May I use 'pipe' and 'span' in citing sources?

+8 votes

When I use Hiski as a reference, I have started using the following:

The result is as follows and I would like to know if it is acceptable.


  1. SSHY: Kemi maaseurakunta > Birth Records, 1825-1852 > 135: 1841 accessed 21 Aug 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 SSHY: Kemi maaseurakunta > Communion Book, 1875-1880 > 404: Wittaniem iJohan Erik accessed 21 Aug 2016
  3. Hiski: Link to this event [3019331 ]: accessed 21 Aug 2016
  4. SSHY: Kemi maaseurakunta > Marriage Records, 1826-1880 > 105: 1877 Maalis accessed 21 Aug 2016


WikiTree profile: Kaisa Wittaneimi
in Policy and Style by Norm Lindquist G2G6 Mach 6 (61.2k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
when i use | & span, I use #... i.e., instead of [[Hiski|Hiski]], it would be [[#Hiski|Hiski]]

do I need to?
Yes. I use # also.  My bad.  I will correct the question.  Thank you Liz.
just curious. I only found out recently you no longer needed to use quotes when naming a reference (e.g., old was <ref name="Hiski"> & <ref name="Hiski" /> ... I forgot the quotes once & then realized the named ref tags worked ok without them... <ref name=Hiski> & <ref name=Hiski />). Still need to add single quotes for span ids (I've found that both single & double work ok).

Someone let me know if the "no quote" ref names _don't_ work on some platforms.



I think the "no quote ref name" is just a matter of correct syntax, as explained in Wikipedia:

The text of the name can be almost anything‍—‌apart from being totally numeric. If spaces are used in the text of the name, the text must be placed within double quotes. Placing all named references within double quotes may be helpful to future editors who do not know that rule. To help with page maintenance it is recommended that the text of the name have a connection to the inline citation or footnote, for example "author year page":<ref name="Smith 2005 p94">text of the citation</ref>.

Jan - Thanks so much for that explanation. I love knowing the reason behind why things work the way they do.

Cheers, Liz
Good explanation Jan, I just want to add that the named tags with double quotes and those without are parsed in different ways. When you use it without double quotes then only same named tags below the first tag are parsed, but those same named tags with double quotes are parsed for the whole page. There is a good technical explanation but I am not going to bore you with it. Suffice it to say that those without double quotes might run into problems in future upgrades as Jan pointed out. So although they appear to function the same, they don't.

1 Answer

+3 votes

It is acceptable, see here. For the example you have given I think it is a useful technique.

by Anonymous Hampson G2G6 Pilot (105k points)
Correction: while the link above goes to the right help page, note that the text there (under angle brackets) says that the span tag should not be used in sources.

Excuse me what Jillaine?  How could span tags be on the recommended and allowed list of tags but be "not recommended for sources and references."  That is the primary use of <span id="..."> tags.  It is widely used by the wikitree community, it is widely supported by the wikitree community, it has the explicit support of Chris Whitten, the vast majority of such tags are actually created by wikitree software during gedcom uploads, and they are used on literally millions of wikitree profiles for this purpose.

Joe, I'm just pointing out what it says on the help page. I've also seen g2g threads that also confirm it's not approved for source citations.  

Where has Chris W explicitly supported this?
There are many ways span tags can be used.  I think the not recommended are those that point you to a ref that points you to a source citation.

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