Madonna with the Infant'' by Francesco Raibolini, named "Il Francia"" (in Romanian), Online Gallery site as of December 8, 2006]</ref> made by John Kreuger, the former husband of King Michael's daughter [[Princess Irina of Romania|Princess Irina]]. Prime Minister [[Calin Popescu Tariceanu]], in response to a query of the parliamentarian and former [[Securitate]] officer Ilie Merce<ref>[ "There Are No Proofs That King Michael Took Paintings out of Romania" (in Romanian), Adevarul, April 19, 2005]</ref>, stated that the accusations about Michael having taken out of Romania Crown paintings were "more than dubious" and that the Romanian government had no proofs of any such action by King Michael, claiming that, prior to [[1949]], the government had no official records of the artwork taken over from the former royal residences. The renowned Romanian editorialist Dan Cristian Turturica []<ref>[ "Articles by Dan Cristian Turturica" (in Romanian), site as of December 6, 2006]</ref> claims that "the King did not steal the paintings as they had been offered to him by the communist rulers so that he would leave Romania more quickly<ref>[ ''"The Lia Roberts hope"'', Evenimentul Zilei, January 19, 2004]</ref>."

    - Francis Tyers · 09:04, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

    Temporary manual tweak

    Francis is absolutely right. How about using temporarily the following manual tweak in format?

    (Note: Hit [edit] to see code)

    There are several reports [2][3][4][5] that the Romanian Communist authorities obedient to Stalin presented King Michael with 42 valuable Crown-owned paintings shortly before the King's abdication, some of which [6] were reportedly sold through the famed art dealer Daniel Wildenstein. One of the paintings belonging to the Romanian Crown which was supposedly taken out of the country by King Michael in November 1947, returned to the national patrimony in 2004 as a donation [7][8][9] made by John Kreuger, the former husband of King Michael's daughter Princess Irina. Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, in response to a query of the parliamentarian and former Securitate officer Ilie Merce, [10] stated that the accusations about Michael having taken out of Romania Crown paintings were "more than dubious" and that the Romanian government had no proofs of any such action by King Michael, claiming that, prior to 1949, the government had no official records of the artwork taken over from the former royal residences. The renowned Romanian editorialist Dan Cristian Turturica [11] claims that "the King did not steal the paintings as they had been offered to him by the communist rulers so that he would leave Romania more quickly". [12]

    I added hard returns before each block of <ref> tags and after each last <ref/> tag. The only glitch is that it leaves a space before each superscript mark, but this could easily be fixed in code. If we train our eyes, we can skip through the refs more easily by spotting the next orphan <ref/> tag. What do you think? Is the code more readable now? NikoSilver 12:49, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

    Moderately easier to read through. I'll try this out in the offending article. - Francis Tyers · 14:06, 14 December 2006 (UTC)


    I have noticed a proliferation of citations in lead sections. This makes no sense to me. The lead is supposed to be a summary of the article; it should not contain any information the article does not discuss in detail. Thus, any information in the lead will be full cited in the article. See Mark Cuban for an example; there is no need to cite his birthplace and his status as a billionaire in the lead, since the article discusses both in depth later on, with full sourcing. I would like to add a sentence both to this guideline and to Wikipedia:Lead section making clear that the lead does not contain independent information and thus need not cite sources--the lead's source is the article. Please comment; thank you. Chick Bowen 17:38, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

    I could agree that the lead doesn't need to be over-burdened with citations. However, it is risky to have content that depends on citations elsewhere - what happens if those other citations disappear? The lead is also the first thing people read, and the first thing people vandalize. Having a citation for the date of birth in the lead is very helpful to ward off and correct vandalism. Also, in Mark Cuban, the date of birth doesn't appear to be mentioned anywhere else in the article. Gimmetrow 17:56, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    Well, I guess I don't see having no citation for the birth date as that big of a deal, unless the date itself is in contention for some reason. Chick Bowen 19:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    I think it makes more sense to reference things at first mention, especially if they are likely to be controversial. People may come to the article with certain presuppositions about the subject, and if these are going to be oveturned, best do that straight away.
    Also, though I think the idea that the lead should be a summary of the subject makes a sense for a front-page lead (which shouldn't have cites), that seeems to me a recipe for an annoying article, because I never enjoy reading repetitions. I'd rather the lead was an introduction and the article a development of the themes. A lead should also be a hook, which may mean loading the bait with one or two of the most striking quotes about the subject; as a reader I like to see those quotes cited straight away, so I can get my bearings. qp10qp 22:19, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    I too think it's silly to include refs in the lead - everything ought to be references in the main body of the article. Mikker (...) 03:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
    I don't think it's wrong to defer references to the main body of an article, but I've noticed that sometimes there is controversy over the wording of the lead, and the only way you can get people to stop putting misinformation into the lead is to provide a reference. --Gerry Ashton 03:26, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

    Large reference sections

    Some articles have understandably large reference sections. Now I'm all for this but some have observed that it makes the articles a bit unwieldy and bottom-heavy, even with two-row formatting and tiny text. I'd rather not crop references to correct this (as has been suggested elsewhere). Would it be possible for us to impliment a "hide" function for references in the same manner as the contents sections can be shown/hidden? Sockatume 21:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

    I think this is a great idea but it might be better asked over at the tech pump (WP:VPT). --*Spark* 21:26, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    Noted, taking discussion over there. Sockatume 21:27, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    I don't think it matters that a reference section is long any more than it matters if a book has copious end-notes or appendices—even less, really, because Wikipedia isn't paper. Perhaps I'm sad, but I love a large references section to get my teeth into, particularly if it includes notes. These sections will certainly be hideable one day, and they will then become like cupboards for readers and future editors to dig into if they wish. qp10qp 22:39, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

    Verifiability and Parker Brothers

    I've become interested in the Parker Brothers article (feels like a stub for a company over a century old) and wanted to have an opinion on using the PB website history page as one source.

    I am still in the process of sorting out through outside sources but wondered what were the thoughts in regard to those corporate self-histories

    Lost Kiwi(talk)01:26, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

    Consistent references - mixing Harvard and Chicago

    I recently came across a couple of articles that (to my mind) very oddly mixes the Harvard and Chicago styles of referencing (e.g. FA Saffron and soon-to-be FAC Charles Darwin) by using footnotes but then formatting the footnote text as a Harvard citation which jumps to a reference section. As this issue also pertains to WP:FAC, I've started a debate about it on WIAFA talk. Please come join the discussion there. Mikker (...) 02:36, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

    Navigating adding a citation

    I've read the help page on adding a citation but I can't figure out how to actually do it still. I have all the information to add and understand the format, but what button do I hit to add a citation? Do I do it on the 'edit' page? Please help as I would like to make my additions credible. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ryanhupka (talkcontribs) 10:10, 19 December 2006 (UTC).

    Yes, you do add it on the edit page. Try creating a subpage to your user page and practice there. If you have trouble, you can give us the name of your subpage, and we can look at it and offer suggestions. --Gerry Ashton 13:53, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

    Is it appropriate to hide footnotes?

    I've knocked up a template {{hiderefs}} so that overly long references sections don't clog up the page, because of a request at WP:RT. However, I've thought about it, and I'm not entirely sure such a thing would be appropriate. Is it? -Amarkov blahedits 22:00, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

    I tried the template in my sandbox. I don't consider this particular template appropriate because
      1. it hides references by default; the default should be to show references, and the editor who inserts the template should not be able to change this behavior
      2. clicking on the footnote number in the text does not bring one to the footnote if the footnotes are hidden
    --Gerry Ashton 22:10, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
    I've changed the default to open. Good now? -Amarkov blahedits 22:22, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
    I still think if the reader clicks on the footnote number in the text, the reference section should change from hide to show, and the window should move to the appropriate reference. I don't know if templates can do that or not; if not, I don't think the template should be used. --Gerry Ashton 00:40, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
    Um... I'm not sure I see why. If the section is closed, you deliberately closed it. -Amarkov blahedits 00:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
    In most computer interfaces, clicking on a link will bring you to the appropriate place, whether that place is currently visible or not. Readers will expect the footnote number to bring them to the footnote, no matter what.
    Also, have you tested the template for an article that has both a note section and a reference section? Have you tested it with Harvard references? --Gerry Ashton 00:48, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
    It doesn't work for Harvard references, I know that. I'm removing it from the article it's used in until there's more discussion here. -Amarkov blahedits 00:53, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
    Well, the reason I requested the template is for articles where the citations are extremely long, and thus, it takes away from readability. The article History of feminism has over 200 such citations. If this is not the best solution, can someone suggest something else?
    (unindent) I think the idea's certainly a good one, because really long reference lists can be rather annoying as a reader (but necessary, I'm not by any means suggesting that they shouldn't be there, they're really important, of course), so a way to hide the references/footnotes section is a good one in my opinion. Default should be to hide, or otherwise it should be able to be set by the editor to a guideline based on length (i.e. if over a certain length, make it hidden).
    Things to think about, in my unexperienced opinion, could include:
    • will it work with the existing references mechanism, i.e. <ref>?
    • when a reader clicks a footnote number in the body text, can it open automatically to show the reader the reference directly? (as Gerry Ashton said)
    • Going a bit further and more complicated, would it be possible to get it to just show the reference that the user clicked on? (I'm anticipating not, but I'm no expert.)
    • when a user prints an article, will the references print with it? References should print by default, regardless of whether or not they're shown or hidden on the computer screen.
    There could be other things, but I like the principle. Neonumbers 10:34, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
    I don't see any reason to hide long ref lists, they should just be the very last section in the article--then they won't get in the way. I think the optimal behavior would be for the reference text to appear when you hover over the reference number in the text, and to go directly to the link when you click on it. Dhaluza 11:23, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
    I would want the list to be visible for users who are not logged in, and be visible by defalt for logged in users. Create a user preference which would allow users to hide reference lists if they want to. Even then, they should reappear when a footnote number is clicked on, or when the show link at the References heading is clicked. --Gerry Ashton 17:00, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
    Is this a solution in search of a problem? The References section at History of feminism is so long because the article is far, far too long. Compare History of the United States, which has precisely two footnotes. John Broughton | Talk 01:42, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

    Citing Television?

