Help:Footnotes and references

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Footnotes and reference lists are vitally important to the quality of a Theosophy Wiki article. In order to force a footnote to appear immediately after a quotation or stated fact, use this format:

Text that needs a note.<ref>This note cites a source or explains something in the text.</ref>

It appears as a superscript number in square brackets immediately following the text, like this:

Text that needs a note.[1]

In order for the footnote to appear, it is necessary to define a Notes section of the article:

== Notes ==

Look at the first note in the Notes section below to see the result of keying this in:

Text that needs a note.[1]

Clicking on the superscript takes the reader to the note, and clicking on the arrow next to the note number takes the reader back to the text tied to that note.


Academic standards of writing require citation of source material in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or inline notations, so that the reader can refer back to source materials to verify facts. The Theosophy Wiki policy on style states that the most important thing about citations is to provide enough information that the original source can be located by readers. The Chicago Manual of Style has been applied in many of the early end notes and bibliographic entries, but it is not required. Editors of this wiki come from a wide range of academic disciplines and educational systems, and are accustomed to several different styles of citation. It is reasonable in this wiki to apply styles such as the APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Harvard systems. See the article Citation for much more information on citation styles.

Typically, the initial or main author of a wiki page determines the citation style, and subsequent editors should generally try to match that style.
For source materials that are available in print and on the Internet, it is preferable to provide citations including both.

Here are links to style manuals and university guides online:

Examples of citations

Refer to the Notes section section below to see the citations.

  • Author, title, publisher, and page of a book.[2]
  • Author, title, publisher, and page of a book.[3]
  • Subsequent note from same book.[4]
  • Author, title, publisher, and page of a book.[5]
  • Reference work with no author.[6]
  • Subsequent note from same work.[7]
  • Author and title of article from a book with an editor.[8]
  • Unsigned article, in this case an obituary, from a periodical.[9]
  • Online periodical.[10]
  • Signed article on website.[11]
  • Recorded interview in an archival collection.[12]
  • Letter in an archival collection.[13]
  • Archival material.[14]

Bibliographies and other references

A bibliography or list of writings should be included in each article about a prominent writer. Publications details, notes about plots or contents, and links to online texts may be included. Works may be listed chronologically, topically, or alphabetically, and may be grouped by format (e.g. novels, Theosophical works, Sanskrit translations, poetry), language, publisher, or however is useful. Here are examples of bibliographies in various styles:

  • Works of Mabel Collins, listed chronologically:
    • An Innocent Sinner; a Psychological Romance. London: Tinsley Bros., 1877. Available online at Google Books.[2]
    • Our Bohemia. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1879.
    • Cobwebs. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1882. Also printed with subtitle "Tales."
    • The Awakening. London: Theosophical Publishing Society], 1906 and 1915. An account of how Light on the Path came to be. Excerpted in The Temple Artisan article "Death - Life's Great Portal."
  • Works of F. Otto Schräder, the Adyar librarian who was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his scholarly contributions, listed chronologically:
    • Die Fragen des Königs Menandros. Berlin: Verlag von Paul Raatz, 1905.
    • Erster (älterer) Teil. Berlin: Paul Raatz, 1905. Series: Die Fragen des Königs Menandros / aus dem Pali zum ersten Mal ins Deutsche übers. von F. Otto Schrader.
    • Tattvasarayana. An ancient Vedantic Itihasa. Issued in monthly parts. Madras, 1906. Edited by a staff of Pandits under the superintendence of Dr. F. Otto Schrader. Sanskrit. O.P.C.L. Series No. 4.
    • Bibliography of Sankhya-Yoga-Samuccaya Works. Adyar: Madras, 1906. Appendix to the Upanishads.
    • A Descriptive Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Adyar Library (Theosophical Society). Madras: Adyar Library, 1908. The Adyar Library Series No. 2.
  • A bibliography for another Subba Row Medal recipient, Geoffrey Farthing, is in alphabetic sequence. References to the original publications are not consistently available, but the list is still useful It lists titles of books and articles, with links to Internet versions:
    • After-Death Consciousness and Processes Part 1 [3] and Part 2 [4]
    • "Theosophy: Its Beneficent Potentialities" (2001 Blavatsky Lecture) [5], [6], and [7]
    • "Truth Is One," Insight Autumn 2004 (Vol 45 No.3) [8] and [9]

Here are examples of references in various styles:


  1. This note cites a source or explains something in the text.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 189-190.
  3. Roderick Bradford, D. M. Bennett: The Truth Seeker, (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2006), 53.
  4. Bradford, 54.
  5. A. O. Hume, Hints on Esoteric Theosophy vol. 1 (Bombay, India: The Theosophical Society, 1882), 29.
  6. The International Theosophical Year Book 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938): 213.
  7. Year Book 1938, 213.
  8. Rukmini Devi Arundale, "Rukmini on Herself," Rukmini Devi Arundale: Birth Centenary Commemorative Volume, Shakuntala Ramani, ed.,(Chennai, India: The Kalakshetra Foundation, 2003), 15-16.
  9. "Lama Anagarika Govinda [obituary]," The American Theosophist 73:3 (March 1985): 86.
  10. Theosophical Order of Service, TOS[1] No. 20 (February 2012), accessed February 28, 2012.
  11. Pasang Y. Arya, interview by Sylvie Beguin,"Lha and the Lha ceremony," Tibetan Medicine Education Center, available at Lha and the Lha ceremony.
  12. Dora Kunz interview by Peter Michel, 1995, Tape recording, Records Series 08.10, Dora Kunz Papers, Theosophical Society in America Archives, Wheaton, Illinois. Transcription by Sue Wright.
  13. Annie Besant letter to Fritz Kunz, 1923, Records Series 25.01, Kunz Family Collection, Box 1 Folder 9, Theosophical Society in America Archives, Wheaton, Illinois.
  14. Program Proposals, 1993, Records Series 05.07, Parliament of the World's Religions (1993), Theosophical Society in America Archives, Wheaton, Illinois.