Help:References

As it is the goal of BattleTechWiki to enable each Reader to find the original source for any fact found within an article, the proper citation of sources is critical. This page explains how to create numbered references (with optional footnotes) using <ref>,</ref>, and <references/> syntax, which is the current best-practice method in most circumstances.


Inserting references or footnotes[edit]

Readers and Editors of BattleTechWiki will find articles in one of four different states, when it comes to being properly referenced: non-cited, basic, specific and detailed. It is the ultimate intention for each article on the wiki to exist within a consistent framework in comparison to other similar articles, with detailed references displayed at the bottom of the page, as warranted for proper research sources. However, as BTW is completely a volunteer effort, the time, skill and details provided by each Editor will vary. It is the intention that follow-on Editors will continue to improve the article, including the method of sourcing the article's statements.


Non-cited References[edit]

Non-cited articles can, aside from the lack of references, vary considerably in value when compared to other non-cited articles, from being a stub-length to fully-scoped out with considerable detail. However, no Editors will have spared the time to indicate where the information found in the non-cited article can be located in canon and there will not be a References section provided. This article may or may not be of any value to a casual Reader, but it will most definitely not be worth much to a Reader seeking official confirmation for a question they might have about the BattleTech universe, especially if they doubt the value BattleTechWiki has to canonicity.

Once identified as lacking in citations, follow-on Editors will often (and justly so) add the {{refimprove}} tag, where the resulting banner indicates the article is lacking sufficient citations.

Basic References (Bibliography)[edit]

This article will, thankfully, include at least some sources indicating where the interested Reader may go to get either more information or confirmation of the article's sources. However, as it only lists the titles of the sources, it is left up to the Reader to look through the source until he finds the relevant information. Still, it is better than nothing and the Editors at BTW implore their fellows to provide at least this much.

The format for Basic citing is:

  • A section called Bibliography is made. It can be created by placing the following code at the bottom of the page (above the Category tags):
 ==Bibliography==
  • Underneath that, an asterisk (*) is placed for each title
  • The source is then listed next to the asterisk:
  1. First, following a space, two single quotes ('') are typed,
  2. followed by two open brackets ([[),
  3. then the title of the source (in the manner consistent with its BTW article name),
  4. followed up by two close brackets (]]) and
  5. then two more single quotes ('').

So, if you were to cite the two books FedCom Civil War and AeroTech 2 by typing this:

    *''[[FedCom Civil War]]''
    *''[[AeroTech 2]]''

when saved, it would look like this:

Specific References[edit]

The more detail an Editor can provide an article, the more value that article has to Readers and other Editors later on. While citing at least the title source used within an article is appreciated, providing a bit more detail offers so much more to the article and the BattleTechWiki project. With Specific References, the Editor not only provides the title, but he narrows down the source search considerably, by offering more information to those that follow, with a minimum of page numbers comprising the information found in the article.

The format for a specified reference is title (as shown above in the Basic References section, but now in a References section instead of a Bibliography section), followed by the page(s) and source section name. For example:

References

  • FedCom Civil War, p. 104, "Operation Scatter"
  • AeroTech 2, pp. 35-37, "Strafing"

Notice in the first reference, FedCom Civil War, the article references just one page from that title, as indicated by a solitary 'p', followed by a period. If the Editor chooses, he provides the section title from the source, between two double quotes ("). For the second reference, AeroTech 2, the relevant data spans several pages of the "Strafing" section, as indicated by a double 'p', indicating the full range of relevant pages.

When source material is scattered throughout one book, it is preferred that the Editor create separate citations for each relevant source section. But, the Editor also has the choice of simply listing the various pages (without the section titles), or combining both together (separated by semi-colons), as show below:

  • FedCom Civil War, p. 104, pp. 120-121, p. 133
  • AeroTech 2, pp. 35-37, "Strafing"; p. 107, "Combat Drops"; pp. 116-117, "Basic Jump Procedure"

An Editor may also make use of the reference to provide some details that would not be appropriate within the article itself, as a footnote after a colon (:), following the actual citation. For example:

  • FedCom Civil War, p. 104, pp. 120-121, p. 133: the book suggests it was actually Peter, not Victor, that made this statement, as indicated on p. 133; this editor presumes it was just an editorial mistake, as Peter was in a coma at that specific point in time.
  • AeroTech 2, pp. 35-37, "Strafing"; p. 107, "Combat Drops"; pp. 116-117, "Basic Jump Procedure": this book says passengers are more likely to see green clovers and blue diamonds while jumping thru hyperspace, while the original AeroTech was clear that they would only have seen pink hearts and purple horseshoes.

