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[edit] English

[edit] Noun

DISAMBIGUATIONS - Important Wikipedia Info
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disambiguation (plural disambiguations)
  1. The removal of ambiguity. The lexical disambiguation relies on looking ahead to identify possible senses.
[edit] Translations

[edit] Synonyms

Here's the real story (from the home page!)


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Disambiguation in Wikipedia is the process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic, making that term likely to be the natural title for more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to different articles which could, in principle, have the same title.
For example, the word "Mercury" can refer to several different things, including an element, a planet, an automobile brand, a record label, a NASA manned-spaceflight project, a plant, and a Roman god. Since only one Wikipedia page can have the generic name "Mercury", unambiguous article titles are used for each of these topics: Mercury (element), Mercury (planet), Mercury (automobile), Mercury Records, Project Mercury, Mercury (plant), Mercury (mythology). There must then be a way to direct the reader to the correct specific article when an ambiguous term is referenced by linking, browsing or searching; this is what is known as disambiguation. In this case it is achieved using Mercury as a disambiguation page.
Two methods of disambiguating are discussed here:
  • disambiguation links — at the top of an article, a note that links the reader to Wikipedia articles with similar titles or concepts that the reader may have been seeking instead of the article in which the links appear.
  • disambiguation pages — non-article pages that serve only to refer users to other Wikipedia pages.

Wikipedia guidelinesContentArticle InclusionClassificationEditingDiscussionBehaviorStyle
Manual of Style See also policies



[edit] Deciding to disambiguate

Ask yourself: When readers enter a given term in the Wikipedia search box and clicks "Go", what article would they most likely be expecting to view as a result? For example, when someone looks up Joker, would they expect to find information on comedians? On a card? On Batman's nemesis? On the hit song or album by The Steve Miller Band? When more than one possibility exists, there should be a way for readers to find their way quickly from the page whose title is that term to any of the articles which might reasonably be called by that term. Either the top of the page should have one or more disambiguation links, or the page itself should be a disambiguation page.

[edit] Is there a primary topic?

When there is a well-known primary topic for an ambiguous term, name or phrase, much more used than any other (significantly more commonly searched for and read than other meanings), then that term or phrase should be used for the title of the article on that topic. That article should have a disambiguation link at the top, and the disambiguation page should link back to the primary topic.
If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".
Tools that may help determine a primary meaning (but are not determining factors by themselves):
  1. Incoming wikilinks from Special:WhatLinksHere
  2. Wikipedia article traffic statistics from http://stats.grok.se/en/
  3. Google web, news, scholar, or book searches from http://www.google.com/
In some cases the primary topic may be a redirect to a different article. For example, the primary topic for "Danzig" is the former German city of that name, but that city's article is titled Gdańsk. Therefore Danzig redirects to Gdańsk, and the latter page contains a link to Danzig (disambiguation), where other meanings of "Danzig" are listed. (For the templates used to create such links, see Disambiguation links below, and WP:Hatnotes for more options.)

[edit] Disambiguation page or disambiguation links?

If there are three or more topics associated with the same term, then a disambiguation page should normally be created for that term (in which case disambiguation links may or may not be desirable on the specific topic articles – see below). If only a primary topic and one other topic require disambiguation, then disambiguation links are sufficient, and a disambiguation page is unnecessary.
If there are two topics for a term but neither is considered the primary topic, then a disambiguation page may be used; an alternative is to set up a redirect from the term to one of the topics, and use disambiguation links only.
For more about disambiguation links, see Disambiguation links below. For rules about naming disambiguation pages and combining similar terms on a single page, see Disambiguation pages.

[edit] Naming the specific topic articles

For disambiguating specific topic pages, several options are available:
  1. When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.
  2. A disambiguating word or phrase can be added in parentheses. The word or phrase in parentheses should be:
  3. Rarely, an adjective describing the topic can be used, but it is usually better to rephrase such a title to avoid parentheses.
  4. With place-names, if the disambiguating term is a higher-level administrative division, it is often separated using a comma instead of parentheses, as in Windsor, Berkshire. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (settlements).
Simplicity If there is a choice between disambiguating with a generic class or with a context, choose whichever is simpler. For example, use "(mythology)" rather than "(mythological figure)". Use the same disambiguating phrase for other topics within the same context.
If there is a choice between using a short phrase and word with context, such as Mathematical analysis and Analysis (mathematics), there is no hard rule about which is preferred. Both may be created, with one redirecting to the other.Biographies For biographies, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people)#Qualifier between bracketing parentheses.

