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References are the cornerstone of any serious encyclopedia. Though much of our old content remains without inline references, Tolkien Gateway wishes to properly credit its statements. This way, fanon and overinterpretation can be properly identified and omitted, and valid statements can be properly attributed to reliable sources.


How to

Tolkien Gateway uses, like most wiki-based encyclopedia's, the Cite/Cite extension. A short how-to:

With this method, sources are cited within the text. The full citations appear wherever you type "{{references}}", which should generally be at the bottom of the page just above the categories.

This is the text you type.<ref>And this is the source</ref>

The text in between the <ref>-tags appears in the References section. These tags can be named for reuse:

This is the text you type.<ref name=One>And this is source number one</ref>

Then, you use something with another source,<ref>Like this one</ref>, before returning 
to the first one.<ref name=One/>


See also Category:Citation templates

The most common sources have templates that can be used to write out references automatically. Generally, the format to use them is:


But there will sometimes be additional options for sources with more complex structures. For detailed instructions on how to use an individual template, click on that template's link below.

Main works

Other works

Note: {{HM}} is the old 'general-purpose' template, but it has been mostly superseded by the above templates, which offer more flexibility.

Internet sources

Additionally, the {{Webcite}} template can be used to cite web sources. See the template page for instructions on how to use it.

Page numbers

Editors should make all reasonable attempts to include page numbers in citations. For the below works, follow these guidelines:

  • The Hobbit - Do not include page numbers in citations, due to the many editions.
  • The Lord of the Rings - Include page numbers in citations from 50th Anniversary Edition (which is the edition favoured for citations in scholarly works)
  • The Silmarillion - Do not include page numbers in citations.
  • Unfinished Tales - Do not include page numbers in citations.
  • The History of Middle-earth series - Include page numbers in citations from editions published by HarperCollins or Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (all of which have the same pagination)
  • The Children of Húrin - Include page numbers in citations from editions published by HarperCollins or Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Beren and Lúthien - Include page numbers in citations from editions published by HarperCollins or Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


The following standards should be applied when writing references using "<ref>...</ref>":

  • Avoid adding a period/full stop at the end of the tag line (Example: "<ref>{{HM|RC}}, p. 20</ref>")
  • Place the tag line after the punctuation mark. However, an exception could be if you want to give a reference for a certain linguistic form of a word (or something similar).
  • Use "p." instead of "page" and "pp." instead of "pages" (Example: "pp. 20-2")
  • Leave a space between "p." (or "pp.") and the page number (Example: "p. 20")


An explanatory footnote (i.e., a footnote used for some reason other than purely to provide a citation, such as to provide additional information or clarification) can be added to an article by using a <ref> tag with the "note" parameter:

This is the text.<ref group=note>This is the explanatory footnote. See citation.</ref>

When placing the {{references}} template near the bottom of the article, it must include a "notes" parameter for these footnotes to appear on the page; to do so, use the code {{references|notes}} (instead of the usual "{{references}}" code).

Note that <ref> tags cannot be nested, meaning that you cannot include an inline citation within an explanatory footnote itself. In other words, placing <ref>...</ref> code inside of <ref group=note> ...</ref> code will not work. Therefore, to include a citation in an explanatory footnote, provide the citation in the text of the footnote itself (following whichever part of the footnote text that the citation supports), as indicated in the example above.

Questionable statements

Questionable statements can be challenged with the {{fact}} template. Fanon, conjecture, and overinterpretation that is unreferenced can be deleted on sight.

See also