1 Kigami

Quote Wikipedia In Essays

This page in a nutshell:
  • In Articles for Deletion or any other Wikipedia discussions, editors should feel free to quote their own essays provided that they do not hold them out as policy or consensus.
  • There do exist reasons not to quote your own essay.

The popularity of essays and information pages on Wikipedia is growing. During articles for deletion discussions, editors may sometimes quote essays and information pages as supportive material for their arguments. From time to time, other enthusiastic editors may point out that the first editor is simply “referencing their own essay” and imply that it is not a valid argument.


  • Keep I think that this argument should be kept because of WP:EXAMPLE. SelfQuoter 11:54, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete You're quoting your own essay, that's not a reason. NoQuoter 01:42, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

How do they know who wrote the essay, you might ask? It is not a difficult task to check the history of a page and learn who the primary contributors are to that page or article. There are very few "secrets" on Wikipedia!

So what are the reasons both for and against quoting your own essay in a discussion?

Reasons to quote your own essay[edit]

See also: Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions § It is only a guideline/essay

There are several good reasons to quote your own essay (or any other essay for that matter) in an AfD discussion.

  1. It saves time in creating responses
  2. It prevents having to "re-think" arguments and lines of thinking for commonly-encountered discussions
  3. It provides a single location for references (if any) to support the argument
  4. It allows community collaboration and refinement of the arguments that can lead to making Wikipedia even better.
  5. It makes others in the discussion aware of the essay so that it can be mentioned again in future AfDs on similar topics.

Reasons not to quote your own essay[edit]

Naturally, there are also reasons not to quote your own essay.

  1. When the essay is held out or implied as policy, it creates the appearance of having greater weight than it should (see WP:NOTPOLICY and WP:EANP for essays on the subject)
  2. It prevents having to "re-think" arguments and lines of thinking for commonly-encountered discussions
  3. Even if not implied as policy or guideline, some editors may believe that an essay has more weight than it should.
  4. Merely quoting an essay can often be viewed as too abrupt, or dismissive, in not taking time to clarify issues, so consider stating additional explanations, along with quoting an essay, or just omit the essay and write direct explanations inline, where direct clarification might be more helpful (than a wikilink).
  5. With some users, the title of a quoted essay might be misinterpreted, so consider adding text to rephrase the essay concept, or not quoting the essay at all.
  6. Perhaps an essay should not be quoted under the original title, but rather quoted by an alternative redirection title, more appropriate to the ongoing discussion.
  7. If your essay is too long, chances are you will get a TL;DR reception, even it is full of sparkling wit and deep thought.

How to[edit]

If all the above did not discourage you from self-quoting, make sure your message goes through without annoying your colleagues:

  1. In addition to "see WP:MYESSAY" it is good to add a summary of the actual argument you had in mind or at least point to a specific section/bullet in your essay. (As a side effect, this habit will force you to maintain a clear structure of your essays.)
  2. Be willing to answer more than "RTFM!" on someone's "Huh?" and don't ask "did you actually read my <crystal-clear, brilliant> essay?"
  3. Make it clear that you are referring to reasoning written elsewhere, not citing an authority:
  4. Make it clear that you're citing your own essay, as opposed to somebody elses:
    • Even Better: Support. This comes up frequently, and rationales in favor of it can be found at my essay WP:THINGIWROTE.

Disclaimer: Not for article content![edit]

Just to make sure: This essay discusses quoting your own essay for discussions and talk pages on Wikipedia. It in no way implies that it is good to quote yourself for article content.


Well-written essays are duly noted as essays. While an enthusiastic editor may quote an essay—even their own essay—in an AfD discussion, that does not in and of itself become a "bad" thing and there are several advantages to doing so. Just be sure that the community is clear on the communication—essays should be marked on the page as such, and should not be "cited" in a way that implies they are policies or guidelines.

For information on referencing citations in Wikipedia articles, see Help:Footnotes, Wikipedia:Inline citation, and Help:Referencing for beginners.