    I have noticed that there are many articles about television and these are some of my favorite articles. Strangely, I do not see any information on citing television as a source for information in articles, and I have found articles that are filled with information that is clearly using television as it source tend to have few references. I would like to fix this problem. How should I cite television? -- Lilwik 22:45, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

    Give the episode title, series name, and date of broadcast for sure. Also useful would be the executive producer, director, and writer. If you are working from the DVD and referencing a particular moment in the episode, providing the time of that moment would be good as well. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:40, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
    {{Cite episode}} may also be useful. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 08:25, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

    Second hand sources

    Say Hemsley publishes a work, and Zamudio writes about it years later. If I can't get my hands on a copy of Hemsley's work but want to summarize what he said, how do I best cite this? Obviously I want to make readers aware that I didn't read the work itself but got the information from Zamudio's writing. I'm using inline citations. Thanks, --NoahElhardt 22:59, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

    What about something like this?
    <ref>Letter to Sir William Spring, September 1643. Carlyle, Thomas (ed.) (1904 edition), ''Oliver Cromwell's letters and speeches, with elucidations'', vol I, p.154, quoted in Young and Holmes (2000), ''The English Civil War,'' (Wordsworth), ISBN 1-84022-222-0, p.107.</ref>
    I didn't have a copy of Carlyle, but Young and Holmes quoted the Carlyle and gave a full reference. This citation reveals that but also gives the reader information about the original book. Situations vary, obviously, from quoting to paraphrasing: but you can simply explain the situation in the footnote before citing the book you actually have (and Google Books and Amazon Search Inside can sometimes give you more details about the source you don't have, which you can add for convenience, making it clear what you re doing).qp10qp 19:34, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks! That should work well enough, I guess. I'm sure I saw a note about how best to format this on some Wiki howto page a year ago, but I couldn't find it anywhere. --NoahElhardt 19:44, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

    New ISBN system

    I think a new ISBN system comes in today, with 13-figure numbers. Should I now quote 13-figure numbers or 10s?

    It seems to me that it will take some time for the 13s to become fully link/searchable, and so it would be premature to start changing all the existing 10s to 13s. On the other hand, for new references, would it be a good idea in future to cite both the 10 and the 13 ISBN? (That would be my choice, but my heart sinks at the tedious prospect of doing it.) qp10qp 19:09, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

    Automated conversion is possible: take the first 9 digits of a 10-digit ISBN, prefix with "978", and calculate checksum as described here for 13-digit barcodes. JulesH 11:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    Abuse of unreferenced tags

    Too many articles have been tagged as unreferenced. Take for example The Bottle Imp. It is a short story, out of copyright and at Wikisource, which is linked from the article. The article is verifiable in the story so there is no need for further references. --Henrygb 20:45, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

    The editor who added the tag clearly explained why they did so, and they were quite right. A substantial part of that article is either unreferenced or in violation of Wikipedia:No original research. You should revert yourself or properly source the "Paradox" analysis. Jkelly 20:50, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    Everything in the article is verifiable and none of it is original research. And that is enough; if you want to challenge that then do so in good faith. What is the point of Wikisource if it is not a source? On the paradox [11] is neither completely reliable in general nor accurate in this particular case. I have made my point and you should realise that there is less of a consensus on this guideline than you think; others have made similar points above. --Henrygb 22:15, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    I agree with Jkelly. The article does contain information which, if not properly attributed to a reliable source, constitutes original research. But I have moved the {Unreferenced} tag down to the section in question. -- Satori Son 22:25, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    New editors are often confused about how to apply policy or guidelines. A handful of such comments shouldn't be confused with a lack of broad support -- your confusion about what violates Wikipedia:No original research, or what Wikisource is, for example, shouldn't be later used as an argument that we should get rid of either one. I have no idea what you're trying to communicate about "challenging" in "good faith". Jkelly 22:46, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    And now you are being patronising. I am not a new user, as a little unoriginal research might show. The unreferenced tag is not just ugly; its use is often also a sign of unwillingness to check information and indicates a preference for process over encyclopedic content. --Henrygb 00:12, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Sorry for sounding patronising. Wikisource is for primary source texts; it isn't a referencing system for Wikipedia. A lengthy discussion of the game-theoretical implications of a short story cannot be referenced to that story -- that is precisely what Wikipedia:No original research is meant to avoid. One can edit templates to make them more appealing or helpful; see Wikipedia:Templates to get started. Jkelly 00:42, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    Note: Wikipedia articles may not be cited as sources.

    HUH? This makes like zero sense. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 01001 (talk) 04:16, 6 January 2007 (UTC).

    You can't cite Wikipedia as a source for another Wikipedia article, is what it means. That would be circular logic; I simply set up two pages that support each other and they are both verifiable. -Amarkov blahedits 05:05, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
    False logic. Further all the great works throughout history build upon themselves. This rule along with all the others only serve to limit Wikipedia. The rules need a rewrite.01001 01:28, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

    Citation style - footnotes with references to a later bibliography

    Is this an acceptable style for citations? See Kernel (computer science) for an example. JulesH 11:32, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    Confusing, very confusing, I would say. It is not strictly incorrect, you can find the correct references .. but I would refactor the article. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:44, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I wouldn't; tt's actually the preferred method for citing printed works multiple times (at least per the CMS). Kirill Lokshin 18:00, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    CMS (page is a disambig, and I can't find what you are referring to)? But, this looks like a mixup of styles .. now you have to do two steps to find the work one is referring to? --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:06, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Chicago Manual of Style ;-)
    As far as this particular style: the benefits are not as obvious in a sparsely cited article; but, when you have an article that cites the same works many, many times (e.g. here), it becomes quite unreasonable to copy the full bibliographic information into every footnote, both from the standpoint of article maintenance, and from one of producing a set of footnotes that the reader won't run screaming away from. Kirill Lokshin 18:22, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Agree/Endorse the style issue per Kirill, although that article has other citation issues that could be handled better. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:35, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    The thing where I get confused is, that you don't have to copy it over and over, you refer to it once, the next times, you refer to the same number (in cite.php style: <ref name=something /> for resing the same reference. I'd like to understand what happens here, since I have just rewritten the whole cite.php to have more functionality (currently nagging the devs to check and apply), maybe this can be done easy as well. --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:41, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    In the example of kernel (computer science), what would be the problem to put not "Koch 2004" in the first reference, but the whole reference there? --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:44, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    The (technical) issue—which, again, is not very apparent from such a sparsely-cited article—is that these aren't necessarily identical citations; although they refer to the same book, they can point to different pages within that book, and thus can't simply be combined. (There are also stylistic issues with what cite.php does to combine citations, incidentally, which is why some editors won't use that function.) Kirill Lokshin 18:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Another thing to consider: some people list full info on sources that are only used once in footnoates, and list repeated sources in References, with abbreviated info only included in footnotes. Not entirely sure if that answers your question - if you prefer, we can help you via the article talk page? Whatever you choose, consistency in style is the key. You can use named refs on repeats, except in cases where you need to refer to different page nos. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:50, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    (unindent) I have rewritten cite.php so that it now can work 'reversed' as well, but I see the problem. I see what is meant, in scientific (chemistry) publications the ibid. is used for these, sometimes, though that is also not strictly the same. Interesting problem. What you would need is a <ref ibid=origrefname>chapter 1</ref>, which in the end would result in a double list (there were <references /> would occur), similar to the example that you provide (Battle of Ceresole), or giving a simple list like now, but where you would not have to type double. Thát is not an easy task, but it may be possible. --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:55, 7 January 2007 (UTC) For those interested, the patches I am referring to are [12] (the actual patch delivers way more functionality than described in the patch) and [13], a demo-wiki running both can be found at [14] (see lower half of the mainpage). --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:04, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    Some editors find text filled with citation templates difficult to deal with. Long, densely-cited articles can become difficult to maintain as the text changes. These separate but related issues lead to the citation/referencing style of Battle of Ceresole. That article also has no repeated ref texts, and probably no named refs. If the references could be named and defined in the References section, some have proposed using forms like <ref name="MyRef" note="page 63."/> to produce an appropriate inline citation. Gimmetrow 19:05, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    The patch in bug 423 primary deals with bibtex support, references can then be defined in a sub-document, and simply included with a <ref name="name" /> call. The other possibility has been discussed, but we haven't come around to do that. --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:09, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    On the test wiki, <ref name=Gettys90,Dirk/> produced this.[5],[6] Some editors here will object to the comma between [5] and [6]. Gimmetrow 19:17, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    I don't want to discuss this to any length, but these proposals all reinvent the wheel; Harvard referencing already makes it easy to have specific page references when desired while minimizing the redundancy of bibliographic data. CMummert 19:16, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    The comma can be removed, is a wiki-setting. And Harvard referencing is also possible with the new cite.php. --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:20, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    Database of sources?

    Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong place, but it seems logical here. I'd like to see a Wikipedia-based database of citable materials. That way, when I want to include a cite, I can go to the database and copy/paste the reference I need, already in the correct format. All I would have to do is add the page number. Like the old-fashioned card catalogs, it should be searchable by author and title, and, if possible, topic. I have some ideas about how the data input and search dialog boxes should go, but I have no idea where to go or who to talk to. Guidance, please, anyone? --Cbdorsett 14:24, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    See [15], bibtex records (and maybe also RIS, which is not implemented, yet) are the answer! --Dirk Beetstra T C 14:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I think WP:FOOT has links to m:Wikicite and related info, as the present footnotes technologies have always been considered temporary. (SEWilco 16:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC))

    Gaming the cite system

    Citations are critical to Wikipedia. That said a small minority of editors use WP:CITE to game the system, in breach of WP:POINT. I have added the (hopefully) fairly non-contentious sentence:

    Gaming the cite system: - Gaming the cite system, that is, demanding blatently excessive citations or accepting citations only from an unreasonably narrow source, for the apparent purpose of making a point or gaming the system is not an appropriate use of this policy.

    Three quick examples of this tactic from articles I've worked on:

    1. In Neuro-linguistic programming, the article came under sustained long term vandalism and deliberate degradation by a (now banned) sneaky vandal and his sock-army. One of main tactics was to use cites (however selective) to support his view, and then demand that those trying to present a balanced view cite every statement and prove every claim made on balance. needless to say this demand wore out many editors, who left rather than "prove" the views added were balanced to the unreasonable degree the vandal's socks were expecting.
    2. In the same article, same POV warrior, when cites were given, the further demand was made that only cites from MedLine were acceptable. Publications or articles not listed there were disparaged. This is an unreasonable demand; many publications and credible papers are excluded if a gamer insists "only papers listed on source X are good enough".
    3. In Canine reproduction, an editor objected to description of canine copulation as being "venial rubbish" and asserted some facts were "rubbish" and "crap". He deleted the entire section. Cites were given on the talk page for the main point raised, and he agreed his comment on that point had been mistaken. So the section, which was fairly well written, was reinstated. His response was to demand cites of every single clause in that section - and only that section - often 2 per line, and for every last clause that conveyed a fact in that section, however non-contentious, stating "CITE IT OR LOSE IT." [16] (Note that the claim it had been deleted in the past is misleading; the only person who had deleted it was the gamer himself.)

    I'm sure these aren't the only three times this has happened.

