Author: Krishna Chaitanya Velaga
Edited by: Chinmayi S K


A citation (or reference) identifies the source of information. Wikipedia verifiability policy states that "other people using the encyclopedia can check that the information comes from a reliable source"1

Books are widely accepted as reliable sources on Wikipedia. We have various websites where we can access these books, of them Google Books is one of the most used platforms.

Why and how to use the Wikipedia citation tool for Google Books?

Google Books does not display the complete text of books under copyright, but often shows previews of several pages. In some cases, Google Books displays the entire book. These can be potential sources of information to develop content on Wikipedia.

However, users often find it difficult to fill in the citation template. Wikipedia citation tool for Google Books makes this task easy by providing a user-friendly interface that’ll allow the user to generate a Wiki Markup code by using the data. This module will explain the various features of the tool.

To use this tool place the Google Books URL for the particular book and load the page in your browser. The tool automatically populates information into some of the fields once the link has been input. Some fields in the tool will have to be manually filled/changed.

The tool provides for information to be recorded about a book which includes various authors, page numbers, edition, volume, location of publication, language, ISBN, etc. Depending on the citation that you require, the usage of the tool varies.

Three parameters vary for each usage in Wikipedia citations; these include access date of the book, Page number(s) and the citation style.

In the first variation, you will be using the same citation (with no change in page numbers), once or any number of times for an article. In this case, the access date, and page number(s) needs to be given as an input in the respective fields. The ref=harv must be unticked. You may select {{cite book}} or {{citation}} as you need. If you’re using the citation only once in an article, then ref name may be left vacant, however, if you’ll be using it more than once, be given an identifiable reference name.

The second variation will include using the same book, but the page number(s) vary from citation to citation. Here the fields of access and page number(s) need to be left vacant, and the ref=harv must be ticked on. This will generate a code for the Harvard style reference along with the long citation. The long citation is to be added to the bibliography or book sources section of the article, and harv template to the concerned line in the body. The harv template comes with an empty page number field, which needs to be added for each page respective to information available. If you are planning to use a Standard footnote instead of harv, then replace the word "harv" with "Sfn" in the template.

If you have additional details to add, but there are no relevant fields available to fill, then the "Extra parameters" option should enable the all fields of cite template to be shown. However, these fields need to be edited from the preview Wiki Markup code.

Recommended uses

This tool can be used during the following programs:

  1. Edit-a-thons focusing on improving references on Wikipedia
  2. Editing campaigns focusing on improving references
  3. Training workshops on tools for Wikipedia
  4. #1Lib1Ref sessions2

This text has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. Preferred attribution: Krishna Chaitanya Velaga, Community Toolkit for Greater Diversity. Attribution URL:



  2. #1Lib1Ref is an annual campaign run by The Wikipedia Library to address the lack of citations on various Wikipedias. The campaign runs twice every year, 15 May to 5 June and 15 January to 3 February. Though initially it was started to engage librarians around world to improve citations on Wikipedia, over years, the campaign has broadened its scope largely, with the idea of adding citations in any setting. A #1Lib1Ref session can also be organized outside the campaign period as per your convenience.

next: Wikidata Game and Wikidata Distributed Game