User:Spencer Bliven/References

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Several reference systems are accessible for MediaWiki instances. This page reviews the various options. The best option is to use {{cite pmid}} wrapped in <ref> tags. For instance:

<ref>{{cite pmid|16592676}}</ref>

Cite Template

Wikipedia uses a collection of templates for citations. There are a large number of variants, ({{cite}}, cite-journal, cite-book, etc), which all ultimately call Template:Citation/core. This complex system is poorly suited to copy to new mediawiki instances due to licensing issues and the large number of templates which would need to be transcluded. However, pages which will eventually live on en:wikipedia will have to eventually use this reference system. So a compatible system is desirable.


The WikiCitation extension seems to be a reasonable substitute for {{cite}}. It was made by the same author and has the same syntax, yet works as an extension and thus is much easier to maintain. It is licensed under GPL2+, but the license is unimportant since no code is editable in the local wiki.

Pros Cons
  • Easy to convert to wikipedia templates later
  • Semantic tagging makes it easy to use standard PLoS citation format, then change it later
  • Still experimental. Many bugs! It was apparently only released in Sept. 2011.
  • Poor documentation
  • Many properties which need to be set properly (steeper learning curve)

A full in-text citation, which also appears in the bibliography: {{#cite:author-date

| type=book
| translator-first=Gérard
| translator-dropping-particle=de
| translator-non-dropping-particle=la
| translator-last=Martinière
| translator-suffix=III
| editor1-first=Richard
| editor1-last=Jones
| editor2-first=Bob
| editor2-last=Johnson
| date=1999
| publisher=Publisher, Co.
| publisher-place=New York
| title=This work has a translator and editor, but no author


A short author/year citation, where the main citation is defined in the bibliography section below {{#cite:short | author-date | author-last=Smith | date=2000 }}. A footnote-style reference: <note>{{#cite:short | author-date | type=book | author-first=Spencer | author-last=Bliven | date=1986 | publisher=Storks, Co. | publisher-place=Boston | title=Childbirth }}</note>.

WikiCitation references

<biblio> {{#cite:long | author-date | type=book | author-first=Joe | author-last=Smith | date=2000 | publisher=Publisher, Co. | publisher-place=New York | title=Joe's Autobiography }} </biblio>

WikiCitation Notes



An older, more stable extension is Cite.php. It encloses free-form references in <ref>...</ref> tags, which are linked to a <references/> section at the end. References are free-form, meaning that changing the style requires changing each individual reference. However, the extension is listed as stable.

Pros Cons
  • Simple syntax. No properties to remember.
  • Stable development
  • Needs to be converted to wikipedia syntax after publication
  • Changing bibliography styles requires modifying every reference manually


Some interesting fact [1].

Cite with PubmedParser

The PubmedParser extension can format references directly from pubmed. For instance: {{#pmid:19782018}} produces

Alon U (2009) How to choose a good scientific problem Mol. Cell 35:726-8 [PMID: 19782018][DOI]

Previously (before 2017) we used the pubmed extension, which used the <pubmed> tag. This is now deprecated and will be disabled in the future.

Cite references

  1. ^ Gérard de la Martinière III. This work has a translator and editor, but no author (1999) Publisher, Co., New York

Template:Cite pmid

Wikipedia does not have the pubmed extension installed. To fetch citations from PMIDs, wikipedia uses wp:Template:Cite pmid, which generates user-editable citations automatically via a the wp:User:Citation bot. To aid conversion to wikipedia, a Template:Cite pmid wrapper to the Pubmed plugin was created.


WikiCitation looks interesting, but is not yet ready for release. Cite.php lacks features, but is straightforward to use and stable.

Use Cite.php with Template:Cite pmid wherever possible.

Bottom line: Use Cite.php

<ref>{{cite pmid|16592676}}</ref>