Wikipedia External Links Search

Basic information

How to use this tool for use/reuse assessment

Wikipedia’s External Links Search is a free web application that allows the practitioner to search for external links added to Wikipedia pages. Practitioners can conduct individual link searches using URLs entered manually from the External Links Search Wikipedia web page, access the functionality via Wikipedia’s API, or run SQL queries for large link searches directly in Quarry (the public querying interface for Wiki Replicas). The application outputs a list of URLs. This tool can help practitioners identify and quantify the variety of hyperlinks contained on Wikipedia pages, including links to digital objects. 

Ethical guidelines

Practitioners should follow the practices laid out in the “Ethical considerations and guidelines for the assessment of use and reuse of digital content.” The Guidelines are meant both to inform practitioners in their decision-making, and to model for users what they can expect from those who steward digital collections.

Additional guidelines for responsible practice

Practitioners interested in using the Quarry web interface to search hyperlinks should be aware that they will need a Wikimedia Labs account to access the interface. Practitioners also must agree to Wikimedia Labs Cloud Services Terms of Use.


  • Wikipedia External Links Search is designed to extract hyperlinks from Wikipedia pages. Practitioners would benefit from using the tool when they wanted to understand the extent to which their digital objects have been cited from within the Wikipedia domain.


  • Like Webometric Analyst and SocSciBot, this application is free.


  • Searches do not need to be run manually one by one; large scale searches can be run using SQL queries in the Quarry web interface (the public querying interface for Wiki Replicas). Practitioners can develop their own queries or reuse queries completed recently by other Quarry users.


  • Wikipedia External Links Search is limited to the Wikipedia domain/namespace.  If a practitioner is interested in searching specific pages beyond Wikipedia, they should see SocSciBot. If a practitioner would like to search more broadly for instances of linked digital objects or is unsure of which specific web pages to crawl, they should use Webometric Analyst instead.


  • Conducting large scale searches against the API or using Quarry will require staff with technical skills in database querying and SQL.

Real world example

Case Study: Assessing the use and reuse of library digital collections on Wikipedia using Wikipedia External Links Search
Kelly used the Wikipedia External Links Search application to conduct a link analysis of Wikipedia pages that contained URLs for digital objects from the Louisiana Digital Library, a state-wide consortial digital library collection. The researcher developed qualitative coding and also used quantitative measures to analyze use/reuse results. Kelly found that Wikipedia users are integrating digital library objects and archival finding aids into specific topical Wikipedia pages, frequently using these materials as evidence to support article narratives and commentary.

Kelly, Elizabeth Joan. “Use of Louisiana’s Digital Cultural Heritage by Wikipedians.Journal of Web Librarianship 12, no. 2 (2018): 85-106.

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