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Wikipedia-edit-a-thon

Guide to collaborative edit of Wikipedia

What? When? Where? How?

2023 Mt. SAC’s ART + FEMINISM Wikipedia Spring Event Series
Wikipedia Bootcamp

May 10 - Wednesday 1:00 - 4:30 PM

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

May 24 - Wednesday 1:00 - 4:30 PM

Who do I contact for more info?

Facilitators

Ellen Caldwell, Professor of Art History
ellen.caldwell@mtsac.edu

Eva Rios-Alvarado, Librarian
eriosalvarado@mtsac.edu

Esteban Aguilar, Librarian
eaguilar100@mtsac.edu

Michael Emery, Librarian
memery2@mtsac.edu

Adding Citations to Wikipedia

Adding citations to a Wikipedia page is critically important. Citations are how we know we can trust the information we are reading on Wikipedia. Citations allow us to verify information and feel confident what we just read wasn't something someone just made up. Every time we add information to Wikipedia, we should be including a citation that shows where we found the information we are adding to the page. Also, citations are not just creating links, though links are an important part of Wikipedia.

Luckily, when we want to add citations to a Wikipedia page, Wikipedia provides tools to make it easier.

Citations in Wikipedia work as footnotes. That is, the citation shows up as a number in the body text of the Wikipedia article and is linked to the numbered reference in the references list at the bottom of the page.

The great thing about Wikipedia is that once the References List has been inserted, the reference entries are created automatically when we add citations. We just add the citation information where we want the citation to go, and Wikipedia does the rest.

There are two easy ways of creating citations in Wikipedia. The automatic citation generator, which will take a URL and try to fill out the data for us. The other way is where we add the information ourselves. When we add the information "manually" it takes a bit more work, but is generally more accurate.

We can take a look at some of the tools available to us in the video examples below.

The Automatic Citation Tool

The easiest way to add a citation is to use Wikipedia's automatic citation generator. First, copy the URL (web address) at the top of the web page you are trying to cite. Then go to the article you are editing in Wikipedia:

  1. Click in the article where you want to add your citation
  2. Select the "Cite" button
  3. Click on the "Automatic" tab
  4. Paste the URL into the box
  5. Click "Generate"
  6. Double check that everything looks correct
  7. Click "Insert"
  8. That's it. You've added a citation.

If the automatic citations tool got something wrong with the citation, check out the fixing citations video below.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

 

Adding Journal Citations

Sometimes it's better to create the citation yourself. In that case you will use the manual citation tool. While this does require more work, most of the work is still done by the tool. As before, click into the Wikipedia article you are editing where you want to add the citation.

  1. Click in the article where you want to add your citation
  2. Select the "Cite" button
  3. Click on the "Manual" tab
  4. Click on the "Journal" option
  5. Fill in as many of the fields as possible (copy and paste from the source where you can)
  6. Fields with an asterisk "*" are required
  7. Double check everything
  8. Click "Insert"
  9. You've added a citation. Nice.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

The great thing about even the manual Wikipedia citation generator tool is that we do not have to worry about formatting or organizing or order. The tool takes care of all of that for us.

Below you can see additional examples for adding a manual citation for books, websites, and news (sources).

 

Adding additional fields - or, How to add multiple authors

While the different citation templates provide default fields for the most common types of information related to that citation type, there are times when not everything is covered. Whenever this happens, we can add fields, so that we can add the necessary data.

The most common reason is probably works with multiple authors. We can add fields for a second author by clicking "add more information" option at the bottom of the citation box. We can add "last name 2" for the second author's last name and "first name 2" for the second author's first name.

When adding fields, start like you normally would

  1. Click in the article where you want to add your citation
  2. Select the "Cite" button
  3. Click on the "Manual" tab
  4. Click on the type of citation you want to create, in this case the "Journal" citation
  5. Fill in the fields you can

Then to add fields

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the list of fields
  2. Click the "Add more information"

Note: The citation tool has been updated since these videos were created. The list of additional fields is on the left side of the citation window and the search box for new/additional fields at the top. Otherwise, this information remains the same.

  1. Scroll through (or search) the fields on the left of the citation box
  2. After clicking on the checkbox for each field, they will be added to the list of fields
  3. Add whatever fields are needed
  4. Fill in the information for those fields 
  5. Double check that everything looks correct
  6. Click "Insert"
  7. You've added fields to a citation. Excellent.

You can watch the video (remember the citation tool has been updated and the fields are already listed on the left) to see an example:

 

Fixing or editing citations

Whether the automatic citation tool got a little confused, or another editor left something out, you might find yourself needing to fix the citation. Fixing citations is always worthwhile because a more complete and accurate citation makes for a more credible citation.

