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UsageEdit

The basic concept of the <ref> tag is that it inserts the text enclosed by the ref tags as a footnote in a designated section, which you indicate with the placeholder tag <references />. This format cannot be used interchangeably with the older format — you must pick one or the other.

Additional placeholder tags <references /> can be inserted in the text, and all <ref> tags up to that point, in that group, will be inserted there.

If you forget to include <references /> in the article, the footnotes will not disappear, but the references will be displayed at the end of the page.

This page itself uses footnotes, such as the one at the end of this sentence.[note 1] If you view the source of this page by clicking "Edit this page", you can see a working example of footnotes.

Wikitext Rendering
The Sun is pretty big.<ref>E. Miller, ''The Sun'', (New York: Academic Press, 2005), 23-5.</ref> The Moon, however, is not so big.<ref>R. Smith, "Size of the Moon", ''Scientific American'', 46 (April 1978): 44-6.</ref>

==Notes==
<references />

The Sun is pretty big.[1] The Moon, however, is not so big.[2]

Notes
  1. E. Miller, The Sun, (New York: Academic Press, 2005), 23-5.
  2. R. Smith, "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 46 (April 1978): 44-6.

Multiple uses of the same footnoteEdit

To give a footnote a unique identifier, use <ref name="name">. You can then refer to the same footnote again by using a ref tag with the same name. The text inside the second tag doesn't matter, because the text already exists in the first reference. You can either copy the whole footnote, or you can use a terminated empty ref tag that looks like this: <ref name="name" />.

In the following example, the same source is cited three times.

Wikitext Result
This is an example of multiple references to the same footnote.<ref name="multiple">Remember that when you refer to the same footnote multiple times, the text from the first reference is used.</ref>

Such references are particularly useful when citing sources, if different statements come from the same source.<ref name="multiple" /> Any reused tag should not contain extra content, that will spawn an error. Only use empty tags in this role.

A concise way to make multiple references is to use empty ref tags, which have a slash at the end. Although this may reduce redundant work, please be aware that if a future editor removes the first reference, this will result in the loss of all references using the empty ref tags.<ref name="multiple" />

==Notes==
<references />

This is an example of multiple references to the same footnote.[1]

Such references are particularly useful when citing sources, if different statements come from the same source.[1] Any reused tag should not contain extra content, that will spawn an error. Only use empty tags in this role.

A concise way to make multiple references is to use empty ref tags, which have a slash at the end. Although this may reduce redundant work, please be aware that if a future editor removes the first reference, this will result in the loss of all references using the empty ref tags.[1]

Notes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Remember that when you refer to the same footnote multiple times, the text from the first reference is used.
Note that identifiers used in the name attribute require alphabetic characters; solely relying on numerals will generate an error message. The quotes are optional unless the name includes a space, punctuation or other mark. It is recommended that names be kept simple and restricted to the ASCII character set.

The <references /> tagEdit

The <references /> tag inserts the text of all the citations which have defined in <ref> tags up to that point in the page. For example, based on the citations above, there should be reference for the note group.

Wikitext Result
<references group="note"/>
  1. This footnote is used as an example in the "How to use" section.

The reference list can have a responsive width (displaying in some cases the references in several columns). In that case, the responsive attribute is used to configure that behavior. On wikis with the default configuration, this will happen on every page; on others, you need to activate it.

In some language editions of Wikipedia, long reference lists may be placed using the template {{Reflist}}, which incorporates <references />. It provides an optional parameter to display the reference list in multiple columns. For instance, the English, Hindi and Interlingua Wikipedias use the CSS selector references-small to make the reference text smaller than normal text.

Using templates in this way is strongly discouraged, for compatibility, performance, and functionality reasons.

If a page includes more than one <references /> list, each list includes the <ref> tags defined after the previous references list. If these references lists are produced by templates, each one lists the ref tags defined before the first references list, and there is an error message saying that there is a ref tag but not a references list.

Grouped referencesEdit

This may be disabled by $wgAllowCiteGroups = false; if desired.

The following example generates separate reference lists for citations and miscellaneous footnotes:

Wikitext Result
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big <ref>E. Miller, ''The Sun'', (New York: Academic Press, 2005), 23-5.</ref> In fact, it is very big <ref group="footnotes"> Take their word for it. Don't look directly at the sun!</ref>

==Notes==
<references group="footnotes" />

==References==
<references />
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big [1] In fact, it is very big [footnotes 1]
Notes
  1. Take their word for it. Don't look directly at the sun!
References
  1. E. Miller, The Sun, (New York: Academic Press, 2005), 23-5.

