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This page is for policy covering wikilinks on Wikisource. For the style guide, see Wikisource:Style guide#Wikilinks.

Guidance on the acceptable use of wikilinks on Wikisource.


Wikilinks provide hyperlinks to other pages and sections within Wikisource and sister projects supported by the Wikimedia Foundation.

The use of wikilinks within the content (primarily the main 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.

Acceptable wikilinks[edit]

Links to Wikimedia-project pages are acceptable and considered to be annotations. Be aware, however, that linking to many types of Wikimedia pages would probably be 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. Wikisource pages in the Index and Page namespaces
  3. pages in the Help, MediaWiki, Module, Project, Special, Template and User namespaces
  4. 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 (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 point 2, 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.

Unacceptable wikilinks[edit]

Interpretative links (see below) are not acceptable.

Links to non-Wikimedia pages are not acceptable (partial inline URLs may be made into links, e.g. may be linked as using the wiki-code {{Plainlinks||}})

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.

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.