[Portal] Reference database

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This proposal, initially titled "A suggested improvement #0001" is from February 2007 (Wikipedia had only 1.5 million articles).

There have been critiques of the accuracy of Wikipedia, and whether Wikipedia is progressing in a direction which will cause a greater fraction of articles to be highly accurate and well-written.[1] The current system of citing references does not lend itself to both goals. In addition, it is not amenable to many useful process changes:

  • The length and syntactic complexity of the templates required interfere with Wikipedians who intend to make edits to the style of writing or the article organization. It is too difficult to edit text containing interspersed notes.
  • There is no central repository of the references which have been cited by Wikipedia. If a reader wishes to evaluate the quality of all the references cited by Wikipedia articles, this author is not aware of a facility which would provide a list. Editors have no central repository to search for useful references.
  • References do not integrate with existing outside repositories such as PubMed. (Although templates and macros exist which do create links to PubMed such as the {{PMID}} template which creates a link based on PubMed ID (PMID).)
  • There is no central mechanism by which a reference may be deemed unsuitable to the purposes of Wikipedia.
  • Reference names are not portable across article space. Although a reference may be repeated by optionally assigned name throughout any one article; a reference created for citation in one article may not be reused in a second article without copying the reference information to that second article.
  • There is no central mechanism for updating references which may incorporate or generate URLs that should be amenable to centralized updating.

The system in use on Wikipedia today

Today, software mechanisms exist on Wikipedia which allow creating a "references list" or "notes list". By using a combination of <ref> and <references/> tags, a numbered (and optionally named) list of "notes" is created and incorporated into an article. By the use of the {{cite}} template, standardized bibliographic formatting is provided. For example:

PIR-based thermometers exist.<ref name="PIR_Thermometer_Tsai_2003">{{cite journal|title=Pyroelectric infrared sensor-based thermometer for monitoring indoor objects|author=C. F. Tsai and M. S. Young|journal=Review of Scientific Instruments|volume=74|issue=12|page=5267-5273|date=Dec 2003|url=http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=RSINAK000074000012005267000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes|doi=10.1063/1.1626005}}</ref>

will render something like the following example:


  1. ^ C. F. Tsai and M. S. Young (Dec 2003). "Pyroelectric infrared sensor-based thermometer for monitoring indoor objects". Review of Scientific Instruments 74 (12).

Proposed replacement system

Create a special page where named references are created and maintained:

RefProp.PNG (Imagine one additional data-entry field to provide the reference name once saved, or the name could be assigned.)

PIR-based thermometers exist.<ref name="PIR_Thermometer_Tsai_2003"/>


See also

This page was last updated at 2020-08-01 12:10, update this pageView original page

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