The anonymous group works as before, while references destined for the named group will only show up in the designated <references /> element.

Note that identifiers used in the group attribute require alphabetic characters; solely relying on numerals will generate an error message. The quotes are optional unless the name includes a space, punctuation or other mark. It is recommended that names be kept simple and restricted to the ASCII character set.

Citing different parts of the same sourceEdit

When several parts from the same work are used as references in an article, you can cluster them in the reference section. This gives readers a way to identify which references originate from the same source. It also allows you to cite different parts of the same source without repeating the entire source every time.

Wikitext Result
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big. <ref name="Miller">E. Miller, ''The Sun'', (New York: Academic Press, 2005)</ref> In fact, it is very big. <ref extends="Miller">p. 123</ref> Take their word for it. Don't look directly at the sun! <ref extends="Miller">p. 42</ref>

==References==
<references />
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big. [1] In fact, it is very big. [1.1] Take their word for it. Don't look directly at the sun! [1.2]
References

1. E. Miller, The Sun, (New York: Academic Press, 2005)
   1.1 ↑ p. 123
   1.2 ↑ p. 42

Note that this feature doesn't yet work on wikis outside the beta cluster, which is why the above example is a mock.

Separating references from textEdit

In-text references make it easy to copy the text to another page; on the other hand, they make it hard to read. References containing a lot of data, quotes or elaborate citation templates can make up a significantly larger fraction of the source than the text that will actually be visible. To avoid this, recent versions of the extension allow moving some or all of the references into the <references /> section, to the place where they will actually appear to the reader.

Wikitext Result
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big.<ref name="miller" /> The Moon, however, is not so big.<ref name="smith" />

==Notes==
<references>
<ref name="miller">E. Miller, ''The Sun'', (New York: Academic Press, 2005), 23-5.</ref>
<ref name="smith">R. Smith, "Size of the Moon", ''Scientific American'', 46 (April 1978): 44-6.</ref>
</references>

According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big.[1] The Moon, however, is not so big.[2]

Notes
  1. E. Miller, The Sun, (New York: Academic Press, 2005), 23-5.
  2. R. Smith, "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 46 (April 1978): 44-6.

Thus, the code above will have the same output as the first example above, although the numbering and order of the references will not in general be the same.

Substitution and embedded parser functionsEdit

Since Cite's <ref> tag is parsed before MediaWiki's parser functions (e.g. {{#ifexpr:…}}) or variables (e.g. {{PAGENAME}}) or before subst:</>, these will not work inside of citation references. Instead, you have to use the magic word {{#tag:…}}.

Wikitext Result
Foo <ref>This is not working, see {{cite journal|url=https://www.google.com |title=Search |author= |date= |accessdate={{subst:#time:Y-m-d|now}}}}</ref> bar baz…
Foo{{#tag:ref|Whereas this does, see {{cite journal|url=https://www.google.com |title=Search |author= |date= |accessdate={{subst:#time:Y-m-d|now}}}}}} bar baz…
<references />

Foo [1] bar baz… Foo[2] bar baz…

  1. This is not working, see "Search" . Retrieved on [[{{subst:#time:Y-m-d|now}}]]. 
  2. Whereas this does, see "Search" . Retrieved on 2017-01-27. 

Adding an automatic heading before the references listEdit

Up to MediaWiki 1.28, one could use the system message MediaWiki:Cite references prefix to define a wiki-wide heading which would be automatically inserted before each references list. In MediaWiki 1.29, this system message was removed. A hacky way to enter a headline now is to add the following code to MediaWiki:Common.js:

$(document).ready(function(){
    $('.mw-references-wrap').before('<h2>References</h2>');
});

If you only need a text heading (no link or other active elements) you could add the following to MediaWiki:common.css (Chrome 4, IE9, FF 3.5, Safari 3.1, Opera 7):

.mw-references-wrap::before {
  content: "Blue references";
  color: #0645ad;
  text-decoration: none;
  background: none;
  font-style: italic;
  font-size: 100%;
  font-weight: bold;
  line-height: 1.6;
  direction: ltr;
  font-family: sans-serif;
}

Merging two texts into a single referenceEdit

A typical Wikisource issue are references that span multiple pages in the source material. These can be merged using a <ref name="name"> tag for the first part of the reference, and tagging the following parts with a tag <ref follow="name"> using the same name.

