External links (links to websites other than this one) are an important part of a good article. Any list of these should reside in a special section of the article, appropriately titled "Links" or something similar. An external link may also appear in a footnote, if helpful.
The following syntax inserts an external link: [link-url link-name]. So for example [http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jan/10/henri-cartier-bresson-cameraphone Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have used a cameraphone?] is displayed as Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have used a cameraphone?.
A link should be presented informatively. "Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have used a cameraphone?" of course says nothing about authorship, date, or website. Much better would be something like
- Theresa Malone, "Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have used a cameraphone?", The Guardian, 10 January 2012.
(within a footnote) or
- Malone, Theresa. "Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have used a cameraphone?" The Guardian. 10 January 2012.
(within a list). For a footnote -- where an external link is used as a reference -- the date of access (retrieval) is a valuable addition. ("Accessed 16 January 2012.")
If the language of the linked page is not English, this fact is better noted.
Links direct and indirect
Linking to a page that is not the top page of a website is allowed, provided that a link to the main page is given somewhere within the same Camera-Wiki article. Thus unless a page has already provided a link to the Guardian's website, the "footnote" version of the link above to Malone's article should instead read:
- Malone, Theresa. "Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have used a cameraphone?" The Guardian. 10 January 2012. Accessed 16 January 2012.
which is produced by
- Malone, Theresa. "[http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jan/10/henri-cartier-bresson-cameraphone Would Henri Cartier-Bresson have used a cameraphone?]" ''[http://www.guardian.co.uk/ The Guardian]].'' 10 January 2012. Accessed 16 January 2012.
Links directly pointing to an image or to a PDF document are discouraged, but may be allowable, for example if the needed document is likely to be hard to find.
External links should provide valuable information about the main subject of the page; the usual practice at Camera-Wiki is to interpret this somewhat broadly. The information may consist of a single photograph of a rare camera, or a textual piece of information about a camera which does not appear elsewhere. Pages only containing sample photographs taken with a particular camera are allowed only if the camera is rarely used by today's photographers and few people know how to use it; this might apply for example to a wet-plate camera or to modern cameras whose construction is unusual, but does not apply to a regular point-and-shoots or SLRs from the 1970s onwards, digital or analog.
Here are examples of links which are discouraged:
- text-only pages which do not give any new information;
- pages containing bad or regular pictures of a very common camera and no other new information;
- pages only containing sample photographs taken with a very common camera.
Links to the works of notable photographers using certain type of camera are tolerated, provided those photographers pass the notability criteria defined at Wikipedia. However the burden of demonstrating that they do entirely lies on the contributor of the link.
Some wiki articles still contain "Photobloggers using an XXX" sections, inherited from a time when the policy for link insertion was more relaxed. This has led to blatant spamming and these sections will be removed. Please do not add links to these sections unless you have good reasons to think that they will pass the above criteria.
Linking vs advertising
Linking to the non-commercial part of an otherwise commercial website is allowed, but links directly pointing to a commercial page which sells new or used products is prohibited, even if the page contains valuable information.
Linking to a past sale of an auction house is allowed, provided that you are confident that the link will be active for a reasonable time. (This rules out links to past eBay or similar auctions.) Linking to the catalogue of a future auction or ongoing online auction is prohibited.
Many websites rearrange or remove their content, and of course entire websites can and do disappear.
If you think that a linked page may disappear, you may wish to back it up by archiving it at (supplying its URL to) WebCite. WebCite itself is here; you may read about it at "WebCite" (Wikipedia). When you have the URL for the WebCite backup, you should note it in the talk page of the article, or perhaps in a hidden comment (<!-- -->) or perhaps both.
If you find that a link is broken, do not rush to remove it.
First, it's possible that the website is suffering from a temporary glitch.
If you are satisfied that the problem is a lasting one:
- Use a search engine, and perhaps also the search facility in the particular website, to look for the same page (or, if applicable, a superior alternative) at a different address. If not:
- See if a WebCite link has been provided. (See "Anticipating link rot" above.) If not:
- Ask for the URL at the Wayback Machine, look for an informative archived version, and use the URL for that. The Wayback Machine itself is here; you may read about it at "Wayback Machine" (Wikipedia).