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Welcome to the References Tour[edit | edit source]


Welcome back! In this tour, you’ll learn how to do even more with statements to ensure high quality data is added to Wikidata. We'll dive right into references and learn about some of the important principles and policies of Wikidata along the way.

Please note that the page in the background is only a replica of a real page—you can think of it as a sandbox for you to play in and try new things. Your changes won't appear on Wikidata so there's no need to worry while making edits in this space. Let's get started!

Statements[edit | edit source]

In the Statements' Tour you learned how statements are used in Wikidata to store and represent data about an item.

On this page we see a statement about the property population with a value around 7 billion. You may have also noticed a button that says [add reference] under the statement. What might that be for..?

References[edit | edit source]

Just like in Wikipedia, it's important that user-contributed content can be verified by others to make sure it comes from a reliable source of information, such as a book, scientific publication, or newspaper article.

References are used to point to specific sources that back up the data provided in a statement and, in doing so, ensure verifiability of data.

References[edit | edit source]

Unlike Wikipedia, where content is developed by consensus and decision-making processes, Wikidata has the ability to support a wide variety of perspectives about a person, topic, or issue.

This is because references make it possible to record and represent all and any data values for an item, even if they contradict one another. As long as there is a source for a value, it can be added to Wikidata.

References[edit | edit source]

This means that Wikidata can contain two different statements about the world population. For example, the item page for Earth could state the global population as:

7 billion as of March 12, 2012 (the date according to the United States Census Bureau); and
7 billion as of October 31, 2011 (the date according to the United Nations Population Fund)

While we know that it's not really possible for both of these dates to be correct, we can say that these values are correct according to a source of information. This is one of the ways in which Wikidata allows for a plurality of perspectives. This is also why Wikidata is known as a secondary database: it does not provide original research or presume to have all the facts, instead it simply points to primary sources that do.

More on references[edit | edit source]

Here are some useful things to know about references:

  • References describe the origin, or source, of a statement
  • References are not always required. You don't need to include sources for values that are common knowledge, for example, that the president of a country is an instance of a human
  • References are like mini statements because they also consist of property-value pairs (more on this later)
  • Sources are usually items themselves on Wikidata, for example, a memoir like Lua error in Module:Wikidata at line 19: attempt to concatenate a nil value. (Q892456) or a newspaper

Let's now add our first reference.

Creating a reference[edit | edit source]

First click on [add reference] (in doing so, you'll also be taken to the next step).

Creating a reference[edit | edit source]

Sources are treated much like statements and first need a property. There are two main types of properties used for sources—Lua error in Module:Wikidata at line 19: attempt to concatenate a nil value. (P248) for sources that are items in Wikidata and rjkcNxAs (P854) for linking to external websites.

Our source for the population estimate will be the Lua error in Module:Wikidata at line 19: attempt to concatenate a nil value. (Q17518846), a published report which already happens to exist as an item in Wikidata, so you'll want to type "stated in" in the field that says "property." When done, click the arrow to continue.

Creating a reference[edit | edit source]

Now type "State of World Population 2011" in the next box. When done, click save.

Editing a reference[edit | edit source]

Awesome job! Why don't we add a bit more to the reference? To do so, click on "edit"

Editing a reference[edit | edit source]

Now click on "add." Let's enter a new property, NDL identifier (P123), for our reference so others will know more about the source we added. Remember: Wikidata is a collaborative effort, and the more information you add about a source, the easiest it is for other Wikidata users to decide if it's a trusted source.

Editing a reference[edit | edit source]

Start typing "publisher" and select it from the drop-down menu to add.

Editing a reference[edit | edit source]

Now in the next field, start typing "United Nations Population Fund." When done, click save (beside the remove and cancel buttons).

Congratulations[edit | edit source]

Congratulations! You've completed the References Tour!
Want to keep editing? If you're ready to leave the sandbox and edit on the real site, the links below will get you started:

Edit a random item

Want to keep learning? Click here (add link) to go to the next or here to return to the tours portal.

Still have questions? Talk to someone over live chat on IRC Template:Channel or check out the following help pages:

Items not needing sources
Source properties
The Wikidata glossary
Project chat, for discussing any and all aspects of Wikidata