Wikipedia:Citing sources/Example edits for different methods

This page shows some comparative examples for different citation methods using shortened notes and full length references in footnotes. These show representations of edit mode views, with examples of how the edits would render to the reader.

Full references in footnotes

Full references written freehand

This is an edit mode representation showing full references in footnotes written freehand.

Full references using citation templates

This is a representation of how an edit would look with citation templates aligned vertically.

This is how the same templates would look running horizontally without any vertical alignment.

Rendering for footnote full references

All three of the above footnote examples would render exactly the same. Note that reference No. 5 is a second reference to the supporting source cited in reference No. 1.

Shortened notes

Shortened notes with references written freehand

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of shortened notes. Using shortened footnotes in the Refs allows an editorial choice to be made regarding the arrangement of the full citations. These are usually arranged alphabetically by author surname.

In this example, note that the Ref for "Kummer 2003" has been named with the name= parameter, and has been re-used at a second point in the wikitext. For more information regarding this, see Wikipedia:Footnotes#Reference name (naming a ref tag so it can be used more than once).

Rendering:

Shortened notes with wikilinks

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of shortened notes including wikilinks from the notes to the references written freehand. Note that an editorial choice has been made here to specify the page number range of the cited chapter in the initial "Kummer 2003" Ref, and to specify a specific page number in the second Ref, rather than to re-use a named Ref without specifying page numbers as was done above.

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of shortened notes including wikilinks from the notes to the references using citations. The body text is the same as the example above (shortened notes with wikilinks to references written freehand). Note how the citations in the references section do not need to be wrapped in the wikicite template however, as the templates all support the reference anchor parameter.

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of shortened notes written using {{sfn}} with citation templates. Templates in the {{cite xxx}} and {{citation}} families allow linking from {{sfn}} via matching author last names and year (part of date). Overriding ref parameter CITEREFSurnameYear may also be used (e.g. when coauthor names mismatch).

A template call like {{sfn|Smith|2007|p=25}} is equivalent to <ref>{{harvnb|Smith|2008|p=25}}.</ref>, except that it automatically combines identical footnotes. (To get the equivalent effect using the {{harvnb}} construction, you'd need to add matching name= parameters to the footnotes to be combined.) The longer form can be used if more control is needed.

Rendering for shortened notes linked with {{sfn}} and citation templates

All three of the above shortened notes with wikilinks examples would render exactly the same.

Rendering:


Parenthetical references

This style of citation was a type of referencing used on Wikipedia until September 2020, when a community discussion reached a consensus to deprecate this format of citation.

Inline parenthetical references are conceptually very much like shortened footnotes, but insert the shortened reference inline into the article body text rather than in a footnote. The advantages are that the source of the reference is shown more clearly, and getting to the full citation takes only one click rather than two with shortened footnotes (one to reach the shortened footnote, a second to reach the full citation). The disadvantage, though, is that the references clutter up the article text, and for this reason, parenthetical references are not nearly as common as shortened footnotes in Wikipedia articles.

Parenthetical references with references written freehand

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of inline parenthetical references, written freehand. Done this way, there is no linking from the references to the citation, so the user has to manually scroll down to find the citation.

Rendering:

Parenthetical references with wikilinks

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of inline parenthetical references including wikilinks from the notes to the references written freehand.

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of inline parenthetical references including wikilinks from the notes to the references using citations. The body text is the same as the example above (parenthetical references with wikilinks to references written freehand). Note how the citations in the references section do not need to be wrapped in the wikicite template however, as the templates all support the reference anchor parameter.

This is an example edit mode representation showing use of inline parenthetical references written using {{harv}} with citation templates. Templates in the {{cite xxx}} and {{citation}} families allow linking from {{harv}} via matching author last names and year (part of date). Overriding ref parameter CITEREFSurnameYear may also be used (e.g. when coauthor names mismatch).

Alternatives to {{harv}} are:

  • Template {{harvnb}} omits the parentheses ("brackets") and can be used to bundle citations together inside a single surrounding pair of parens.
  • Template {{harvtxt}} moves the last name outside of the parens ("brackets") and is useful when you want to use the author name as the subject or object of a phrase, e.g. "According to Smith (2009, p. 25), …".
  • Templates {{harvcol}}, {{harvcolnb}} and {{harvcoltxt}} are similar but use a colon to separate the page number instead of an abbreviation like "p.". Hence, the output of {{harvcoltxt}} would look something like "According to Smith (2009:25), …".

Rendering for parenthetical references linked with {{harv}} and citation templates

All three of the above parenthetical references with links examples would render exactly the same.

Rendering:


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