// apologies for cross-posting
A new type of preview will soon be part of the MediaWiki software:
Reference Previews. This feature shows you a reference in a small pop-up
when you hover over the reference number in square brackets. This way, you
can look up a reference without jumping down to the bottom of the page.
What’s more is that Reference Previews can offer a quicker way to evaluate
the trustworthiness of the cited source by displaying the reference type
(book, web, news, journal, note) in the pop-up’s header. Thus, they can
help increase trust in the article itself. These types can be applied by
using citation templates, or by manually entering a class into the ref tag.
Reference Previews will be combined with Page Previews, a feature
showing previews for linked articles. Both perform essentially the same
function: previewing content before deciding to dig deeper, and easily
providing more information while reading. Because of their similarities in
design and behavior, both Page Previews and Reference Previews will be
controlled by a single user setting. This means, all users who currently
have Page Previews activated, will also get Reference Previews. Also, all
readers, anonymous contributors and new users will see Reference Previews
per default if they haven’t disabled Page Previews.
On several wikis, the Navigation-Popups gadget and the Reference Tooltips
gadget already offer previews for references. If you want to use them
instead, you can: If you have one of these gadgets enabled, you’ll see them
instead of Reference Previews. Although these gadgets exist, this feature
was built into a MediaWiki extension in order to make it available for all
Wikipedias, just as Page Previews is.
The original request for this came from the Technical Wishes survey on
German Wikipedia in 2017, where it was the number 1 wish. The Technical
Wishes team from Wikimedia Germany has been working on it in cooperation
with the WMF’s Reading Web team. Reference Previews have been a beta
feature for several months on all Wikipedias and some other wikis, with
more than 830,000 beta testers. During the beta phase, lots of feedback was
collected, and several changes were made as a result. Now, we plan to
deploy it to a first group of wikis as a default feature on March 17. We’re
still looking for wikis who want to have the default feature early, so if
you’re interested, please let us know!  
More information about this feature, including frequently asked questions,
can be found on its project page on Meta.  A big thanks to everyone who
contributed to this development, by voting, testing, giving feedback or
else. Comments and questions are welcome on this talk page. 
 Reference Previews:
 Page Previews: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Page_Previews
 Changes during the beta phase:
 talk page:
 Phab: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T271206
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