Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikicite/original

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What follows is a short draft proposal for an extension to wikisource called wikicite. Wikicite would, in effect, be a card catalog on line.

Project: Wikicite


The Wikicite project would be to create a card catlog on line, with an entry for each book, and for each article available. Since the scope of articles is so large, books alone would be sufficient. Each page would contain a canonical citation format, and a section for a summary of the book, and for annotations on the book. This would make each page somewhat similar to the pages on or, except, of course, the objective would not be to tease enough to get people to buy the book, but tell enough so that people understand the book its contents and over time, its general level of credibility with the community that it is a part of.

One key part of wikicite would be to create for each entry a simple macro that could be referenced by a short amount of text, so {{wikicite:Blogging America}} would expand out to O'Brien, Barbara Blogging America William, James & Co. 2004 - or whatever format is selected for citations. There would be an auto link to Blogging America, in the wikicite project and to Barbara O'Brien in wikipedia, and to William, James & Co and 2004 - thus the entire reference appears live. {{wikifoot:Blogging}} would provide a footnote citation, also creating an anchor tag, and {{wikinote}} a number that would link to the footnote using that same anchor tag. This will make creating specific citations in the text a rapid process, and one which editors can do as they recognize or edit other people's articles.

This is part of wikisource because a wiki source is, if you think about it, merely the other side of a card catalog link, as texts are made available for Wiki's use, the text would be linked to from wikicite as well.

The initial pass could be programatic - simply creating an entry by default for each book, and a long form of the title citation. Editors by moving the page, or creating redirects, could create aliases for use in the {{}}.

Use of includes would allow a canonical copy of the book information to be across multiple "cards", so a first edition would be included down on subsequent editions. The need for editions is important because of page number differences. We can't dictate which edition an editor has, we can make sure we have a citation for it.


The purpose is to make citation of sources, both in a bibliography, or within the text, easy, rapid, editable and live. It goes beyond current citation systems because the card catalog, and perhaps the item itself, is "live". The card catalog can also note the credibility of the cited source. The same process that makes people write articles will make them want to write reviews - getting their POV out, increasing knowledge and so on. Authors would have every reason to write contributions to their wikicite entry, because it would often be one of the first links that would show up in a search of it.

The tools for entries would also have other advantages - "what links here" would give a list of wikipedia articles that cite a particular source.


  1. Program to take an external feed of books and create entries. Space, servers, system administration time, mySQL overhead.
  2. Macros to support citation in bibliography and footnoting from each entry. This is relatively small.
  3. Developing a wikicite community. Outreach to libraries, since this would provide them with a valuable resources. Can be piggybacked on the current communities and the "WP 1.0" drive.
  4. Wikiciting current articles - no small task!


In essence the objective would be to create a publically available wikicatalog of publications, books first, and then journal articles. These resources would be made available to editors in wikiprojects in a way which is live media, and thus leapfrog current citation abilities on dead media. This catalog, like wiki-entries themselves, could be used, the way people now often link book titles to amazon or bn pages. It could, if desired, be made into a revenue stream, by getting an amazon/powells/bn number for wikicite, linking to the edition in question on the relevant book seller and therefore getting a share of the revenue, which could then be used to defray the costs of wikicite itself, and perhaps, if successful, contribute to wiki's general operating budget.

Stirling Newberry 16:40, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Are you aware the [[Category:Sources]] has 6155 entries (Thanks Eric Zachte for the database query) in it already? And there are probably other books, journal articles etc that haven't been appropriately tagged. Which raises the issue of where something like wikicite should exist. Personally I think it should be in a separate namespace within Wikipedia, we don't want to splinter the project further. :ChrisG 13:58, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
According to Books in Print there are over 5 million available books, audio books and video titles available. 6155 entries is a drop in the bucket, manually maintained, and hard to use to create scholarly apparatus. In everyway an inadequeate solution. It has been suggested to set up a space after the model of images, which are, if you think about it, a kind of source, where the cards would be similar to the images information we have currently. Concerns about the administrative parcelling of duties are subsidiary to whether the project has merit. Stirling Newberry 14:17, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm not criticising this proposal, I'm in favour of it and have suggested something similar above. I was just pointing out that work has already started on those reference sources which are considered encyclopediac, and you need to take that work into account in terms of this proposal.
Additionally 6155 entries might be insignificant with regard to 5 million books in print; but it is still a fair chunk of the 420000 plus English articles; and represents a far larger chunk of those reference sources which might be considered significant and influential. Creating articles for 'significant' non-fiction books is a far more achievable goal, and a rather important milestone. :ChrisG 17:12, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)