Should a link be considered a source?

+3 votes

In a recent question on G2G it was questioned whether a link would be a source.  The profile presented had sources listed such a

Each of these links leads to specific information which is then considered the Source.  I argued that these are not citations of the sources.  One of my arguments was a printed copy of the Profile would not contain the referred to source; also if the links were broken, no source would be there.What is the WikiTree policy on using links as sources?

asked ago in The Tree House by Norm Lindquist G2G6 Mach 4 (44.1k points)

3 Answers

+2 votes

Websites can be considered a source but they should be typed in a normal citation format (which is suggested by wikitree) and treated accordingly.

Here's the style guide:

Edit --

All right, I read the other Q now and I saw this:

Inline citations will be my next step but any other suggestions are appreciated.

So, I wouldn't think this is an issue since edits are forthcoming.

answered ago by Dina Grozev G2G6 Mach 2 (21k points)
edited ago by Dina Grozev
+2 votes

My interpretation of the Sources Style Guide is that full citations should be used for the sources we cite in the See also: section, while abbreviated citations (such as those you show in your post) should be used for inline citation.

I believe Dina's edit to her answer explains the situation well - that the link citations are to be moved to inline citations, where they are fine to use in their present form.

We should always remember that most profiles are works in progress, and that we have different methods for our work. So we shouldn't get too "hung up" about any profile's current state of research.laugh

answered ago by Lindy Jones G2G6 Pilot (150k points)

Actually, you've got that backwards. This is the explanation from your link to the help pages:

"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:".

Sources in this list should always be complete citations, while the references that refer to them can be abbreviated.

This is how it looks on a profile:

I disagree with your interpretation, Lucy.


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:".

Sources in this list should always be complete citations, while the references that refer to them can be abbreviated.

This list can contain web pages, books, and other sources where more information about the person can be found, whether or not they were specifically consulted as sources.

Ideally, this list is organized in alphabetical order, by the name of the author, editor, compiler, or translator (in that order of precedence), and by title if no information is given on authorship of the source. This ordering needs to be done manually and it's not generally a priority.

The Sources headline should always be a level two, i.e. == Sources ==. On very early profiles you may see it as a level three, i.e. === Sources ===. This should be fixed when you see it.


What we call references could be called citations, reference notes, inline references, footnotes, or endnotes.

A reference provides a source for a specific statement in the text. Ideally every fact related to a person has a reference.

The same source is often used multiple times to support different facts. Instructions for doing this are on the Sources page.

A reference may include a page number or section while the source list item describes the entire work.

A reference may include annotations, i.e. discussion or analysis of the cited source. Alternatively, a reference note may simply be an explanatory note and not a source citation at all.

References are automatically listed in the sequence that they are used in the text. This happens in place of the <references /> tag in the markup.

Since text may be rearranged, references should never be manually numbered, and you should not use terms like "ibid."

There should be no "Footnotes" or other headline above the references. You will see this on some older profiles because it used to be the default style.

+2 votes

i posted something on the original page but I'll post it here as well.

I'm also not a fan of just giving a link but because of Honor Code VII - "We give credit.  Although most genealogy isn't copyrighted, researchers deserve credit for the the work they've done." There is also a link to this page

To me just a link to a web page doesn't given any credit to the person who might have created that page.  Even Wikipedia pages all have a page about citing that article on the left hand side of the page, that can be copied and pasted and the Chicago style (the recommended style on WikiTree) does at least credit Wikipedia contributors as the author.

This is the citation for a Wikipedia page about Henry VIII

Wikipedia contributors, "Henry VIII of England," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 7, 2018).

answered ago by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (305k points)

 I agree with you.  A profile should give sources in a way that bi9tb is easy to verify the source.  If there is just a link, it can disappear and so becomes not a part of the profile.  Every source should provide a path to verify the sopurce.

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