How To Edit Wikipedia References

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Wikipedia Articles / Wikipedia Citations

How To Edit Wikipedia References

Citations are a vital element in writing Wikipedia articles. As a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia is dedicated to ensuring that knowledge is accessible to as many people as possible.

You were probably told by your teachers that Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information. However, the site has some strict guidelines about including referencing in its articles. As a Wikipedia editor, you will need to add references to any fact that you claim in your content, and you may need to edit references in an article. Read on to find out how you can add and edit references on Wikipedia pages.

What Citation Format Does Wikipedia Use?

There are several different referencing formats that you can use when citing Wikipedia pages, including:

  • MLA style
  • APA style
  • Chicago style
  • Harvard style

When it comes to citing a Wikipedia article, you should use a consistent format throughout the page. If the current citation style of the article is in MLA, for example, then continue to use the MLA format. If you are creating a new article or there is no consistent reference format, you can cite Wikipedia in APA format.

Citations will show up in the article as numbered footnotes at the end of a fact or sentence. When you scroll to the bottom of the page, the full citations will be listed in the References section.

How Long Does It Take For Wikipedia To Approve An Edit?

For the most part, any edits you make to Wikipedia articles are published immediately. The exception to this is when the page is in a protected status.

If you want to make changes to a protected article, you will not be able to edit the page directly. Instead, you should request edits through the talk page. Most of the time, these edits will be either approved or denied within a couple of days.

When it comes to writing articles, the approval process takes a lot longer.

Editing Wikipedia Citations (Step-By-Step)

1. Edit An Article

Before you start editing an article, make sure that you have set up a Wikipedia account. With an account, you have access to full benefits, such as hiding your IP address, the ability to create articles, and building trust with other Wikipedia editors. If you don’t have an account, other editors are more likely to remove your edit completely.

  • Go to the Wikipedia article that you want to edit. If the article is open, you will be able to edit it right away. However, if it is protected, you will need to request edits through the talk page instead.
  • Click on the edit button in the top corner of the page to be taken to the editing window.
  • If you know how to write articles using Wikitext, you can use the classic Source Editor. For something a little more user-friendly, you can use the Visual Editor.
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2. Find Your Reference

When adding citations to an article, you must take care to use reliable sources. Wikipedia articles are only as credible as the references used. The best sources are academic, peer-reviewed, secondary sources. You can not use Wikipedia articles for original research – the research must already be published.

If your source is not deemed credible or verifiable, it could be taken down by another editor. 

3. Wikipedia Citation Generator

  • In the editing window, click next to the fact that you want to cite.
  • Click cite in the toolbar.
  • Select the type of reference you are using, then click Templates. From there you can choose between web, news, book, or journal article.
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4. Add Information

Once you select the type of reference, you will be prompted to fill out the information. Fill out as much information about the source as you can, such as the author name, URL, ISBN number, title, access date, etc. If you can’t fill out every box, that is okay, just fill out the information that you can find.

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5. Edit Summary

Any time you edit a Wikipedia page, you should provide an edit summary. This is a brief yet specific sentence that details the edits you made and your reason for doing so. This helps other editors when they go to edit the same page. If you don’t provide an edit summary, another editor is more likely to remove your content changes.

The edit summary box can be found at the bottom of the page. Once you have filled that out, you can click Publish Changes.

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In Closing

Referencing on Wikipedia is a huge topic, and can be difficult for beginner editors. If you need help with a Wikipedia project, the team at WikiCreators is here to provide the expertise you need to create, manage, and repair Wikipedia articles.

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