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✔ This page documents an English Wikipedia content guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should follow, though it should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
This page in a nutshell: When an article title could refer to several things, a disambiguation page is needed. When the title usually means one thing but also has other meanings, add disambiguation links to the primary topic's article.

Disambiguation in Wikipedia is the process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic, making that term likely to be the natural title for more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to different article pages which could, in principle, have the same title.

For example, the word "Mercury" can refer to several different things, including: an element, a planet, an automobile brand, a record label, a NASA manned-spaceflight project, a plant, and a Roman god. Since only one Wikipedia page can have the generic name "Mercury", unambiguous article titles must be used for each of these topics: Mercury (element), Mercury (planet), Mercury (automobile), Mercury Records, Project Mercury, Mercury (plant), Mercury (mythology). There must then be a way to direct the reader to the correct specific article when an ambiguous term is referenced by linking, browsing or searching; this is what is known as disambiguation, thus Mercury is a disambiguation page.

Two different methods of disambiguating are discussed here:

  • disambiguation links — at the top of an article, a note that links the reader to Wikipedia articles with similar titles or concepts that the reader may have been seeking instead of the article in which the links appear.
  • disambiguation pages — non-article pages that contain no content and only refer users to other Wikipedia pages.
Wikipedia guidelines
Article Inclusion
Manual of Style
See also policies
Style guide
CJKV taskforce


[edit] Deciding to disambiguate

Ask yourself: When readers enter a given term in the Wikipedia search box and pushes "Go", what article would they most likely be expecting to view as a result? For example, when someone looks up Joker, would they expect to find information on comedians? On a card? On Batman's nemesis? On the hit song or album by The Steve Miller Band? When there is risk of confusion, there should be a way to take the reader from an ambiguous page and title/term to any of the reasonable possibilities for that term; either the top of the page should have one or more disambiguation links, or the page itself should be a disambiguation page.

[edit] Disambiguation links

Main article: Wikipedia:Hatnotes

Users searching for what turns out to be an ambiguous term may not reach the article they expected. Therefore, any article with an ambiguous title should contain helpful links to alternative Wikipedia articles placed at the top of the article by using one of the templates shown below. Their parameters are described in Template talk:Otheruses4 and illustrated at Wikipedia:Otheruses templates (example usage).

For example, the article about Alexander the Great contains a disambiguation link to the 1956 film Alexander the Great:

This is generated by entering: {{For|the film of the same name|Alexander the Great (1956 film)}}. (Note that the link is generated automatically, so double square brackets should not be used within this template.)

When there are several articles associated with the same ambiguous term, include a link to a separate disambiguation page. If there is a disambiguation page for the topic and its name consists of the generic topic name with " (disambiguation)" added to it, use the {{Otheruses}} template. For example, if {{otheruses}} is used on a page titled Topic, then the following text is generated:

Note that in this case the disambiguation page does not exist. If this happens when you try to use the template, either use another variant, as described below, or create the disambiguation page yourself.

A number of variations on this template have been created to ensure the uniform appearance of disambiguation links.

This template automatically uses the current article title and appends " (disambiguation)" to it. Not only does this make it easy to use, the template message will automatically change if the page containing it is renamed (moved). Since the page you're now reading is named "Disambiguation", if the template were used on this page it would read:
{{Otheruses2|Article title}}
This template requires an article title to be specified as a parameter, and adds " (disambiguation)" to it. For example, if you specify the article title "Derivative" it would read:
{{Otheruses3|Article title}}
Similar to {{Otheruses2}}, but does not add " (disambiguation)" after the article title:
{{Otheruses4|this topic|another topic|Article title}}
Used to describe and distinguish other topics from that of the current page. For example, if the parameter names above are used as-is in the template call, the result would be:
In an article about a year, this template provides a link to the corresponding article about the number. For example, when placed in the article about the year 1000, this template call would result in:
Analogous to {{Otheruses}}, but for place names. When used on this page, it results in:
{{Otherplaces2|Article title}}
Analogous to {{Otheruses2}}, but for place names. When the article title "Derby" is specified, for example, it results in:
Analogous to {{Otheruses}}, but for names of people. When used on this page, it results in:
{{Redirect|Redirected page title}}
Used when an article is the target of a redirect having a relatively common name. For example, the template call {{Redirect|Bach}} may be used in the article on Johann Sebastian Bach, resulting in:

A longer, but incomplete list of disambiguation templates is found at Wikipedia:Template messages/General#Disambiguation and redirection; further style information is given at Wikipedia:Hatnotes#Templates. Many more templates are listed in Category:Disambiguation and redirection templates.

[edit] Usage guidelines

  • Do not pipe disambiguation links. Showing the entire linked article title avoids confusion, which is the reason for the link in the first place.
  • As noted above, disambiguation links should be placed at the top of an article. Bottom links are deprecated, since they are harder to find and easily missed. For alternatives that are related to the article but not a source of ambiguity, the "See also" section is more appropriate.
  • While there is no specific prohibition against it, adding disambiguation links to a page with a name that clearly distinguishes itself from the generic term is discouraged. For example, Solaris (1972 film) is clearly about one specific movie and not about any of the many other meanings of "Solaris". It is very unlikely that someone arriving there would have been looking for any other "Solaris", so it is unnecessary to add a link pointing to the Solaris disambiguation page. However, it would be perfectly appropriate to add a link to Solaris (novel) (but not, say, Solaris (operating system)) to its "See also" section.
  • See Wikipedia:Hatnotes for other guidelines on improper disambiguation links.

[edit] Disambiguation pages

Each of these pages in Wikipedia comprises a list (or multiple lists, for multiple senses of the term in question) of similarly-titled links.

  • Link to the primary topic (if there is one):
A school is an institution for learning.
  • Start each list with a short introductory sentence fragment with the title in bold, and ending with a colon. For example:
Blockbuster may refer to:
  • Try to start each entry in the list with a link to the target page.
  • Each bulleted entry should, in almost every case, have exactly one navigable (blue) link; including more than one link can confuse the reader.
  • Do not pipe the name of the links to the articles being listed. (See exceptions)
  • Only include related subject articles if the term in question is actually described on the target article. (For example, the Canton disambiguation page legitimately has an entry for Flag terminology.)

Include the template {{disambig}} (or other disambiguation template, such as {{Geodis}} or {{Hndis}}) at the bottom as an indicator of the page's status. Following the template, include any of the standard categories as appropriate.

For a prime example of an actual disambiguation page, see Lift.

[edit] What not to include

[edit] Dictionary definitions

A disambiguation page is not a list of dictionary definitions. A short description of the common general meaning of a word can be appropriate for helping the reader determine context. Otherwise, there are templates for linking the reader to Wiktionary, the wiki dictionary; see Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects#Wiktionary.

[edit] Duplicate topics

Disambiguation should not be confused with the merging of duplicate articles (articles with different titles, but regarding the very same topic, for example "gas turbine" and "combustion turbine", or "restroom" and "washroom"). These are handled with Wikipedia:Redirects.

[edit] Partial title matches

Do not add links that merely contain part of the page title, or links that include the page title in a longer proper name, where there is no significant risk of confusion. Only add links to articles that could use essentially the same title as the disambiguated term. Disambiguation pages are not search indices.

[edit] Set index articles


A set index article is a list article about a set of items that share the same (or similar) name. It is different from a disambiguation navigation page, and should not share the same formatting nor be considered a true disambiguation page:

  • A disambiguation page has links to a heterogeneous set of concepts. It is purely for navigation, not information, and should have minimal formatting and follow the strict set of rules at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages).
  • A set index article describes a single set of concepts. For example, Dodge Charger describes a set of cars, List of peaks named Signal Mountain describes a set of mountain peaks, or USS Enterprise describes a set of ships. A set index article is both for information and for navigation: just like a normal list article, it can have metadata and extra information about each entry. A set index article can be entertaining and informative by itself, can help editors find redlinks to create articles on notable entries, and finally can also help readers navigate between articles that have similar names. A set index article should not be restricted by Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages) as it currently stands, but instead should follow the relevant style described in Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists).
  • Sometimes, there will be a disambiguation navigation page and a set index article with a similar name. For example, there is some topic "Like this one" that consists of "Concepts of this type" plus other meanings. In this case, the disambiguation navigation page should be named Like this one and the set index article List of Concepts of this type named Like this one. Alternatively, if the "concepts of this type" are dominant, then the set index article should be named Like this one and the disambiguation page Like this one (disambiguation). Whether to use this alternative follows the guidelines for naming disambiguation articles.

For more information specifically about set index articles for ships, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships/Guidelines#Index pages.

[edit] Sister projects

Disambiguation descriptions should not be created for subjects whose only articles are on pages of sister projects, even if the disambiguation page already exists (e.g., the poll on 9/11 victims). Subjects that have articles on both Wikipedia and sister projects are, of course, fine.