The process for fixing citations is pretty straight forward and not that different than adding citations manually.

  1. Find the citation that needs fixing
  2. Click on the citation number
  3. Click the "Edit" button
  4. Make the necessary changes
  5. Click "Apply Changes"
  6. That's it. You've added a citation. Excellent.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

 

Re-Using Citations

Sometimes a single resource might be used in multiple places on a Wikipedia page. Rather than recreate the same citation over and over again, we can just re-use the citation.

Luckily Wikipedia makes this pretty easy.

  1. Click in the article where you want to add your citation
  2. Select the "Cite" button
  3. Click on "Re-use" tab
  4. Click on the existing citation you want to re-use
  5. That's it. You've re-used a citation. Awesome.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

 

If you have additional questions about citations, please contact one of this years Wikipedia-edit-a-thon facilitators. You can find the facilitators listed under "Who Do I Contact for More Information" on the left (or below this, depending on your device).

Additional Examples

The steps for adding citations for news, websites, and books is the same as it is for adding citations for journals. Many of the fields will be the same, but each type of citations has a default set of fields based on that type of citation it is. If you find you are missing fields you have information for (like a second author, for example), you can always add additional fields.

  1. Click in the article where you want to add your citation
  2. Select the "Cite" button
  3. Click on the "Manual" tab
  4. Click on the option for the type of citation you are adding: news, website, or book
  5. Fill in as many of the fields as possible (copy and paste from the source where you can)
  6. Fields with an asterisk "*" are required
  7. Double check everything
  8. Click "Insert"
  9. That's it. Citation added. Great.

Below are some examples.

News (newspaper) Citations

The news citation is fairly similar to the website citation feature and is focused on online news sources. If you are using a print source, you might want to add fields.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

 

Website Citations

Websites should work the best with the automatic citation feature, but sometimes it just doesn't do a good won't capture all the details, you can always use the manual citation for websites. Remember to add as much information as you can find. The more complete a citation, the more credible it is.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

 

Book Citations

The book citation has fields set up specific to books.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

If you have additional questions about citations, please contact one of this years Wikipedia-edit-a-thon facilitators. You can find the facilitators listed under "Who Do I Contact for More Information" on the left (or below this, depending on your device).

Art+Feminism on Adding Citations

Art+Feminism

Art+Feminism offers resources for citations as well. Here is their video on how to add citations.

Adding Citations -  Art+Feminism: Beginner Training (YouTube)

Watch on YouTube | Go to the Art+Feminism YouTube channel

 

The Art+Feminism site also provides a slide show for citations.

Adding Citations - Art+Feminism

View in Google Slides || Download PDF

 

If you have additional questions about citations, please contact one of this years Wikipedia-edit-a-thon facilitators listed under Who Do I Contact for More Information either on the left (or below this, depending on your device).

Creating Links in Wikipedia

While links to other web pages (both external and internal to Wikipedia) are not citations, it's still worth knowing how to do. Also, Wikipedia pages should not be used as citations to verify information.

However, internal linking between different Wikipedia pages is still an important part of the Wikipedia process. Often new pages suffer from a limited number of things that link to that new page. A new page that has nothing linking to it is considered an orphan, and they are often targeted for deletion. So, by creating links to new pages, we help keep those new pages around.

Internal Wikipedia Links

Creating internal links in Wikipedia is pretty easy.

  1. Select the text you want to be a link
  2. Click the link button
  3. (Make sure you're on the Wikipedia tab)
  4. Select the Wikipedia page you want
  5. You're done. You created an internal Wikipedia link. 

When we create internal links, Wikipedia tries to use the selected text. So a link to the Wikipedia page about COVID-19 should have just "COVID-19" be the link.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

 

External Links

Creating external links should not be used to cite where information came from, but can still be useful to guide people towards more information. The process is pretty straight forward:

  1. Select the text you want to be a link
  2. Click the link button
  3. (Make sure you're on the "External site" tab)
  4. Paste the URL of the site you want to link to
  5. Click "Done"
  6. That's it. You created an external link. 

When creating links we want the link to descriptive as possible, so a link to CDC COVID-19 information should have the "CDC COVID-19 information" or "CDC COVID-19" be the link.

You can watch the video below to see an example:

If you have additional questions about links, please contact one of this years Wikipedia-edit-a-thon facilitators. You can find the facilitators listed under "Who Do I Contact for More Information" on the left (or below this, depending on your device).

Adding a References List

Many of the Wikipedia pages we might be working on will already have a references list added. If that is the case, we just need to add new citation information (or fix problem citations), and Wikipedia will take care of the rest for us. It will renumber citations as we add new ones, and it will build the formatted new citation entry to the reference list at the bottom.

