LitWiki:How to Contribute

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While there are many ways to contribute to LitWiki, sometimes just deciding on an approach can be daunting. This document is here to help.

First, you may find that just doing some secondary reading on a primary text could be beneficial in piquing your interesting in a particular aspect of a text and supplying a good starting point. For example, you might want to write on the Epic of Gilgamesh, but you’re not sure how to begin. You might find that if you do a bit of research first, critical analyses of the text will suggest deficient areas of the wiki’s study guide.

Annotated Bibliography Entry

An easy way to get started adding to a study guide is be contributing an annotated bibliography entry. Simply, this is using a template to add a secondary resource to a bibliography, followed by a couple of sentences that explain the significance of the resource. Bibliographies are staples of scholarly writing and give researchers a list of resources. Bibliography entries are organized alphabetically by author’s last name.

First, locate a strong secondary source,[1] usually a book or an article from a scholarly journal—your university library is a big help here. Get the article and read it, taking notes as you go. Try to identify the critic’s main point(s) and write it in your own words. Once you have read the article, you are ready to write your bibliographic entry.

First, find the appropriate citation template: book, journal, magazine, newspaper, or web site[2] will cover most of them.[3] Templates provide an easy, consistent way to use sources. For example, this is the template for citing a book:

{{cite book |last= |first= |author-link= |date= |title= |url= |location= |publisher= |page= |isbn=}}

These are the basic variables, but there are many more, if needed (see the book template for all of them). Simply paste the code on the wiki page in the appropriate location (alphabetically by author’s last name) and fill in the details. Once you have them filled in, click the “Show preview” button to see how it looks and if there are any errors.


  1. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources for a thorough discussion about choosing reliable sources for research. Essentially, you should keep your sources to scholarly printed material: books and journals. Occasionally web resources will work, like reviews and essays in magazines and newspapers and the infrequent web site, but mostly you will want to stick to those items you find in a library. Physically going to the library is the best way to uncover excellent sources, but increasingly full-text resources are available via university libraries. Either way, introduce yourself to a librarian to get the best sources.
  2. Web sites should be used sparingly as they (1) are often not credible, and (2) tend to disappear. If you think a web page would make a good source, look for two things: an author’s name and a posted date. If these are missing, you might want to avoid using the site as a source.
  3. See Wikipedia:Citation templates for further explanation and a list of other source templates you can use.