[edit] Summary or multi-stub pages

Several small topics of just a paragraph or so each can co-exist on a single page, separated by headings. Although this is similar to a disambiguation page, the disambiguation notice should not be put here, as the page doesn't link to other articles closely associated with a specific term.

As each section grows, there may come a time when a subject should have a page of its own. (See Wikipedia:Article size and Wikipedia:Summary style.)

Although many pages rely on this principle, it has become more common for each subject to have a separate page for its own stub.

Always use {{split}} or {{splitsection}}, and reach consensus before attempting the split. Wikipedia:Be bold in updating pages doesn't apply, as it is very difficult to revert a split, often requiring extensive assistance by administrators.

[edit] Preparation

Before constructing a new disambiguation page, determine a Specific topic name for any and all existing pages, and a generic name for the disambiguation page. Move any page with a conflicting title (i.e. the same exact title) to its more specific name. Use the What links here list for the moved page to update all of the pages that link to that page (more likely than not, a link in Wikipedia will point to your new disambiguation page unnecessarily, and this should be resolved on a case-by-case basis).

[edit] Construction

Assuming a Generic topic page, use the What links here list of the moved page to access the redirect page created by the move, and replace that redirect page with the new disambiguation page.

Use the new disambiguation page to find and replace any old disambiguation links in existing pages with a link to the new disambiguation page.

Note that the standard link templates will actually point to a Term XYZ (disambiguation) version of the new name. Use the red-link on an existing page to create a redirect page marked with the {{R to disambiguation page}} template. For example, Term XYZ (disambiguation) could be redirected to the new disambiguation page Term XYZ as follows:

#REDIRECT [[Term XYZ]] {{R to disambiguation page}}

[edit] Page naming conventions


A disambiguation page is usually named after the generic topic (e.g. "Term ABC"). "Term ABC (disambiguation)" is not the mandatory name for a disambiguation page, and is only used when there is a primary topic for the title "Term ABC". It is acceptable, on the other hand, to create a page at "Term ABC (disambiguation)" that redirects to the disambiguation page at "Term ABC". This type of redirect can be used to indicate deliberate links to the disambiguation page.

There should be just one disambiguation page for all cases (upper- or lower-case), variant punctuation and diacritic marks.

For example, "Term abc", "Term Abc", "Term Ábç", "Term A-B-C", and "Term A.B.C." should all redirect to one page.

[edit] Generic topic

In most cases, the generic term or phrase should be the title of the actual disambiguation page. This permits an editor to visually determine whether a disambiguating page is generic in Category:Disambiguation.

Links that deliberately point to generic topic disambiguation pages should use an unambiguous "(disambiguation)" link instead, to assist in distinguishing accidental links. In turn, the "(disambiguation)" page will redirect to the generic topic page.

For example, the specific topic Tables (board game) links to Table (disambiguation), a redirect to Table with the template {{R to disambiguation page}}. Table is a generic topic disambiguation page.

[edit] Primary topic


When there is a well known primary meaning for a term or phrase, much more used than any other (this may be indicated by a majority of links in existing articles or by consensus of the editors of those articles that it will be significantly more commonly searched for and read than other meanings), then that topic may be used for the title of the main article, with a disambiguation link at the top. If there's a disambiguation page, it should link back to the primary topic.

If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".

[edit] Specific topic

For disambiguating specific topic pages, several options are available:

  1. When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.
  2. A disambiguating word or phrase can be added in parentheses. The word or phrase in parentheses should be:
  3. Rarely, an adjective describing the topic can be used, but it is usually better to rephrase the title to avoid parentheses.

If there is a choice between disambiguating with a generic class or with a context, choose whichever is simpler. Use the same disambiguating phrase for other topics within the same context.

For example, "(mythology)" rather than "(mythological figure)".

If there is a choice between using a short phrase and word with context, there is no hard rule about which is preferred. Both may be created, with one redirecting to the other.

For example, Mathematical analysis and Analysis (mathematics).

For biographies, it is generally preferred to use a formal disambiguating noun that describes the person, rather than an activity, profession, genre, or affiliation. Do not use a date or range of dates (it is much more likely that a reader will be seeking this information than that they already know it).

For example, Sam Biguation (guitarist), not Sam Biguation (rocker), Sam Biguation (music), Sam Biguation (rock music), Sam Biguation (the Southwest Spice Band), Sam Biguation (1974–2006), nor (per the simplicity principle above) Sam Biguation (rock guitarist), unless Sam Biguation (guitarist) itself needs to be disambiguated between Sam Biguation (classical guitarist) and Sam Biguation (rock guitarist).

