This project purpose is to facilitate discussion of the use of Wikipedia on geni.com.
The selected profiles attached to the project are merely representative of thousands of other profiles that reference Wikipedia. Before adding additional profiles to the project consider if those already included are not already representative of the "wikipedia citation issues" the new profile you're thinking about adding.
- What do you like about how other geni users cite Wikipedia articles?
- Do you think that we as a community rely to much on Wikipedia as a source for biographical information for the historical part of the big tree?
- Do you prefer the entire wikipedia article to be pasted into the "about me" section or just a summary?
- Should an effort be made to encourage non-English wikipedia citations? A person may be better documented on a non-English wikipedia article after all and geni.com has users throughout the world.
- Would you like to see geni develop some enhanced tools for citing very popular 3rd party like wikipedia, IMDB, findagrave, familysearch.org, ancestry.com etc?
- If so what would these enhancements function like?
- Google Search for wikipedia links on geni
Wikipedia Citation Guide
There are several different ways of citing wikipedia on geni.com. Several common ways are emerging.
- Many users like to put the hyper link back to wikipedia as the 1st line of the entry. Others prefer that information be presented first and that the citation is the ending part of the citation.
- Many users copy and paste the entire wikipedia article into the "about me" section of a geni profile. Others feel that this gives to much prominence to the wikipedia article and has the potential of hiding other equally valuable information that may appear in this section.
- Some users adopt a citation style where they include all of the 1st paragraph of the wikipedia article and then using quotation marks they additionally include only those other parts of the article that are useful in summarizing the genealogical facts and family relationships of the person.
A proposed style guide for Wikipedia citations can be viewed by looking at the profile of Josiah Wedgewood. Additional methods of well written citations are being discussed in this project discussion.
Note: On the left hand panel of Wikipedia is a section labled "Toolbox" and in that section is a link called "Cite this Page". Clicking on the "Cite this Page" link will open a window with eight or more examples of how to cite the page using different citation styles:
- Bluebook: Harvard JOLT
The MHRA style looks promising because it includes the date the Wiki page was accessed, the url, and the date the page was last edited. For example this is the citation page for President George Washington as a MHRA citation style:
SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'George Washington', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 January 2011, 22:50 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_Washington&oldid=405772928> [accessed 6 January 2011]
Key visual features of citation:
- Citation starts with the text "Wikipedia Biographical Summary" formatted as a h2 size headline.
- Name of the person should be in bold markup.
- Use of opening and closing quotation marks as well as ellipses help reinforce that this citation is from an external source (i.e. Wikipedia) and that this is just a summary.
- Generally copy the introductory paragraph directly from the Wikipedia article. Also quote other areas of the article that focus on family relationships and vital statistics such as births, marriages, and other family relationships.
- Generally do not quote the entire Wikipedia article. Ideally your summary should be short enough that a profile viewer can see the entire summary without having to expand the "about me" section.
- The final line should have the word SOURCE: in all caps and italic formatting and be indented with "block quote" markup. This should be followed with a direct link to the Wikipedia article possibly in MHRA citation style. See the above citation example on George Washington as a example.
- Hyperlinks should be added for others mentioned in the citation or geographic locations of interest. (In the Josiah Wedgewood example above notice the hyperlinks to Charles and Emma Darwin and the city of Burslem.
Current Project Scope
Currently the focus is promote discussion. Long range there may be an organized effort to collaborate on a general profile cleanup effort to make them more unified in their use.
Make sure and read the project discussions for some great feedback. Current discussions focus on what makes a well written "about me" section for notable and master profiles. There are some links on some well crafted profiles contained in the project's discussions.
Wiki Formatting on Geni.com
Below are several representative profiles of how various users are using wiki formatting to make profiles, surname summary pages and project discussions more readable. In many cases these profiles don't even cite wikipedia but are well cited and edited.