On Wikipedia, notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article.

Information on Wikipedia must be verifiable; if no reliable third-party sources can be found on a topic, then it should not have a separate article. Wikipedia's concept of notability applies this basic standard to avoid indiscriminate inclusion of topics. Article and list topics must be notable, or "worthy of notice". Determining notability does not necessarily depend on things such as fame, importance, or popularity--although those may enhance the acceptability of a subject that meets the guidelines explained below.

A topic is presumed to merit an article if:

  1. It meets either the general notability guideline below, or the criteria outlined in a subject-specific guideline listed in the box on the right; and
  2. It is not excluded under the What Wikipedia is not policy.

This is not a guarantee that a topic will necessarily be handled as a separate, stand-alone page. Editors may use their discretion to merge or group two or more related topics into a single article. These guidelines only outline how suitable a topic is for its own article or list. They do not limit the content of an article or list. For Wikipedia's policies regarding content, see Neutral point of view, Verifiability, No original research, What Wikipedia is not, and Biographies of living persons.

General notability guideline

If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list.

  • "Significant coverage" addresses the topic directly and in detail, so that no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than a trivial mention, but it does not need to be the main topic of the source material.
    • The book-length history of IBM by Robert Sobel is plainly non-trivial coverage of IBM.
    • Martin Walker's statement, in a newspaper article about Bill Clinton,[1] that "In high school, he was part of a jazz band called Three Blind Mice" is plainly a trivial mention of that band.
  • "Reliable" means sources need editorial integrity to allow verifiable evaluation of notability, per the reliable source guideline. Sources may encompass published works in all forms and media, and in any language. Availability of secondary sources covering the subject is a good test for notability.
  • "Sources"[2] should be secondary sources, as those provide the most objective evidence of notability. There is no fixed number of sources required since sources vary in quality and depth of coverage, but multiple sources are generally expected.[3] Sources do not have to be available online or written in English. Multiple publications from the same author or organization are usually regarded as a single source for the purposes of establishing notability.
  • "Independent of the subject" excludes works produced by the article's subject or someone affiliated with it. For example, advertising, press releases, autobiographies, and the subject's website are not considered independent.[4]
  • "Presumed" means that significant coverage in reliable sources creates an assumption, not a guarantee, that a subject should be included. A more in-depth discussion might conclude that the topic actually should not have a stand-alone article--perhaps because it violates what Wikipedia is not, particularly the rule that Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.[5]

If a topic does not meet these criteria but still has some verifiable facts, it might be useful to discuss it within another article.

Notability guidelines do not apply to content within an article

The criteria applied to article creation/retention are not the same as those applied to article content. The notability guidelines do not apply to article or list content (with the exception that some lists restrict inclusion to notable items or people). Content coverage within a given article or list (i.e. whether something is noteworthy enough to be mentioned in the article or list) is governed by the principle of due weight and other content policies. For additional information about list articles, see Notability and lists and Lead and selection criteria.

Article content does not determine notability

Notability is a property of a subject and not of a Wikipedia article. If the subject has not been covered outside of Wikipedia, no amount of improvements to the Wikipedia content will suddenly make the subject notable. Conversely, if the source material exists, even very poor writing and referencing within a Wikipedia article will not decrease the subject's notability.

Notability requires verifiable evidence

The common theme in the notability guidelines is that there must be verifiable, objective evidence that the subject has received significant attention from independent sources to support a claim of notability.

No subject is automatically or inherently notable merely because it exists: The evidence must show the topic has gained significant independent coverage or recognition, and that this was not a mere short-term interest, nor a result of promotional activity or indiscriminate publicity, nor is the topic unsuitable for any other reason. Sources of evidence include recognized peer-reviewed publications, credible and authoritative books, reputable media sources, and other reliable sources generally.

Notability is based on the existence of suitable sources, not on the state of sourcing in an article

The absence of sources or citations in an article (as distinct from the non-existence of sources) does not indicate that a subject is not notable. Notability requires only the existence of suitable independent, reliable sources, not their immediate presence or citation in an article. Editors evaluating notability should consider not only any sources currently named in an article, but also the possibility or existence of notability-indicating sources that are not currently named in the article. Thus, before proposing or nominating an article for deletion, or offering an opinion based on notability in a deletion discussion, editors are strongly encouraged to attempt to find sources for the subject in question and consider the possibility of existent sources if none can be found by a search.

