Help:Citing sources

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For a handy list of the most common citation templates suitable for cut-and-paste usage, see Help:Cut and paste citation reference

The SABR Encyclopedia seeks to be the premier online portal for factual and verifiable information about baseball. With this in mind, edits introducing new information to an article are required to include appropriate source citations specifying the origin of the added facts. It is not enough for the Encyclopedia to have correct information; citations allow readers to go and verify factual claims for themselves, as well as serving as pointers to primary and secondary sources where the reader can go to learn more in-depth information on the topic.

This article outlines good practices for incorporating sources into your contributions. As with all edits to the Encyclopedia, the first priority is to get the information into the edit. As you become a more experienced contributor, you will become familiar with the formatting options for organizing and presenting information in an article. The more you as a contributor can get to know and use the formatting options, the better the Encyclopedia review process will work. This article takes you through these levels in these steps:

  • A gentle introduction shows you the basics on including sources in your contributions.
  • Using footnotes explains how to indicate that a source refers specifically to one or more facts.
  • Citing using templates introduces templates which have been provided in the Encyclopedia to make it easy to cite common types of sources and have the information formatted in a consistent way.

To get started, you should be familiar with A gentle introduction. Once you've made a few contributions and are starting to feel more comfortable, return to this article and continue on with the subsequent sections.


[edit] A gentle introduction

The simplest way to add a source is to include it in a bullet-pointed list at the end of the article. For example, if you were writing about a current or recent player, you might refer to a team's media guide, and a webpage. Then, your sources section might look like this:

== Sources ==
* 2010 New York Knights Media Guide
*, retrieved on 2010-03-02.

Some articles will already have a "Sources" section (the word "Sources" surrounded by a pair of equal signs on either side) already set up; if it's present, just add to the list that is there. If not, add it in yourself, and start your list; lists are formatted with a "*" at the beginning of the entry.

The most important principle in citing sources is that someone else should be able to find the source easily. That means you should provide all the relevant information: authors, titles, dates of publication, and so forth. You will probably remember from high school English classes all manner of rules and regulations for formatting your citations -- APA style, MLA style, Harvard style, or one of many others. To get source information into the Encyclopedia, it does not matter which style you prefer, or even that you use any particular style at all; what is most important is that enough information on the source is present to help the reader identify and find it. If you are complete and consistent in citing your sources, that is enough to get started.

[edit] Using footnotes

Some sources are used to support particular facts mentioned in an article. In this case, it is useful to communicate this to the reader by using footnotes, which help to connect the source to the fact by placing a footnote in the appropriate place in the article text.

[edit] Basic usage: citing a source once

Footnotes are written in articles by surrounding the source with {{footnote|source=source}}. To pick up on the example above, if you found a particular fact in a team's media guide, and felt it was important that the connection between the fact and the source be recorded explicitly, you might write

Smith claims to be descended from Charlemagne.{{Footnote|source=2010 New York Knights Media Guide}}

The content of footnotes used to indicate sources follows the same principles as the general-purposes sources section described in the previous section; the most important thing is to get all the relevant information on the source into the footnote.

[edit] Advanced usage: citing the same source multiple times

You may encounter a case where you want to use footnotes to specifically mention the same source multiple times within an article. There would be nothing wrong with repeating the reference tag multiple times:

Smith claims to be descended from Charlemagne.{{Footnote|source=2010 New York Knights Media Guide}} 

He was also the first Major League player to swim across the English Channel.{{Footnote|source=2010 New York Knights Media Guide}}

A more sophisticated method, which can also save you some typing, is to use the same reference multiple times. To do this, the first time you use the reference, you'll give it a label; for instance, you might abbreviate the source as 2010knights. Then, you can use it multiple times like so:

Smith claims to be descended from Charlemagne.{{Footnote|source=2010 New York Knights Media Guide|label=2010knights}}  

He was also the first Major League player to swim across the English Channel.{{Footnote-reuse|label=2010knights}}

The first time you use the source, you give the full details in the note, and give it a name. After that, you only need to refer to the source using the label; the Encyclopedia will know to re-use that same footnote again the second and subsequent times.