[edit] Format

To conform to the naming conventions, the phrase in parentheses should be treated just as any other word in a title: normally lowercase, unless (like a book title) it is a proper noun that always appears capitalized even in running text.
For more on which word or phrase to insert in the parentheses, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions. For common disambiguation words, see User:Kevinkor2/Research into names of Wikipedia articles.

[edit] Disambiguation links

Main article: Wikipedia:Hatnotes
Users searching for what turns out to be an ambiguous term may not reach the article they expected. Therefore any article with an ambiguous title should contain helpful links to alternative Wikipedia articles or disambiguation pages, placed at the top of the article using one of the templates shown below. (Notice that the links are generated automatically, so double square brackets should not be used within the templates.)
In some cases there are different templates available, including or omitting information about the topic of the article. The shorter hatnote may be chosen if omitting the information is not likely to confuse the reader.
On a primary topic page for a term that has one secondary topic only (no disambiguation page):
  • Type {{Otheruses4|TOPIC|TOPIC 2|ARTICLE (2)}} to produce:
  • Type {{For|TOPIC 2|ARTICLE (2)}} to produce:
  • Type {{See also|ARTICLE (2)}} to produce:
See also: ARTICLE (2) On a secondary topic page for a term that has one other topic only (no disambiguation page):
  • As above, but consider whether the hatnote is really necessary (see the first of the usage guidelines below).
On a primary topic page that has an associated disambiguation page:
On a secondary topic page that has an associated disambiguation page:
  • If a link is considered necessary, type {{Otheruses2|NAME}} to produce:
  • or, if there is no primary topic, {{Otheruses3|NAME}} to produce:
When the primary topic redirects to another page:
  • If there is only one secondary topic, type {{Redirect|TERM|TOPIC 2|ARTICLE (2)}} on the target page to produce:
  • If there is a disambiguation page, type {{Redirect|TERM}} to produce:
Other variations on these templates are available, including templates for specific subjects such as places, numbers, etc. Templates are listed and illustrated at Template talk:Otheruses4 and Wikipedia:Otheruses templates (example usage). A longer list of disambiguation templates is found at Wikipedia:Template messages/General#Disambiguation and redirection; further style information is given at Wikipedia:Hatnotes#Templates. Many more templates are listed in Category:Disambiguation and redirection templates.

[edit] Usage guidelines

  • There is no need to add disambiguation links to a page whose name already clearly distinguishes itself from the generic term. For example, Solaris (1972 film) is clearly about one specific movie and not about any of the many other meanings of "Solaris". It is very unlikely that someone arriving there would have been looking for any other "Solaris", so it is unnecessary to add a link pointing to the Solaris disambiguation page. However, it would be perfectly appropriate to add a link to Solaris (novel) (but not, say, Solaris (operating system)) to its "See also" section.
  • As noted above, disambiguation links should be placed at the very top of an article, where they are most visible. For alternatives that are related to the article but are not a source of ambiguity, the "See also" section at the end of the article is more appropriate.
  • Do not pipe disambiguation links. Showing the entire linked article title avoids confusion, which is the reason for the link in the first place.
  • See Wikipedia:Hatnotes for other guidelines on the proper use of disambiguation links.

[edit] Disambiguation pages

[edit] Combining terms on disambiguation pages

A single disambiguation page may be used to disambiguate a number of similar terms. Sets of terms which are commonly so combined include:
  • Terms which differ only in capitalization, punctuation and diacritic marks. For example, the terms Oe, Ōe, OE and O.E. are disambiguated on a single page (Oe).
  • Corresponding singular, plural and possessive forms. For example, the terms Eagle Nest, Eagle's Nest and Eagle Nests all appear at Eagle's Nest.
  • Variant spellings. For example, Honor and Honour both appear at Honor (disambiguation).
  • Variant forms of names. For example, Fred Smith also includes persons named Frederick Smith.
  • Terms which differ by the presence or absence of an article. For example, Cure also contains instances of The Cure.
Editorial judgement should be used in deciding whether to combine terms in the ways described above. If a combined disambiguation page would be inconveniently long, it may be better to split the different spellings into separate pages.
When a combined disambiguation page is used, redirects to it (or hatnotes, as appropriate) should be set up from all the terms involved.