Wikipedia articles are not a final draft, and an article's subject can be notable if such sources exist, even if they have not been named yet. If it is likely that significant coverage in independent sources can be found for a topic, deletion due to lack of notability is inappropriate. However, once an article's notability has been challenged, merely asserting that unspecified sources exist is seldom persuasive, especially if time passes and actual proof does not surface.

Notability is not temporary

Notability is not temporary; once a topic has been the subject of "significant coverage" in accordance with the general notability guideline, it does not need to have ongoing coverage.

While notability itself is not temporary, from time to time, a reassessment of the evidence of notability or suitability of existing articles may be requested by any user via a deletion discussion, or new evidence may arise for articles previously deemed unsuitable. Thus, an article may be proposed for deletion months or even years after its creation, or recreated whenever new evidence supports its existence as a standalone article.

Notable topics have attracted attention over a sufficiently significant period of time

Wikipedia is a lagging indicator of notability. Just as a lagging economic indicator indicates what the economy was doing in the past, a topic is "notable" in Wikipedia terms only if the outside world has already "taken notice of it". Brief bursts of news coverage may not sufficiently demonstrate notability. However, sustained coverage is an indicator of notability, as described by notability of events. New companies and future events might pass WP:GNG, but lack sufficient coverage to satisfy WP:NOTNEWSPAPER, and these must still also satisfy WP:NOTPROMOTION.

If reliable sources cover a person only in the context of a single event, and if that person otherwise remains, or is likely to remain, a low-profile individual, we should generally avoid having a biographical article on that individual.

Whether to create standalone pages

When creating new content about a notable topic, editors should consider how best to help readers understand it. Sometimes, understanding is best achieved by presenting the material on a dedicated standalone page, but it is not required that we do so. There are other times when it is better to cover notable topics, that clearly should be included in Wikipedia, as part of a larger page about a broader topic, with more context. A decision to cover a notable topic only as part of a broader page does not in any way disparage the importance of the topic. Editorial judgment goes into each decision about whether or not to create a separate page, but the decision should always be based upon specific considerations about how to make the topic understandable, and not merely upon personal likes or dislikes. Wikipedia is a digital encyclopedia, and so the amount of content and details should not be limited by concerns about space availability.

  • Does other information provide needed context? Sometimes, a notable topic can be covered better as part of a larger article, where there can be more complete context that would be lost on a separate page (Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2012#Other initiatives and Mitt Romney presidential campaign, 2012#International trip, for example). Other times, standalone pages are well justified (as with President of the United States as well as standalone biographies of every individual President). One should particularly consider due and undue weight. Fringe theories, for example, may merit standalone pages but have undue weight on a page about the mainstream concept.
  • Do related topics provide needed context? Sometimes, several related topics, each of them similarly notable, can be collected into a single page, where the relationships between them can be better appreciated than if they were each a separate page (as at Music of the Final Fantasy VII series). Other times, when many similar notable topics exist, it is impractical to collect them into a single page, because the resulting article would be too unwieldy. In that case, a viable option is creating a new list or category for the broader topic and linking to the individual articles from it (as with Category:Restaurants in New York City).
  • What sourcing is available now? Sometimes, when a subject is notable, but it is unlikely that there ever will be a lot to write about it, editors should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of creating a permanent stub. On the other hand, an article may be a stub even though many sources exist, but simply have not been included yet. Such a short page is better expanded than merged into a larger page (see also the essays Wikipedia:Every snowflake is unique and Wikipedia:Run-of-the-mill). Sometimes, when information about a future event is scarce, coverage may instead be better suited to a larger encompassing article (see also Wikipedia:CRYSTAL). Other times, a future event may clearly be suitable for a standalone page before it happens (such as the 2020 Summer Olympics).

