O'Reilly logo

Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 2. Documenting Your Sources

Back in high school English, you probably learned how to add footnotes and endnotes to essays and papers. If you didn’t add information about your sources, your paper would get a very low grade.

Wikipedia’s equivalent of a failing grade is to have another editor reverse your edit, putting the article back to exactly as it was before you changed it. If you want to add new information to articles and have it stay there, you need to understand Wikipedia’s rules. This chapter explains those rules. If you follow them, you’ll help ensure the accuracy and credibility of Wikipedia articles.

To add a source (what Wikipedia calls citing a source), you also need to learn some technical matters—how Wikipedia software handles external links, and how it creates footnotes. This chapter includes two tutorials that show you how to create links and footnotes that would make your English teacher proud.

Documentation Guidelines

Wikipedia is not the place to document the previously undocumented, to report new discoveries, to publish new theories, or to record personally observed events that may be considered newsworthy. Such content may well be true, but as far as Wikipedia’s policies are concerned, true isn’t enough. Information must be verifiable, which means it must be backed by a published source outside Wikipedia. Simply put, Wikipedia must never be the first place that news appears. If a tree falls in a forest and it’s not reported elsewhere, then Wikipedia isn’t ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required