For information about citing Wikipedia articles for use in work outside of Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia.

"WP:CS" redirects here. For the essay about using common sense, see WP:UCS. For WikiProject Computer Science, see WP:COMPSCI.

"WP:REF" redirects here. For the Wikipedia Reference desk, see WP:RD.

A citation, also called a reference,[1] uniquely identifies a source of information, e.g.:

Ritter, R. M. (2002). The Oxford Style Manual. Oxford University Press. p. 1.

Wikipedia's Verifiability policy requires inline citations for any material challenged or likely to be challenged, and for all quotations, anywhere in article space.

A citation or reference in an article usually has two parts. In the first part, each section of text that is either based on, or quoted from, an outside source is marked as such with an inline citation. The inline citation may be a superscript footnote number, or an abbreviated version of the citation called a short citation. The second necessary part of the citation or reference is the list of full references, which provides complete, formatted detail about the source, so that anyone reading the article can find it and verify it.

This page explains how to place and format both parts of the citation. Each article should use one citation method or style throughout. If an article already has citations, preserve consistency by using that method or seek consensus on the talk page before changing it (the principle is reviewed at § Variation in citation methods). While you should try to write citations correctly, what matters most is that you provide enough information to identify the source. Others will improve the formatting if needed. Help:Referencing for beginners provides a brief introduction on how to reference Wikipedia articles.

Types of citation

  • A full citation fully identifies a reliable source and, where applicable, the place in that source (such as a page number) where the information in question can be found. For example: Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 1. This type of citation is usually given as a footnote, and is the most commonly used citation method in Wikipedia articles.
  • An inline citation means any citation added close to the material it supports, for example after the sentence or paragraph, normally in the form of a footnote.
  • A short citation is an inline citation that identifies the place in a source where specific information can be found, but without giving full details of the source – these will have been provided in a full bibliographic citation either in an earlier footnote, or in a separate section. For example: Rawls 1971, p. 1. This system is used in some articles; the short citations may be given either as footnotes, or as parenthetical references within the text.
  • In-text attribution involves adding the source of a statement to the article text, such as Rawls argues that X.[5] This is done whenever a writer or speaker should be credited, such as with quotations, close paraphrasing, or statements of opinion or uncertain fact. The in-text attribution does not give full details of the source – this is done in a footnote in the normal way. See In-text attribution below.
  • A general reference is a citation that supports content, but is not linked to any particular piece of material in the article through an inline citation. General references are usually listed at the end of the article in a References section. They are usually found in underdeveloped articles, especially when all article content is supported by a single source. They may also be listed in more developed articles as a supplement to inline citations.

When and why to cite sources

By citing sources for Wikipedia content, you enable users to verify that the information given is supported by reliable sources, thus improving the credibility of Wikipedia while showing that the content is not original research. You also help users find additional information on the subject; and by giving attribution you avoid plagiarising the source of your words or ideas.

In particular, sources are required for material that is challenged or likely to be challenged – if reliable sources cannot be found for challenged material, it is likely to be removed from the article. Sources are also required when quoting someone, with or without quotation marks, or closely paraphrasing a source. However, the citing of sources is not limited to those situations – editors are always encouraged to add or improve citations for any information contained in an article.

Citations are especially desirable for statements about living persons, particularly when the statements are contentious or potentially defamatory. In accordance with the biography of living persons policy, unsourced information of this type is likely to be removed on sight.


For an image or other media file, details of its origin and copyright status should appear on its file page. Image captions should be referenced as appropriate just like any other part of the article. A citation is not needed for descriptions such as alt text that are verifiable directly from the image itself, or for text that merely identifies a source (e.g., the caption "Belshazzar's Feast (1635)" for File:Rembrandt-Belsazar.jpg).

When not to cite

Citations are not used on disambiguation pages (sourcing for the information given there should be done in the target articles). Citations are often omitted from the lead section of an article, insofar as the lead summarizes information for which sources are given later in the article, although quotations and controversial statements, particularly if about living persons, should be supported by citations even in the lead. See WP:LEADCITE for more information.

