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Wikilinks provide hyperlinks to other pages and sections within Wikisource and sister projects supported by the Wikimedia Foundation. A key concept in this policy is that there should be no surprises for the reader when they click a link.

Content namespaces[edit]

There are two types of Wikilinks, those within passages of content, and those in the header templates of Main and Translation pages. See the documentation pages for the header and translation header templates for full details of what links are used there.

The use of wikilinks within the content (primarily the main, Page, and Translation namespaces) is limited by policy.

Basic wikilinks[edit]

Certain very basic wikilinks do not count as annotations. The names of authors may be wikilinked to an author page (i.e., a page in the Author namespace). The titles of books and other works may be wikilinked to the book or work's page in the main or Translation namespace.

  • Self-referential links to pages or other sections within the work should be made. (Comment: selfrefs)
  • Links to other works are always acceptable (whether we currently host them or not). If possible, do a deep link (see below), but at least link to the full title.

    This may need some research as many common works are referred to in abbreviated form. When we hold multiple versions or editions of a work, if you are unable to determine which one was meant in the work, then a link to the versions page for the work is acceptable.

  • Links to mentioned authors and non-authors who meet the criteria to have a portal are always acceptable. Take care, though not to duplicate links. Linking the first mention in a section of the text is sufficient. Also, if the work is about a person and there is a link to that person in the notes field of the header template, then linking in the text as well is not required. (Comment: related_author)
  • Links to Wikisource pages in the Index and Page namespaces are not required as inline links. In transcluded texts these are available either by clicking the source button at the top of the page for the Index and the small page numbers in the left hand margin for the Page namespace. If a work mentions another work, the link should be to the main or Translation namespace rather than the Index or Page namespace. The same applies if a work mentions a section or passage of itself or another work. Anchors can be used where needed. (Comment: links_to_pages)

Wikilinks to other Wikimedia Projects[edit]

Occasional links to Wikipedia for clarity and to Wiktionary for obscure words are valid. See the section Context-appropriate links below for more detail.

Links to the other Wikimedia-project pages are considered to be annotations and are most probably appropriate only in texts that directly relate to Wikimedia sites or the Wikimedia movement. These include (and are not limited to):

  1. files and file description pages
  2. pages in the Help, MediaWiki, Module, Project, Special, Template and User namespaces
  3. MediaWiki, Meta-Wiki, Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Labs, Wikibooks, Wikidata, Wikiversity and Wikivoyage pages

In regard to point 1, informative files showing something mentioned in the text should be included (Comment: include_files) (complying with the annotation guidelines) rather than just linked to. It is easy to include a file if it is hosted at Wikimedia Commons. However, some files are hosted at other Wikimedia sites. If this is the case, three scenarios are possible. First, if there are no contraindications to uploading the file to Commons, you can do that and then request the deletion of the original file. Second, if the file is compatible with our license but cannot be uploaded to Commons because of local policy restrictions, you can upload it to Wikisource and include it from here. Third, if the file falls under fair use, you must not include it as fair use is prohibited on Wikisource and on Commons.

In regard to Wikidata in point 3, inline links to invidual data points are explicitly excluded under the "no surprises" intent of this policy. See section on Wikidata below for its purpose in linking. (Comment: wikidata_inline)

Unacceptable wikilinks[edit]

Interpretative links (see below) are not acceptable.

Links to non-Wikimedia pages are not acceptable.

One exception to this rule is Bibliowiki (formerly Wikilivres): If a work mentions another work that is hosted on Bibliowiki rather than Wikisource because of copyright restrictions, you can create a page with the {{Bibliowiki page}} template on Wikisource and then link to it.

Other namespaces[edit]

Index namespace (see Help:Index pages for full details)[edit]

  • Link the Title to the title that is used on the Main namespace page. If the work is transcluded in multiple volumes, link the volume field to the appropriate subpage;
  • Link the Author to the Author namespace page;
  • Link the Publisher to the Portal namespace page;
  • If there is an Illustrator, Editor, or Translator, link these to their Author pages.

