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Help:Footnotes and references

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A Storehouse of Knowledge has the 'cite' MediaWiki extension installed, allowing the use of <ref> and <reference> tags. However, it also has a number of templates designed to make adding footnotes and references easier, and these should generally be used in preference to the tags.

The Style manual includes some guidelines on the use of footnotes and references. Note also that they should not be used on talk pages.

Contents

Footnotes vs. references

Instead of putting both citations and explanatory notes in the same list, you can make separate lists for each.

  • To add a reference, use the {{ref}} template.
  • To add a footnote, use the {{note}} template.

Syntax with examples

Adding a reference

Where In the text where the reference number will appear.
Tag method according to Sarfati,<ref>Sarfati, Jonathan, "Refuting Evolution"</ref>
Template method (preferred) according to Sarfati,{{ref|Sarfati, Jonathan, "Refuting Evolution"}}
Example according to Sarfati,[1]

Adding an explanatory footnote

Where In the text where the footnote number will appear.
Comment The reference needs a group. The template version has the group "note" built-in.
Tag method according to Sarfati,<ref group="note">Sarfati is a creationist.</ref>
Template method (preferred) according to Sarfati,{{note|Sarfati is a creationist.}}
Example according to Sarfati,[note 1]

Adding a named reference

This allows the same reference to be used again.

Where In the text where the reference number will appear.
Comment The reference needs to be given a unique name. This example uses "JS".
Tag method according to Sarfati,<ref name="JS">Sarfati, Jonathan, "Refuting Evolution"</ref>
Template method (preferred) according to Sarfati,{{ref|Sarfati, Jonathan, "Refuting Evolution"|name=JS}} (Note lack of quote marks around 'JS'.)
Example according to Sarfati,[2]

Re-using a named reference

Where In the text where the reference number will appear.
Comment The reference needs to be given the same name. This example uses the same "JS" as above, to reuse that reference. There is no template version of this one, but the tag version can refer to a reference created with the template version.
Tag method according to Sarfati,<ref name="JS" />
Example according to Sarfati,[2]

Listing all the references

Where In a "references" section near the end of the article.
Comment The template version also sets a small font size and also optionally allows the references to be displayed in multiple columns (two in the examples) in supporting browsers.
Tag method <references />
Template method (preferred) {{reflist|2}}
Example
  1. Sarfati, Jonathan, "Refuting Evolution"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sarfati, Jonathan, "Refuting Evolution"

Listing all the footnotes

Where In a "footnotes" section near the end of the article.
Comment The template version also sets a small font size. It does not support multiple columns, as footnotes are usually longer.
Tag method <references group="note" />
Template method (preferred) {{note list}}
Example
  1. Sarfati is a creationist.

Nesting

The tags cannot be nested, but the templates can, as they use the {{#tag:}} parser function. A typical use for this would be to provide a reference within an explanatory footnote.

Template arguments

The content of the template, the reference or footnote itself, can contain virtually any text, including links to other articles or external links.

However, a restriction with all templates using positional (numbered) parameters is that they cannot contain equals signs (=), unless the parameter is named. In the {{ref}} and {{note}} templates, if the reference or footnote text contains an equals sign, begin the parameter with 1=; for example {{note|1=This footnote contains an equals sign (=).}}

Author template

Authors of cited sources who warrant their own article can be included in references with the {{author}} tag which creates a first-name/last-name link from their name, but displays it with the last name first.

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