Detailed References[edit]

The perfect article would include detailed references. However, it is understood that this method is very time consuming and may be too challenging for the average Editor. However, it provides the most definitive method of sourcing expected from a fan project of this scope, and is familiar with the more scholastic fans of the BattleTech universe.

Detailed referencing differs from both Basic and Specific in the manner in which it gets into the "guts" of the article, in order to provide the most comprehensive source citing possible. If the data from a complete paragraph can be found on one page (or one range of pages) from one source, the reference is generally added to the end of the paragraph. However, if the paragraph as written combines facts compiled from multiple pages or even multiple sources, the citations may be found within the paragraph itself, generally following a sentence (though it is not unheard of to find references within the sentences themselves, when clarity is most valued). The MediaWiki software BattleTechWiki utilizes is very capable at providing the depth necessary for this in-depth citation work.

There are two methods by which intra-article citations can be completed:

First Detailed Method[edit]

The first, which is more common and familiar, tends to require a bit more work, though careful cutting-&-pasting can help alleviate this and confusion tends to be less likely. The referencing occurs just as in Specific References above, but instead it is inserted between code that hides it from view within the paragraph, instead substituting a numbered hyperlink that corresponds with the visible data, as shown in the References section at the bottom of the page. For example, the below paragraph is being cited:

The first project of the congress to be published was the Unfinished Book, a ten-volume collection of scripture from numerous religions, released in 2959. It received its name from the concept that spiritual wisdom was extremely vast and therefore the project would take an undetermined amount of time to accumulate it in totality. Father Ovidon held the belief that if the project could be completed, then all of humanity would enjoy peaceful coexistence, either from divine intervention or possibly from the intellectual elevation of mankind.

In this case, the two books House Davion and Handbook: House Davion are used for this paragraph. Because the first sentence uses data from both books, the Editor wants to cite both of them following the sentence. He takes the relevant citations:

House Davion, p. 117, "Unfinished Book Movement"
Handbook: House Davion, pp. 146-147, "Unfinished Book Movement"

...and wraps each in-between the following codes: <ref> & </ref>, so that it looks like the following when typed into the edit box:

    <ref> ''House Davion'', p. 117, "Unfinished Book Movement" </ref><ref> ''Handbook: House Davion'', pp. 146-147, "Unfinished Book Movement" </ref>

Notice: the two references are snugged up against each other, unbroken by a space or line return. This is so that the numbered code which is inserted in the paragraph follows directly behind the sentence it follows, without breaking up the flow of the text. This code sequence is then inserted directly behind the first sentence. In this case, the rest of the paragraph comes from only the first source, so the Editor inserts the code for the first source at the end of the paragraph also. The unsaved paragraph would look like this:

The first project of the congress to be published was the Unfinished Book, a ten-volume collection of scripture from numerous religions, released in 2959.<ref> ''House Davion'', p. 117, "Unfinished Book Movement" </ref><ref> ''Handbook: House Davion'', pp. 146-147, "Unfinished Book Movement" </ref> It received its name from the concept that spiritual wisdom was extremely vast and therefore the project would take an undetermined amount of time to accumulate it in totality. Father Ovidon held the belief that if the project could be completed, then all of humanity would enjoy peaceful coexistence, either from divine intervention or possibly from the intellectual elevation of mankind.<ref> ''House Davion'', p. 117, "Unfinished Book Movement" </ref>

Very cluttered and confusing, itsn't it? However, the results are worth it, as the saved paragraph would look like this:

The first project of the congress to be published was the Unfinished Book, a ten-volume collection of scripture from numerous religions, released in 2959.[1][2] It received its name from the concept that spiritual wisdom was extremely vast and therefore the project would take an undetermined amount of time to accumulate it in totality. Father Ovidon held the belief that if the project could be completed, then all of humanity would enjoy peaceful coexistence, either from divine intervention or possibly from the intellectual elevation of mankind.[3]

The three blue numbers would then, which clicked upon, shift the browser page down to the References section of the article, right to the specific reference with which it is associated. To get that, however, required one more bit of code: <references />. This is inserted immediately following the ==References== code at the bottom of the article (above the Bibliography section and Category tags), and it triggers the re-emergence of the complete references the Editor inserted within the main part of the article.

