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An infobox is a fixed-format table designed to be added to the top right-hand corner of articles to consistently present a summary of some unifying aspect that the articles share and sometimes to improve navigation to other interrelated articles.
What infoboxes do
Infobox templates contain important facts and statistics of a type which are common to related articles. Infobox templates are like fact sheets, or sidebars, in magazine articles. They quickly summarize important points in an easy-to-read format. However, they are not "statistics" tables in that they (generally) only summarize material from an article—the information should still be present in the main text, partly because it may not be possible for some readers to access the contents of the infobox. In particular, if infobox templates hide long columns of data inside collapsing tables, which means readers using assistive technology may miss their presence entirely.
What should an infobox contain?
In general, data in infobox templates should be:
- Comparable. If a lot of different subjects all share a common attribute (for instance, all US counties have a founded date), then it is useful to be able to compare these across different pages. This also implies that where possible, material should be presented in a standard format.
- Concise. Infobox templates are "at-a-glance", and used for quickly checking facts. Long bodies of text, or very detailed statistics, belong in the article body.
- Materially relevant to the subject. A common problem is including material which is trivial and would not otherwise be included in the article body: Infobox templates should not be used for details that are too trivial to include in the article body.
- Already cited elsewhere in the article. Infoboxes, like the introduction to the article should contain primarily material that is expanded on and supported by citations to reliable sources elsewhere in the article. However, if necessary (e.g., because the article is currently incomplete), it is possible to include footnotes in infoboxes.