Inline citations

Further information: Wikipedia:Inline citation

Inline citations allow the reader to associate a given bit of material in an article with the specific reliable source(s) that support it. Inline citations are added using either footnotes (long or short) or parenthetical references. This section describes how to add either type, and also describes how to create a list of full bibliography citations to support shortened footnotes or parenthetical references.

If long or short inline citations placed in footnotes are used, the first editor to add footnotes to an article must create a section where the list of those citations is to appear. This is not necessary for inline parenthetical references, as these appear directly inline in the article prose.

See also: Help:Footnotes

How to create the list of citations

This section, if needed, is usually titled "Notes" or "References", and is placed at or near the bottom of the article. For more about the order and titles of sections at the end of an article (which may also include "Further reading" and "External links" sections), see Wikipedia:Footers.

With some exceptions discussed below, citations appear in a single section containing only the tag or the template. For example:

== References == {{Reflist}}

The footnotes will then automatically be listed under that section heading. Each numbered footnote marker in the text is a clickable link to the corresponding footnote, and each footnote contains a caret that links back to the corresponding point in the text. Scrolling lists, or lists of citations appearing within a scroll box, should never be used. This is because of issues with readability, browser compatibility, accessibility, printing, and site mirroring.[2]

If an article contains a list of general references, this is usually placed in a separate section, titled (for example) "References". This usually comes immediately after the section(s) listing footnotes, if any. (If the general references section is called "References", then the citations section is usually called "Notes".)

How to place an inline citation using ref tags

Further information: Footnotes: the basics

To create a footnote, use the syntax at the appropriate place in the article text, for example:

    which will be displayed as something like:

    • Justice is a human invention.[1] It...

    It will also be necessary to generate the list of footnotes (where the citation text is actually displayed); for this, see the previous section.

    As in the above example, citation markers are normally placed after adjacent punctuation such as periods and commas. Citations should not be placed within, or on the same line as, section headings. For exceptions, see the Punctuation and footnotes section of the Manual of Style. Note also that no space is added before the citation marker.

    The citation should be added close to the material it supports, offering text–source integrity. If a word or phrase is particularly contentious, an inline citation may be added next to that word or phrase within the sentence, but it is usually sufficient to add the citation to the end of the clause, sentence, or paragraph, so long as it's clear which source supports which part of the text.

    Repeated citations

    Further information: Footnotes: using a source more than once

    For multiple use of the same inline citation or footnote, you can use the named references feature, choosing a name to identify the inline citation, and typing . Thereafter, the same named reference may be reused any number of times either before or after the defining use by typing just . The use of the slash before the means that the tag is self-closing, and the used to close other references must not be used in addition.

    The text of the can be almost anything‍—‌apart from being completely numeric. If spaces are used in the text of the , the text must be placed within double quotes. Placing all named references within double quotes may be helpful to future editors who do not know that rule. To help with page maintenance, it is recommended that the text of the have a connection to the inline citation or footnote, for example "author year page": .

    If an article contains both footnoted citations and other (explanatory) footnotes, then it is possible (but not necessary) to divide them into two separate lists, using the grouping feature described in the Grouping footnotes section of the footnotes help page. The explanatory footnotes and the citations are then placed in separate sections, called (for example) "Notes" and "References" respectively.

    Avoiding clutter

    Inline references can significantly bloat the wikitext in the edit window and can become difficult and confusing. There are two main methods to avoid clutter in the edit window:

    • Inserting short citations (see below) that then refer to a full list of source texts
      • Parenthetical references (see below) are an established subformat of this, which forgoes the use of inline notes and simply puts the short citation in the main body.
    • Using list-defined references by collecting the full citation code within the reference list template, and then inserting them in the text with tags.

    As with other citation formats, articles should not undergo large-scale conversion between formats without consensus to do so.

    Note, however, that references defined in the reference list template can no longer be edited with the VisualEditor.

