Wiktionary:References

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This page intended to augment policy at WT:Entry layout explained#References. It is not in itself a policy.

Purpose[edit]

References are used to give credit to sources of information used here as well as to provide authority to such information. Importantly, references are not considered primary sources so do not count as 'uses' for the purposes of Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion#Attestation. References are not mandatory for any entry, because Wiktionary includes terms based on their real-world usage, not inclusion in other dictionaries, encyclopedias and glossaries (and so on).

References are useful when they relevant information, such as pronunciation, etymology, context (and so on).

Since July 29 2012, Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion allows for terms only used in secondary sources to be valid for extinct languages as long as they come from an approved source. A list of approved sources must be maintained by editors of the language in question, and the rule only applies to extinct languages. The full policy is at Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion#Number of citations.

Etymologies[edit]

Etymologies involving reconstructed terms or unclear and disputed etymons generally need sources. This is particularly pertinent to any etymology containing terms such as perhaps, probably or likely. Due to the limited space that Wiktionary etymologies occupy - a few sentences at best, Wikipedia-style inline citations are generally not needed to back up particular statements, and a simple L3 ===Reference=== section enumerating the sources would suffice, ideally by using some of the reference templates that take page/volume numbers, or link to an online version of the respective source. Editors are encouraged to create new reference templates for often-used references.

When there is a single source for etymology, or the etymology is widely accepted (so that author's name doesn't matter) it is not necessary to mention the author of the etymology. But if any doubts as to the origin of the explanation (or multiple etymologies) exist, it is necessary to mention the author/work. Newer works that are more up-to-date with modern scholarship have precedence over the old ones. In case when several equally plausible etymologies (theories of origin, reconstructions) exist, all of them have to be mentioned per NPOV policy. Etymologies that are doubtful can be tagged with the template {{rfv-etymology}} (which takes a language code for the respective language, and optionally adds an entry for discussion in the Etymology Scriptorium). Particularly doubtful etymologies without any sources may be removed on sight.

What counts as a reference?[edit]

References are secondary sources. Primary sources, i.e. actual uses of a word or term are citations, not references, and should follow the guidelines at Wiktionary:Quotations. Web searches such as Google, Google Books, and Google Scholar are also not secondary sources. Any important, relevant information from that search should be put into the references or the citations.

Implementation[edit]

References which refer to a specific definition or a specific part of an entry may be wrapped up in <ref></ref>, with a <references/> tag under the ===References=== header. References referring to an entry as a whole, or many parts of an entry should be listed directly under the ===References=== header, usually preceded by a bullet (*). However, there is no formal policy on when to use the <ref></ref> syntax and when to use bulleted lists. See Help:Footnotes.

Wherever possible, references should include a link to the referenced material so the reader can see for him or herself. Where this is not possible, e.g. because there is no available online version of it, please try and give enough detail so that if the reader had the referenced material in front of them, they would know exactly where to look. For example:

  • Girsch, Miller, Williams, The Middle English Dictionary, ISBN 0472012207, page 146

Though there are other details that could be given, such as the date of publication and the publisher, looking up the ISBN will quickly find these details.

References may be requested with the {{unreferenced}} template. This template should not be used for definitions, as definitions rely on primary, not secondary sources. The templates for disputing definitions are {{rfv-sense}} (for entries that may not meet WT:CFI#Attestation) and {{rfc-sense}} (for disputing accuracy rather than existence).

Examples[edit]

===References===
* {{R:Century 1911}}
* {{R:Webster 1913}}

gives

References

See also[edit]