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Wikipedia:Verification methods

These examples show several common methods that Wikipedia editors use to make their articles verifiable. Wikipedia editors are free to use any of these methods, or to develop newer methods—no particular method is preferred. However some method is required and each article must use the same method throughout the entire article. (When making changes to an article that already has sources, an editor should study the method already in use.)

This article is only intended to provide examples and give a rough introduction to the methods in use. This article does not debate their respective merits or consider any precise technical details. For this information, please see other guides such as: Citing sources, Citation templates, Footnotes and Harvard references.

Temporary referencesEdit

It is more important to provide some kind of source than to format the source perfectly. Later editors can easily fix a badly formatted citation, but they will find it difficult or impossible to do the research necessary to find a source for a random bit of material added to an article. Newer editors may use any means necessary to provide a source for the material they bring to Wikipedia.

  • A book: add the authors name, the book's title, year of publication and the page number that the material comes from. The year is important since it establishes which edition of the book was used.
  • A website: provide the URL (in brackets) of the particular webpage on which this material appears.

These examples require almost no knowledge of Wikipedia's special characters or markup language, and no knowledge at all of proper citation formats.

Markup Renders as
This is material that comes from a book (John Doe, Book of Facts, 1990, page 21).

This is other material that comes from a website.[http://example.org]

This is material that isn't obvious, that you're sure is true, but that you haven't found a
source for yet.{{fact}}

This is material that comes from a book. (John Doe, Book of Facts, 1990, page 21)

This is other material that comes from a website.[1]

This is material that isn't obvious, that you're sure is true, but that you haven't found a source for yet.[citation needed]

General references sectionEdit

Main article (section): Full citations in Wikipedia:Citing sources

Many articles have a list of references (i.e. a bibliography) at the end of the article. The references are assumed to verify material throughout the article. This section should contain full citations. For information on how to write proper citations for journals, web sites, newspaper articles, and other sources (without using templates) see Wikipedia:Citing sources#Examples.

Example 1Edit

Markup Renders as
This is material that comes from a book.

This is other material that comes from a different book.

== References ==
* [[John Doe|Doe, John]] (1991), ''Book of Facts'', Great Books, ISBN 9780123456878
* [[Jane Doe|Doe, Jane]] (2001), ''More Facts'', Better Books, ISBN 9780123456878

This is material that comes from a book.

This is other material that comes from a different book.

References

Example 2: Using citation templatesEdit

This example uses citation templates to format the references. Templates (such as {{cite book}} or {{citation}}) are not essential, but many editors find them useful. For more information on using citation templates, see Wikipedia:Citation templates.

Markup Renders as
This is material that comes from a book.

This is other material that comes from a different book.

== References ==
* {{cite book
  | last=Doe | first=John | authorlink=John Doe
  | year=1992
  | title=Book of Facts
  | publisher=Great Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}
* {{cite book
  | last=Doe | first=Jane | authorlink=Jane Doe
  | year=2002
  | title=More Facts
  | publisher=Better Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}

This is material that comes from a book.

This is other material that comes from a different book.

Taille: 1m75

Full citations in footnotesEdit

Many articles verify the text by placing the citation in a footnote. This is a method of inline citation. Inline citations allow a direct connection between the source and the text it verifies. See Footnotes for information on using footnotes.

Articles that use full references in footnotes: 7 World Trade Center · Acrocanthosaurus · Acetic acid · Aggie Bonfire · 35 mm film · Ahmedabad · 1981 Irish hunger strike · Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act · 200 (Stargate SG-1) · 1987 · Apollo 8 · 1080° Snowboarding · 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack · Flag of Armenia · Aldol reaction · ASCII · Azerbaijani people · 1933 Atlantic hurricane season · Al-Kateb v Godwin · 300 (film), · Alanya · Archimedes · Asteroid belt · Aikido · Ben Gurion International Airport · 3D Monster Maze. · Ace Books These articles also have additional general references: Eagle Scout · €2 commemorative coins · Acorn Computers · Absinthe · 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane · Aramaic language · 1896 Summer Olympics · Mumia Abu-Jamal · Michel Foucault · Anarcho-capitalism · Algerian civil war

Example 3: using cite.php with citation templatesEdit

This example uses {{cite book}} templates to format the full citations and {{reflist}} to format the footnotes. This is the most common implementation in Wikipedia, used in millions of articles.