    Citing multiple pages of the same source

    Further information: Help:References and page numbers

    When an article cites many different pages from the same source, to avoid the redundancy of many big, nearly identical full citations, most Wikipedia editors use one of three options:

    The use of ibid. or Id. (or similar abbreviations) is discouraged, as these may become broken as new references are added (op. cit. is less problematic in that it should refer explicitly to a citation contained in the article; however, not all readers are familiar with the meaning of the terms). If the use of ibid is extensive, use the {{ibid}} template.

    Duplicate citations

    Please combine precisely duplicated full citations, in keeping with the existing citation style (if any). Do not discourage editors, particularly inexperienced ones, from adding duplicate citations when the use of the source is appropriate, because a duplicate is usually better than no citation. But any editor should feel free to combine them, and doing so is the best practice on Wikipedia.

    Citations to different pages or parts of the same source can also be combined (preserving the distinct parts of the citations), as described in the previous section. Any method that is consistent with the existing citation style (if any) may be used, or consensus can be sought to change the existing style.

    Short citations

    Main page: Help:Shortened footnotes

    Some Wikipedia articles use short citations, giving summary information about the source together with a page number, as in . These are used together with full citations, which give full details of the sources, but without page numbers, and are listed in a separate "References" section. Short citations are used in articles that apply parenthetical referencing (see below), but they can also be used as footnote citations, as described here.

    Forms of short citations used include author-date referencing (APA style, Harvard style, or Chicago style), and author-title or author-page referencing (MLA style or Chicago style). As before, the list of footnotes is automatically generated in a "Notes" or "Footnotes" section, which immediately precedes the "References" section containing the full citations to the source. Short citations can be written manually, or by using the or templates. (Note that templates should not be added without consensus to an article that already uses a consistent referencing style.) The short citations and full citations may be linked so that the reader can click on the short note to find full information about the source. See the template documentation for details and solutions to common problems. For variations with and without templates, see wikilinks to full references. For a set of realistic examples, see these.

    This is how short citations look in the edit box:

    The Sun is pretty big,<ref>Miller 2005, p. 23.</ref> but the Moon is not so big.<ref>Brown 2006, p. 46.</ref> The Sun is also quite hot.<ref>Miller 2005, p. 34.</ref>== Notes =={{Reflist}}== References == *Brown, Rebecca (2006). "Size of the Moon", ''Scientific American'', 51(78). *Miller, Edward (2005). ''The Sun''. Academic Press.

    This is how they look in the article:

    The Sun is pretty big, but the Moon is not so big. The Sun is also quite hot.



    • Brown, Rebecca (2006). "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 51(78).
    • Miller, Edward (2005). The Sun. Academic Press.

    Shortened notes using titles rather than publication dates would look like this in the article:


    When using manual links it is easy to introduce errors such as duplicate anchors and unused references. The script User:Ucucha/HarvErrors will show many related errors. Duplicate anchors may be found by using the W3C Markup Validation Service.

    Parenthetical referencing

    Further information: Wikipedia:Parenthetical referencing

    While most articles use footnote citations as described in the above sections, some articles use a parenthetical referencing style. Here, short citations in parentheses, such as (Smith 2010, p. 1), are placed within the article text itself. Full details of each source used are given in a full citation, e.g., Smith, John. Name of Book. Cambridge University Press, 2010. The full citations are listed in alphabetical order, according to the authors' surnames, at the end of the article in a "References" section.

    Several forms of short citation are used in Wikipedia; see Short citations above. The inline citation and full citation may be linked using a template (see linking inline and full citations); as with other citation templates, these should not be added to articles without consensus.

    This is how it looks in the edit box:

    The Sun is pretty big (Miller 2005, p. 1), but the Moon is not so big (Brown 2006, p. 2). The Sun is also quite hot (Miller 2005, p. 3). == References == *Brown, R (2006). "Size of the Moon", ''Scientific American'', 51(78). *Miller, E (2005). ''The Sun'', Academic Press.

    This is how it looks in the article:

    The Sun is pretty big (Miller 2005, p. 1), but the Moon is not so big (Brown 2006, p. 2). The Sun is also quite hot (Miller 2005, p. 3).