    Hopefully the above wording covers this type of situation without invoking WP:BEANS, and others will approve overall. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:58, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

    It's already doubleplusungood to use sockpuppets, and there's no requirement stated here that every individual sentence or clause have a citation (a source can cover multiple sentences). In the case of NLP, this is a sufficiently controversial topic to necessitate pervasive citations, though there's also nothing stated here or elsewhere that only publications indexed in the MedLine database are reliable. Unless there are multiple examples of people who are both lockstep with WP:CITE and obviously "gaming the system," a section on this is needless instruction creep. Simões (talk/contribs) 15:55, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

    What to do when multiple facts come from a single website?

    Often, we get a lot of information for the article from a single website. But we get a lot of different facts, each from a different page. In this case, we could use <ref> to cite the source for each fact, but that would lead to a "crowded" article, like this: pt:Blackbox (this is Portuguese language, but you can see that it has too many notes, almost all of them from the Blackbox website). On the other hand, if we don't add the notes, and just put the websites in the references, it will be difficult for the reader to know which facts come from which page in each website. What is the guideline?

    PS: Despite the page I linked being in the Portuguese Wikipedia, I'm asking it here because I'll apply the guideline here in the English Wikipedia. Jorge Peixoto 16:34, 8 January 2007 (UTC). Edited. Jorge Peixoto 16:38, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

    It's much better to link to the exact page, because in a large site it could be very difficult to find where the fact came from. This is especially important if the site does not have its own search function. It is also important if you are paraphrasing rather than quoting; a quote can be searched for, a paraphrase can't. --Gerry Ashton 19:21, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    Better to provide the citations even if much of the info is duplicated. Making the format of the references be less crowded is a display problem, but WP:V requires the sources be provided. Pages which are a problem when using a certain reference/citation technology could be pointed out on the Talk page of that particular technology, either for suggestions or for use as an example when changing the technology to "better" handle the situation. I use such challenging pages to test such technologies, and you can try to bring them to the attention of those involved in the specific one being used. (SEWilco 19:45, 8 January 2007 (UTC))

    Citation Style in the Humanities

    After a long argument on my talk page about whether citations should be "Firstname Lastname, or "Lastname, Firstname" in style, I decided to do some research. In the hard sciences, which is where I mostly work in WP, the style is pretty uniformly "Firstname Lastname". Assuming that perhaps the Humanities use a different style (I was, after all, being accused of vandalism for the reverts, and came close to the 3RR) I thought I'd do some research.

    I picked up books I own, that I have at home. Surprisingly few had references or footnotes. The oldest book I could find was an 1897 Hebrew grammer (written in Latin). It had only a few footnotes, but these were "Firstname Lastname" style. Looked at a number of books from the 1950's-1970s, and a few more recent. Subjects covered Drama, Art, History. Some of these were dusty, e.g. Amy Kelly "Eleanor of Aquitane"; some were best-sellers, e.g. Shirer's "The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich", some were iconic, e.g. Howard Carter's "The Tomb of Tutankhamen".

    EVERY BOOK I LOOKED AT, with two exceptions, used a "Firstname Lastname" citation style. One exception was a Soviet era book from Eastern Europe, written in the Lithuanian language. It was inconsistent, sometimes using firstname lastname, sometimes lastname firstname. The other was the Amy Kelly, which was inconsistent in every possible way.

    Lest I be accused of making things up or whatever, the gory details, with editions and publishers and page citations, are below.

    Lets start with popular magazines:

    • Time Magazine Dec 4 2006 Few footnotes; however all photo credits are firstname lastname style, e.g. page 129
    • US News and World Report June 19 2006 e.g. page 47, book credit ("The Medici Conspiracy"), firstname lastname. Photo credits firstname lastname, e.g. page 19
    • The Sun, Issue 345 Sept 2004, all photo credits are first last, e.g page 17. No footnotes that I could find, however, list of quotations, page 48 is firstname lastname
    • Smithsonian Oct 2006 e.g. page 4 -- all photo credits firstname lastname no footnotes.
    • Entertainment Dec 29 2006 year end issue, page 7 makeup & grooming & styling credits firstname lastname, same for page 9.

    Books: Moving from the obscure at first, to popular and widely available:

    • E. Wallis Budge, "The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings" (1909). Benjamin Blom edition, This is a bok of Egyptology. footnotes exclusively last name only, e.g. pages 5, 7,8, 10 No author index
    • D. Schilling, "Linguam Hebraicam" (1897) published by Delhomme and Briguet, Paris, footnote in preface: firstname lastname. No other footnoes, no author index. This is a hundred year old first edition, a hebrew grammer, written in latin.
    • Jouzas Balcikonis, "Rinktinai Rastai" (collected works of Jouzas B.) 1978, Mokslas publisher, Vilinus (this is a soviet era book from eastern europe). footnotes on page 8, 9, 10, 11 are lastname, first initial, however, later one, this is not done, e.g. page 33, page 73 use first initial lastname
    • John Gassner, "Medieval and Tudor Drama" (1963) Bantam Books footnote page 29 firstname lastname most all other footnotes are not citations.
    • "The Genius of the Irish Theatre", (1960) Sylvan Barnett etal eds. Mentor books. very few footnotes. Has essays in back, e.g. page 344, 351 firstname lastname. No index, however, "some books on Irish drama" occupies last two pages, is in chronological order, and is firstname lastname
    • Robert McCrum et al "The Story of English" (1986) Viking. Book about a PBS television series. Footnotes at end, pages 353-368 uniformly firstname lastname.
    • Studs Terkel, "The Good War", (1984) Ballantine Books, few footnotes, but page 327, 392, 394, 584: firstname lastname
    • Gardner's Art Through the Ages fifth edition (1970 Harcourt Brace and World. This is a standard art school textbook. page footnotes on pages 479, 499, 732, 736, 738 all firstname lastname thousands of painting credits are firstname lastname of course.
    • Susan Pack, "Film Posters of the Russian Avant-Garde", 1995 Taschen All poster credits are firstname lastname. Bibliography at back of book pp 302-308 is in alphabetical order by lastname, firstname
    • Richard Rhodes, "Dark Sun, The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb" (1995) simon & Shuster. Notes, pages 593-669, few direct citations, but these are firstname lastname, some are first initial lastname, some are lastname only.
    • Amy Kelly, "Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings" 1950 Harvard University Press, Notes, pages 391 to 405, are first initial, last inital, for example "Wm of M" or "G de V", these are expanded in the bibliography, pages 407-415, e.g. "A of T Alan of Tewkesbury" but sometimes "Ab Abaelardus, Petrus" but also "EG Edward Grim" and "HB Herbert Bosham", so there is no particular style.
    • Howard Carter "The Tomb of Tutankhamen", (1954) Excalibur books, Notes on pages 235, 236: lastname only, or firstname lastname, e.g. Chapter 20 note 2:"Alan H Gardiner, The Chester Batty Papyrus No.1" or chaper 17 note 3 "N. de G. Davies The Rock Tombs, El Amarna"
    • John M. Barry, "The Great Influenza" (2004) Viking. Notes are on pages 467 to 506 are firstname lastname. A bibliography follows, in alphabetical order by last name.
    • Wolf Von Eckardt and Sander L Gilman "Bertolt Brecht's Berlin" (1974) Anchor Press/Doubleday Notes are on pages 157 to 160. All notes are firstname lastname, for example chapter 7 note 1 "Paul Westheim Berlin, die Stadt der Kunstler" or note 2 Johanes Molzahn Der Sturm" note 3 "Otto Dix Berliner Nachtausgabe"
    • Stanley Karnow "Vietnam a History, The First Complete Account of Vietnam at War" (1983) Viking Press, pages 706-726 Notes on Sources, is written free-form, but is always firstname lastname. More interesting, pages 687-705 "Cast of Principal Characters" is in alphabetical order by lastname, but listed as firstname lastname. photocredits pages 731-734 are firstname lastname.
    • William L. Shirer, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", (1960) Simon and Shuster, copious footnotes, few citation, but however, e.g page 732 "Telford Taylor The March of the Conquest"
    • John R. Horner "Digging Dinosaurs" (1988) Workman Publishing pp 201-205 "Notes and References" First initial lastname, e.g. "B. Brown and E.M. Sclaikjer, The Structure and Relationship of Protoceratops Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences..."
    • Francis Legge "Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity" (1964) University Books. page 232 footnote 1 "James Darmesteter, Essais Orientaux Paris 1883 pp 113" page 40 footnote 4 "M. Foucart Culte de Dion..." but also frequently last name only.

    From what I looked at, I saw near-perfect consistency in citation style. I would like to understand why the regulars who haunt these talk pages are so insistent on guarding the "Lastname, Firstname" policy, which clearly contradicts widespread and nearly unanimous usage in both the hard sciences and the humanities. linas 05:55, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

    It's a bit more complicated than that. At least in the Chicago (15th ed., if anyone is curious)—which is fairly well-regarded as a style guide for humanities—there are two different forms of source notation possible:
    1. Full-form footnotes: this includes all the necessary publication data directly in the footnote. The format is:
      John Doe, An Extremely Long and Very Boring Treatise, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), 237.
    2. Short-form footnotes: this includes only partial publication data directly in the footnote, relying on a separate bibliography to provide the remaninder. The format is:
      Doe, Boring Treatise, 237.
    However, the format used in bibliographies (which often appear in addition to the regular footnotes, and are necessary if short-form footnotes are used) is different:
    Doe, John. An Extremely Long and Very Boring Treatise. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
    Note that the order of the name has been reversed; the footnote form is, indeed, "Firstname Lastname", but the bibliography form is "Lastname, Firstname". (There are, of course, other differences in punctuation between the two forms.) So the guideline here isn't wrong, per se; it merely doesn't provide for the full range of possible citation options and gives only the bibliographic form. (This is quite understandable; the CMS spends over a hundred pages discussing the subtleties of footnotes, whereas Wikipedia guidelines don't really have that luxury.)
    I would suggest that, if you know how to format the citations, you can just ignore both the examples here and the inflexible citation templates, and just do it by hand; frankly, so long as the style is (a) consistent within the article and (b) more-or-less reasonable, nobody is going to complain. Kirill Lokshin 06:13, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

    That's right: first of all, it's no big deal, so long as the information is there. But I agree with Kirill's distinction: the bibliography should be alphabetical, and there last name-first name is correct (it's much slower looking a book up in an alphabetical list if the surname comes second); but for notes, first name-last name makes sense because sometimes there's a quote before the short ref:. Look at the difference between

    "Długosz had been in the service of Sophia of Halshany." Vanda Sruogienė-Sruoga, Jogaila, p 7.


    "Długosz had been in the service of Sophia of Halshany." Sruogienė-Sruoga, Vanda, Jogaila , p 7.

    It wouldn't sound right to use last name-first name after a quote. But I also find the principle very helful with tricky names like the one above, where I need a clue about which name is the surname.

    I'd add that I don't like citation templates because they need messing with to use for both a note and a book list (and sometimes I don't like to just rip up another editor's work by deconstructing them, if they are the done thing on a particular page). qp10qp 06:57, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

    Many citations, single publication?

    When many (in this case, about 60) citations point to different pages or chapters in a single publication, is there a style or an appropriate manner of simplifying the references to that publication? Another user and I are attempting to figure out what's best for the article, and a standard -- or at least a suggestion for one -- would be very helpful. For comparison, there's the original option with many separate lines or the simplified version with only one line. The former takes up a lot of space, but clearly indicates which page contains each of the 60 or so facts; the latter is much more concise, but at the expense of clearly indicating which fact comes from which page. Any suggestions for which direction we should aim in? Any suggestions for a way that is both simple, concise, and clear? Thanks! Tafkargb 06:04, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

    I would strongly suggest the first version. The second is a nightmare to maintain—what happens when the footnotes change order?—and suggests (to someone familiar with formal citation styles) that all of those pages apply to each of the footnotes. (Personally, I don't see any problem with having many footnotes; they're off at the bottom, so people that don't care for them probably won't even bother looking, while people that do need them will find it easy to understand what's being cited to what.) Kirill Lokshin 06:17, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
    I agree with Kirill Lokshin entirely.--HIZKIAH (User &#149; Talk) 12:49, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
    You are also free to use parenthetical citation, like this (Smith 1994:pp. 20–23), instead of footnotes, and then list the references one time at the end. In some settings they look better, although they only work when you can reference print sources (with a year) rather than web pages. CMummert 12:56, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
    Parenthetical citation, also called Harvard citation, can be used for web pages. If the date is not known, you can estimate it (Smith c. 2007) or you can use n.d. which stands for no date (Smith n.d.) --Gerry Ashton 18:51, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

    Advice needed! "British railway ticket systems (computerised)" articles.

    Hi all, Sorry for the length of this comment/request. I have been writing a series of articles on modern railway ticket issuing systems used on Britain's railway network, which are incorporated under the general heading British railway ticket systems (computerised). This also contains a few articles on related matters. I will say at the outset that this is a very specialised, niche area in a hobby (railway ticket collecting) which is itself fairly obscure, so it is unlikely that many other editors would be able to contribute substantially to the info I have produced so far.

    The following anonymous message was left on my talk page today: "Thank you for all your work on rail and ticketing articles. Can I please implore you to cite your sources though, you must be getting all this detailed information from somewhere!"

    This got me thinking, and I have become increasingly concerned that I may not be able to provide suitable and verifiable references to some of the articles - especially those about the systems themselves (see Shere SMART and Ascom B8050 Quickfare for two typical examples). I am purely an enthusiast and collector of railway tickets such as these, rather than being an "insider" (e.g. ticket office worker). I have written the following on my talk page:

    Essentially, I have built up a core of knowledge about "New Generation" ticket issuing systems over the past few years through a variety of sources, including partly (although, I must stress, far from exclusively) through personal observation through my ticket-collecting hobby. For the past 4½ years, I have written a column about the latest developments in British railway ticketing in the monthly Journal of the Transport Ticket Society, probably the longest-established and largest such society in the world (there is a sample copy [here], which shows the contents of my column from that month, as an example). Sources for the info I write about include personal observation and the findings of others, TOC press releases/website info, internal BR documents (manuals, code lists etc), the manufacturers' own websites (Shere, Scheidt & Bachmann etc), and many others. Unfortunately, there isn't really one definitive published source in the "normal" sense (books/peer-reviewed journals/articles etc.) for me to cite.

    Before I continue jabbering on, a few immediate questions I would like to ask of the community:

    • When looking at articles such as National Location Code, Station groups, Shere FASTticket, Scheidt & Bachmann Ticket XPress and the various others in that template, are there any sections which clearly go against WP:NOR, WP:V, WP:CITE (I expect there are); what are they (specifically); and what sort of sources might overcome this?
    • Especially on articles such as National Location Code and Station groups, where I have referred to BR operating manuals and fares manuals, are there any parts which are definitely acceptable as they stand (and which I can perhaps use as a basis for rewriting or acquiring sources for other sections of text)?
    • By their nature, some of the "things" I could write about in these articles could be almost impossible to cite because of, for example, commercial confidentiality (e.g. the date and nature of a contract between a TOC and a manufacturer for the delivery of a set of machines) ... I suppose these would have to be excluded from the text?
    • Generally speaking, would something like the Transport Ticket Society Journal (ISSN 0144-347X) be an appropriate source under any circumstances? Bear in mind here that all National Rail content therein is written by me, from a combination of my own observations, those of other members, info from websites and so on.

    The point is, I think information about these systems etc. would have sufficient notability and importance to be worthy of articles; but if, as I fear, my current contributions are insufficiently cited/verifiable, I can see difficulties ahead: so little has been written about the systems, given their very recent development and the commercial sensitivity aspect, and the TTS (through me and others) is arguably at the forefront of the current research and knowledge.

    Any advice would be very gratefully received! Thanks, Hassocks5489 19:48, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

    The TTSJ seems to me to meet WP:RS standards - it's got an editor, it's subscription-based, so it's not exactly self-published. So, yes, I think you can actually cite your own articles. As for things like confidential agreements, if that's simply personal knowledge, then no, that's a clearcut case of a violation of WP:NOR (or, if you will, inability to meet WP:V). On the other hand, if you mention something in an article of yours, confidential or not, the fact that it's in your article means it's published and is thus useable.
    I don't want to discourage others from responding to you, but I think that you're fine if you (a) comply with the policies you cite, as best you understand them, (b) try to get into the mode of saying "I really shouldn't add anything unless I can cite a source" (which is difficult, I understand, and doesn't apply to very basic info, in general); (c) as time permits, go back and at least add (in a "References" section) citations to (at minimum) your journal articles as applicable (references don't have to be on-line to be usable); and (d) respond to users that you're working on documenting things, and don't plan to add more details without sources.
    There are perhaps two overarching principles to keep in mind here - first, Wikipedia has a lot of unsourced articles; lack of sources is in itself not a reason to remove an article (but it raises suspicions of other problems), and (b) the goal of an encyclopedia article is to give a reader a sense of a subject, and to point him/her to more detailed information elsewhere. So not every bit of knowledge in your head needs to go into an article, even though you may be quite willing to share. John Broughton | Talk 21:43, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

    Other archiving systems

    One thing that needs to be fixed in this policy urgently is that this policy exclusively mentions the Wayback machine to recover broken links (implying that this is the only service out there), without even mentioning the existence of other non-profit open source caching/archiving systems such as WebCite. The Internet Archive is far from complete, and using other services like WebCite would increase the likelyhood of recovering pages that have gone 404. Note that WebCite - in contrast to Wayback machine, which uses a shotgun-approach (random caching with a crawler) - allows editor/author-initiated prospective archiving (taking a snapshot before the website disappears, and cite the WebCite URL with WebCite caching ID in addition to the original URL), which - if this would be done consistently by authors, i.e. would be part of this Wikipedia "citing sources" policy, or handled by bots - would avoid the problem of link rot on wikipedia in the first place. --Greg4711 02:47, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

    I added a POV template in section What_to_do_when_a_reference_link_goes_dead, as the policy currently only mentions Wayback machine and Google, not other forms of recovering webpages (e.g. WebCite). See emerging consensus in earlier discussions on this talk page above. I will not engage in this discussion any further as I have a conflict of interest, but I do think that there is no justification for only mentioning Wayback and Google here. --Eysen 21:28, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
    Somebody has deleted the "neutrality disputed" template from What_to_do_when_a_reference_link_goes_dead. The section remains remarkably US-centric, referring exclusively to the Internet Archive, failing to mention other archiving services such as those collaborating in the International Internet Preservation Consortium ( of which WebCite will be a member starting Feb 2007). Respective Wikipedia policies on external links [17], citing sources [18], and dead links [19] all need to be updated to reflect that there is not only one Internet Archive on this planet... --Eysen 18:59, 19 January 2007 (UTC)


    Is there a way to have this:

    1. ^ Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman, The Serial Killers, Virgin Publishing Ltd. 2004, page 69
    2. ^ Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman, The Serial Killers, Virgin Publishing Ltd. 2004, page 70
    3. ^ Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman, The Serial Killers, Virgin Publishing Ltd. 2004, page 75

    Display as this:

    1. ^a page 69' ^b page 70; ^c page 75; Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman, The Serial Killers, Virgin Publishing Ltd. 2004

    Please leave a message at my talk page --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 22:31, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

    • Serious consideration is being given to enhancing the system to allow something like:
      1. ^ Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman, The Serial Killers, Virgin Publishing Ltd. 2004
        1. ^ ibid, page 69
        2. ^ ibid, page 70
        3. ^ ibid, page 75
    • Any thoughts? TIA HAND —Phil | Talk 23:11, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
    That would be OK, if the system automatically adjusts for any reordering of the citations. --Gerry Ashton 04:07, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
    Good point, we indeed have to keep that in mind. --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:00, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
    They would appear in the order in which they are invoked in the wikitext, as per the current system. What other method did you envisage? HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 16:58, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

    (unindent) I envisioned that the endnotes would always be in the order in which they are invoked in the wikitext. Let me give an example of my concern. Suppose the new system were in effect, and an article had the following endnotes:

    1. Lawrence, Steve et al., "Persistence of Web References in Scientific Reserch," Computer 84, no. 2 (2001): 26–31.
    2. ibid., 27.

    Now, suppose the article is edited so there is a new citation between the existing ones. The correct endnotes would now be:

    1. Lawrence, Steve et al., "Persistence of Web References in Scientific Reserch," Computer 84, no. 2 (2001): 26–31.
    2. McFedries, Paul, "Technically Speaking: It's a Wiki, Wiki World," Spectrum (December 2006): 88.
    3. Lawrence, Steve et al., "Persistence of Web References in Scientific Reserch," Computer 84, no. 2 (2001): 27.

    It would be wrong if the endnotes were:

    1. Lawrence, Steve et al., "Persistence of Web References in Scientific Reserch," Computer 84, no. 2 (2001): 26–31.
    2. McFedries, Paul, "Technically Speaking: It's a Wiki, Wiki World," Spectrum (December 2006): 88.
    3. ibid., 27.

    I would expect any acceptable system to automatically produce the correct endnotes with no work on the part of the second editor, beyond invoking the reference tags at the point where the Spectrum article is cited.

