From Tolkien Gateway

References are the cornerstone of any serious encyclopedia, and Tolkien Gateway wishes to properly credit its statements. Much of our old content remains without sources or inline references, and fixing this is an ongoing project. In the meantime, references are required for all new information that is added to articles. This way, fanon and overinterpretation can be properly identified and omitted, and valid statements can be properly attributed to reliable sources.

Why references are needed

All statements about Tolkien's world and its people, places, events, etc., should be referenced from Tolkien's works. Statements need references even if they seem like common knowledge or common sense. Misconceptions about Tolkien are very common, and your memory is fallible: you may think you read something in Tolkien's books, but actually picked it up somewhere else.

One way to think of it is this: Tolkien Gateway isn't about what you know, it's about what you can prove. The way you prove your statements is by referring to one of Tolkien's works.

Statements about the real world or real people also need reliable sources. If you have questions about sources, you can ask in the Tolkien Gateway forums or in the chat server.


How to

Tolkien Gateway, like most MediaWiki-based encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), uses the Cite extension. A short how-to:

With this method, sources are cited within the text. The full list of citations appear wherever you type {{references}}, which should generally be at the bottom of the page just above the categories. This only needs to appear once per page, so you don't need to add it if it's already there.

Individual citations are added using the <ref> tag. This works the same way as in HTML: there's an opening tag <ref>, a closing tag </ref> (note the forward slash), and the content of the citation in between.

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 as a footnote.


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. You may still find it useful for citing some works that do not appear in the list above.

Reusing references

References 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 />

Note that when you reuse a named reference, you don't need to write out the </ref> closing tag. However, you still need to close the tag with a slash at the end. For example, if you have a reference named One:
Hobbits have hairy feet.<ref name=One> will not work. Instead, write:
Hobbits have hairy feet.<ref name=One />

Internet sources

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

Page numbers

The purpose of a citation is to direct a reader to the source of a statement made in an article. Tolkien Gateway encourages editors to make the most precise citations possible, but we recognize that there are many editions of Tolkien's works available throughout the world. Many editors and readers do not have access to any given edition of a work.

For editors who do not have access to the specific editions listed below, Tolkien Gateway accepts citations to the most specific available subdivision within the text, be it chapter or other type of heading. For the most part, the shortcut templates linked to above represent the minimum necessary precision for a good citation (e.g. "{{App|A1iii}}").

We encourage editors who have access to the following editions of the following works to include page numbers in their citations:

  • The Lord of the Rings - Include page numbers in citations from 50th Anniversary Edition (which is the edition favoured for citations in scholarly works).
  • Unfinished Tales - Include page numbers in citations from editions published by George Allen & Unwin, Unwin Paperbacks or Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, that follow the same pagination as the first edition (472 pages). Editions published after 1992 do not usually follow this pagination.
  • 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 works should not have page numbers included in citations because Tolkien Gateway does not endorse any specific edition due to the many editions:


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")

Usage examples

The following example uses Template:FR to cite The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 1:

Bilbo Baggins celebrated his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence.<ref>{{FR|Party}}</ref>

That will come out looking like this:

Bilbo Baggins celebrated his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence.[1]

The following example has three citations and demonstrates reused (named) references as well as page numbers.

Bilbo Baggins celebrated his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence.<ref>{{FR|Party}}, p. 21</ref> The following year, Frodo, now living alone at Bag End,<ref name=Chapter2>{{FR|Shadow}}</ref> gave a party in honor of Bilbo's 112th birthday.<ref name=Chapter2 />

The result is:

Bilbo Baggins celebrated his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence.[2] The following year, Frodo, now living alone at Bag End,[3] gave a party in honor of Bilbo's 112th birthday.[3]

Note that the two named references share the same number, allowing the article to have a shorter list of notes at the bottom. (Also, note that in a real article you probably don't need multiple references to the same chapter in a sentence.)

Explanatory notes

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}}).

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> inside of <ref group=note> ...</ref> 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.

Do not use this tag simply to label statements which you suspect to be false; instead use the articles talk page and ask for evidence.

See also