Categories are used in Wikipedia to link articles under a common topic and are generally found at the bottom of the article page. Clicking the category name displays a list of articles in that category, as well any sub-categories. Categories help readers to navigate, sort, find articles, find related articles, see how information is organised, etc.
All of the categories form a hierarchy, although sub-categories may be a member of more than one category. An example of a small part of this hierarchical structure is shown below:
|Category:History||→ Category:History by location||→ Category:History by country|
|→ Category:History of Australia||→ Category:History of New South Wales|
|→ Category:History of the United States||→ Category:History of California|
|→ Category:History of Zambia|
The actual relationship can be a little more complex as a category may appear as a subcategory of several other categories.
Examples of categories on article pages
Each page has one or more categories. For example, this page has only one category - Category:Reader help. Categories are to be selected appropriately based on the topic of the article, its title or subject concerned. An article may have as few as one or two categories or as many as 45 categories or more categories, as shown in the examples given below:
Category editing basics
- For more extensive information, see Help:Category.
To put a category in an article, place a link like the one below anywhere in the article. As with interlanguage links, placing these links at the bottom or end of the edit box is recommended.
|Description||What you type||What will be displayed|
Categorize an article.
Link to a category.
How to find appropriate categories for a new article
Often it is difficult to categorise a new article. There is absolutely no need to search out each and every category possible for a new article, such as in the case of the examples, Montevideo and Barack Obama shown above. Many of these categories are added by people who enjoy categorisation, are refining the category tree, cleaning up categories or have special interests. However, each new article should have at least one category, if not two or three, when newly created.
It is fairly obvious to allot categories such as "Rabbits and hares", "Herbivorous animals" and "Meat" to Rabbit as it is a member of that zoological grouping, eats vegetable matter and is often eaten itself, all of which are matters of common knowledge.
However, many categories such as "Populated places established in 1726" in the case of Montevideo and "United Church of Christ members" as well as so many others in the case of Barack Obama are neither easily recognised or found in the category tree. These develop over time as the article is developed and improved, categorisation enthusiasts and people having deep knowledge of the article subject etc. further categorise the article.
A series of techniques may be used to select appropriate categories for an article.
- One way is to use the top level categories of interest to readers. These are Category:Articles and Category:Contents, as all articles can be found from these.
- Often the article title or the subject with which the article is concerned can help you us choose a category. Often this will be a starting point. Allot this category to the article and then click on it to search for a more appropriate category.
- Search for a sister article and see what categories it has. Some categories are automatically added, such as when a stub template is added to a new article. Similarly, adding WikiProject banner templates to talk pages of articles adds categories to the talk pages which help the WikiProject organise articles under their jurisdiction.
- Categories may also be found by using trial and error using the search box given below: