WikiIndaba conference 2017/Program/Referencing and citation

Here you will find the notes for a presentation given on the WikiIndaba conference 2017 in Accra, Ghana on the 21st of January 2017 at 2 pm by Gereon Kalkuhl.

Referencing and citationEdit

Based on en:Wikipedia:References dos and don'ts:


1) Use inline citations or parenthetical referencing

Inline citations = <ref> … </ref>
Parenthetical referencing = (Milller 2005)

2) Keep citations near the material they support

References should be placed at or behind the words that are supported by the reference. When moving parts of the article text, please take care that the references stay behind the sentence that they support.

3) Say where in the source the information came from

It is not enough to say that the information is from a book. To proof that the information is accurate you should say where in the book the information is from. Not „Vance: „Hillbilly Elegy“, but „Vance, Hilbilly Elegy, p. 251“

4) Use a consistent reference style within the article

There are many different ways of what citations could look like. But within one article you should not switch between different styles. They look much better if they have a uniform style.

5) Consider using citation templates to create a consistent style

Here are some examples: en:Wikipedia:Citation templates#Examples

6) Tag insufficiently-sourced material with an appropriate inline tag

Here are some examples: en:Wikipedia:Template messages/Cleanup#Inline with article text 6

7) Tag insufficiently-sourced articles with an appropriate header

see en:Wikipedia:Template messages/Cleanup#Cleanup


1) Don't cite unreliable sources

Unreliable sources:

  • Self-published sources
  • User-generated content
  • Word of Mouth

2) Don't cite a source you haven't seen yourself

You see a reference in an article. You are writing about a similar subject. Now when you just copy the reference to use it in your article it might be completely wrong or unreliable or outdated or misinterpreted.

3) Don't add material that's not supported by sources

4) Don't embed external links in the body of articles

There is a place for external links at the end of an article, an own chapter for them. They are not allowed inside the text, not allowed for linking a word or written plainly into the text.

5) Don't add references for obvious information

When you write a sentence like „Accra, the capital of Ghana“ you don't need to proof that Accra is the capital of Ghana. It is widely known.

6) Don't use all-numeric date formats other than YYY-MM-DD

This is to avoid the misunderstandings that can occur beween day and month. 3-2-2017 can be either 3d of February or 2nd of March depending who you are talking to.

7) Don't change an established reference style without consensus

Somebody wrote an article using inline citations throughout the article. That's ok. You might prefer a different citation style, but please respect the choice of the article creator.