By Wikipedia consensus, there are limited exceptions in a few areas, the most common one being the use of the informal "(footballer)" for players of football (soccer) (and never for rugby, American football, etc.). If in doubt, use the existing convention for disambiguated biographical articles of the same general type as the article you are disambiguating (even if you disagree with it).


When the context is a novel or other creative work, such as with articles about fictional characters, avoid lots of little stubs about fictional characters: check your fiction.

[edit] Format

To conform to the naming conventions, the phrase in parentheses should be treated just as any other word in a title: normally lowercase, unless (like a book title) it is a proper noun that always appears capitalized even in running text.

For more on which word or phrase to insert in the parentheses, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions and Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions. For common disambiguation words, see User:Kevinkor2/Research into names of Wikipedia articles.

[edit] Links

[edit] Double disambiguation

A double disambiguation is a link to a disambiguation page from another disambiguation page. This kind of disambiguation is typically more specific than one with a simplified name. This kind of disambiguation is relatively rare on Wikipedia.

For example, Montgomery is a disambiguation page that leads to Montgomery County, a secondary disambiguation page.

[edit] Incomplete disambiguation

When a more specific title is still ambiguous, but not enough so to call for double disambiguation, it should redirect back to the main disambiguation page (or a section of it). This aids navigation, and helps editors to avoid creating new articles under the ambiguous title by accident.

Such redirects should be marked with {{R from incomplete disambiguation}} (which places them under Category:Redirects from incomplete disambiguations). For example, Aurora (album) could redirect as follows:

#REDIRECT [[Aurora#Music]] {{R from incomplete disambiguation}}

[edit] Interlanguage links

Pure disambiguation pages should contain interlanguage links only where a similar problem of disambiguation exists in the target language; that is, they should not point to a single meaning from the list of meanings, but to another disambiguation page.

[edit] Links to disambiguated topics

A code of honor for creating disambiguation pages is to fix all resulting mis-directed links.

Before creating a disambiguation page, click on What links here to find all of the pages that link to the page that is about to change. Make sure that those pages are fixed and that they won't be adversely affected when performing the {{split}} or {{splitsection}}.

When repairing a link, use pipe syntax so that the link does not contain the new qualifier.

For example, when renaming Topic Name to Topic Name (qualifier), [[Topic Name (qualifier)|Topic Name]] will render as Topic Name just like the original.

A shorter alternative is to use empty pipe syntax, also known as the pipe trick. This allows editors to leave out the piped alternative when editing.

For example, typing "[[Topic Name (qualifier)|]]" will automatically produce "[[Topic Name (qualifier)|Topic Name]]". Read Help:Pipe trick for more information.

Ambiguous links are periodically checked and repaired, but even if some ambiguous links remain, one of the primary reasons for making a disambiguation page is so that following such links will still be useful to the reader.

There is a tool to facilitate ambiguous link repair in the Python Wikipedia Robot. The bot offers to update links to choices listed on the disambiguation page. Don't forget to post a notice on the Wikipedia talk:Bots page.

[edit] Links to disambiguation pages

With very few exceptions, creating links to disambiguation pages is erroneous. Links should instead point to a relevant article. The purpose of a disambiguation page is to give a user who has typed an ambiguous term into the search box a list of articles that are likely to be what he's looking for. The exceptions to this are:

To link to a disambiguation page (instead of a specific meaning), link to the redirect to the disambiguation page that includes the text "(disambiguation)" in the title (such as, America (disambiguation) rather than America). This helps distinguish accidental links to the disambiguation page from intentional ones. See Category:Redirects to disambiguation pages.

The Wikipedia software has a feature that lists "orphan" pages; that is, no other page links to them. But for disambiguation pages, that's perfectly correct: we usually want pages to link to the more specific pages.

In order to make the orphans list more useful by not cluttering it with intentional orphans, disambiguation pages are linked from:

When you create a disambiguation page, add a link to it in one of those pages as appropriate.

Category:Disambiguation provides a complete list of disambiguation pages.

[edit] Disambiguation of CJKV character names

Common CJKV character (Chinese character) names should redirect to their corresponding acceptable article name per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) as much as possible. However, if a CJKV name maps to multiple Wikipedia articles, disambiguation is required, and all the normal rules for Wikipedia:Disambiguation apply.

[edit] See also

[edit] System pages