Help talk:References

From Tolkien Gateway

Articles with only one source[edit]

Where to put and how to use referencing, when you only have one source for an article (which has many sections or paragraphs)?

  1. Inline references (footnotes) for every paragraph
    1. Pros: It's easy to add new fact to an article, using a different source
    2. Cons: Clutters up the text with many footnotes
  2. Just put the source at the bottom (no footnotes)
    1. Pros: Doesn't clutter up the text (obviously!)
    2. Cons: If new info is added from a different source, it's hard to say to where each reference is pointing

Anyone recognize this problem? --Morgan 00:19, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I say yes to inline references per section, but not to paragraphs; see Lalia Clayhanger, for example. -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 14:49, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I am firmly in the "reference as much, and as often, as possible" camp. If I were writing an essay I would struggle to write a paragraph without referencing, so I think the same must be true here especially as we are simply conveying information. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 15:07, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Similar claims in different articles[edit]

Sometimes there are claims which I find are better (or more properly) explained in a different article. Shouldn't the reference only be used in that 'proper' article?

  • Example 1) Yesterday I was editing the article Fire-drakes. There is a reference to Smaug, and that he was killed by Bard. Now, the article on Fire-drakes isn't really concerned about the details of Smaug. Do we then need a reference for the general claims that are made about Smaug in the article on Fire-drakes?
  • Example 2) In the page for Quenya atar, we have the claim that it is derived from root ATA. If you go to the article on ATA you find the reference for this claim. But is it really needed to also have this reference on the atar page?

--Morgan 00:33, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

  1. Part of me says "No, that's common knowledge", but another says "Yes, to avoid confusion". Maybe a reference to Appendix B instead?
  2. Yes. -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 14:49, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
  1. I'm similarly torn.
  2. Yes. Languages are a minefield of misinformation. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 15:07, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Adding Maps to Reference Templates[edit]

Under Template:FR one of the options is "Part", which produces a reference to the "Part of the Shire" map. This is a very useful shortcut for adding a reference for a description of some location in the Shire (see the first reference in Hobbiton as an example). Template:S also has an option of "Map" for the "Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North" fold-out.

However, these are the only template shortcuts for references maps. It would seem useful to have other such references in other templates. Here is a list:

  • The Fellowship of the Ring (Template:FR) has the unnamed fold-out map for all of Middle-earth.
  • The Two Towers (Template:TT) has the same map as Book I, so it may not need a reference.
  • The Return of the King (Template:RK) has the unnamed fold-out map of Gondor and places nearby.
  • Unfinished Tales (Template:UT) has the fold-out "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" map that has different features than the two maps in Books I and II. Unfinished Tales also has the "Númenórë" map on the page prior to the Introduction.
  • The Hobbit (Template:H) has "Thrór's Map" and the bigger "Wilderland" map.

Could some administrator add these map references to the templates listed? If blank articles are attached to the references I or someone else could write up a description.

--Gamling 23:39, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Added maps to UT and H. I'm not sure which names to use for the maps contained in the LotR - any ideas? --Morgan 00:53, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
For either Book I or II how about "Map of the West of Middle-earth"? For Book III, in the style of "A Part of the Shire" map, how about "Parts of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"? Probably marked as non-canonical names when the articles are written. --Gamling 04:50, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Checking in my 50th Anniv. edition of the LotR, I see that the old map split in four pieces has been substituted by CT's redrawing made for UT. I'll suggest that we therefore redirect "Map of the West of Middle-earth" to "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age", and then note the publication history and any differences between the two maps in the article. What do you think? --Morgan 01:19, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Online sources[edit]

We don't have anything on web sources yet. The standard around the wikis seems to be: Author [if available] (Date [if available]), [ Article name], Website, accessed date [no linking required]

Any other suggestions? --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:27, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

