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CZ:External Links

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This page contains standards and regulations related to External Links subpages.

It is useful to have relevant and trustworthy links on a specific topic gathered in one place. Particularly if the links are vetted by experts, this achieves something that search engines cannot: 100% relevance and superlative reliability.

Heading and format standards

Basic link format

The form for a basic entry is:

* [http://URL... website or page title] - Our description of the website

For example, we might write:

* [http://plato.stanford.edu/ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy] - detailed, reliable articles written by and for professional philosophers

which gives this output:

Suggested headings

We'd like to list as many and as large a variety of reliable external websites as possible. Consider whether any of the following headings are appropriate for your topic:

Individual articles For individual high-quality articles of interest; may or may not be part of more general website also linked-to; note, this can be built into a very large section with subsections
Guides, portals, and other general For general "clearing houses" of information about a given topic
Article collections Collections of non-reference articles, not released as part of a periodical)
Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference material Whether free or fee, should be linked only if it is adequately specialized; except bibliographies and search engines
Bibliographies Stand-alone, credible bibliographies, wherever found, are always good to link to
Search engines and Web directories Search engines or directories of external web links not hosted; do not file a collection of content here simply because it has a search function attached
Multimedia collections Pictures, video, audio
Data collections raw data sets not otherwise classifiable
For younger students Anything for kids up to age 14 or so; if that's the audience, put it here
Educational material Syllabi, lesson plans, exams, etc., for older and adult students
Journals and periodicals Professional journals, popular magazines, newspapers, periodical websites like Slate, etc.
Important and credible blogs Blog must be focused mostly on the topic, or else particularly famous as a source of information about a topic; bear in mind the "and credible" part
Companies Websites of for-profit corporations
Organizations Non-profit organizations, clubs, and other organizations
University departments For some topics, we might want lists of links to departments; possibly, this should live on a sub-sub-page, once it grows very long
Governmental websites Websites of relevant government agencies, usually but not always English-speaking governments

Note: add the headings if you know of appropriate websites, even if you don't have time to put the websites down. This way, we encourage everyone to expand the list of links to the fullest extent.

Please feel free to add to the above list, but bear in mind the coherence of the list as a whole!

File the link under the heading most appropriate, even if it might fit under several headings.

Guidelines for editing

Link to information about the topic (not about subtopics)

Links about a topic should concern the topic itself, and not subtopics, unless one is constructing a high-level "hub" of information. The reason for this, simply, to avoid duplication of effort.

Maintaining high link reliability

The most important rule to bear in mind in constructing Links pages is: The information linked to must be reliable. Popularity in the sense of high Web traffic is not a criterion for inclusion. Popularity in the sense of accessibility, of course, is.

All links on the Citizendium should be either created by sources known to be reliable, or vetted by reliable sources. So:

  • Amateurs who understand the basic standards of finding an expert-vetted source can link to those sources.
  • But websites that are written or edited by amateurs cannot be linked-to except by an expert who vouches for its reliability.
  • While we should be remain grateful to people adding information to the Citizendium, we should also, with a respectful explanation, remove links to unedited, amateur-created, and other websites unless those links were placed on the Links page by a editor in the relevant field, or by another person who is known to be an expert about the topic.

Guidelines for annotations

Annotations should be brief. But into that brief space you might put various useful types of information, if it is not clear from the title of the link or from the heading it's filed under:

  • What the website is. Is it a collection of essays? A search engine? A magazine? What?
  • Who created or maintains it.
  • Evaluative remarks. Particularly interesting or useful websites should be marked as such.
  • Pointers about what to look for at the website.

No self-promotion

You may not add links to websites you own, manage, or are otherwise closely associated with. See Policy on Self-Promotion.

Keeping links fresh

If you are a programmer, then consider writing a "bot" that will check our links. Basically, it should check the links on each Citizendium Links page on a monthly basis (but not all at once). If a link is unreachable, then it should be commented out (not deleted), and the Links page added to Category:Link Check.

After this bot is written and running, then we should do three things as needed:

  1. Double-check to make sure the commented-out links are no longer working; note that they might have been only temporarily unreachable, or they might simply have been moved to a different URL; often, you should look at the root URL (for example, http://en.citizendium.org instead of http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Links) and see if you can locate the page from there, using Google's "Search Current Site" feature.
  2. Delete the links that really have disappeared, or if they have moved, change the links, and remove the comment-out code.
  3. Remove Category:Link Check from the page.

See also

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