    • Brown, R (2006). "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 51(78).
    • Miller, E (2005). The Sun, Academic Press.

    Notice that, unlike footnotes, parenthetical references are placed before adjacent punctuation such as commas and periods.

    What information to include

    Listed below is the information that a typical inline citation or general reference will provide, though other details may be added as necessary. This information is included in order to identify the source, assist readers in finding it, and (in the case of inline citations) indicate the place in the source where the information is to be found. (If an article uses parenthetical referencing or short citations, then the inline citations will refer to this information in abbreviated form, as described in the relevant sections above.)



    See also the template {{cite book}}.

    Citations for books typically include:

    • name of author(s)
    • title of book in italics
    • translated title of book in square brackets after the title if not in English (optional)
    • volume when appropriate
    • name of publisher
    • city of publication, e.g. London: Routledge (optional)
    • year of publication of the edition you are citing
    • original year of publication in square brackets, e.g. 2017 [1972] (optional)
    • chapter or page numbers cited, if appropriate
    • edition, if not the first edition
    • ISBN (optional)
    Citations for individually authored chapters in books typically include:
    • name of author(s)
    • title of the chapter
    • translated title of the chapter book if not in English (optional)
    • name of book's editor
    • name of book and other details as above
    • chapter number or page numbers for the chapter (optional)

    In some instances, the verso of a book may record, "Reprinted with corrections XXXX" or similar, where 'XXXX' is a year. This is a different version of a book in the same way that different editions are different versions. In such a case, record: the year of the particular reprint, the edition immediately prior to this particular reprint (if not the first edition) and a note to say "Reprint with corrections". If {{cite}} (or similar) is being used, the notation, "Reprint with corrections", can be added immediately following the template. Reprints of older publications gives an example of appending a similar textual note.

    Journal articles

    See also the template {{cite journal}}.

    Citations for journal articles typically include:

    • name of the author(s)
    • year and sometimes month of publication
    • title of the article within quotation marks
    • translated title of the article in square brackets after the title if not in English
    • name of the journal in italics
    • volume number, issue number, and page numbers (article numbers in some electronic journals)
    • DOI and/or other identifiers are optional

    Newspaper articles

    See also the template {{cite news}}.

    Citations for newspaper articles typically include:

    • byline (author's name), if any
    • title of the article within quotation marks
    • translated title of the article in square brackets after the title if not in English
    • name of the newspaper in italics
    • city of publication (if not included in name of newspaper), in parentheses
    • date of publication (the "{{Cite news}}" template places the date after the byline if there is one)
    • page number(s) are optional

    Web pages

    See also the template {{cite web}}.

    Citations for World Wide Web pages typically include:

    • URL of the web page – that is the URL of the web page where the referenced content can be found, not, e.g., the main page of a website when the content is on a subpage of that website (see Wikipedia:Shallow references)
    • name of the author(s)
    • title of the article within quotation marks
    • translated title of the article in square brackets after the title if not in English
    • title or domain name of the website
    • publisher, if known
    • date of publication
    • page number(s) (if applicable)
    • the date you retrieved (or accessed) the web page (required if the publication date is unknown)

    Sound recordings

    Further information: Help:References and page numbers § Other in-source locations

    Citations for sound recordings typically include:

    • name of the composer(s), songwriter(s), script writer(s) or the like
    • name of the performer(s)
    • title of the song or individual track in quotation marks
    • title of the album in italics (if applicable)
    • name of the record label
    • year of release
    • medium (for example: LP, audio cassette, CD, MP3 file)
    • approximate time at which event or point of interest occurs, where appropriate

    Do not cite an entire body of work by one performer. Instead, make one citation for each work your text relies on.

    Film, television, or video recordings

    See also the template {{cite AV media}}.