A few notes on this procedure:

  1. The label for the footnote is completely arbitrary, though it makes sense to try to pick something that is derived from the name of the source you're using.
  2. You only need to label footnotes if you plan to re-use them somewhere else, but it is harmless if you label a footnote and don't re-use it.

Examples: See Marv Danielson's page for an example of the multiple-use technique in action.

[edit] Citing using templates

As you become more experienced in editing articles, you will find it handy to be able to express all the information about a source in a more consistent and compact way. The Encyclopedia pre-defined a number of citation templates which help to standardize the process of citing sources commonly used in baseball research.

There are several advantages to using citations:

  1. They save you typing. You can copy-and-paste versions of the appropriate template as needed, and fill in the fields.
  2. They help you provide all the information. When you copy-and-paste the templates, you are reminded of all the fields a complete citation should have.
  3. They help you format the information consistently. The citation handles all the formatting for you, putting book and newspaper titles in italics, putting dates in a standard order, and so forth, freeing you to concentrate on content.
  4. They make the sources more accessible. As more sources become available online, citation templates will automatically create links directly to the content. For example, if you cite a MLB rule using the {{cite-mlb-rules}} template, a link to the text of the rule you cite will automatically be created in your article.

Again, using these templates is optional, but using them will improve the quality of your contributions, and therefore the quality of the Encyclopedia. Experienced contributors will find it useful to become familiar with their use, and to incorporate them into their editing.

[edit] Templates for citing commonly-used sources

Below are examples of how to use various templates to cite types of sources commonly used in baseball research.

  • For full description of a template and the parameters which can be used with it — click the template name (e.g. {{cite-book}} in the "Template" column of the table below.
  • Copy and paste the text under "Common usage" to use the template.
  • For each type of source, there is an alternate version that automatically creates a footnote. This adds the "label" option for footnote re-use.
Source Template Common usage and example
Book {{cite-book}} or {{footnote-book}}
{{cite-book | title= | last=| first=| publisher= | city= | year= }}
{{footnote-book | title= | last=| first=| publisher= | city= | year= | label= }}
Newspaper {{cite-newspaper}} or {{footnote-newspaper}}
{{cite-newspaper | title= | newspaper= | year= | month= | day= | pages= | last= | first= }}
{{footnote-newspaper | title= | newspaper= | year= | month= | day= | pages= | last= | first= | label= }}
Periodical {{cite-periodical}} or {{footnote-periodical}}
{{cite-periodical | title= | periodical= | year= | month= | day= | pages= | last= | first= | volume= | issue= }}
{{footnote-periodical | title= | periodical= | year= | month= | day= | pages= | last= | first= | volume= | issue= | label= }}
Web {{cite-web}} or {{footnote-web}}
{{cite-web | url= | year= | month= | day= }}
{{footnote-web | url= | year= | month= | day= | label= }}
MLBAM bio {{cite-mlbam-bio}}
{{cite-mlbam-bio | year= | month= | day= }}
SSDI {{cite-ssdi}} or {{footnote-ssdi}}
{{cite-ssdi | ssn=  }}
{{footnote-ssdi | ssn=  | label= }}
Scorecard {{cite-scorecard}} or {{footnote-scorecard}}
{{cite-scorecard | team= | month= | day= | year= }}
{{footnote-scorecard | team= | month= | day= | year= | label= }}
Baseball card {{cite-baseball-card}} or {{footnote-baseball-card}}
{{cite-baseball-card | year= | team= | league= | maker= }}
{{footnote-baseball-card | year= | team= | league= | maker= | label= }}
Official rules {{cite-mlb-rules}} or {{footnote-mlb-rules}}
{{cite-mlb-rules | | | }}
{{footnote-mlb-rules | | | | label= }}
SABR bulletin {{cite-sabr-bulletin}} or {{footnote-sabr-bulletin}}
{{cite-sabr-bulletin | title= | pages= | year= | issue= }}
{{footnote-sabr-bulletin | title= | pages= | year= | issue= }}
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