Article This is some material.[1]

This material comes from a book.[2]

This is more material that comes from a different book.[3]

This is more material that comes from the second book.[3]

This is a point that needs clarification.[4]

References
  1. ^ This tells exactly where this material came from.
  2. ^ Doe, John (1993). Book of Facts. Great Books. ISBN 9780123456878. 
  3. ^ a b Doe, Jane (2003). More Facts. Better Books. ISBN 9780123456878. 
  4. ^ This footnote clarifies the point above.
Wikitext
This is some material.<ref>This tells exactly where this material came from.</ref>

This material comes from a book.<ref>{{cite book
  | last=Doe | first=John | authorlink=John Doe
  | year=1993
  | title=Book of Facts
  | publisher=Great Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}</ref>

This is more material that comes from a different book.<ref name=Doe2003>{{cite book
  | last=Doe | first=Jane | authorlink=Jane Doe
  | year=2003
  | title=More Facts
  | publisher=Better Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}</ref>

This is more material that comes from the second book.<ref name=Doe2003/>

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref>This footnote clarifies the point above.</ref>

== References ==
{{reflist}}

Example 4: using cite.php with handwritten inline citationsEdit

Some editors prefer to format the citation by hand.

Article This is some material.[1]

This material comes from a book.[2]

This is more material that comes from a different book.[3]

This is more material from the second book.[3]

This is a point that needs clarification.[4]

References
  1. ^ This tells exactly where this material came from.
  2. ^ Doe, John (1994), Book of Facts, Great Books, ISBN 9780123456878
  3. ^ a b Doe, Jane (2004), More Facts, Better Books, ISBN 9780123456878
  4. ^ This footnote clarifies the point above.
Wikitext
This is some material.<ref>This tells exactly where this material came from.</ref>

This material comes from a book.<ref>[[John Doe|Doe, John]] (1994), ''Book of Facts'',
Great Books, ISBN 9780123456878</ref>

This is more material that comes from a different book.<ref name=Doe2004>[[Jane Doe|Doe, Jane]] (2004),
''More Facts'', Better Books, ISBN 9780123456878</ref>

This is more material from the second book.<ref name=Doe2004/>

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref>This footnote clarifies the point above.</ref>
== References ==
<references/>

Example 5: using cite.php with list defined referencesEdit

This example uses a method that was introduced in the summer of 2009 and is used in a few articles.

Article This is some material.[1]

This material comes from a book.[2]

This is more material that comes from a different book.[3]

This is more material from the second book.[3]

This is a point that needs clarification.[4]

References
  1. ^ This tells exactly where this material came from.
  2. ^ Doe, John (1995). Book of Facts. Great Books. ISBN 9780123456878. 
  3. ^ a b Doe, Jane (2005). More Facts. Better Books. ISBN 9780123456878. 
  4. ^ This footnote clarifies the point above.
Wikitext
This is some material.<ref>This tells exactly where this material came from.</ref>

This material comes from a book.<ref name=Doe1995/>

This is more material that comes from a different book.<ref name=Doe2005/>

This is more material from the second book.<ref name=Doe2005/>

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref>This footnote clarifies the point above.</ref>

== References ==
<references>
<ref name=Doe1995>{{cite book
  | last=Doe | first=John | authorlink=John Doe
  | year=1995
  | title=Book of Facts
  | publisher=Great Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}</ref>
<ref name=Doe2005>{{cite book
  | last=Doe | first=Jane | authorlink=Jane Doe
  | year=2005
  | title=More Facts
  | publisher=Better Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}</ref>
</references>

Example 6: using {{Ref}} and {{Note}}Edit

Many older articles use the templates {{Ref}} and {{Note}}. This referencing style has been largely replaced by the use of <ref> and {{reflist}} (or {{reflist-talk}}, for talk pages).