Example:

Wikitext Result
This is an example of merging multiple texts into the same footnote.<ref name="main">Remember that all the texts will be included into the reference containing the name="…" attribute.</ref>

<ref follow="main">Simply include the additional text in a tag with the &lt;ref follow="…"> attribute, matching the first ref's name.</ref>

==References==
<references/>

This is an example of merging multiple texts into the same footnote.[1]


References

  1. Remember that all the texts will be included in the reference containing the name="…" attribute. Simply include the additional text in a tag with the <ref follow="…"> attribute, matching the first ref's name.

When using this syntax, take care that the "follow" part of the footnote is included on the same page as the first part of the reference. Note that reference names cannot be start with a number, so always include some text like, <ref name="p32"> and <ref follow="p32">.

CustomizationEdit

The format of the output of <ref> and <references> is almost completely customizable through MediaWiki messages, that can be modified, for example, through the MediaWiki namespace depending on the configuration of the wiki.

For a list of messages that control the output of <ref> and <references> and the values, if any, that are passed to them ($1, $2, $3 ...), see an up-to-date listing of the default values that can be obtained directly from MediaWiki.

Incomplete list
  • cite_reference_link_key_with_num
    1. key
    2. num
  • cite_reference_link_prefix
  • cite_reference_link_suffix
  • cite_references_link_prefix
  • cite_references_link_suffix
  • cite_reference_link
    1. ref ID
    2. backlink ID
    3. count to display
  • cite_references_link_one
    • Used to format the source list that <references /> outputs, it configures 3 things: the backlink ID, the ref ID, and text of note.
    1. backlink ID - used for creating the number order of the source list.
    2. ref ID - used to link back to the actual reference in the text, this is where you can configure the <bold>^</bold> symbol
    3. text of note - text used above describing the source info
  • cite_references_link_many
    1. backlink ID
    2. list of links
    3. text of note
  • cite_references_link_many_format
    1. ref ID
    2. numeric value to use as a backlink
    3. custom value (as defined in cite_references_link_many_format_backlink_labels to use as a backlink)
  • cite_references_link_many_format_backlink_labels
  • cite_references_link_many_sep
  • cite_references_link_many_and
  • cite_references_suffix

Set references to use ^ and lettersEdit

To replace the default uparrow (↑) with caret (^), modify the following system messages. All of these pages can be found on Special:AllMessages.

MediaWiki:Cite references link one
From To
<li id="$1"$4><span class="mw-cite-backlink">[[#$2|↑]]</span> $3</li>
<li id="$1"$4><span class="mw-cite-backlink">[[#$2|^]]</span> $3</li>
MediaWiki:Cite references link many
From To
<li id="$1"$4><span class="mw-cite-backlink">↑ $2</span> $3</li>
<li id="$1"$4><span class="mw-cite-backlink">^ $2</span> $3</li>
MediaWiki:Cite references link many format

Replacing $2 with $3 changes the links from 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 to a, b, c etc…

From To
<sup>[[#$1|$2]]</sup>
<sup>[[#$1|$3]]</sup>

Searching for these pages for the first time will result in no matches. Simply click "Create this page" to edit the code. The changes will not show up until a page with references is rebuilt.

Set reference and reference number highlightingEdit

Starting with MediaWiki 1.26 the selectors for highlighting are now incorporated into Cite/modules/ext.cite.css. Thus the CSS code below no longer needs to be added manually.

Add the following code to the MediaWiki:Common.css page.

/* make the Cite extension list of references look smaller and highlight clicked reference in blue */
ol.references { font-size: 90%; }
ol.references li:target { background-color: #ddeeff; }
sup.reference:target { background-color: #ddeeff; }

Broken referencesEdit

If the <ref> or <references /> tags are used incorrectly, the Cite extension will add an error message to the page, and will add the "Pages with reference errors" category. These error messages will appear in the user interface language, either in the article content or in the References section. For example:

Wikitext Result
This is an example of a references error message.<ref broken>Intended text.</ref>

==Notes==
<references />

This is an example of a references error message.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Notes

See alsoEdit