[edit] Page naming conventions

See also: WP:Naming conventions The title of a disambiguation page is the ambiguous term itself, provided there is no primary topic for that term. If there is a primary topic, then the tag "(disambiguation)" is added to the name of the disambiguation page, as in Jupiter (disambiguation). It is also acceptable to create a page at "Term ABC (disambiguation)" that redirects to a disambiguation page at "Term ABC". This type of redirect can be used to indicate deliberate links to the disambiguation page.
When a disambiguation page combines several similar terms, one of them must be selected as the title for the page (with the "(disambiguation)" tag added if a primary topic exists for that term); the choice should be made in line with the following principles:
  • A word is preferred to an abbreviation. For example, the disambiguation page for Arc and ARC is named Arc.
  • When no word can be formed all capitals is preferred. For example, the disambiguation page for "ddb" is DDB not "Ddb".
  • English spelling is preferred.
  • Singulars are preferred to plurals.
  • The simplest form of the term is preferred to those containing punctuation, diacritics and articles; for example SA is preferred to S.A., and Shadow (disambiguation) is preferred to The Shadow (disambiguation).
  • The spelling that reflects the majority of items on the page is preferred to less common alternatives.

[edit] Page style

Each disambiguation page comprises a list (or multiple lists, for multiple senses of the term in question) of similarly-titled links.
  • Link to the primary topic (if there is one):
A school is an institution for learning.
  • Start each list with a short introductory sentence fragment with the title in bold, and ending with a colon. For example:
Blockbuster may refer to:
  • Try to start each entry in the list with a link to the target page.
  • Each bulleted entry should, in almost every case, have exactly one navigable (blue) link; including more than one link can confuse the reader.
  • Do not pipe the name of the links to the articles being listed. (See exceptions)
  • Only include related subject articles if the term in question is actually described on the target article. (For example, the Canton disambiguation page legitimately has an entry for Flag terminology.)
Include the template {{disambig}} (or other disambiguation template, such as {{Geodis}} or {{Hndis}}) at the bottom as an indicator of the page's status. Following the template, include any of the standard categories as appropriate.
For a prime example of an actual disambiguation page, see Lift.

[edit] What not to include

[edit] Dictionary definitions A disambiguation page is not a list of dictionary definitions. A short description of the common general meaning of a word can be appropriate for helping the reader determine context. Otherwise, there are templates for linking the reader to Wiktionary, the wiki dictionary; see Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects#Wiktionary.
[edit] Partial title matches Do not add links that merely contain part of the page title, or links that include the page title in a longer proper name, where there is no significant risk of confusion. Only add links to articles that could use essentially the same title as the disambiguated term. Disambiguation pages are not search indices.
[edit] Set index articles Shortcut:
A set index article is a list article about a set of items of a specific type that share the same (or similar) name. For example, Dodge Charger describes a set of cars, List of peaks named Signal Mountain describes a set of mountain peaks, and USS Enterprise describes a set of ships. A set index article is not considered a disambiguation page, and need not follow the formatting rules for disambiguation pages. A set index article is meant for information as well as navigation: just like a normal list article, it can have metadata and extra information about each entry. It may contain redlinks to help editors create articles on notable entries. Set index articles should follow the style described in Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists).
Sometimes there will be a disambiguation page and a set index article for the same term. If the disambiguation page carries the name of the term (as with Signal Mountain), then the set index article should be named "List of XXXs named YYY" (as in List of peaks named Signal Mountain). Alternatively, if the set index article is considered the primary topic, it may be named with just the term itself, the disambiguation page being called "YYY (disambiguation)".
For more information about set index articles for ships, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships/Guidelines#Index pages.
[edit] Sister projects Disambiguation descriptions should not be created for subjects whose only articles are on pages of sister projects, even if the disambiguation page already exists.
[edit] Summary or multi-stub pages Several small topics of just a paragraph or so each can co-exist on a single page, separated by headings. Although this is similar to a disambiguation page, the disambiguation notice should not be put here, as the page doesn't link to other articles closely associated with a specific term.
As each section grows, there may come a time when a subject should have a page of its own. (See Wikipedia:Article size and Wikipedia:Summary style.)
Although many pages rely on this principle, it has become more common for each subject to have a separate page for its own stub.
Always use {{split}} or {{splitsection}}, and reach consensus before attempting the split. Wikipedia:Be bold in updating pages doesn't apply, as it is very difficult to revert a split, often requiring extensive assistance by administrators.

