Wikipedia:Your first article | gathering references

Gathering references

Gather sources for the information you will be writing about. To be worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia, a subject must be sufficiently notable, and that notability must be verifiable through citations to reliable sources.

As noted, the sources you use must be reliable; that is, they must be sources that exercise some form of editorial control and have some reputation for fact checking and accuracy. Print sources (and web-based versions of those sources) tend to be the most reliable, though some web-only sources may also be reliable. Examples might include (but are not limited to) books published by major publishing houses, newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, websites of any of the above, and other websites that meet the same requirements as a reputable print-based source.

In general, sources with no editorial control are not reliable. These include (but are not limited to) books published by vanity presses, self-published 'zines', blogs, web forums, usenet discussions, personal social media, fan sites, vanity websites that permit the creation of self-promotional articles, and other similar venues. If anyone at all can post information without anyone else checking that information, it is probably not reliable.

To put it simply, if there are reliable sources (such as newspapers, journals, or books) with extensive information published over an extended period about a subject, then that subject is notable and you must cite such sources as part of the process of creating (or expanding) the Wikipedia article. If you cannot find such reliable sources that provide extensive and comprehensive information about your proposed subject, then the subject is not notable or verifiable and almost certainly will be deleted. So your first job is to go find references to cite.

There are many places to find reliable sources, including your local library, but if internet-based sources are to be used, start with books and news archive searches rather than a web search.

Once you have references for your article, you can learn to place the references into the article by reading Help:Referencing for beginners and Wikipedia:Citing sources. Do not worry too much about formatting citations properly. It would be great if you did that, but the main thing is to get references into the article, even if they are not perfectly formatted.