Portal namespace[edit]

Use the authority control template to link to Wikidata.

The lists of works on a portal should all be linked (whether the work is yet created or not). If a work is not yet scan-backed, and there is an Index or File available, then use template scan link. Once a a work has been fully proofread, the scan link template should be removed.

Author namespace (see Help:Author pages for full details)[edit]

Use the authority control template to link to Wikidata. This should enable a link to the author's pages on the Wikipedia, Commons, Wikidata, and Wikibooks, thus removing the need to supply explicit links. (Comment: author_ac)

Links to related authors can be placed in the notes field.

The two lists of works (by and about) should be linked (whether the work is yet created or not), unless the work is still in copyright, in which case the work must remain unlinked. Make links to co-authors, translators, editors or illustrators that are mentioned.

Wikisource Wikiproject pages[edit]

Links on these should be managed in a similar fashion to Portals (with the exception of authority control, which is not applicable).

The other namespaces need no commentary here.

Interpretative vs. non-interpretative links[edit]

The link target should correspond to the term showing as the link as closely as possible given the context. Links should only be made to the most specific page appropriate to the context of the link.

The linked text and the link target should be essentially the same. No significant amount of interpretation is allowed in adding a wikilink to the body of a text in the main or Translation namespace. Doing so is considered to violate our policy of neutrality. As part of this, straight links are preferred whenever possible. Piped links should only be used to hide namespace/project names, to disambiguate, where alternative spelling have been used, different wordings, or other, similar, minor differences.

Status What you type How it appears Notes
Allowed If the mad hatter of "[[Alice in Wonderland]]" had undertaken to write a history of the world, If the mad hatter of "Alice in Wonderland" had undertaken to write a history of the world, The title linked here is clearly marked and no interpretation is necessary in understanding its meaning.
Not allowed Lewis Carroll's [[Alice in Wonderland|most popular work]]. Lewis Carroll's most popular work. This link makes an assumption about the author original intention. This should be left to the individual reader.

Wikilinks as annotations[edit]

Wikilinks within the body of a text are generally considered to be annotations. This only relates to content namespaces (i.e., the main and Translation namespaces) and those the feed into it (e.g., the Page namespace).


Excessive linking should be avoided. Even where it is allowable to add a wikilink under this policy, too many wikilinks can be distracting and should not be used if they are not necessary.

Generally, a link should only appear once on a single page within the body of a given work. For example, if an author is mentioned by name multiple times within a short story, only the first instance should be wikilinked.


Underlinking is not a problem on Wikisource. It is normal for the body of a text to contain no wikilinks at all.

However, each page should have a {{header}} or {{translation header}} template and this should be as complete as possible. In particular, the header template should link to the author's page in the Author namespace. Subpages that represent chapters should link to the previous and/or next chapter in the work.

Titles of works and the names of authors within the body of the text should normally be wikilinked (to works in the main or Translation namespace and author pages in the Author namespace, respectively) but this is not required.


The following are not hard-and-fast rules but are generally accepted practice on Wikisource.

Unintended emphasis[edit]

Wikilinks that place an unintended emphasis on the linked term, to the extent that the work is altered and the term exoticised, should be avoided.

Wikilinks look slightly different than the surrounding, unlinked text. This draws the readers' attention and puts more emphasis on those words. In some situations, this emphasis potentially alters the work itself and can affect its reading. This can occur even when the meaning of the linked term and the link target are essentially the same.

For example, in Flight 93 Cockpit Transcript, wikilinking the phrase "Allah is greatest" to Wikipedia:Takbir places additional emphasis on those words, even though it is technically correct.

Context-appropriate links[edit]

The nature of the text may affect whether or not a wikilink is appropriate. This should take into account the author's presumed intentions, the likely audience of the text, and the use to which it may be put.