Article This is some material.[2]

This material comes from a book.[3]

This is more material that comes from a different book.[4]

This is more material from the second book.[5]

This is a point that needs clarification.[6]

References
  1. ^ This tells exactly where this material came from.
  2. ^ Doe, John (1996), Book of Facts, Great Books, ISBN 9780123456878
  3. ^ ^ Doe, Jane (2006), More Facts, Better Books, ISBN 9780123456878
  4. ^ This is a footnote that clarifies the point above.
Wikitext
This is some material.{{ref|1}}

This material comes from a book.{{ref|2}}

This is more material that comes from a different book.{{ref|3}}

This is more material from the second book.{{ref|4}}

This is a point that needs clarification.{{ref|5}}

==References==

# {{note|1}}This tells exactly where this material came from.
# {{note|2}}[[John Doe|Doe, John]] (1998), ''Book of Facts'', Great Books, ISBN 9780123456878
# {{note|3}}{{note|4}}[[Jane Doe|Doe, Jane]] (2008), ''More Facts'', Better Books, ISBN 9780123456878
# {{note|5}}This is a footnote that clarifies the point above.

Parenthetical referencesEdit

Harvard references and author-date referencing, which are both parenthetical referencing, are commonplace in academic writing. See Wikipedia:Author-date referencing for more information on using Harvard references.

Articles using Harvard references: Actuary

Note that this example uses the templates {{Harv}} and {{Citation}} to create a link from the citation and to the full reference.

Example 7Edit

Article This material comes from a book (Doe 1997, p. 23).

This is more material from that book (Doe 1997, pp. 431–437).

This material comes from a different book (Doe 2007, p. 24).

This is a point that needs clarification.[1]

Notes
  1. ^ This footnote clarifies the point above.
References
Wikitext
This material comes from a book {{Harv|Doe|1997|p=23}}.

This is more material from that book {{Harv|Doe|1997|pp=431-437}}.

This material comes from a different book {{Harv|Doe|2007|p=24}}.

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref>This footnote clarifies the point above.</ref>

==Notes==
{{reflist}}

==References==
* {{Citation
  | last=Doe | first=John | authorlink=John Doe
  | year=1997
  | title=Book of Facts
  | publisher=Great Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}
* {{Citation
  | last=Doe | first=Jane  | authorlink=Jane Doe
  | year=2007
  | title=More Facts
  | publisher=Better Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}

Short citations in footnotesEdit

These are used for articles that have multiple references different pages of the same source.

Articles that use page references in footnotes: An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump · Conatus · The Age of Reason · History of artificial intelligence · Chinese Room · Georg Cantor · Ælle of Sussex · Alpha Kappa Alpha · 1880 Republican National Convention · Adi Shankara · Áedán mac Gabráin · Abbey Theatre · 0.999... · BC Rail · Black pepper · Alpha Phi Alpha · Bengali language

Example 8: Using handwritten citationsEdit

Article This material comes from a book.[1]

This is more material that from that book.[2]

This material comes from a different book.[3]

This material comes from the same page of the second book.[3]

This is a point that needs clarification.[4]

Notes
  1. ^ Doe 1998, p. 23
  2. ^ Doe 1998, pp. 431–437
  3. ^ a b Doe 2008, p. 24
  4. ^ This footnote clarifies the point above.
References
Wikitext
This material comes from a book.<ref>Doe 1998, p. 23</ref>

This is more material that from that book.<ref>Doe 1998, pp. 431-437</ref>

This material comes from a different book.<ref name=Doe2008p24>Doe 2008, p. 24</ref>

This material comes from the same page of the second book.<ref name=Doe2008p24/>

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref>This footnote clarifies the point above.</ref>

== Notes ==
<references/>

== References ==
* [[John Doe|Doe, John]] (1998), ''Book of Facts'', Great Books, ISBN 9780123456878
* [[Jane Doe|Doe, Jane]] (2008), ''More Facts'', Better Books, ISBN 9780123456878

Example 9: Using citation templates to create a linkEdit

This example uses {{Harvnb}} and {{Citation}} templates to format the citation and automatically create a link between the author-date in the footnote and the full reference in the references section. This method is used in about 15,000 articles.[1]

