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|This page in a nutshell: If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject, it is considered notable.|
In Wikipedia, notability is a word that is used to explain what makes things important enough to be the subject of a Wikipedia article. The topic of an article should be notable, or "worthy of notice". Notability is different from "fame", "importance", or "popularity", although these may affect it. A topic is thought to be notable enough to be the subject of an article if it meets the general guidelines below. If an article currently does not cite reliable secondary sources, that does not necessarily mean that its topic is not notable.
These notability guidelines are only about the encyclopedic suitability of topics for articles. They do not directly limit the content of articles. Relevant content policies include: Neutral point of view, Verifiability, No original research, What Wikipedia is not, and Biographies of living persons.
General notability guidelines
- "Presumed" means if there is actual and real coverage in a number of independent reliable sources, then we presume the topic is notable. However, a subject that is presumed to be notable may still not be suitable for being included. For example, it may violate what Wikipedia is not.
- "Significant coverage" means that sources address the subject directly in detail. No original research is needed to find the content. Significant coverage is more than trivial but may be less than exclusive.
- "Reliable" means sources need to be written truthfully and honestly to allow verifiable evaluation of notability, per the reliable source guideline. Sources may include published works in all forms and media. Availability of secondary sources covering the subject is a good test for notability.
- "Sources," defined on Wikipedia as secondary sources, provide the best evidence of notability. The number and type of reliable sources needed depends on the depth of coverage and quality of the sources. Multiple sources are generally preferred.
- "Independent of the subject" excludes works produced by those linked with the subject including (but not limited to): self-publicity, advertising, self-published material by the subject, autobiographies, press releases, etc.
A topic for which this guideline has been met by agreement, is usually worthy of notice, and satisfies one of the guidelines for a stand-alone article in the encyclopedia. Verifiable facts and content not supported by multiple independent sources may be appropriate for inclusion within another article.
- Non-notability is based only on a lack of suitable evidence of notability, and no longer applies once evidence is found. It is not possible to prove non-notability because that would require a negative proof.
- Not all coverage in reliable sources is evidence of notability for the purposes of article creation. For example, directories and databases, advertisements, announcements columns, and minor news stories are all examples of coverage that may not actually support notability when examined, even though they exist as reliable sources.
- Examples: The 360-page book by Sobel and the 528-page book by Black on IBM are plainly non-trivial. The one sentence mention by Walker of the band Three Blind Mice in a biography of Bill Clinton (Martin Walker (1992-01-06). "Tough love child of Kennedy". The Guardian.) is plainly trivial.
- Self-promotion, autobiography, and product placement are not reliable sources for an encyclopedia article. The published works should be someone else writing independently about the topic. The test of notability is whether people independent of the topic itself (or of its manufacturer, creator, author, inventor, or vendor) have actually considered the topic notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works of their own about it. Otherwise, someone could give their own topic as much notability as they want by simply explaining it in detail outside of Wikipedia, which would defeat the purpose of the concept. Also, neutral sources should exist in order to guarantee a neutral article can be written — self-promotion is not neutral (obviously), and self-published sources often are biased if even if they do not try to be: see Wikipedia:Autobiography and Wikipedia:Conflict of interest for discussion of neutrality concerns of such sources. Even non-promotional self-published sources, in the rare cases they may exist, are still not evidence of notability as they do not measure the attention a subject has received by the world at large.
- Including but not limited to newspapers, books and e-books, magazines, television and radio documentaries, reports by government agencies, scientific journals, etc. In the absence of multiple sources, it must be possible to verify that the source reflects a neutral point of view, can be believed, and provides enough detail for a comprehensive article.
- Lack of multiple sources suggests that the topic may be more suitable for inclusion in an article on a broader topic. Republications of a single source or news wire service do not always count as multiple works. Several journals publishing articles at the same time, in the same geographic region about an occurrence, does not always count as multiple works, especially when the authors are relying on the same sources, and just restating the same information. Specifically, several journals publishing the same article within the same geographic region from a news wire service is not a multiplicity of works.
- Works produced by the subject, or those with a strong connection to them, are unlikely to be strong evidence of interest by the world at large. See also: Wikipedia:Conflict of interest for handling of such situations.