With academic or scientific works, more wikilinking may be appropriate as academics are more likely to use the text in that fashion. Heavier wikilinking may also be more appropriate in reference works, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, as the links would enhance the usefulness of such as text. (Comment: heavier_linking)

With poetry or fiction, little or no wikilinking may be more appropriate. However, archaic or obscure words may be wikilinked to their definitions on Wiktionary to aid the reader. It is more acceptable to wikilink difficult words in children's fiction than in adult-orientated fiction due to the presumed younger readership.

With works of a similar type, the specific use of the work can make a difference. For example, general theological works, such as Tracts for the Times (1834), and biblical commentaries, such as A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges (1910), both contain Bible passages and references that could be wikilinked to a copy of the Bible on Wikisource. However, a biblical commentary is meant to be used with a copy of the Bible already open; wikilinks are less important here as they are more redundant. On the other hand, it may be more approriate to wikilink references in the general work as the reader is less likely to have a copy of the Bible on hand while reading.

With older works, wikilinks may be more appropriate, whether those works are fictional, scholarly or any other type of text. In these cases, wikilinks are useful for understanding what the author is saying. Cultural references that would have been well known to the contemporary audience can be obscure to modern readers. Authors of older works may also assume that their readers have studied Latin and Greek, which is less likely to be true now. Situations like this can make wikilinks more acceptable than normal.

Red links[edit]

If the target page of an internal wikilink does not exist, it will appear red (unless the appearance has been changed through a user's preferences), like this.

Sometimes it is useful in editing texts and other pages to create a red link to indicate that a page will be created soon or that an page should be created eventually. Red links show works and authors that could, and should, exist on Wikisource but are currently not present.

A 2008 study relating to the sister project Wikipedia showed that red links helped that project grow.

External wikilinks (e.g., links to Wikipedia or other MW projects) will never appear red. Such a link will appear in the same light-blue color whether the target page exists or not, and therefore inactive links are indistinguishable from active links. External links should be created only if the target page already exists, or if the target page will be created in short order.

Past discussions[edit]


Wikidata is a sister site to Wikisource, it is a free, collaborative, multilingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikimedia projects. Wikidata supports Wikisource with more easily maintainable language links and infoboxes, thus reducing the workload in Wikisource and increasing its quality. Sister site links (eg. Wikipedia) and interlanguage links (eg. French Wikisource) should be maintained through the Wikidata database, wherever possible.

More information at Wikisource:Wikidata.

See also[edit]

  • Wikilinks in the project's Style Guide. Practical information about creating and using wikilinks.


