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What makes for a "reliable source"?

asked 2015-10-05 10:02:44 -0500

updated 2016-05-24 15:20:03 -0500

What makes for a "reliable source"?

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answered 2015-10-05 10:06:16 -0500

A "reliable source" is a published source from an organization that maintains some editorial control over content and/or has a reputation for fact-checking claims. Remember, just because something is printed on the internet doesn't make it true or appropriate for inclusion in Wikipedia. If you would be embarrassed to cite the source in a college paper, it's probably not reliable enough. More information on how to cite sources is available in our citing sources handout.

Articles from textbooks, major news organizations, or scholarly journals are all usually reliable sources. Websites with user-submitted information (IMDb, Wikia, Reddit, etc.) are almost never considered reliable sources, because content there could be added by anyone. Wikipedia is never a reliable source for any claim.

Websites or blogs which are self-published are only sometimes considered reliable sources, and often their suitability for a particular article will be a case by case determination. A website from a professor working in materials engineering might be a reliable source for engineering articles but would not be a reliable source on the Peace of Westphalia.

If you have a question about a particular source, you can search the Reliable Sources Noticeboard and see if editors have discussed use of that source before. If they haven't, or if the discussion looks old or inconclusive to you, you can post a new question on the noticeboard.

You can also ask your professor or your Content Expert if the source you're investigating is appropriate for Wikipedia.

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Asked: 2015-10-05 10:02:44 -0500

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Last updated: May 24 '16