    Citations for films, TV episodes, or video recordings typically include:

    • name of the director
    • name of the producer, if relevant
    • names of major performers
    • for a TV episode, the title of the episode in quotation marks
    • title of the film or TV series in italics
    • name of the studio
    • year of release
    • medium (for example: film, videocassette, DVD)
    • approximate time at which event or point of interest occurs, where appropriate


    See also the template {{cite album notes}}.

    See also the template {{cite comic}}.

    See also the template {{comic strip reference}}.

    See also the template {{cite conference}} for conference reports or papers.

    See also the template {{cite court}} for court cases or legal decisions.

    See also the template {{cite encyclopedia}}.

    See also the template {{cite episode}} for TV or radio series.

    See also the template {{cite mailing list}}.

    See also the template {{cite map}}.

    See also the template {{cite newsgroup}}.

    See also the template {{citation}} for patents.

    See also the template {{cite press release}}.

    See also the template {{cite thesis}}.

    See also the template {{cite video game}}.

    Identifying parts of a source

    Further information: Help:References and page numbers

    When citing lengthy sources, you should identify which part of a source is being cited.

    Books and print articles

    Specify the page number or range of page numbers. Page numbers are not required for a reference to the book or article as a whole. When you specify a page number, it is helpful to specify the version (date and edition for books) of the source because the layout, pagination, length, etc. can change between editions.

    If there are no page numbers, whether in ebooks or print materials, then you can use other means of identifying the relevant section of a lengthy work, such as the chapter number or the section title.

    In some works, such as plays and ancient works, there are standard methods of referring to sections, such as "Act 1, scene 2" for plays and Bekker numbers for Aristotle's works. Use these methods whenever appropriate.

    Audio and video sources

    Specify the time at which the event or other point of interest occurs. Be as precise as possible about the version of the source that you are citing; for example, movies are often released in different editions or "cuts". Due to variations between formats and playback equipment, precision may not be accurate in some cases. However, many government agencies do not publish minutes and transcripts but do post video of official meetings online; generally the subcontractors who handle audio-visual are quite precise.

    Links and ID numbers

    A citation ideally includes a link or ID number to help editors locate the source. If you have a URL (web page) link, you can add it to the title part of the citation, so that when you add the citation to Wikipedia the URL becomes hidden and the title becomes clickable. To do this, enclose the URL and the title in square brackets—the URL first, then a space, then the title. For example:

    Carr A, Ory D (2006). [http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030496 "Does HIV cause cardiovascular disease?"]''PLoS Medicine'', 3(11):e496.

    For web-only sources with no publication date, the "Retrieved" date (or the date you accessed the web page) should be included, in case the web page changes in the future. For example: Retrieved 15 July 2011 or you can use the accessdate parameter in the automatic Wikipedia:refToolbar 2.0 editing window feature.

    You can also add an ID number to the end of a citation. The ID number might be an ISBN for a book, a DOI (digital object identifier) for an article, or any of several ID numbers that are specific to particular article databases, such as a PMID number for articles on PubMed. It may be possible to format these so that they are automatically activated and become clickable when added to Wikipedia, for example by typing ISBN (or PMID) followed by a space and the ID number.

    If your source is not available online, it should be available in reputable libraries, archives, or collections. If a citation without an external link is challenged as unavailable, any of the following is sufficient to show the material to be reasonably available (though not necessarily reliable): providing an ISBN or OCLC number; linking to an established Wikipedia article about the source (the work, its author, or its publisher); or directly quoting the material on the talk page, briefly and in context.

    Linking to pages in PDF files

    Links to long PDF documents can be made more convenient by taking readers to a specific page with the addition of to the document URL, where is the page number. For example, using as the citation URL displays page five of the document in any PDF viewer that supports this feature. If the viewer or browser does not support it, it will display the first page instead.

    Linking to Google Books pages

    Further information: Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 29 § Linking to Google Books pages

    Google Books sometimes allows numbered book pages to be linked to directly. These can be added in several ways (with and without citation templates):

    In edit mode, the URL for p. 18 of A Theory of Justice can be entered like this using the {{Cite book}} template:

    {{cite book |last=Rawls |first=John |title=A Theory of Justice |publisher=Harvard University Press |date=1971 |page=18 |url= https://books.google.com/books?id=kvpby7HtAe0C&pg=PA18}}

    or like this, in the first of the above examples, formatted manually:

    Rawls, John. [https://books.google.com/books?id=kvpby7HtAe0C&pg=PA18 ''A Theory of Justice'']. Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 18.

