FamilySearch Wiki:External Links

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Blue check.png This page documents a guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that contributors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense and the occasional exception.

Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.

FamilySearch Wiki articles may include links to web pages outside FamilySearch Wiki (external links). All external links must conform to certain formatting restrictions. Some acceptable links include those that direct users to further research helps, online copies of records, or other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article for reasons unrelated to its accuracy.

Some external links are welcome (see "What should be linked", below), but it is not FamilySearch Wiki's purpose to include a lengthy or comprehensive list of external links related to each topic. No page should be linked from a FamilySearch Wiki article unless its inclusion is justifiable according to the guiding principles and policies. The burden of providing this justification is on the person who wants to include an external link.

This guideline concerns external links that are not citations to sources supporting article content. If the website or page to which you want to link includes information that is not yet a part of the article, consider using it as a source for the article, and citing it. Guidelines for sourcing, which includes external links used as citations, are discussed at FamilySearch Wiki:Purpose, Policies, and Procedures and FamilySearch Wiki:Citing sources.

Important points to remember[edit | edit source]

Restrictions on linking[edit | edit source]

For policy or technical reasons, editors are restricted from linking to the following, without exception:

  1. Material that violates the copyrights of others per contributors' rights and obligations should not be linked. Linking to websites that display copyrighted works is acceptable as long as the website has licensed the work. Knowingly directing others to material that violates copyright may be considered Contributory copyright infringement. If you know that an external website is carrying a work in violation of the work's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work. Linking to a page that illegally distributes someone else's work casts a bad light on FamilySearch Wiki and its editors. This is particularly relevant when linking to sites such as YouTube, where due care should be taken to avoid linking to material that violates copyright.
  2. Within the FamilySearch Wiki our goal is to always keep with the set standards established by our Guiding_Principles.

What to link[edit | edit source]

There are several things that should be considered when adding an external link.

  • Is the site content accessible to the reader?
  • Is the site content proper in the context of the article (useful, tasteful, informative, factual, etc.)?
  • Is the link functional and likely to remain functional?

Each link should be considered on its merits, using the following guidelines. As the number of external links in an article grows longer, assessment should become stricter. When in doubt about the appropriateness of adding new links, make a suggestion on the article's talk page and discuss with other editors.

What can normally be linked[edit | edit source]

If an article has external links, the standard format is to place them in a bulleted list under a primary heading at the end of the article. External links should identify the link and briefly summarize the website's contents and why the website is relevant to the article. The heading should be "External links" (plural) even if only a single link is listed. If several external links are listed and the subject of the article is a living person, organization, web service, or otherwise has an official website, it is normal practice to place the link to that site at the top of the list.

If you link to another website, you should give your reader a good summary of the site's contents, and the reasons why this specific website is relevant to the article in question. If you link to an online article, try to provide as much meaningful article information as possible. For example:

== External links ==
* [ Link 1]
* [ Link 2]

Most external links should present different details from citations. For instance, a concise description of the contents and a clear indication of its source is more important than the actual title of the page, and access dates are not appropriate in the external links section. Because citation templates were not designed for use in the External links section, editors that use in this section should be careful to ensure the resulting description is appropriate for an external link.

References and citation[edit | edit source]

Sites that have been used as sources in the creation of an article should be cited in the article, and linked as references, either in-line or in a references section. Links to these source sites are not "external links" for the purposes of this guideline, and should not normally be duplicated in an external links section. Exceptions—websites that can be both references and external links—include any official sites for the article topic, or websites that are specifically devoted to the topic, contain multiple subpages, and meet the above criteria.

Linking to databases[edit | edit source]

Help:Advanced Linking When linking to large database-driven sites like the FamilySearch, try to use an external link template. If the URL format of the database ever changes, it is sometimes possible to quickly fix all links by rewriting the template. See FamilySearch Wiki:Template namespace for more information.

Maintenance and review[edit | edit source]

Inappropriate and duplicative links may be deleted by any editor using the delete template {{delete}}; if the reason for the deletion is not obvious, please explain on the article's talk page.

Items that are clearly copyright problems, content that is off-topic or irrelevant or dead links may be marked with the following templates for repair or deletion. Off-Inline templates may be useful for flagging individual links that you want to further discuss on the article's talk page:

  • {{Copyright}} – to mark links suspected of violating copyrights
  • {{content}} – to mark links that seem off-topic or irrelevant
  • {{Dead link}} – to mark links that do not appear to be working

If a page attracts many links or inappropriate links, a note on the talk page or the above templates may be used to encourage the creation of multiple pages in this area in place of additional links.

If a new or unregistered user persists in adding an inappropriate link to one or more pages, please consider leaving a message for the offender both on the talk page and an Email to the offender off their User talk page.The above template can also be useful when combined with a note of explanation.

Additional to the three templates above the following templates can also be use to clean up spam and other inappropriate links. These are best used with a note to the creator of the link on the talk page of the article, and/or their User talk page.

  • {{DeleteASAP}}
  • {{Delete}}
  • {{Outdated}}
  • {{Pov}}
  • {{Non-English}}
  • {{no source}}
  • {{no license}}

More detail for the use of these templates can be found at FamilySearch Wiki:Maintenance Templates

Any editor can address these concerns by applying the advice on this page. When an article complies with the relevant standards, then any editor may remove the tags.

Searching for external links[edit | edit source]

Special:Linksearch is a tool for searching for links from FamilySearch Wiki articles to sites outside FamilySearch Wiki. For example, this link shows a link to Google on the Saguache County, Colorado Genealogy page.

Handling disputes[edit | edit source]

This guideline describes the most common reasons for including and excluding links. However, the fact that a given link is not actually prohibited by this guideline does not automatically mean that it must or should be linked. Every link provided must be justifiable in the opinion of the editors for an article. Disputes about links can be addressed through FamilySearch Wiki:Dispute resolution, and this template can be applied when necessary.

Disputed links should normally be excluded by default unless and until there is a consensus to include them as discussed in FamilySearch Wiki:Purpose, Policies, and Procedures and FamilySearch Wiki:Citing sources.

See also[edit | edit source]

Maintenance coordination

References[edit | edit source]