Wikiversity:Cite sources

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You can help develop this proposal, share your thoughts, or discuss its adoption as a Wikiversity policy, guideline, or process. References or links should describe this page as a "proposal".

A citation, or reference, uniquely identifies a source of information:

Ritter, Ron. The Oxford Style Manual. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 1.

Citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which an article is based. Citations indicated by a superscript number or other means in a line of text are called inline citations.

Citing the sources of information added to Wikiversity pages is mandated by Wikiversity:Verifiability. Any information on a page that is challenged and has no reliable sources may be removed to the corresponding talk page for discussion.

Attribution is especially needed for direct quotes, information that is contentious or likely to be challenged, and superlatives and absolutes (such as statements that something is the best, first or only one of its kind). If you don't know how to format the citation, others will fix it for you; simply provide the source information as plain text.

Why sources should be cited[edit source]

  • To ensure that the content of articles is credible and can be checked by any reader or editor.
  • To help users find additional reliable information on the topic.
  • To improve the overall credibility and authoritative character of Wikiversity.
  • To reduce the likelihood of editorial disputes, or to help resolve any that arise.
  • To credit a source for providing useful information and to avoid claims of plagiarism.

When to cite sources[edit source]

If you add any new information to a Wikiversity page in the main namespace, particularly if it's contentious or likely to be challenged, you should supply a source.

In general, even if you are writing from memory, you should actively search for authoritative references to cite. If you are writing from your own knowledge, then you should know enough to identify good references that the reader can consult on the subject — you will not be around forever to answer questions. The main point is to help the reader and other editors.

The need for citations is especially important when writing about opinions held on a particular issue. Find a specific person or group who holds that opinion, mention them by name, and give a citation to a reputable publication in which they express that opinion. Remember that many Wikiversity pages follow rules for limiting bias. Those pages are not a place for expressing your own opinions. For Wikiversity pages that mainly explore only one point of view, intellectual honesty must guide the efforts of editors. Good scholarship is the goal of Wikiversity and it calls for careful citation of only verifiable sources and an honest effort to find reliable sources.

Because this is the English Wikiversity, 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 quoting from a different language source, an English translation should be given with the original-language quote beside it.

When you quote someone[edit source]

You should always add a citation when quoting published material, and the citation should be placed directly after the quote, which should be enclosed within double quotation marks — "like this" — or single quotation marks if it's a quote-within-a-quote — "and here is such a 'quote' as an example".

You can add sources even for material you didn't write if you use a source to verify that material. Adding citations to an article is an excellent way to contribute to Wikiversity.

Text that is, or is likely to be, disputed[edit source]

Think ahead. Try to imagine whether people might doubt what you wrote, or need more information about it. Supporting what is written in Wikiversity by referring to a clear and reliable source will add stability to your contribution. When in doubt about whether something might be disputed, provide a specific citation.

Intermediate sources: State where you got it[edit source]

A common error is to copy citation information from an intermediate source without acknowledging it. For example, you might find some information on a web page which says it comes from a certain book. Unless you look at the book yourself to check that the information is there, your reference is really the web page and the web page must be mentioned. The web page itself must therefore be a reliable source. You shouldn't cite only the book unless you looked at it yourself.

What sources to cite[edit source]

Prefer credible, peer-reviewed English-language sources.

Edit toolbar buttons for citations[edit source]

Edit toolbar.png The edit toolbar has a button that helps you get started inserting a citation. There is another button to help start a reference list on a page. For help with adding a numbered reference list to a Wikiversity page, see Wikipedia:Footnotes. If your reference list looks odd, go to the small window of your browser that shows the URL of the page and add ?action=purge after the article name. Hit return.

Each page should use the same citation method throughout; if an article already has citations, adopt the method in use or seek consensus on the talk page before changing it. 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.

See also[edit source]

External links[edit source]