    When the page number is a Roman numeral, commonly seen at the beginning of books, the URL looks like this for page xvii (Roman numeral 17) of the same book:
    The indicates "page, Roman, 17", in contrast to the , "page, Arabic, 18" the URL given earlier.

    You can also link to a tipped-in page, such as an unnumbered page of images between two regular pages. (If the page contains an image that is protected by copyright, it will be replaced by a tiny notice saying "copyrighted image".) The URL for eleventh tipped-in page inserted after page 304 of The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, looks like this:
    The can be interpreted as "page, Arabic, 304; inserted after: 11".

    Page links should only be added when the book is available for preview; they will not work with snippet view. Keep in mind that availability varies by location. No editor is required to add page links, but if another editor adds them, they should not be removed without cause; see the October 2010 RfC for further information.

    Note that the Citation Style 1, Citation Style 2 and Citation Style Vancouver templates properly support links only in the and parameters. Placing links in the or parameters may not link properly and will cause mangled COinS metadata output.

    There is a Wikipedia citation tool for Google Books that may be helpful.

    Say where you read it

    "Say where you read it" follows the practice in academic writing of citing sources directly only if you have read the source yourself. If your knowledge of the source is secondhand—that is, if you have read Jones (2010), who cited Smith (2009), and you want to use what Smith (2009) said—make clear that your knowledge of Smith is based on your reading of Jones.

    When citing the source, write the following (this formatting is just an example):

    John Smith (2009). Name of Book I Haven't Seen, Cambridge University Press, p. 99, cited in Paul Jones (2010). Name of Encyclopedia I Have Seen, Oxford University Press, p. 29.

    Or if you are using short citations:

    Smith (2009), p. 99, cited in Jones (2010), p. 29.

    Note: The advice to "say where you read it" does not mean that you have to give credit to any sources, search engines, websites, library catalogs, archives, etc., that led you to Smith's book. If you have read Smith's book yourself, that's all you have to cite. You do not need to specify how you obtained and read Smith's book.

    So long as you are confident that you read a true and accurate copy, it does not matter whether you read the book using an online service like Google Books; using preview options at a bookseller's website like Amazon; on an e-reader (except to the extent that this affects page numbering); through your library; via online paid databases of scanned publications, such as JSTOR; using reading machines; or any other method.

    Dates and reprints of older publications

    Editors should be aware that older sources (especially those in the public domain) are sometimes reprinted with modern publication dates. When this occurs and the citation style being used requires it, cite both the original publication date, as well as the date of the re-publication. E.g.:

    • Darwin, Charles (1964) [1859]. On the Origin of Species (facsimile of 1st ed.). Harvard University Press. 

    This is done automatically in the {{citation}} and {{cite book}} templates when you use the parameter.

    Alternately, information about the reprint can be appended as a textual note:

    • Boole, George (1854). An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. Macmillan.  Reprinted with corrections, Dover Publications, New York, NY, 1958.

    Seasonal publication dates and differing calendar systems

    Publication dates, for both older and recent sources, should be written with the goal of helping the reader find the publication and, once found, confirm that the correct publication has been located. For example, if the publication date bears a date in the Julian calendar, it should not be converted to the Gregorian calendar.

    If the publication date was given as a season or holiday, such as "Winter" or "Christmas" of a particular year or two-year span, it should not be converted to a month or date, such as July–August or December 25. If a publication provided both seasonal and specific dates, prefer the specific one.

    Additional annotation

    In most cases it is sufficient for a citation footnote simply to identify the source (as described in the sections above); readers can then consult the source to see how it supports the information in the article. Sometimes, however, it is useful to include additional annotation in the footnote, for example to indicate precisely which information the source is supporting (particularly when a single footnote lists more than one source – see § Bundling citations and § Text–source integrity, below).