    Another minor issue is that Chicago Manual of Style calls for just a page number when using ibid., without using the word page. I don't know what other style manuals call for, but if the new system picks an option, it may be favoring some style manuals over others. --Gerry Ashton 20:30, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

    I see your concern. That part indeed needs some study. I think that that should be possible to detect (quite easy, actually). As I said, we will keep that in mind. If, and when it comes into effect, for sure it will be fully compatible with the previous system, as not to break anything, and it will be thoroughly tested on a test-server somewhere (a current proposal for upgrade of the cite.php can be seen here).
    The format question is going to be configurable via a variable in special:allmessages, which can be changed by a sysop. --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:39, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
    I have no idea what the practical implications of "The format question is going to be configurable via a variable in special:allmessages" means. My point is that the present policy is that a consensus of editors may choose to follow any style manual for the references in a particular article. If the new system imposes one style for the whole encyclopedia, it may favor some style manuals over others, which would be a change from the present policy. Also, the implementers of the citation templates follow a certain style, but have never stated what that style is, so users of those templates can't look in any style manual to deal with cases not covered by the templates. If the new system does follow a certain style, be sure to state in a permanently and easily available place, what source you used for your style decisions. --Gerry Ashton 20:56, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

    The result would not be as above: it would be more like this:

    1. Some book or other
      1. ibid., 27.
    2. Some other book, or maybe a Journal article

    Configuration could prove interesting, but we'll work it out. As to what you put in those list items, that's up to you, but I'm getting tired of people relying on external style guides designed for printed matter and edit-warring over them. I'd prefer for us to synthesise our own and, yes, impose it on the whole wiki so people know what to expect and what is expected of them. HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 22:02, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

    Phil wrote "…I'm getting tired of people relying on external style guides designed for printed matter and edit-warring over them. I'd prefer for us to synthesise our own and, yes, impose it on the whole wiki so people know what to expect and what is expected of them."
    I'm not opposed to this in principle, but to do it right is an enormous project. Consider that the the APA style guide is over 400 pages long and the Chicago Manual of Style is over 900 pages. That is what is required to describe how to cite any kind of information, and even those guides do not cover every case. Now, if the citing is manual, or it is automatic but there is a manual override, a shorter guide could be written and people could just follow the spirit of the guide for cases that are not covered. But if the system is completely automated, and does not provide for a certain source, then the system will have rejected a source not based on the quality of the source, but what computer programmers have gotten around to, and that would be unacceptable. --Gerry Ashton 22:54, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
    In synthesizing our own style guide, we'd essentially be making the decision of which existing style to use (there aren't that many ways of citing something, and most of the sensible ones have been tried by someone already) on a Wikipedia-wide scale. This can be expected to happen right after we impose a single era style and right before we decide on a single national variety of English... ;-) Kirill Lokshin 23:01, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
    I've come to the conclusion I don't like multiple citations much at all; I prefer page ranges. If the same book is noted about forty times in one article, the line of little letters is unhelpful; but I don't think a string of page numbers would be much more helpful because when you click the tag you will jump to a long line of page numbers and won't know which one relates to the tag you clicked (unless we can come up with a way to make them glow, or something). In your example, therefore, I'd rather tag all three references to the page range 69-75; and if, later in the article, I wanted to reference another part of the same book, I'd set a new note for a different page range, say 147-159. qp10qp 08:58, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

    (unindent)I see there are a lot of messages to be answered, I will try and respond to all:

    • Re special:allmessages: (technical) Much info is not built into the software, but the data is retrieved from a wikipedia 'page', that is configurable in the wikipedia. So, to a certain extend, it is not the software that defines the final look, it are these messages. E.g. the way a reference in the text looks with the <ref> tags, is determined by MediaWiki:Cite_reference_link, which now contains "<sup id="$1" class="reference">[[#$2|<nowiki>[</nowiki>$3<nowiki>]</nowiki>]]</sup>" .. the $-codes get replaced with data, id/$1 is the system-name of the ref, $2 is the link (in the references-section), $3 is the number. If the administrators decide to change it to e.g. "<1>" (no superscript, other bracket-type), that code should be changed to "<a id="$1" class="reference">[[#$2|<nowiki><</nowiki>$3<nowiki>></nowiki>]]</a>". So if the mediawiki-developers write something, they create fields there, filled with data which they think looks nice and right. And then when the mediawiki gets set-up, such as here for a wikipedia, the people setting it up, and the administrators can change things to the needs of the system.
    • Qp10qp: that problem has been addressed already .. well, partially. When you hover over an in-text reference on the test-site (here), you see the reference in the tool-tip, you don't have to go to the list below, and see/find the reference. (patch has been applied this afternoon, this should be visible in a couple of days on wikipedia).
    • Re - one style: First, as I said, all the old systems still work and will still continue to work (the test-site runs an adapted cite.php, and contains two documents which have the same wikicode as on wikipedia, they should be giving the same output as on the wikipedia, which is not running the new cite.php)! Whatever style a document has, you will not be forced to use the new one. If you prefer the {{ref}}/{{note}} style, OK, keep using it, if you want a document to use it's own format, you can ignore cite.php and the ref/note system and use your own formatting. All that we try, is to incorporate more functionality into the cite.php, and try to come up with a general style that can be used throughout, all to make citing easier.
    I come from a scientific/chemistry background, and though cite.php pretty much does the trick for me, there are some things missing (mainly ibid and bibtex), and it gives messy articles (which could be resolved by having bibliographies). I could use the {{ref}}/{{cite}}-system, but then the documents do not look the same as what I am used to in my field. I have come around to programm things to overcome the latter two (bibtex/messy document) for the most, and that gave the possibility to automate a ref like "(me, 2007)" as well (because me and 2007 are seperate fields in the bibtex, which you could easily call-out), so I built that in as well, and using that system, the {{ref}}/{{note}}/{{cite}}-style can also be used with these fields. But there are still improvements possible, and I'd like to hear them.
    (technical)Ibid is a bit more difficult, it requires some organisation in the code, I think, but it should not be too difficult to set such a system up. In the most simple form (which is NOT a very nice and practical one), one could think about <ref name=name ibid=oldrefsname comment=comment />, which would result in the text in a [2] (ref 'name' being [1]), and in the references-list the text has the same text as ref 'oldrefsname', with the added comment 'comment' behind it. Then it comes to the references-tag, which could be made smart enough to recognise that the ibid-ref is actually the same as the previous ref in the list, so then it could just print 'ibid.' instead of the whole text. Or even, making a double list, one with the actual references, and one with the bibliography (like in Battle of Ceresole, which was mentioned earlier) ..

    Hope this clarifies. I again want to stress, that the old systems will still work, and editors can use whatever they want, but additional functionality can be built-in which would setting up references in a document easier, especially for large, heavily referenced documents. If you think that these things really improve something, help me bug the developers by voting for bugs, if not, you can simply continue with the system you use. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

    Tool to format citations

    I wrote a web-based tool to output the {{cite book}} format given only the ISBN for a book. This may help in formatting references (I found that to be rather time-consuming if done by hand). I would appreciate it if people would give it a try and any feedback (write below). If it is found useful, perhaps it could go into the "Tools" section in Wikipedia:Citing sources. Oleg Alexandrov (talk) 07:15, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

    Pretty cool tool. However, Diberri's tool already has an ISBN feature. Also, your tool didn't seperate out the location from the publisher with the # I tested it with. However, please don't be discouraged. Keep up the good work!--Andrew c 18:01, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

    Problem with web citations

    I've had problems using {{cite web}} and inline referencing with url sources. For instance in burden of proof#References you'll see that the link is not working as it should. Could anyone identify for me where the syntax is incorrect, or what may be the cause of this problem? Please let me know on my talk page if you can. Richard001 22:42, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

    You have to use "http://", or it doesn't process as a link. -Amarkov blahedits 22:51, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

    How to cite "uncommon" yet authentic sources?

    Alright, as I was about to edit some information under the topic about recycling, I realize that my sources are not from books or websites. In my case, one of my source is my environmental science professor at University of Toronto and the other is a posted information on the club notice board in the university. Undenyably, these 2 sources are more authentic and realiable than many websites. They can withstand criticism from peers and colleagues at the university so their authenticy is much higher. One reference of such is worth more than a bunch of personal websites and blogs put together. So how would I be able to cite it? It certainly will make the information more accurately.
    OhanaUnited 01:22, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

    For all I know, you do not really attend a university and are not acquainted with a single professor. You are asking us to take take your word for it that the professor and the bulletin board exist. Why should we? You are just an anonymous account on a computer (just like me). You are not a reliable source (and neither am I). --Gerry Ashton 02:00, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
    There are ways... but it's not open to public. Prof's notes are posted in intranet. It's possible to take a picture of the notice board and scan the notes to be posted in my own website, but would mean I'm creating a reference for a reference. I guess I'll have to go with the Wikipedia:Assume good faith and the Wikipedia:Ignore all rules. Thanks for your suggestion though.

    OhanaUnited 05:30, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

    Excluding the last 30 days, you have made less than 30 edits/postings to Wikipedia. May I suggest that a bit more experience is a good idea before you start invoking Wikipedia:Ignore all rules? For example, more familiarity with WP:RS and WP:V might help you understand that They can withstand criticism from peers and colleagues at the university (referring to items posted on a notice board!) is not exactly what "peer-reviewed" or "reliable" means. And you apparently don't get it that WP:AGF is totally inappropriate to invoke when someone questions the validity of a source; WP:AGF has to do with reading poor intentions into an action. In your case, the problem is unfamiliarity with Wikipedia rules; any good editor is just going to point out that the references are unacceptable, not question your intent. If you can't find the information you want to post via another source that truly meets WP:RS, please don't post it, since at that point there is no difference (as far as Wikipedia is concerned) between what you've posted and a violation of WP:NOR. John Broughton | 15:38, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
    Oh really?! I counted my history record and it exceeds 30 edits more than 1 month ago. And does number of edits proof anything if the user is trying to make Wikipedia better? Apparently you have double standards to judge users who were inactively differently from others. Go ahead and rant all you want, I won't be answering more flame messages.

