Nutshell.png This page in a nutshell: Include citations to reliable sources to ensure verifiability when you add or verify content, especially with controversial issues and biographies of living people.
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This page is considered an official policy on TESWiki.

It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow. Except for minor edits, please make use of the discussion page to propose changes to this policy.


References allow editors to provide sources for statements in articles. On TESWiki, we mainly use references to link to an in-game book to provide a source to the subject in question.

The Elder Scrolls Wiki:Attribution, which is policy, mandates the provision of sources. Attribution is required for direct quotes, along with practically all other material. As The Elder Scrolls Wiki does not accept original ideas or fanon, all writing should be based on reliable sources, and therefore be referenced. Any material that is challenged and for which no source is provided may be removed by any editor.

If you do not know how to format the citation, provide as much information as you can, and others may fix it for you. Cite It! Be Bold!

Why sources should be cited

  • To credit a source for providing useful information and to avoid claims of plagiarism.
  • To show that your edit is not original research.
  • To ensure that the content of articles is credible and can be checked by any reader or editor.
  • To help users find additional reliable information on the topic.
  • To improve the overall credibility and authoritative character of TESWiki.
  • To reduce the likelihood of editorial disputes, or to resolve any that arise.

Note: TESWiki and other wiki-based articles and categories cannot be used as sources.

Not sourcing

If information in an article is not sourced, it is assumed to be easily verifiable, meaning one can easily enter one of the Elder Scrolls games and discover the truth of the information posted. Most information here falls under this category, as the game in which it article's subject appears is the source. Information that is not easily verifiable or sourced, is subject to be removed. If information contained within is an article is dubious or likely to be false, remove it or flag the end of the sentence with {{fact}}. This adds a template and category to the article, allowing other readers and editors to know that the information is incorrect or possible fanon.

Furthermore, the Elder Scrolls Wiki is not a forum for speculation or discussion of the games' unsolved mysteries or possible future releases. This information should be removed on sight. Only validly sourced information on to-be-published work should be included.

How to reference articles

Single source

Add the <ref></ref> tags around a source, as follows:

This is a statement.<ref>This is the source.</ref>

This would appear on the page as:

This is a statement.[1]

For the single insertion of a reference, the "name" parameter is not needed. On the Edit page, this is placed at the insertion point of citation:

Duplicate sources

Sometimes, the same source is used in several places on an article. Rather than list the same reference several times, duplicate sources can be grouped together like so:

This is a statement.<ref name="basics1">This is a detailed explanation.</ref> The same reference is used again here.<ref name="basics1"/>
This is a statement.[2]
This is another statement with the same source.[2]

Unlicensed references

TESWiki allows the addition of unlicensed (formerly "out-of-game") references, such as the independent works of Michael Kirkbride, provided they are clearly highlighted. Fanon should never be added.

"Licensed" references include:

  • All in-game content, including books, dialogue, quests, events, etc.
  • Anything published on a website owned by a ZeniMax Media company (e.g. Loremaster's Archives).
  • Official promotional materials, even on sites not owned by a ZeniMax Media company (e.g. Steam promotions).
  • Physical materials officially released by a ZeniMax Media company, such as strategy guides, pamphlets, and other merchandise (e.g. the Pocket Guide to the Empire).
  • Anything stated officially by an employee of a ZeniMax Media company (e.g. interviews, some social media, etc.).
  • Content produced by a non-ZeniMax Media company or author who has been licensed to work on TES (e.g. Sparkypants, or the TES novels by Gregory Keyes).

"Unlicensed" references include:

  • Content independently released by former employees of a ZeniMax Media company (e.g. C0DA).
  • Content whose authorship, while officially unknown, is considered to be a developer (e.g. Sotha Sil's Last Words...).

To add such references, group the ref tag with "UL" (formerly "OOG") and add an additional ref tag at the bottom of the page like so:

All mortal life started on Tamriel.<ref group="UL">[ Nu-Mantia Intercept, Letter #5]</ref>

<references group="UL"/>

This would appear on the page as:

All mortal life started on Tamriel.[UL 1]

Producing the reference list

To make the list of references appear on the page, add ==References== followed by {{Reflist}} on a new line to the bottom of the page.

<references group="UL"/>


In-game lore-sources, such as books, must not be altered or edited away from their original verbiage. Spelling errors, grammatical errors, and lore in-accuracies must not be omitted or corrected. Instead, you can set up a section of footnotes to bring the error to the reader's attention, or simply use the {{sic}} template. Formatting this is similar to formatting sources. The example below illustrates how to tag a sentence with a footnote, below that illustrates how to set up the footnote section at the bottom of the article.

...River Niven<ref group=note>"River Niven" should be "[[Niben River|Riven Niben]]"</ref>

Note the <ref group=note> and </ref> tag next to the error in the text. This only displays a "[note 1]" link at the end of the phrase. When clicked, it brings the reader to the footnotes section at the bottom of the article, where the text inclosed in the ref group tag is displayed. This is how to format the footnotes section at the bottom of an article:

<references group=note/>


This list only includes the basics for the rules. For more details, please follow the footnotes provided.

  1. References go immediately after punctuation and outside of quotation marks, with no space between the end of a sentence and a reference tag.[3]
  2. When naming references with <ref name="some source" />, when working on long articles or collaborations, users are encouraged to use full, linkable reference names to prevent accidental duplicates of a reference, though this is not a requirement. This is not necessary on shorter articles, and abbreviations are acceptable.[4]
  3. Italicize references where appropriate, such as with book titles, etc.[5]
  4. Do not reference articles only appearing in one appearance or source.[6]
  5. Reference articles as sparingly as possible, while still sourcing all of the facts.[7]
  6. Only reference a header (using the {{Ref}} template) when that source is the only reference under that specific header.[8]
  7. Links are required in references.
  8. References may be used in infoboxes.


  1. This is the source.
  2. 2.0 2.1 This is a duplicate source.
  3. This is a stylistic rule adopted from Wikipedia and many other English sources.
  4. Use of consistent linkable reference names prevents accidental duplicates of a reference. For example: one ref tag named "Return of the Jedi" and one named "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" will result in duplicate references on the same page. The word linkable does not mean that you actually [[link]] to the article, simply that if you did add the link brackets, it would go to the article on TESWiki. See Forum:CT Archive/Axing silly sourcing rule for decision resulting in current revision of this rule.
  5. This is another grammar/stylistic rule.
  6. If an article only has one appearance or mention, all of the information would obviously be from that source, and referencing would therefore be redundant.
  7. For articles with more than one source, start out as general as you can with the reference tags. For example, if an entire section is from one and only one source, tag the section header. However, if there is more than one source, instead tag the next level down: paragraphs. If, at the paragraph level, more than one source is still used, move to sentences. Finally, if that is not enough, tag individual words as necessary, as a last resort.
  8. Other: When you reference a header in addition to a random reference in the content under that header, you cannot know what information comes from the secondary reference? Is it the sentence immediately preceding the ref tag, two sentences, a paragraph, or just a phrase? Yes, we know it can be a pain to reference every paragraph (and sometimes even parts of sentences).

Reliable sources

Reliable sources should be added to articles wherever possible, and should, wherever convenient, be referenced using the <ref>''Name of reference''</ref> tags, and adding {{reflist}} to the bottom of the page if it has not already been added. The following are considered reliable sources:

  1. Books used in the games – There are a great wealth of books in The Elder Scrolls universe, and provide a vast amount of information. If the book already is listed here, then linking to it in the reference is considered acceptable
  2. Events from The Elder Scrolls games. This is also a reliable source to reference from. Where possible or relevant, link to the specific missions, people stating this, unless it is common/widespread knowledge.
  3. For sources about up-coming games, the following are considered reliable sources:
    1. The Elder Scrolls/Bethesda Softworks Official Websites
    2. Professional gaming magazines listing new features.
  4. For these websites, new features must be referenced, confirming where this information was obtained from.
  5. Any other websites that are referenced (if somehow relevant), should be carefully referenced to ensure that copyright has not been breached.
  6. Some articles posted at the Imperial Library are considered reliable sources, such as most book pages. Please check with an admin.

The following websites should never be referenced:

  1. The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages (UESP): A major reason for this is that, in the past, large segments of their pages have been plagiarized by our Wikia. This is not acceptable whatsoever. Use sources that have been mentioned above.
  2. In general, all wikis are considered tertiary sources and should not be referenced on our content pages.

More information

  • The pipe trick does not work when enclosing between "ref" tags. <ref>[[Dagoth Ur (place)|]]</ref> renders in the references list (generated by the <references/> tag) as:
    1. ↑ [[Dagoth Ur (place)|]]
  • Reference tags do not work inside of transcluded templates. See m:Cite.php#Current issues for more information.
  • References cannot be nested: <ref name="The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall">''The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall'' Also mentioned in <ref name="The Elder Scrolls: Arena" /></ref> does not render correctly.
  • In addition, you can read Wikipedia's policy at Wikipedia:Citing sources. While not all the rules are the same, most of the basics are explained in more detail on Wikipedia. Wikipedia:Footnotes explains more of the "how to" and technical aspects of sourcing.

See also

Cite error: <ref> tags exist for a group named "UL", but no corresponding <references group="UL"/> tag was found, or a closing </ref> is missing

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