    A footnote may also contain a relevant exact quotation from the source. This is especially helpful when the cited text is long or dense. A quotation allows readers to immediately identify the applicable portion of the reference. Quotes are also useful if the source is not easily accessible.

    In the case of non-English sources, it may be helpful to quote from the original text and then give an English translation. If the article itself contains a translation of a quote from such a source (without the original), then the original should be included in the footnote. (See the WP:Verifiability § Non-English sources policy for more information.)

    Citation style

    While citations should aim to provide the information listed above, Wikipedia does not have a single house style, though citations within any given article should follow a consistent style. A number of citation styles exist including those described in the Wikipedia articles for Citation, APA style, ASA style, MLA style, The Chicago Manual of Style, Author-date referencing, the Vancouver system and Bluebook.

    Although nearly any consistent style may be used, avoid all-numeric date formats other than YYYY-MM-DD, because of the ambiguity concerning which number is the month and which the day. For example, 2002-06-11 may be used, but not 11/06/2002. The YYYY-MM-DD format should in any case be limited to Gregorian calendar dates where the year is after 1582.

    Variation in citation methods

    Editors should not attempt to change an article's established citation style merely on the grounds of personal preference, to make it match other articles, or without first seeking consensus for the change. The arbitration committee ruled in 2006:

    Wikipedia does not mandate styles in many different areas; these include (but are not limited to) American vs. British spelling, date formats, and citation style. Where Wikipedia does not mandate a specific style, editors should not attempt to convert Wikipedia to their own preferred style, nor should they edit articles for the sole purpose of converting them to their preferred style, or removing examples of, or references to, styles which they dislike.

    As with spelling differences, it is normal practice to defer to the style used by the first major contributor or adopted by the consensus of editors already working on the page, unless a change in consensus has been achieved. If the article you are editing is already using a particular citation style, you should follow it; if you believe it is inappropriate for the needs of the article, seek consensus for a change on the talk page. If you are the first contributor to add citations to an article, you may choose whichever style you think best for the article.

    If all or most of the citations in an article consist of bare URLs, or otherwise fail to provide needed bibliographic data – such as the name of the source, the title of the article or web page consulted, the author (if known), the publication date (if known), and the page numbers (where relevant) – then that would not count as a "consistent citation style" and can be changed freely to insert such data. The data provided should be sufficient to uniquely identify the source, allow readers to find it, and allow readers to initially evaluate it without retrieving it.

    To be avoided

    When an article is already consistent, avoid:

    • switching between major citation styles, e.g. parenthetical and <ref> tags, or replacing the preferred style of one academic discipline with another's;
    • adding citation templates to an article that already uses a consistent system without templates, or removing citation templates from an article that uses them consistently;
    • changing where the references are defined, e.g. moving reference definitions in the reflist to the prose, or moving reference definitions from the prose into the reflist.

    The following are standard practice:

    • improving existing citations by adding missing information, such as by replacing bare URLs with full bibliographic citations: an improvement because it aids verifiability, and fights linkrot;
    • replacing some or all general references with inline citations: an improvement because it provides more verifiable information to the reader, and helps maintain text–source integrity;
    • imposing one style on an article with inconsistent citation styles (e.g., some of the citations in footnotes and others as parenthetical references): an improvement because it makes the citations easier to understand and edit;
    • fixing errors in citation coding, including incorrectly used template parameters, and markup problems: an improvement because it helps the citations to be parsed correctly;
    • combining duplicate citations (see § Duplicate citations, above).

    Handling links in citations

    As noted above under What information to include, it is helpful to include hyperlinks to source material, when available. Here we note some issues concerning these links.

    Avoid embedded links

    Embedded links to external websites should not be used as a form of inline citation, because they are highly susceptible to linkrot. Wikipedia allowed this in its early years—for example by adding a link after a sentence, like this [http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1601858,00.html], which looks like this. [1]

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