    OhanaUnited 22:46, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

    Challenging and deleting material

    An editor on Talk:List of publications in philosophy is interpreting "Any material that is challenged and for which no source is provided may be removed by any editor" as meaning that anything without sources can be removed because the challenging is implicit in the removal. I think the tone of the introduction "Attribution is required for direct quotes and for material that is challenged or likely to be challenged. Any material that is challenged and for which no source is provided may be removed by any editor." implies that material should be challenged before it is removed and editors given time to source the material before it is removed. Is this not the purpose of the "fact" template? Am I correct, and if so, could anyone suggest how the sentence I quote first above, could be improved? --Bduke 00:02, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

    There is no hard and fast rule about what has to be done before removing unsourced material in general. But blanking an entire page is frowned upon. In this case, the user blanked it after listing the article on AfD, and while the AfD template says not to blank the article during the deletion review, it was likely an honest error in not knowing that the article should be left in place during AfD. CMummert · talk 00:44, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
    See the discussion on Talk:List of publications in philosophy. He is now saying that if the list is kept at Afd, he will remove all entries again. So, while there may be no hard and fast rule, my concerns above perhaps need to be addressed. --Bduke 01:36, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
    That is the future. Until the AfD closes, the page shouldn't be blanked again. If the article is kept, then it will require some calm discussion to decide on criteria. At that time, it would be prudent to move the entire list to a subpage and move entries back to the main article piece by piece when it is clear that they meet the new criteria. A deliberate procedure like that would make it unlikely for the page to be blanked in good faith. CMummert · talk 01:50, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
    The page has never been blanked. I've only removed all the list items, leaving in place the introduction and "See also" section. Page blanking is a very specific sort of act that I never have and never will do. This list article has had a perpetual problem with a lack of sources, and I am more than warranted in what I've done per WP:V and WP:CITE. As for discussions of different inclusion criteria, I've already begun one, and none of those complaining about my actions (viz. Bduke and SteveWolfer) have responded to that. In fact, all SteveWolfer has done is persistently maintain the bizarre claim that his preferred entries are sourced (when the article has no sources at all) start engaging in personal attacks and gross misrepresentations of my actions and intent. Simões (talk/contribs) 18:01, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
    Removing all the list entries from a list is certainly in the spirit of blanking. Please remember to use good faith in removing things - although you may have the ability to remove items, you should only remove them if you actually feel they are incorrect, unverifiable, etc. I have left a comment at the talk page of the list itself. CMummert · talk 18:07, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
    I know the list's talk page is getting rather long, but if you peruse it, you'll see that this is what precisely I've been saying (and is the reason I've openly given for removed the list items; see my edit summary). As it currently stands, whether an item meets the inclusion criteria is unverifiable. Simões (talk/contribs) 18:14, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
    There are no gross misrepresentations or personal attacks on Mr. Simoes by me. I invite anyone to look at the talk page and see for themselves. The "bizarre claims" that Mr. Simoes attributes to me also are addressed on the talk page - by me and by Mr. CMummert. It is true that I have been persistent in trying maintain Rand's works on this list, but always within the WP Policy, in good faith, and I have provided many, many sources on the talk page, as have others - at the request of those who have been deleting Rand or her works on every philosophy list. I hope that reasonable people with an honest concern for Wikipedia will look at what is going on in this area. Steve 20:15, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

    I'm Confused

    Looking at recent featured and good articles I thought Wikipedia was moving toward inline citations being the standard method for citing sources but Restoration Literature is today's featured article. How many total acceptable systems of citation are there? Quadzilla99 03:47, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

    • You are correct to think that inline citation is basically the only form of citation used on Wikipedia. The article you point to simply does not have inline citations. Whether it particularly needs them is another issue, one better left to WP:FAR.
    • To answer your question, there are many different "acceptable" systems for inline citation: a number of different paranthetical systems, a multitude of different footnote systems, embedded links, etc. For that matter, ANY citation system, no matter how bizarre, is vastly better than no citation at all. The main systems used in featured-level work are Harvard style and footnotes. Christopher Parham (talk) 07:54, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
    That was generally my impression also. I really don't understand how that article became featured, if I ran across it during my normal browsing I would have slapped an unsourced tag on it. Quadzilla99 08:10, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
    First, it was featured in 2005, when the standards were different. Second, the FA standards require the use of inline citations "where appropriate." An article's text might make inline citations unnecessary, for instance by directly referring to the work from which a given quote is drawn (as this article does, sometimes using a sort of parenthetical citation).
    The article does have a comprehensive-looking references section, so adding the unsourced tag might be reverted. Usually if an article has references and you want inline citations, fact tags are a better way to go. Although, you might want to wait until it's off the front page before adding them. Christopher Parham (talk) 08:18, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
    I don't really dispute any of the information in there (I didn't even read it), just the format. Inline citations make it much easier to debate points and verify statements, generally almost all the featured articles I've seen the last couple of months are formatted that way. I was just surprised to see an article with that format get featured. Oh well, I've since noticed a lot of highly rated historic articles (such as GA rated, A class Georg Cantor (0 citations) and recently FAR passed FA Palladian Architecture) are that way. I guess it's just good that I'm not really interested in these fields as I would hate to have to use that format. Quadzilla99 08:37, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

    PDFlink in cite templates

    Often {{PDFlink}} is placed inside a cite template. However, as there often is no first parameter provides little benefit as a hack for IE6, nor as a point to our hopefully-soon-to-be-created bot to list the filesize. We would like to remove this template from the cite templates. --Dispenser 04:01, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

    I wasn't aware of a desire for the file size (but it's a good idea). Where was the discussion on such issues? (SEWilco 17:22, 22 January 2007 (UTC))

    Proposal for policy on freely available sources -- encouraging open content & open access

    I would like to propose that as policy:

    • Wikipedia encourages referencing of freely available sources, when information is available from both from free sources and sources which require registration and/or payment.
    • If a free source (FS) is deemed to less reliable than a source requiring registration (SRR), use of the SRR is acceptable.
    • Use of free sources available online is encouraged, as it enhances the credibility of WP if the reader can speedily verify the veracity of a given fact by use of an outside source with a simple click of the mouse.
    • Use of free sources encourages the proliferation of open access and open content sources.


    1. Support (person proposing the above). Comment - I think that in some sense WP de facto already has this policy-- many of the medical articles have an info box that links to eMedicine, and MedlinePlus, two freely available online resources. Linking to pay-for-view sites is generally discouraged. Nephron  T|C 05:42, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
    2. Support however, one has to defined what "free source" means. Sometimes sources are free at the beginning, and then turn into a registration page, e.g. BMJ for some content, others are "delayed open access" (first registration, then free after 6 months). Suggest to define "free" as licensed under creative commons. Further strongly suggest add a statement encouraging people to archive any cited "free source" with WebCite or similar archiving software and to cite the cached link too, to avoid broken links/404s/linkrot. Disclosure: I am a OA publisher and involved in WebCite --Eysen 17:00, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
    3. Support - the important aspect of the proposal is that "when information is available from both from free sources and sources which require registration and/or payment" and "If a free source is deemed to less reliable than a source requiring registration (SRR), use of the SRR is acceptable", so this is a preferrence when the quality of the sources is the same. I would add a couple of additional pointers to the proposals to encourage better citing by editors, i.e. that the best source AND free link is ideal (yes I know people can go to a library, but most wont and online is far quicker):
      • That merely providing a URL link to a free source is lazy compared to providing full citation details.
        Seeing a link of
        is less helpful than: Smith J (2004) "Asthma" Example journal 12(1);110-2
        The word "lazy" above would need to be amended to a less inflammatory term (don't want to be seen not AFG nor appreciating newbie editors contributions)
      • Similarly if a full citation is provided, then seeking out a freely available web link to view this should be encouraged. So with the example being given, the above fully cited and linked format is to be preferred to:
        Smith J (2004) "Asthma" Example journal 12(1);110-2
      • PubMed abstracts for biomedical journals has already been mentioned and there is User:Diberri's PubMed tool to take the PubMed abstract number to generate full template:cite journal markup that includes a PMID link to at least the abstract in most cases. Are there similar abstracting services for other disciplines (e.g. the arts, humanities, newspapers etc) David Ruben Talk 19:26, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
    1. Oppose Wikipedia best serves the goal of open access to information when it cites the most authoritative sources, regardless of whether they are open or not. In effect we are liberating knowledge that may be locked up elsewhere. --agr 11:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
    1. Comment Sometimes I found that some references (especially amateur websites) have so low authencity that they should be used as last resort. A person left me a message in the talk page that is saying exactly what I meant.
    it is far more important to cite scientific sources than a lot of the online crap that is available
    Take environment as an example, there're tonnes of information given out. Some of these are from government's pamphlets. I will highly doubt that these information are amateur but the current community only wish to see references that are available immediately online. I feel that the policy should change to reflect on broader types of resources available
    (not a comment on the proposal as such) Any move to limit wikipedia's references to those only available immediately online would exclude a vast amount of academic texts (most freely available to people who can visit libraries) and further damage wikipedia's reputation as a reliable source. --Monotonehell 11:22, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
    My thinking on this arose from a discussion I had here: Talk:Acute_renal_failure#Lancet. I agree that citing "online crap" is not the way to go. That said, I think real choices exist in a number of areas, as you can see from discussion at ARF. Another example is in the pulmonary embolism article, in which I cited Wells et al. (PMID 10744147) and then give a reference to the freely available summary by American Family Physician ( -- also a reputable source. As for the definition of free, I think it should be a bit more broad than creative commons. I think it should include content that is open access as per the CMAJ definition[20]: no cost and no registration required. I think the CMAJ def'n applies to articles that are linked to as "free" from PubMed (e.g. PMID 15741491 --article on open access in psychiatry). If the info exists in a reputable source and is in a creative commons license, I think, it is should be preferred over an open access article (that isn't free in the sense of the creative commons license). I am aware that the BMJ has an open then close policy. I will point-out that it used to be open indefinitely (like the CMAJ). I think WP should encourage open-- to show that the press barons aren't right when they say "money/paid-for-content=credibility",(PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access (, Slashdot discussion) and do that by using credible sources that are open. Nephron  T|C 10:42, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

    Revision of wording

    I revised the wording (see below) and will up-date the policy in a few days if there is no objection. Nephron  T|C 08:07, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

    Use of non-free/open access sources

    • Wikipedia, in the spirit of the GFDL, encourages referencing of freely available sources, when information is available from both credible free/open access sources (FOASs) and sources which require registration and/or payment (non-FOASs).
    • If a FOAS is deemed to be less reliable than a non-FOAS, use of a non-FOAS is perfectly acceptable.
    • Use of reliable FOASs available on the web is encouraged, as it enhances the credibility of Wikipedia if the reader can speedily verify the veracity of a given fact by use of an outside source with a simple click of the mouse.

    Citing the same source many times with - ref name="whatever"/

    In compiling a List of important operas, we are facing a situations where there are many (and growing) references to Grove as a source.

    Take a look at List of important operas#Notes and you'll see what I mean. Several editors want this format ONLY BECAUSE THEY CAN REFERENCE THE PAGES directly in the notes, rather than the body of the article.

    On the other hand there is the nice, concise format as in Maria Callas#References where 1 a,b,c,d exists, etc.

    QUESTION: Is there a format/template which would somehow combine the two to present page numbers next to the letters in a format like this "a p.216" "b p.221-223" ??