Subject-specific notability guidelines and WikiProject advice pages may provide information on how to make these editorial decisions in particular subject areas. When a standalone page is created, it can be spun off from a broader page. Conversely, when notable topics are not given standalone pages, redirection pages and disambiguation can be used to direct readers searching for such topics to the appropriate articles and sections within them (see also Wikipedia:Redirects are cheap).

Why we have these requirements

Editors apply notability standards to all subjects to determine whether the English language Wikipedia should have a separate, stand-alone article on that subject. The primary purpose of these standards is to ensure that editors create articles that comply with major content policies.

  • We require "significant coverage" in reliable sources so that we can actually write a whole article, rather than half a paragraph or a definition of that topic. If only a few sentences could be written and supported by sources about the subject, that subject does not qualify for a separate page, but should instead be merged into an article about a larger topic or relevant list. (See the advice below.)
  • We require the existence of "reliable sources" so that we can be confident that we're not passing along random gossip, perpetuating hoaxes, or posting indiscriminate collections of information.
  • We require that all articles rely primarily on "third-party" or "independent sources" so that we can write a fair and balanced article that complies with Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy and to ensure that articles are not advertising a product, service, or organization.
  • We require the existence of at least one secondary source so that the article can comply with Wikipedia:No original research's requirement that all articles be based on secondary sources.
  • We require multiple sources so that we can write a reasonably balanced article that complies with Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, rather than representing only one author's point of view. This is also why multiple publications by the same person or organization are considered to be a single source for the purpose of complying with the "multiple" requirement.
  • We require editors to use their judgment about how to organize subjects so that we have neither long, bloated articles nor articles so narrow that they cannot be properly developed. Editors may decide that it is better for readers to present a narrow subject as part of a broader one. For example, editors normally prefer to merge information about translations of books into the larger subject of the original book, because in their editorial judgment, the merged article is more informative and more balanced for readers and reduces redundant information in the encyclopedia. (For ideas on how to deal with material that may be best handled by placing it in another article, see WP:FAILN.)

Because these requirements are based on major content policies, they apply to all articles, not solely articles justified under the general notability criteria. They do not, however, apply to pages whose primary purpose is navigation (i.e. all disambiguation pages and some lists).

Common circumstances

Self-promotion and publicity

Publication in a reliable source is not always good evidence of notability:

Wikipedia is not a promotional medium. Self-promotion, autobiography, product placement and most paid material are not valid routes to an encyclopedia article. The barometer 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 that focus upon it--without incentive, promotion, or other influence by people connected to the topic matter.

Independent sources are also needed to guarantee a neutral article can be written; see Wikipedia:Autobiography for discussion of neutrality concerns of self-published sources. Even non-promotional self-published sources, like technical manuals that accompany a product, are still not evidence of notability as they are not a measure of the attention a subject has received.


Wikipedia is not a news source: it takes more than just routine news reports about a single event or topic to constitute significant coverage. For example, routine news coverage such as press releases, public announcements, sports coverage, and tabloid journalism is not significant coverage. Even a large number of news reports that provide no critical analysis of the event is not considered significant coverage. The Wikimedia project Wikinews covers topics of present news coverage. In some cases, notability of a controversial entity (such as a book) could arise either because the entity itself was notable, or because the controversy was notable as an event--both need considering.

Stand-alone lists

Notability guidelines apply to the inclusion of stand-alone lists and tables. Notability of lists (whether titled as "List of Xs" or "Xs") is based on the group. One accepted reason why a list topic is considered notable is if it has been discussed as a group or set by independent reliable sources, per the above guidelines; notable list topics are appropriate for a stand-alone list. The entirety of the list does not need to be documented in sources for notability, only that the grouping or set in general has been. Because the group or set is notable, the individual items in the list do not need to be independently notable, although editors may, at their discretion, choose to limit large lists by only including entries for independently notable items or those with Wikipedia articles.

There is no present consensus for how to assess the notability of more complex and cross-categorization lists (such as "Lists of X of Y") or what other criteria may justify the notability of stand-alone lists, although non-encyclopedic cross-categorizations are touched upon in Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not. Lists that fulfill recognized informational, navigation, or development purposes often are kept regardless of any demonstrated notability. Editors are still urged to demonstrate list notability via the grouping itself before creating stand-alone lists.