[edit] Preparation

Before constructing a new disambiguation page, determine a specific topic name for all existing pages, and the name for the disambiguation page. Move any page with a conflicting title (i.e., the same exact title) to its more specific name. Use the What links here list for the moved page to update pages that link to that page.

[edit] Construction

If an article has been moved to make way for the disambiguation page, use the What links here list of the moved page to access the redirect page created by the move, and replace that redirect page with the new disambiguation page.
Use the new disambiguation page to find and replace any old disambiguation links in existing pages with a link to the new disambiguation page.
Note that the standard link templates will actually point to a Term XYZ (disambiguation) version of the new name. Use the red-link on an existing page to create a redirect page marked with the {{R to disambiguation page}} template. For example, Term XYZ (disambiguation) could be redirected to the new disambiguation page Term XYZ as follows:#REDIRECT [[Term XYZ]] {{R to disambiguation page}}

[edit] Links

[edit] Double disambiguation

A double disambiguation is a link to a disambiguation page from another disambiguation page. This kind of disambiguation is typically more specific than one with a simplified name. This kind of disambiguation is relatively rare on Wikipedia.For example, Montgomery is a disambiguation page that leads to Montgomery County, a secondary disambiguation page.

[edit] Incomplete disambiguation

When a more specific title is still ambiguous, but not enough so to call for double disambiguation, it should redirect back to the main disambiguation page (or a section of it). This aids navigation, and helps editors to avoid creating new articles under the ambiguous title by accident.
Such redirects should be marked with {{R from incomplete disambiguation}} (which places them under Category:Redirects from incomplete disambiguations). For example, Aurora (album) could redirect as follows:#REDIRECT [[Aurora#Music]] {{R from incomplete disambiguation}}

[edit] Interlanguage links

Pure disambiguation pages should contain interlanguage links only where a similar problem of disambiguation exists in the target language; that is, they should not point to a single meaning from the list of meanings, but to another disambiguation page.

[edit] Links to disambiguated topics

A code of honor for creating disambiguation pages is to fix all resulting mis-directed links.
Before moving an article to a qualified name (in order to create a disambiguation page at the base name), click on What links here to find all of the incoming links. Repair all of those incoming links to use the new article name.
When repairing a link, use pipe syntax so that the link does not show the new qualifier. For example, when renaming Topic Name to Topic Name (qualifier), [[Topic Name (qualifier)|Topic Name]] will render as Topic Name just like the original.
A shorter alternative is to use empty pipe syntax, also known as the pipe trick. This allows editors to leave out the piped alternative when editing. For example, typing "[[Topic Name (qualifier)|]]" will automatically produce "[[Topic Name (qualifier)|Topic Name]]". Read Help:Pipe trick for more information.
Ambiguous links are periodically checked and repaired, but even if some ambiguous links remain, one of the primary reasons for making a disambiguation page is so that following such links will still be useful to the reader.
There is a tool to facilitate ambiguous link repair in the Python Wikipedia Robot. The bot offers to update links to choices listed on the disambiguation page. Don't forget to post a notice on the Wikipedia talk:Bots page.

[edit] Links to disambiguation pages

With very few exceptions, creating links to disambiguation pages is erroneous. Links should instead point to a relevant article. The purpose of a disambiguation page is to give a user who has typed an ambiguous term into the search box a list of articles that are likely to be what he's looking for. The exceptions to this are:
To link to a disambiguation page (rather than to a page whose topic is a specific meaning), link to the title that includes the text "(disambiguation)", even if that's a redirect – for example, link to the redirect America (disambiguation) rather than the target page at "America". (If the redirect does not yet exist, create it and tag it with {{R to disambiguation page}}.) This helps distinguish accidental links to the disambiguation page from intentional ones. See Category:Redirects to disambiguation pages.

[edit] See also

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