    Any help would be appreciated.Viva-Verdi 21:15, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

    No, there is no such format. Also, the format you are proposing (footnotes with page number in text) is rather unusual. Merging the Grove footnotes together seems fine if they are all identical (although "Grove" is a pretty vague citation) but merging the others is odd. If you want to put the page numbers in the text, then just use paranthetical references. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:20, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

    I was just going to create a new section to ask about page numbers. Is it acceptable to use a citation to the book and then use a comment (<!-- -->) for the page number? --NE2 17:18, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

    Thanks for these responses. Regarding Christopher Parham's comment, it seems that the compiler/editors of the List of important operas do not want to see the Grove page number in the body of the text about the individual opera, but the only way for it to appear, if using the Maria Callas page example, would be to place it there.
    Each opera reference relates to a different page number in Grove (which, I agree, is pretty vague). That was another virtue of the Callas Notes: one could get the full citation to appear once).
    As for NE2's question, I'm not sure what the (<!-- -->) looks like, but I'll check on it. Doesn't the excimation point mean that it won't be seen? Like an editorial comment in text? Viva-Verdi 18:04, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, that was the idea. To the reader it looks like Maria Callas, but an editor with the book can verify easily. It would work like this.[1] (hit edit to see the comment) --NE2 18:08, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
    The obvious deficiency of this method is that readers, and anyone who prints the article, won't see the full citations. The guidelines don't really say anything about the issue, but I doubt an article using that system could pass FAC (a decent test of whether a reference system will fly). However, the important thing is always to get the citation in there somehow. Formatting is a very secondary concern, so worrying too much about it is probably unproductive. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:39, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
    Why wouldn't this pass FAC? Everything is cited to the book; a comment is then added for the page number, which isn't necessary for the citation to be useful. --NE2 10:38, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
    Well it certainly reduces the usefulness of the citation, because when the reader goes to check it out there is no page number. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:11, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
    Serious readers (who may or may not be editors on occasion) often want to verify, or explore in more detail, passages in a Wikipedia article. Many readers will not think of looking in the comments for page numbers, because this is not a standard practice in Wikipedia, nor is it a standard practice in any other electronic medium that I've ever heard of. It is a standard practice in all scholarly written works to present page numbers for references when applicable. Remember, following up references isn't just something editors do, readers do it too. --Gerry Ashton 19:14, 21 January 2007 (UTC)


    1. ^ Book about nothing important, 7th edition

    Citations other than English?

    Not that long ago, an anonymous user added a Eurovision comment on Thunderstone (band), which I cleaned up and promptly gave a citation needed tag. Another anonymous user added in a reference to a Finnish website. I haven't the slightest idea about the Finnish language, but it seems okay; this website [21] seems to be a Finnish TV station that is broadcasting the event, and detailing news about it, and the text itself seems to verify what the citation is for.

    So... given this is an English encyclopaedia, should citations other than English be around? --Dayn 02:23, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

    Yes, this is fine. To quote the guideline, "Because this is the English Wikipedia, English-language sources should be given whenever possible, and should always be used in preference to other language sources of equal calibre. However, do give references in other languages where appropriate." If you feel any such citations are suspect, there is usually a project around here where you can find someone who can check it for you, e.g. Wikipedia:WikiProject Finland in this case. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:34, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
    Okay, thank you very much. I'll keep that in mind when I'm out and about with references. --Dayn 03:49, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

    What about the titles of books in other languages? Should they be cited as their English translations or transliterations (in the case of a non-latin alphabet), or should we use the original title? --Cameltrader 07:01, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

    I would think we quote the original title in the original language, as one would do in a thesis or research paper. -- Avi 07:10, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
    The original name might be mentioned, but often the English book title is what is used. i.e. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (SEWilco 17:26, 22 January 2007 (UTC))
    I think that's a different situation from the way I understood the original question; at least, the article you linked to doesn't make much sense in terms of this discussion since it contains no citations. To answer the question, always cite the title actually carried by the book you are reading from. You can provide a translation as well, but be sure to provide the original information that will let people find the reference. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:25, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks, everyone. Right, I was asking about the title of a citation, such as some book mentioned in the footnotes, not the title of the article on the book itself. I probably didn't make it quite clear in my question, but we have three choices:
    1. Translate the name of the book into English (e.g. "Great Soviet Encyclopedia"). As far as I understand this is optional.
    2. Cite the book in the original language, in the original alphabet ("Большая Советская Энциклопедия"). This would be the most useful one if you want to find the book in the respective country, or if you have good understanding of the alphabet, or if you communicate via email (you can cut and paste).
    3. Cite the book in the original language, transliterated into Latin ("Bolshaya Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya"). This is readable, helps pronounce the name to some extent (or is IPA a fourth option?), and is not vulnerable to encoding and font issues. Different transliteration schemes might be an issue here.
    My hesitation now is about whether we should prefer 2 or 3. --Cameltrader 08:42, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
    The English translation of the title is optional if you read the book in the original language. If you read a translation, you must give the title of the translation and the original language title would be optional.

    Source overkill

    Is there a point where an article can have too many sources. By too many, I mean citations for really obvious things. Preschooler kind of obvious. Pacific Coast Highway {talkcontribs} 05:23, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

    I'm pretty sure there is. I remember reading somewhere (not sure where) but it didn't involve citations; but it said not to assume knowledge. Like saying "The Thunderbird is a Ford." instead of "The Ford Thunderbird is an automobile." However, it said not to go overly simplistic, like "The Ford Thunderbird is an automobile, (description of what a car is)" etcetera. So I believe it applies here; I'd use my best judgement. --Dayn 07:04, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
    In my opinion, an article should have as few inline citations as possible (in my experience, that averages to about one per kb), but a full list of sources that covers everything. You would only then need to provide citations for the more obvious things on request. However, the more controversial a subject, the more citations it needs, because the text will be constantly questioned. So use citations where you think the text may be questioned, as well as for for quotes, figures, little-known facts, etc. qp10qp 07:15, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
    I agree that an article can have too many references. Take for example the Final Fantasy VII article, which has 138 citations, many of which are used multiple times. Often, these three-digit tags hinder the readability of the article, especially when several sentences in a row are tagged with multiple 3 digit references each (see #Compilation of Final Fantasy VII). As the article may be featured, you might expect it to be brilliant prose, but often this is not so. For eventualities such as this, is there any way for the user to hide the references? Or should there be a {{too many references}} tag? - Jack (talk) 11:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


    I'm sorry if this has been asked here before but I really have this doubt about the way references and/or notes (or footnotes) should or not be displayed. If I have an article that was created and developed based on few sources and I use inline citations along the text which refer to those same sources, what should I do with the references? Should I simply list them on a exclusive section (===Reference(s)===) and don't include a ===Notes/Footnotes=== (using the Cite.php code) or should I also include this last section even if it lists a source which is already listed as a general source on the References section? It's this doubt that chases me. Parutakupiu talk || contribs 23:34, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

    There are three kinds of inline citations frequently used in Wikipedia:
    1. HTML links (which you don't seem to be asking about)
    2. Footnotes using Cite.php, which as appear as raised numbers in the text
    3. Harvard referencing, which put the author, date, and optionally page number, in parentheses, in the text
    If you are using Harvard referencing, all you need is a References section with the sources listed in alphabetical order. When I use footnotes and cite.php, I prefer to have both a Footnotes and a References section. In the Footnotes section I write a short form of the citation, such as "Smith, 1996, p. 68" and then put the full details about the source in the References section, in alphabetical order. In paper-based publishing, it is traditional to put the full details in the first footnote for a source, but because Wikipedia articles are changed so often, the first footnote might soon become a later footnote, and the footnotes might not be properly updated. --Gerry Ashton 23:56, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

    «I use footnotes and cite.php, I prefer to have both a Footnotes and a References section. In the Footnotes section I write a short form of the citation, such as "Smith, 1996, p. 68" and then put the full details about the source in the References section, in alphabetical order.»

    Yes, that's what I wanted to be sure. So I cite the main sources at the References section and all the inline citations, from those sources, that I make along the text will ought to appear as the author, year and pages.
    But this is for paper-published sources. What about web-based sources? Thanks again. Parutakupiu talk || contribs 00:02, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
    Try the {{cite web}} template. For other types of sourcing, see Wikipedia:Citation templates. Did that help? - Jack (talk) 11:32, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
    I already use those. What I'm trying to know is how to do in the situation I quoted above, when the sources are not paper-published but websites. I cannot use a book reference like "Smith, 1996, p. 68" as an inline citation that would go into the Notes section (and then list the whole details in the References section), because my source is not a book but a website.
    For this case of web sources, should I just use inline citations and display them on a "Notes and references" section? Man, I can't explain better than this... Parutakupiu talk || contribs 19:03, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
    You can put the full information of the website in a reference section (under "references"), and provide a simple link to it, or an author name, in an inline citation (under "notes"). Or, you can put the full information in the inline citation. Either way is fine. By "full information," I mean author, access date, etc. {{cite web}} could help you format that information if you wish. Here are examples of both methods:
    In Fall_of_Saigon#References, there are two online references. Their full information is given in the references section. They are cited under "notes" as "Smith." and "Pike.". The same system can be seen at Dixie (song)#References and elsewhere.
    In Star_Wars_Episode_I:_The_Phantom_Menace#References, the full information is provided in the inline citation.
    Either of these methods is fine. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:23, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
    Christopher, thank you VERY MUCH! You helped a lot. Now I see how to act. Parutakupiu talk || contribs 20:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

    A work available both in print and on the web

    What is the best way to cite a text that was first published in hard copy and subsequently published on the web in a different format? I'm trying to polish up the references at Dalek for its ongoing featured article review, and it occured to me that one of the sources cited, Doctor Who: The Television Companion, has been published on the BBC's Doctor Who website. But the publication isn't as an ebook — they merely took the text and put the relevant sections about each serial onto a page that also had other information about it (see here for an example).

