A footnote is a note placed at the bottom of a page of a document to comment on a part of the main text, or to provide a reference for it, or both. The connection between the relevant text and its footnote is indicated by a number or symbol which appears both after the relevant text and before the footnote.
Footnotes are sometimes useful for relevant text that would distract from the main point if embedded in the main text, yet are helpful in explaining a point in greater detail. Footnotes are also often used to cite references which are relevant to a text. Citation of sources is important in supporting Verifiability, a key aspect of LGPedia.
You can add a footnote to an article by writing your note within <ref> ... </ref> tags, as explained below.
How to use
- A very simplified explanation is given at Help:Footnotes
- Place a <ref> ... </ref> where you want a footnote reference number to appear in an article—type the text of the note between the ref tags.
- Place the <references/> tag in a "Notes" or "References" section near the end of the article—the list of notes will be generated here.
This page itself uses footnotes, such as the one at the end of this sentence.<ref name="example">This footnote is used as an example in the "How to use" section.</ref> If you view the Wikicode of this page by clicking "Edit this page", you can see a working example of footnotes. The new format cannot be mixed on a page with the old Footnotes3 format—you must pick one or the other.
Place a ref tag at the end of the term, phrase, sentence, or paragraph to which the note refers.<ref name="location">This is the convention used in the Chicago Manual of Style</ref>
The ref tag should be placed directly after most punctuation marks,<ref name="location"/> without an intervening space in order to prevent the reference number wrapping to the next line.<ref name="location"/> The same is true for successive ref tags.<ref name="example"/><ref name="location"/> The exception is a dash<ref name="location"/>—which should follow the ref tag. This is the format recommended by the Chicago Manual of Style.<ref>"Note reference numbers. The superior numerals used for note reference numbers in the text should follow any punctuation marks except the dash, which they precede. The numbers should also be placed outside closing parentheses." (The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed. 1993, Clause 15.8, p. 494)</ref>
According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big,<ref>Miller, E: "The Sun.", page 23. Academic Press, 2005</ref>
however the moon is not so big.<ref>Smith, R: "Size of the Moon", ''Scientific American'', 46(78):46</ref>
== Notes ==
Citing a footnote more than once
To give a footnote a unique identifier, use <ref name="name"> ... </ref>. You can then refer to the same footnote again by using a ref tag with the same name. The name cannot be a number, or the extension will return an error.
Only the first occurrence of text in a named ref will be used, although that occurrence may be located anywhere in the article. You can either copy the whole footnote, or you can use a terminated empty ref tag that looks like this: <ref name="name"/>. Such forward-slash-terminated named tags may precede the definition of the named reference.<ref>Wikipedia Signpost. November 13, 2006.</ref>
In the following example, the same source is cited three times.
This is an example of multiple references to the same footnote.<ref name="multiple"/>
Such references are particularly useful when citing sources, if different statements come from the same source.<ref name="multiple">Remember that when you refer to the same footnote multiple times, the text from the first reference is used.</ref>
A concise way to make multiple references is to use empty ref tags, which have a slash at the end.<ref name="multiple">This text is superfluous, and won't show up anywhere. We may as well just use an empty tag.</ref>
== Notes ==
The text above gives the following result in the article (see also Notes section below):
This is an example of multiple references to the same footnote.<ref name="multiple" />
Such references are particularly useful when citing sources, when different statements come from the same source.<ref name="multiple">Remember that when you refer to the same footnote multiple times, the text from the first reference is used.</ref> <p> A concise way to make multiple references is to use empty ref tags, which have a slash at the end.<ref name="multiple">This text is superfluous, and won't show up anywhere. We may as well just use an empty tag.</ref> </blockquote> One should be particularly careful when deleting the first of multiple named references, because the footnote text will be deleted unless it is copied to the second (now first) ref tag.
- Internal links should still be used as normal, like this: LGPedia.
- Wiki formatting such as bold, italics, and internal and external links work as normal within the text of your citation.
- Avoid using Ibid in footnotes. Other editors who add new references to the article may not take the time to correct Ibid references broken by their addition. Furthermore, not all readers are familiar with the meaning of the term. If a reference is reused in more than one footnote, it is preferable to use the format "Smith, 182" rather than "Ibid, 182", so as to avoid these problems.
- Note: you cannot rely on the "pipe trick" to expand a link for you in ref text; you must type out [[George Clark (historian)|George Clark]], instead of just typing [[George Clark (historian)|]] and letting the software fill in the text after the pipe.
- Some editors make the references smaller. Although this has several disadvantages, it is common with very long lists of references to enclose the <references/> tag in a 'references-small class div', like this:
- <div class="references-small"><references/></div>
If multiple sections are made small for consistency (e.g. notes, references, see also, external links sections), the div tags must be opened and closed within each section.
- A class exists for small footnotes in two columns, but this displays as a single column in some common browsers:
- <div class="references-2column"><references/></div>
- For another way to make smaller text footnotes, see below.
Helping editors unfamiliar with this system of footnotes
Rather than simply adding
in the "References" or "Notes" section, consider adding the following:
- <!--See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Footnotes for an explanation of how to generate footnotes using the <ref> and </ref> tags and the tag below -->
The footnote text may also be RESIZED by changing the listed percentage. Any option other than 100% currently resizes the text to a standard 92%. Resizing is not encouraged as a standard technique in all articles.
(Maintenance aid: list of Wikipedia articles that used the Footnotes template "non-subst:")