Re-using Wikipedia content

Wikipedia articles currently appear in a "Wikipedia" subchapter on EOL taxon pages. However, these articles often includes really useful introductory text (suitable for the EOL Brief Summary subchapter) or text that would greatly enhance other subchapters of EOL pages. We encourage users to identify excellent text from Wikipedia and submit it directly to the proper EOL chapter. Wikipedia entries that have been Trusted by an EOL curator are always a good source, but Unreviewed entries can contain useful information too. If you are not an EOL curator, the text you re-use will appear in its new location as Unreviewed text until a curator can verify it.

The steps for reusing Wikipedia text include:

  • Copy the Wikipedia text, either from the Wikipedia chapter of the EOL page, or directly from Wikipedia
  • In the Detail tab, click the "add an article to this page" button.
  • Pick your subject from the Subchapter drop-down menu. If you're not sure which is most appropriate, check out our subject descriptions. A Brief Summary, giving a general description and highlighting a few interesting facts about the organism, is particularly valuable.  It should be about 150-500 words long.
  • Leave the title blank, unless you feel that your section needs one. If you do use a title, it will appear as a subtitle under the subchapter title.
  • Paste and modify the text if you like (you don't have to but you are allowed to).
  • Cite the wikipedia article in the "References" box
  • On the right, pick your language, and select the CC-BY-SA license (this is wikipedia's default license.)
  • If you have changed the original Wikipedia article, leave the Rights holder field blank.  You will be the rights holder of the modified text.  If you use Wikipedia text verbatim or almost verbatim (this includes modifications like fixing typos and punctuation), put Wikipedia editors and contributors in the Rights holder field.
  • In the Rights statement field type "Text from Wikipedia" (if using text verbatim) or "Text modified from Wikipedia." 
  • In the "URL to original data object" box, place the permalink to the Wikipedia article (see below).
  • Submit your article.
  • If you are a curator, your article will automatically be marked as trusted. If you are not a curator, the article will be marked unreviewed until a curator has evaluated it.

Citing Wikipedia

To cite an article from Wikipedia in an EOL article identify the citation within your text by source and year in parentheses, eg: (Wikipedia, 2009). In the References section of your text object, enter the reference by the title of the article, followed by the page last modified date (find this at the bottom of the article) in parentheses, followed by "In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved (insert today's date) from (the permalink to the version of the article you are citing). If you copied the text from Wikipedia directly, look in the lefthand menu on the wikipedia article page, under Tools, select "Permanent Link". If you copied it from the Wikipedia chapter on EOL, the permalink is shown on the right under Source information on the Article Page.


Brief Summary

Crabeater seals are by far the most abundant seal species in the world. While population estimates are uncertain, there are at least 7 million and possibly as many as 75 million individuals. The success of this species is due to its specialized predation on the abundant Antarctic krill of the Southern Ocean, for which it has uniquely adapted sieve-like tooth structure. (Wikipedia, 2011)


Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 17 April, 2011. "Crabeater Seal". Retrieved August 11, 2011 from