|This page in a nutshell: This page describes various inline citation techniques used in Wikipedia. Some short illustrative examples can be seen at Wikipedia:Inline citation/examples.|
On Wikipedia, an inline citation is generally a citation in a page's text placed by any method that allows the reader to associate a given bit of material with specific reliable source(s) that support it. The most common methods are numbered footnotes and parenthetical citations within the text, but other forms are also used on occasion.
Inline citations are often placed at the end of a sentence or paragraph. Inline citations may refer to electronic and print references such as books, magazines, encyclopedias, dictionaries and Internet pages. Regardless of what types of sources are used, they should be reliable; that is, credible published materials with a reliable publication process whose authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand. Verifiable source citations render the information in an article credible to researchers.
The opposite of an inline citation is what the English Wikipedia calls a general reference. This is a bibliographic citation, often placed at or near the end of an article, that is unconnected to any particular bit of material in an article, but which might support some or all of it. It is called a "general reference" because it supports the article "in general", rather than supporting specific sentences or paragraphs.