Submissions:2022/Automatic citations in Wikipedia: how they work and how to fix them

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2022.


Automatic citations in Wikipedia: how they work and how to fix them


Saturday Longer Sessions, Sunday Wikimedia

Type of session:



References are one of Wikipedia's main pillars. However, inserting citations may be tedious. Fortunately, Wikipedia's visual editor includes a tool, Citoid, that generates citations automatically given a URL or other unique identifier. But this tool doesn’t work as expected all of the time. How often does this happen and why? Can we do something to fix it?

For the last year at the Web2Cit project we worked to answer these questions. In this presentation we will first show how automatic citations in Wikipedia work and why they may fail. Then, we will present our research results showing how often this happens and where. Next, we will discuss how the project was conducted in as close cooperation as possible with the communities whose needs we were trying to address. And finally we will introduce the tools we developed and how they may be used to collaboratively improve automatic citations in Wikipedia.

Academic Peer Review option:

Author name:

Diego de la Hera, Evelin Heidel (WMUY), Gimena Del Río Riande (CONICET), Nidia Hernández (CONICET), Romina De León (CONICET), Dennis Tobar (WMCL)

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

Wikimedistas de Uruguay (WMUY); IIBICRIT-HD CAICYT Lab (CONICET); Wikimedia Chile (WMCL)

Estimated time:

30-45 minutes

Special requests:

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Early project presentation as lightning talk at WCNA 2021; preliminary research results at Wikiworkshop 2022; workshops at Wikimedia Hackathon, Wikiherramientas, and others

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)

Yes (except lightning talk)