Sources: in-line references or bullet point list but not both?

+8 votes
Another newbie question, am i right in saying sources should be either as in-line references, (the method i've adopted for my profiles), or as bullet points under the Sources headline, but not a mixture of the two.

I prefer the in-line references as it seems a better way to which source relates to which part of the information, but I've found some profiles that after being merged have a mixture of source types and information that seems confusing. I initiated but didn't complete the merges, but I'd like to go in & tidy them up. I am on the trusted list for both but not the PM.
in WikiTree Help by Margaret Haining G2G6 Mach 4 (46.2k points)

5 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer
That is correct. Inline references will show under sources with a linked number as long as you have <references/> as the first line underneath ==Sources==.

So using both will make them double list. You CAN however add the sources you DON'T put as inline references. So you can have them mixed, just don't do both with the same source.
by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (279k points)
selected by Vincent Piazza

I disagree with your answer, Steven, and can find nothing in the sourcing Help pages to indicate that method.

On the contrary, my reading of the sourcing Help pages is that we repeat the inline citations - which should be shortened versions of their full citation - under the See also: subsection of the Sources section. In the See also: subsection, we should use the full citations (which we are supposed to list alphabetically, but I prefer to list them chronologically ).

Below are the sourcing Help pages to which I refer; if you -or any of our fellow WikiTreers - have seen contrary statements elsewhere in the Help pages and Style Guide, please post those links.

edit: I may have read more into your answer, Steven, so I have struck through some text in my comment.


ugh. This source help page has been edited since the style guide was created.  I know. I was heavily involved in the style guide development. What followed "See also" was supposed to be references that were NOT included in inline citations. Ie general resources about the person or era.

I don't know when this was changed or by whom but I'm not aware this change was discussed then decided.  (I am aware that there are differences of opinion about how sources should be done here.)

But this would explain why some People are following one approach (the style guide developed late 2013) and why others are following something different.
I ran across that one too in my work - going on two weeks now on a profile - well it turned into a whole family of profiles that need cleanup from several merges and it seems quite un-helpful really when one is striving for more clarity and less clutter - sometimes if some fact is sourced by several sources I feel it may be ok to get rid of some of the secondary sources when your primary is solid - really the flow is better without all that - and I then think some of that extra can then go down into the see also section - in the name of bloat reduction

I think you may have misread the text of the first link you quoted.
"What we call sources could be called items in a source list, bibliography, or works cited.
On WikiTree we put them beneath the references and a line that says "See also:"."

To me, this does not mean we put the sources under 'See Also'.  It means we put the sources under ==Sources== and there is a section called 'See Also' which we also put under ==Sources==.  It does not mean that we put our sources under 'See Also'. At least, that's the way I read it (although the syntax is not brilliant).

Lindy, I do not read those pages as saying you should repeat the sources used as inline references, that would create a database error suggestion, but the second page you cited says that if you use a source as an inline reference you do not add it again under the See also line. The sources after the See also line are those not used as inline references.
I've seen very few do it but I do read the style pages as suggesting a reference list followed by a sources list incorporating all sources used. (Preferably in alphabetical order)  That's in keeping with the recommended Chicago style  and also other humanities referencing styles;  Some go further [Chicago?] and divide primary or documentary sources from others. Normally, the term  bibliography rather than 'See also'  is used .See also  implies to me additional sources minus those already cited rather than the full details of every source used which may include books or documents not specifically cited.

But on most bios we are a very  long way from perfection. At the moment when merging I think that including all the possible sources  used is important. Later they can be rationalised. The problem is who does it and when?  

Wikipedia seems even more confused, the bio for Sir Isaac Newton has works, see also, references, bibliography, further reading and external links!

As I mentioned, Ros, the See also: subsection is part of the Sources section. I called it a subsection since it is not a level-x heading. I use it according to the Help:Biographies#Proper_order page.

I don't believe that this practice results in a database error suggestion, Dale. I certainly haven't received any such suggestions.

After rereading both Help pages, I still don't see such a statement saying not to repeat an inline citation in the See also: subsection. Could you copy/paste the relevant statement?
+11 votes
Sometimes you have to mix them. don't worry about it, no one seems to.
by Tom Bredehoft G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
+5 votes
I am not speaking for the community, but for my own work. I have evolved to use strictly inline references in order to keep the reference section cleaner and more meaningful. However, there are times when cousins use their personal knowledge of family history as a bullet reference. Out of courtesy, I leave these bullet references.

There is no cut and dry formula for formatting the bibliography and references. Use your best judgment.
by David Thomson G2G6 Mach 1 (12.9k points)
+2 votes
There are pros and cons to all of the above, and there will probably never be a right answer.

The <ref> and <references> tags creates what most people would call "footnotes"

I treat footnotes different from source citations. But the lines are blurred. My inline footnotes tend to be short references that point to the larger, more complete source citations.

One disadvantage of putting the full citation inline, is it makes the text, in edit mode, too difficult to read and maintain.

I recently saw a clever implementation that used named refs before defining them, then defining them at the end. It had the unfortunate side effect of a list of linked numbers at the start of the sources section, which was then hidden by wrapping the section with a span tag. This kept the bio section easy to read and maintain in edit mode, while keeping all the full citations together in the sources section.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (535k points)

"I recently saw a clever implementation that used named refs before defining them, then defining them at the end. It had the unfortunate side effect of a list of linked numbers at the start of the sources section, which was then hidden by wrapping the section with a span tag. This kept the bio section easy to read and maintain in edit mode, while keeping all the full citations together in the sources section."

My fave method. :-)

Oops, sorry.  Not recommended, therefore should not be used.
Those recommendations need to be updated, as Chris Whitten appears to have given his approval an a number of posts since.
Has he? Could you point me to the discussions, then, please?  I am also going from Chris's own 2016 link:
Dennis - That post by Chris suggests that he is waivering on his object to using <span> tags, which would relate to the issue of using them to hide the reference definitions. I really think it is hard to object to the rest of the "universal solution" because it uses approved in-line ref tags and definitions. The only difference is that it places the definitions all together rather than scattering them around where they are first used, which seems like a trivial difference as far as technique goes but, as you mention, has distinct benefits for readability in edit mode. If the issue is that there is a problem putting the ref definitions between Sources and <references/> (as I have heard some mention), that can be fixed by just putting the ref definitions (hidden by span tags) above Sources. The result and benefits are the same, although in edit mode it makes a bit less sense to me organizationally.
+4 votes
You can have both types of references, but I wouldn't duplicate the inline citations as part of the bullet list.  What I do is when I create a profile, I'll put all relevant sources in the bullet list, then when I get around to writing a full biography I'll move them to inline citations at the relevant locations, and delete them from the bullet list.  This way if someone wants to work on the biography before I am able to, they already have my full list of sources to work from.

I do prefer inline citations in biographies as it directs you to the exact source(s) that was used for a given fact.
by Brian Lamothe G2G6 Mach 2 (26.7k points)
That was sort of the same thing I said. LOL

And those saying they put an abbreviated ref and then put the full citation in the source,again you get both dumped into the source and it gets confusing to see it twice. Ref tags put the references right after the <references/> tag which means they are right above your added sources.

Moving them from sources to ref tags when you get a chance makes more sense. Personally, I like finding sources but hate doing bios. If I put the source then the bio builders can make the bio without having to hunt down sources.

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