Fringe topics

For guidance on Fringe topics, see WP:FRINGE.

Articles not satisfying the notability guidelines

Topics that do not meet this criterion are not retained as separate articles. Non-notable topics with closely related notable articles or lists are often merged into those pages, while non-notable topics without such merge targets are generally deleted.

For articles of unclear notability, deletion should be a last resort.

If an article fails to cite sufficient sources to demonstrate the notability of its subject, look for sources yourself, or:

  • Ask the article's creator or an expert on the subject[6] for advice on where to look for sources.
  • Place a {{notability}} tag on the article to alert other editors.
  • If the article is about a specialized field, use the {{expert-subject}} tag with a specific WikiProject to attract editors knowledgeable about that field, who may have access to reliable sources not available online.

If appropriate sources cannot be found after a good-faith search for them, consider merging the article's verifiable content into a broader article providing context.[7] Otherwise, if deleting:[8]

  • If the article meets our criteria for speedy deletion, one can use a criterion-specific deletion tag listed on that page.
  • Use the {{prod}} tag for articles which do not meet the criteria for speedy deletion, but are uncontroversial deletion candidates. This allows the article to be deleted after seven days if nobody objects. For more information, see Wikipedia:Proposed deletion.
  • For cases where you are unsure about deletion, believe others might object, or another editor has already objected to a previous proposed deletion, nominate the article for the articles for deletion process, where the merits will be debated and deliberated for seven days.

For articles on subjects that are clearly not notable, then deletion is usually the most appropriate response, although other options may help the community to preserve any useful material.

See also


  1. ^ Martin Walker (1992-01-06). "Tough love child of Kennedy". The Guardian. 
  2. ^ Including but not limited to newspapers, books and e-books, magazines, television and radio documentaries, reports by government agencies, and academic journals. In the absence of multiple sources, it must be possible to verify that the source reflects a neutral point of view, is credible and provides sufficient detail for a comprehensive article.
  3. ^ Lack of multiple sources suggests that the topic may be more suitable for inclusion in an article on a broader topic. It is common for multiple newspapers or journals to publish the same story, sometimes with minor alterations or different headlines, but one story does not constitute multiple works. Several journals simultaneously publishing different articles does not always constitute multiple works, especially when the authors are relying on the same sources, and merely restating the same information. Similarly, a series of publications by the same author or in the same periodical is normally counted as one source.
  4. ^ Works produced by the subject, or those with a strong connection to them, are unlikely to be strong evidence of notability. See also: Wikipedia:Verifiability#Questionable sources for handling of such situations.
  5. ^ Moreover, not all coverage in reliable sources constitutes 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, despite their existence as reliable sources.
  6. ^ Sometimes contacting the subject of a biography or the representative of a subject organization will yield independent source material. Of course we have to be careful to observe and evaluate independence. You might also see if there is a Wikipedia project related to the topic, and ask for help there.
  7. ^ For instance, articles on minor characters in a work of fiction may be merged into a "list of minor characters in ..."; articles on schools may be merged into articles on the towns or regions where schools are located; relatives of a famous person may be merged into the article on the person; articles on persons only notable for being associated with a certain group or event may be merged into the main article on that group or event.
  8. ^ Wikipedia editors have been known to reject nominations for deletion that have been inadequately researched. Research should include attempts to find sources which might demonstrate notability, and/or information which would demonstrate notability in another manner.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Connect with defaultLogic
What We've Done
Led Digital Marketing Efforts of Top 500 e-Retailers.
Worked with Top Brands at Leading Agencies.
Successfully Managed Over $50 million in Digital Ad Spend.
Developed Strategies and Processes that Enabled Brands to Grow During an Economic Downturn.
Taught Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies at the graduate level.

Manage research, learning and skills at defaultLogic. Create an account using LinkedIn or facebook to manage and organize your IT knowledge. defaultLogic works like a shopping cart for information -- helping you to save, discuss and share.

  Contact Us