  • ^ selfrefs: I think this could be clearer, perhaps with reference to common cases. Perhaps: Self-referential links to pages or other sections within the work should be made. These may include "q.v." references to other entries in an encyclopaedia, references to previous articles of a magazine or other chapters in a book. (Aside: perhaps we should have a way for policy to clearly denote "explanatory notes" that are not, themselves, normative?) Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 09:47, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
  • ^ related_author: We also have the related author parameter. Usage of that parameter is inconsistent. Theoretically, at least, if the article has main subject (p921) set, this can be filled in automagically. Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 09:47, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
My usage is that where I cannot easily or normally link the related author near the top of the work, then I can use related_author; so it its use is irregular though not inconsistent, I prefer to have those links in the body if possible, though I hate to wikilink anything that is a heading, or otherwise formatted work.
  • ^ links_to_pages: "Wikisource page" is ambiguous: perhaps Links to pages in the Page namespace are not required. (I assume this is talking about linking things like page numbers in TOCs, could also be clarified?) Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 09:47, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
Embedded links to Page: ns should not be undertaken in main ns, that is the job of page numbering. If people wish to do links to Page: ns, then do it from the Talk: page where it can be overt and not confuse the linkclickers unaware of our use of namespaces.
  • ^ include_files: This doesn't seem right: is this saying not only you can grangerise anything, but you should? And then it directly contradicts the next sentence because it's an annotation and that's restricted (and requires a clean version)? Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 10:05, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
  • ^ wikidata_inline: I'm not entirely convinced by this. If a mentioned "topic" has a Wikidata page, and several sitelinks and copious authority control, but that doesn't (currently) include an enWS author/portal or an enWP page (example: Lode Baekelmans), should we really forbid any wikilink? When the enWS/enWP article materialises, it is extremely unlikely that anyone will come back to it and create that link, so it'll likely be unlinked forever. However, a (putative) auto-resolving WD link would work seamlessly. I suggest at least considering development of such a thing, before we formalise an outright ban into policy. Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 09:47, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
Some other comment by me below. If we can use logic that has a template that they can link to the item, and if there is no interwiki to enWP, then no link, when there is an interwiki then it provides that link. We still don't want overlinking through this.
Sure, we don't want people linking to every noun. {{wdl}} seems like a decent start for this (and Reasonator seems better than a raw WD link as the fallback). Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 15:23, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
  • ^ heavier_linking: this is at odds with the "annotation" part higher up. If wikilinks are "are generally considered to be annotations" (a vague statement in itself), then according to Wikisource:Annotations (which is admittedly only a guideline, but often used as if it were policy) you may not add any wikilinks without separately maintaining a "clean" version. This is obviously not a practical requirement (not least because we have no way to host multiple versions of something against a single scan (phab:T259963), but also because that's a multiplication of the effort required, both for the contributor and for maintainers). Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 09:47, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
    Clean version should definitely be a print/download edition, and maybe we can have an annotated print/download version. <shrug>
  • ^ author_ac: the presence of {{authority control}} doesn't affect links in the sister link box. That is driven by the link to the Author page from Wikidata (which is also what fills the AC template). Suggest: Adding a Wikidata sitelink to an Author page automatically provides links in the header to the author's pages on Wikipedia, Commons, Wikidata, and Wikibooks, thus removing the need to supply explicit links. It also allows {{authority control}} to show all available authority control data for that author. Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 09:47, 4 March 2021 (UTC)

billinghurst comment[edit]

  • We mention content namespaces though this is then not extrapolated, or further defined. Mediawiki has a technical definition for content namespaces, is that what you are meaning, or are you meaning something else. To see what is look at siteinfo and search for "content": "". I don't think that is what we mean, so I suggest that we find another term than content and define. (Note we included Page: and Index: into our content space to get editing stats aligned with other wikis, and some of the stuff around search.]
    • Subsidiary to that, we may need to differentiate between links added in the notes field, and those added in the body text, as the allowances are different. I am more likely to allow some interpretative link there, eg. a parody work could have comment in the notes about whom modern scholars say to whom is considered the target of the parody
  • We have had different tolerances for wikilinks in author and portal namespaces. In that we have encouraged external linking to works elsewhere that we cannot display, eg. works licensed cc-by-nc... I know that I have linked to some Australian biography pages at the NLA and NZ Library as they had information on the authors, and they had yet to have WP pages, and it was prior to WD. To me, we can do that by directing users to our prepared templates for use, and discourage raw links which should go on the talk page if they are required.
  • We need to better explain or document that all links in the original work should be maintained as wikilinks, that is that a cross-reference in older works becomes a wikilink, or external wikilinks in modern works are maintained.
    • And a get out for "overlinking", for where the work itself makes multiple references then we should not be inhibiting those who do the repeats, one or multiple should be acceptable in our space
  • In main ns,: direct links to WD are only through the automated linking provided by the header
  • In main ns: body, links can be direct link to WP articles , or they can be via WP interpreted links through pulling manipulating WD item to point at the WP interwiki. We may need to get an easy template to do wplink to #invoke:WikidataIB to do the interwiki. We can emphasis that WD provided interwikis are more resilient, we should not be prohibiting direct interwikis, call them redundant or deprecated if you like.

Something that we could consider is allowing more fulsome linking, interpretative linking and wikidata direct linking from the talk page of a work, and encourage use of edition = yes as a pointer to that commentary. Whether we setup a framework for talk page additions, or just leave it to people's reasonable additions. This would align with the research that I have added to author_talk: pages, though that is not specifically highlighted or pointed at from the author: page. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:31, 4 March 2021 (UTC)