I ussually use [ Article name], [ Website name], dated [[date]], [[year]] (accessed [[date]], [[year]]) --Amroth 19:49, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
I usually do [website Name], "[article-link Article Name]", dated Date (accessed Date). --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 20:07, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
I have made Template:Webcite (it might have to be moved; I was being "witty"), which you can see in action at TG:Sandbox. What do you think? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:17, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I think it's convenient to have a template.--Morgan 13:02, 19 December 2011 (UTC)


What's a semi-secondary source? How does it differ from a primary source? --Morgan 06:50, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Agreed, I also don't get it. Letters and new stuff published in Vinyar and Parma are primary sources.-- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  08:23, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
At the time, the distinction seemed sensible, but I'm okay with dropping it now. --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 08:34, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
If we want a distinction, perhaps it can only be between "published during Tolkien's lifetime" and posthumously published writings. But it might make more sense to discuss that in our article on canon. In any case I believe that we (the regular editors) have a fairly good consensus about what constitutes a reliable source.--Morgan 09:55, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Policy on page numbers and publisher info in citations[edit]

What is TG's practice on including publisher information and page numbers in citations? I know that, in general, page numbers are preferred when possible--but it seems that there's some confusion on how to achieve this. I suppose this boils down to a few questions:

  • In the past, I've included publisher information and page numbers for references to The History of Middle-earth series, and the publisher information was removed by other editors. I had thought that maybe this meant that page numbers were consistent across all different versions of these books regardless of publisher. But my personal collection of THoMe books consists of individual books from different publishers, and I'm realizing now that the page numbers in the Del Ray versions do not correspond with the versions published by HarperCollins and Houghton Milton. And it seems most citations to THoMe books on TG give page numbers that correspond with the HarperCollins/Houghton Milton versions. Does that mean that the HarperCollins/Houghton Milton versions are preferred? And if so:
    • Should citations to Del Ray versions include page numbers and publisher information? OR
    • Should citations to Del Ray versions simply not include page numbers?

These questions can equally apply to other books that have had multiple publishers, like TLOTR, where the page numbers are not consistent across versions. Should citations to books like TLOTR include both page numbers and publisher information, or is the preference to simply exclude page numbers entirely?

Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks! Protospace 06:13, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

Ordinarily, we don't do page references for The Lord of the Rings, unless it's the 50th Anniversary Edition, as the page numbering is so all over the place it is a complete nightmare to keep track off (to the point where on a couple of occasions the edition isn't enough, you will need to provide the printing to provide a reliable page ref).
For The History of Middle-earth, and indeed most books on this website, we don't provide publisher information but stick with the pagination of the standard HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt versions. Most of the editors here are European and will tend to have HarperCollins books. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 07:58, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. If this is standard practice, I think this should be added to this Help page for future editors to know about. I can do so.
Thankfully, most of my The History of Middle-earth books are published by HarperCollins; the only Del Ray book I've cited to in my edits here has been The Shaping of Middle-earth. But I've generally been providing page numbers where I've cited to this book. I'll try to undo them as best I can. I suppose the solution then is to remove those page numbers, and not to provide publisher/edition information? (I'd prefer the latter, as I think it's more helpful to readers to provide a page number to some edition, but I will follow TG's standard practice. I might also simply buy a HarperCollins edition of this book at some point, as my old Del Ray version is slowly falling apart.) Protospace 08:44, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
While we're on the subject, I suppose I should also inquire about providing page numbers for The Hobbit and UT as well. Protospace 09:39, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Same for The Hobbit and UT as for the LotR, i.e., no page numbers in references (since there are too many different paginations).--Morgan 00:12, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. Protospace 09:38, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps you've already seen it, but some years ago we discussed this and some related issues at Template talk:HM.--Morgan 15:34, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I hadn't come across that, thanks! I appreciate it being pointed out. I'll try to compile all of this info about page numbers and add a statement to this Help page so that it's more visible. Protospace 18:28, 26 February 2018 (UTC)