So, if the References section looks like this, before it is saved:

<references />

...then when it is saved, it would appear thusly:

  1. House Davion, p. 117, "Unfinished Book Movement"
  2. Handbook: House Davion, pp. 146-147, "Unfinished Book Movement"
  3. House Davion, p. 117, "Unfinished Book Movement"

Rather snazzy, no? Notice, however, how references 1 and 3 in the above example are identical. This is an effect of the first detailed method.

Second Detailed Method[edit]

This method is generally recommended only with Editors that are familiar with the first detailed method, so that they understand how to recognize the code used within the paragraphs; the second method uses a derivation of that same method, but adds more code to the process. The advantage in using the second method is that a shorthand version of the code for subsequent (and identical) references can be inserted at the proper point. Another advantage is that, in the References section of the article, all of the identical references are shown on one line, rather than taking up additional lines of space, which can look cleaner to some Readers. The disadvantage comes from having to name each individual citation, even if it shares the same title source, which can lead to some confusion, especially in lengthy articles where one source may provide numerous but differing pages of data for the article.

For the first use of a citation, the citation is wrapped within a code that is named, as determined by whatever method the Editor chooses. For example:

    <ref name="NameCitation117">''House Davion'', p. 117</ref>

...where "NameCitation117" is what the Editor chose to name this citation. You are free to pick any footnote name, subject to a few rules. Footnote names are case sensitive and may not be a numeric integer. The quotes are optional unless the name or group includes a space, punctuation or other mark. Names and groups should be kept simple and restricted to the standard English alphabet and numerals. The footnote name is internal and will not be displayed anywhere when the page is viewed.

Now, whenever page 117 is needed again as a citation, the Editor only has to use the following code:

   <ref name="NameCitation117"/>

The obvious advantage is that the subsequent citations do not need to have the full citation typed in and less space is used within the unsaved paragraph. However, if the Editor chose to use House Davion again as a source, but using another page, he would have to name the full citation with a different title. For example:

    <ref name="NameCitation236">''House Davion'', p. 236</ref>

...with each subsequent use of that citation using another shorthand version of the code:

    <ref name="NameCitation236"/>

At the end of the article, the References section would show identical citations on a shared line, while individual citations would each receive their own line, as shown in this example.

The downside to this method is that follow-on Editors must carefully study the code to determine what named citations are repeated where. For that reason, it is recommended that Editors only use this method for articles they feel are nearing completion and would not need much more adaption or editing by differing people. However, that is guidance and is not mandated.

Note regarding Reference and Bibliography sections[edit]

The levels of referencing (Basic, Specific and Detailed) utilize the References and Bibliography sections in a similarly progressive manner. The Basic method, when not mixed in with more advanced citing within an article, makes use of the References section without a Bibliography section. However, once more advanced citing is introduced within an article, both sections should be included and references are handled in a rather different manner.

Reference section[edit]

With the use of Specific or Detailed citations, the References section serves a means to indicate where certain information provided within the article can be found in official sources. In that case, it is no longer appropriate to include title-only entries (ex: ''[[FedCom Civil War]]'') in the References section. Instead, these should be added to the following Bibliography section.

Bibliography section[edit]

Once a Bibliography section is added to an article, the article should also have a functional References section. The Bibliography provides a quick means of identifying official (and, rarely, unofficial) sources of material that coincide with the article. It should be clear, however, that the inclusion of a source's title within the Bibliography does not necessarily indicate that source has been used yet (or will at all) within the above article. Oftentimes, Editors may recognize that a source exists that also provides information on the subject of the article, but has not been included within the article itself. This identifies for Readers the additional source they can use to learn more about the subject and allows follow-on Editors to identify additional sources to utilize in expanding the article. By providing the linked title within the Bibliography, it allows both Readers and Editors to go the BTW article about that source.