    The article has citations from two different print editions of this work (added by different editors). Is there value in changing all these to the web citation, for ease of reader access? Or is it better to keep the print citations, because print has more permanence than websites? Or should both be cited, and if so, how? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 09:00, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

    I would not change the references, these are probably the references as they have been used to write the article. Changing prints of books does not go wrong, since newer versions in general contain more info than older versions, but also there, the writer used the old version, so that is the reference, in all cases, if there are major changes, it has to be checked. In some fields books get new POV's, and old POV's get deleted, I don't know how much that problem would occur in e.g. a novel.
    If there is more than one source available, you could consider adding a second reference to the original one (e.g. expand the text of the existing reference with the second resource, or add a new reference behind the existing one in the text (keeping in mind that that text may not actually have been used as the reference). Otherwise, maybe a 'further reading'-like section? Hope this helps. --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
    I would write the full printed-book details in the references or bibliography section and tack on a hyperlinked "Read an online version here". In my opinion, the word "version" covers a multitude of sins and implies this is a convenience link rather than the source we used for the article. qp10qp 10:41, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

    How do I refer to the same reference twice in an article without it appearing twice in the reference list? I am trying to sort out the telithromycin article because there were claims that it was unsourced. One of the references is a New York Times article that can only be accessed if you are a registered NYT user. I have therefore put in as much of the full reference as possible (Author, title, date) so that people can get it in hard copy where possible. I need to refer to this more than once as there are several quotes which have been sourced in that article. Unfortunately every time I do the ref appears twice. I have also provided a link so that they can access the article online. Can someone help me here? Thanks --Wikipediatastic 15:22, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

    Sorry I have sorted this out now! --Wikipediatastic 15:27, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

    Untraceable Source

    In a family scrapbook, there is a photocopy of a page from a book that gives a brief history of Oswego, Montana up to about the year 1972. There are no clues as to the title or author of this book. I would like to use this source in the creation of the Oswego article, but I have no way of citing where the information came from. Should I just go ahead and use the information anyways without a citation, and then put a note in the article's talk page about this unusual source? --Billdorr 01:13, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

    No. However, you could use key words from the page to do a web search; it might lead to something you can cite. --Gerry Ashton 00:38, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
    Yes. you have a genuine book publication (no hoax) but have lost the author and title. That does not invalidate the information. Rjensen 07:06, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
    No, not verifiable. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:57, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, add it with a [citation needed] tag. Then someone with a reliable source has to do less work. --NE2 18:00, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
    The local library in Oswego, Montana, would certainly know the title of the book--it's not likely there are many such books. (it may be the 1937 WPA Guide to Montana) If there is no local library ask the state library at Also try at [22] 02:29, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

    Citing or quoting allegations or accusations

    When there is an allegation or accusation, there is an alleger or accuser, and they should be identified in enough detail to allow the reader to judge their credibility. For example, "It has been alleged that Company A stinks" is sloppy; "Company B has alleged that Company A stinks" provides more perspective. Where there is no citeable reference to identify the alleger or accuser, I suggest that editors take care not to imply that the allegation or accusation is true. For example, where no accuser or alleger can be found, it may be that allegations are merely rumours spread by Chinese Whisper or disinformation. Furthermore, if a blog is the source of the accusation or allegation, editors should check the affilliation of the blogger to the extent of sighting any bio page linked to the blog; for example, to reveal that a seemingly private blog is the private blog of a PR person, for example. Rick Jelliffe 17:46, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

    What not to cite: A common sense supplement

    I've noticed a number of policy pages have sections on what does not constitute the policy. I think that might be a good idea here. I've been embroiled in a move request discussion over at Ethnic Japanese and the nominator insists on placing inline citations for every term describing the article and has removed the articles current title entirely claiming it's original research and unverified. I'm pro citations but, personally, I don't think common terms which are verifiable by hundreds or thousands of sources, including dictionaries, require citation. For heated arguments, however, a common sense supplement here might be helpful. Doctor Sunshine 13:52, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

    Note that this is not a policy page, but a guideline, or as it says at the top of the project page, part of the Manual of Style. The policy that states that a citation must be provided if a statement is challenged is WP:Verifiability. That would be the place to discuss your proposal. -- Donald Albury 13:10, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

    Citing non-print Media

    How does one cite TV series episodes, movies, documentaries and the like? What format is used? Shrumster 00:25, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

    See Wikipedia talk:Citing sources#Citing Television?. In addition to the points made there, if it isn't fairly obvious how to obtain a copy of an off-line source, I would advise adding contact information to a place where the material may be obtained. --Gerry Ashton 00:40, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    Neat. How about movies or straight-to-video stuff? Shrumster 10:46, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
    Give the title, director, year of original publication, and production company. Those are the key facts. Chicago style for films can be found here. Christopher Parham (talk) 14:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

    Citing common usage via a search link

    I note that search links are discouraged (although not forbidden, such a policy I believe increases the likelihood of such a link being removed from the article). I believe that a justifiable use would be as a citation of a phrase in order to demonstrate that the usage is sufficiently common for the phrase to be considered a set phrase and not merely one writer's combination of words. Notatest 07:30, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

    Proposal for a small expansion of one sentence

    From this page:

    "Wikipedia articles cannot be used as sources in and of themselves. Sources 'must' be independant from Wikipedia."

    I propose adding two words to the sentence:

    "Wikipedia articles and categories cannot be used as sources in and of themselves. Sources 'must' be independant from Wikipedia."

    There have been cases where someone will make an argument of the form, "x is in category y, and WP:CAT says something's membership in a category has to be uncontroversial, so this justifies us saying (on a separate article) that 'x is a y' without the need for an outside source." There are other ways to show why this argument is invalid, but adding those two words to the sentence would end such a line of argumentation quickly. Simões (talk/contribs) 00:18, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

    "Accessdate" and date formating

    After the issue came up at B-17 Flying Fortress, I've got a few questions about the "Accessed on/Referenced on" part of the cite templates. Template:Cite web previously allowed the user to either use accessdate (with the date required to be in ISO form) or accessmonthday and accessyear (with the date in the form "Month DD" and "YYYY", which produces an unwikilinked "Month DD, YYYY"). I would like it to allow a new date format, perhaps by adding a new parameter accessdaymonth, which would allow the date to show up as an unwikilinked "DD Month YYYY", which some people find is the best date format in "serious" writing. Template:Cite journal currently has only the accessdate parameter with no allowance for other date forms, and would require all three parameters to be added.

    I've gone ahead and made the edit to Template:Cite web, and it seems to work, but I wonder if it would be better to modify accessmonthday to change the date format (essentially remove the comma) if it detects a numeral before the month. Suggestions? - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 13:53, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

    Commercial websites as sources

    I'm interested in opinions on whether it is okay to reference the webpage of a commercial entity, when no non-commercial source can be found. In particular, I've been adding a listing of public utilities to articles on cities (see Toccoa, Georgia for an example), and the official city websites don't always provide the necessary information – but the webpage of (e.g.) the local telephone utility or local cable utility will often list their service areas. Is it okay to cite such sources, or should such references be considered inappropriate (i.e. spam) ? --Bill Clark 17:34, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

    Perhaps this has been answered elsewhere (I don't think this is the only place this has been discussed), but my two cents: you can cite a commercial website when it's very important, but not when it's minor (per WP:NOT, Wikipedia isn't an indiscriminate collector of information). For example, if 50% of the employment of a town came from a manufacturing plant in or near the town, a link to that manufacturer (ideally, to a page on the manufacturer's website that described the plant) would be fine. On the other hand, for a public utility, I think that this is very minor information, really of interest mostly to residents and potential residents, and to the extent it's not, it should be on the Wikipedia page of the utility company. -- John Broughton (☎☎) 19:31, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

    Citing another author's citing

    There are often times when I must take a reputable author's word that another author(ity) said such and such. While I do try to track down the original source, it can be in some obscure academic journal, or out-of-print or expensive book. For example, Richard Diehl, a well-known and reputable professor, states in his book The Olmecs that Marcus Winter makes a statement that I would like to include in an article on Olmec culture outside the Olmec heartland. Diehl's footnote says that Winter's essay can be found in "CLARK, John E. (Editor) LOS OLMECAS EN MESOAMERICA", which is unavailable to me (I located it on sale for $250). Should I just cite the Winter work directly, or should I cite Diehl, or should I cite Diehl citing Winter? Help! Madman 05:46, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

    Well, the source you'd cite is the one you've actually examined; in this case, that's Diehl. If you're using footnotes, you can indicate Diehl's source there (e.g. "Diehl, Olmecs, 203. Diehl cites Marcus Winter's essay..."); I have no idea how this might be possible using other citation styles, though. Kirill Lokshin 06:20, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
    I usually see something like "Author, Cited in Foo (1978)." Circeus 18:37, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
    I agree (I think) with Circeus; do the cite as if you were using the original (best) source; you can then add (still inside the ref tags, but outside the first template) something like "found at" or "per", then a second template for the secondary source (Diehl). That's if you want to use the citation system; you can of course just use "ref" tags and do this freeform. The purpose of citing the original source is to point readers (in theory) there as the best source; and of course mentioning the secondary source (which you have) is to show readers why you think the original source is valid, since you've not seen it. -- John Broughton (☎☎) 19:25, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

    Access date formating

    According to Wikipedia:WikiProject Fact and Reference Check/Guidelines the preferred citation style is MLA, which uses the following format:

    • Landsburg, Steven E. "Who Shall Inherit the Earth?" Slate 1 May 1997. 1 October 1999 [23].

    Note that the date is formatted dd mmm yyyy. Currently the cite templates seem to prefer the ISO date format, yyyy-MM-dd, with a few templates offering the option of the format mmm dd, yyyy. Should all the templates be edited to limit them to the MLA style date, for standardization/unity? Or at least offer that date option? See above for my previous request. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 22:15, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

    The "Citing sources" guideline neither encourages nor discourages the citation templates. It is not clear to me that this is the place to discuss them. Also, as far as I know, the citation templates as a group have never identified any style manual as a model to emulate. --Gerry Ashton 22:47, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
    To emphasize Gerry's comment, the assertion that MLA is recommended is false. There is no preferred style. As far as your change goes, the general standard seems to be to wikilink dates so that they respond to date preferences; as long as this is in place, I wouldn't mind if you changed the default in the templates to whatever you wish. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

    moved "tools" section to bottom - call for shorter simpler page

    I moved the tools section down from below templates to the bottom, above see also, and combined with the tools listed there. I also added a few links under see also.

    I agree with the comments way up this page that this page should be shorter and less intimidating. Much of the detail can be linked to on other pages. I envision a list of citation types with brief descriptions of each (starting with the simplest). Links to templates, more complete information on the various styles, an tools for building citations would follow. As one not at home with citations (though i must have done it a few times while in school, way back when), i find all of the information overwelming and very time consuming. I, and other non-academics, crave just a short intro on how to do a basic citation (or footnote or reference or whatever), a note about what other styles are possible/permitted and where to look for details of each if needed. - Bcharles 00:13, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

    maybe more sources

    I don't understand what's to stop someone from making a statement, publishing their own article on a free webhost, and using that as their source? How can we be assured of the validity of anything then unless it is from a bonified news service? But if it's something like "Bob's home page about the Civil War" then is that a valid source? Maybe we should need two or three sources per citation. Stovetopcookies 02:02, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

    It would be fairlly simple to create several bogus sources to verify ones claim. One could also write up a story and get it printed in a local paper (often starved for cheap content) then refer to the published article as a source. It is the quality of sources and not the quantity that counts. If the fact being cited is disputed, one could find a reliable source to the contrary. - Bcharles 03:20, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
    To put it simply, "bob's home page about the civil war" is not a valid source. This is especially true for subjects like the Civil War, where there is a well-established academic press and thus a vast array of peer-reviewed, highly legitimate sources on which to build an article. Christopher Parham (talk) 05:20, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
    The policy is on using only reliable sources is WP:RS. As noted, it makes no difference how many blogs or other self-published sources one wants to quote, they're not reliable sources for anything other than a question as to whether they exist or not. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:01, 14 February 2007 (UTC)