However, if we are working on a new page, or a page that just doesn't have a references list added yet, it's pretty easy to create the references list.

Creating the References List:

  1. Click where you want the references list to go
  2. Click "Insert" to "More" to "References List"
  3. This will automatically insert the references list
  4. You'll see the references list is automatically populated if we have citations already or a note saying there are no references yet if there are no current citations
  5. Either way, any new citations will automatically be added
  6. That's it. You've created a references list.

You can watch the video below to see an example: 

 

Archiving Citations

First, you do NOT have to do this. This is especially true if you are just getting started editing. If this extra step is just too much, then definitely skip doing it.

That said, if you are up for a little extra, definitely consider taking these extra steps. Of course, you might be thinking: I'm already adding the citation, why do I need to archive the citation?

Why should I archive my citations?

The answer is that it is one part of ensuring the information you add stays.

When working with Wikipedia pages for underrepresented and marginalized people, it is often harder to find mainstream sources covering them. Because of this, as editors, we are often forced to use information from websites that are smaller and independent. The types of information, and the websites where we find this information, are often far less likely to be as fully supported as mainstream content ,and they are far more likely to be temporary. This means that either the website itself might cease to exist, or it might simply that the website might be updated and the information we want will cease to exist.

That being said, this is actually an issue with more traditional sources as well. While scholarly articles and books are usually much more stable, magazines and newspaper articles are very prone to disappear after a few years or even just a few months as sites take down older articles or change the way their websites work.

As editors, we want to make sure that all the sources we are using for our citations continue to be available, so they are available to back up the information we are adding to the Wikipedia page. Linking to an archived version of the webpage we are using is a great way to ensure that even if the webpage (or newspaper article) goes away, the archived version will still be available to verify the information we are adding.

(Sometimes we also might visit a Wikipedia page where this has already happened, and we want to fix it. The following steps can help us do that.)

Sites for archiving webpages

The way we add archive information to our citations is to first check and see if the webpage we are citing has been archived.

We can do this is by going to an archive site. The two most commonly used (and most likely to already have an archived copy) are:

The Internet Archive is by far the bigger and more commonly used site, but sometimes is slow because of heavy use. These two sites look a little different, but have the same basic functionality offering you a chance to search to see if a webpage has already been archived and the option to archive a currently available page.

Using archive site to archive webpages

How do we actually do this?

First, check to see of the website we are using as a citation has been backed up/archived on an archive site by copy and pasting the citation URL into the archive search box and pressing enter (Internet Archive) or clicking search (Archive Today).

Second, if the citation URL hasn't already been archived (or the archived version is out of date or doesn't work), and it's still available, we can ask the archive site to archive the current version of the site by copying and pasting the URL into the save box and clicking save. Depending on how busy the archive site is, this might take a few minutes. The great thing is that once this is done, we are helping ensure that the information supporting our edit remains available to verify our edits.

Whether we find an existing archive of the page or create a new one, the last step is to view the archived version of the page to make sure that it's properly archived. (In rare cases, one of the above two archive sites does a better job with a particular website, so if the one you are using isn't archiving the site in a useful way, try the other one.)

Adding archive information to a citation

Once we find an archived version of our page or have archived the page ourselves, we can add the information for that archived page to our citation. There are three pieces of information to add:

  • URL status
  • Archive URL
  • Archive date

URL status

If the website we are using is still working, it is important to set this to "live," but if it no longer works we want to set this to "dead" which indicates the original URL no longer works. If the URL takes you to a new site that has no relationship to the original, you might want to select: unsurped, unfit, deviated. If unsure, choose "dead" or "unfit" are probably the best choices.

Note about URL status: if  this field is left blank, and the other archive information is added, Wikipedia assumes the original link is dead. So please remember to set this to "live" if the original website still works.

Archive URL

This is the full URL to the archived version of the site. Usually you can copy the full URL from the top of your browser window. 

Archive date

This is the date the archive of the page was made. This can be useful for pages that no longer work to know when they were still available.

Adding these three pieces of information mean that even if the original website changes or disappears, your citation still has all the information necessary for someone to verify your edits to Wikipedia.

This seems like a lot of extra work

It definitely does add more work, especially if you are new to editing. And each new thing can make it harder to feel comfortable editing, so again, if this is too much, skip doing this.

If you aren't up for adding the archive information to your citation, do consider archiving a site you are citing especially if it looks like the cite might regularly update information or might be a temporary website.

Archiving a site might take a few minutes depending on how busy the server is, but doing so helps ensure that the source we are using for our citation will continue to be available to verify the information we are adding to the Wikipedia page.