Article This material comes from a book.[2]

This is more material from that book.[3]

This material comes from a different book.[4]

This material comes from the same page of the second book.[4]

This is a point that needs clarification.[5]

Notes
  1. ^ As of fall, 2011
  2. ^ Doe 1999, p. 23
  3. ^ Doe 1999, pp. 431–437
  4. ^ a b Doe 2009, p. 24
  5. ^ This footnote clarifies the point above.
References
Wikitext
This material comes from a book.<ref>{{Harvnb|Doe|1999|p=23}}</ref>

This is more material from that book.<ref>{{Harvnb|Doe|1999|pp=431-437}}</ref>

This material comes from a different book.<ref name=Doe2009p24>{{Harvnb|Doe|2009|p=24}}</ref>

This material comes from the same page of the second book.<ref name=Doe2009p24/>

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref>This footnote clarifies the point above.</ref>


== Notes ==
<references/>

== References ==
* {{Citation
  | last=Doe | first=John | authorlink=John Doe
  | year=1999
  | title=Book of Facts
  | publisher=Great Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}
* {{Citation
  | last=Doe | first=Jane  | authorlink=Jane Doe
  | year=2009
  | title=More Facts
  | publisher=Better Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}

Example 10: Using {{sfn}}Edit

{{Sfn}} is a new template introduced in the summer of 2009. Several thousand articles use it to create shortened footnotes.

Article This material comes from a book.[1]

This is more material from that book.[2]

This material comes from a different book.[3]

This material comes from the same page of the second book.[3]

This is a point that needs clarification.[4]

Notes
  1. ^ Doe 2000, p. 23.
  2. ^ Doe 2000, pp. 431–437.
  3. ^ a b Doe 2010, p. 24.
  4. ^ This footnote clarifies the point above.
References
Wikitext
This material comes from a book.{{sfn|Doe|2000|p=23}}

This is more material from that book.{{sfn|Doe|2000|pp=431-437}}

This material comes from a different book.{{sfn|Doe|2010|p=24}}

This material comes from the same page of the second book.{{sfn|Doe|2010|p=24}}

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref>This footnote clarifies the point above.</ref>

== Notes ==
<references/>

== References ==
* {{Citation
  | last=Doe | first=John | authorlink=John Doe
  | year=2000
  | title=Book of Facts
  | publisher=Great Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}
* {{Citation
  | last=Doe | first=Jane  | authorlink=Jane Doe
  | year=2010
  | title=More Facts
  | publisher=Better Books
  | isbn=9780123456878}}

References and footnotes in separate sectionsEdit

Some articles separate footnotes used for verification and footnotes used for clarification.

Articles that use this style include: Action potential, Ammolite, Alpha Phi Alpha, Archimedes

Example 11Edit

Editors have used many methods to achieve this effect. This example uses the "group" parameter of <ref>. Other articles use the templates {{ref label}} and {{note label}}.

Article

This is material that comes from a book.[1]

This more material that comes from a different book.[2]

This is a point that needs clarification.[a]

This is another point that needs clarification.[b]

Notes
  1. ^ This is a footnote that clarifies the point above.
  2. ^ This is another footnote
References
  1. ^ Doe, John (1996), Book of Facts, Great Books, ISBN 9780123456878 
  2. ^ Doe, Jane (2010), More Facts, Better Books, ISBN 9780123456878 
Wikitext
This is material that comes from a book.<ref>{{Citation| last=Doe | first=John | 
authorlink=John Doe | year=1996 | title=Book of Facts | publisher=Great Books | 
isbn=9780123456878}}</ref>

This more material that comes from a different book.<ref>{{Citation| last=Doe | first=Jane | 
authorlink=Jane Doe | year=2010 | title=More Facts | publisher=Better Books | 
isbn=9780123456878}}</ref>

This is a point that needs clarification.<ref group=lower-alpha>This is a footnote that clarifies the point above.</ref>

This is another point that needs clarification.<ref group=lower-alpha>This is another footnote</ref>

==Notes==
{{reflist|group=lower-alpha}}

==References==
{{reflist}}