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How to Find a Publication Date on a Website

Updated July 20, 2017

Finding the publication date on a website is not always a straightforward task. When doing research for papers online, however, you often need the date for your references. Most websites provide at least a copyright date in the footer and a publication date under the title of articles and blog posts. You can also find the date in a URL if the website owner publishes her content through a Content Management System (CMS) and is using certain settings. If you still cannot find the date, you can sometimes find it in the browser or in the source code.

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  1. Locate the title of the web page or article on the website. Look for the publication date somewhere around the title, usually below or to the left or right. Most blogs and news websites place the publication date near the title or byline.

  2. Read the URL in the web address bar of your browser. All popular browsers -- Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera -- place the address bar at the top of the browser, usually between the tabs and the actual web page. Look for numbers that look like dates in the URL. Many CMS and blogging systems structure URLs of published content using the date. Here is an example: http://www.sitedomain.com/2011/05/article-name/. In this example, "2011" is the publication year and "05" means the article was published in May.

  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the web page. Stop just above the end of the article and look there, since some websites put publication information after the article. You might find the date around an author bio box, for example. Scroll down more if you still do not find the date, going down to the copyright. If no date for the specific web page is given, you can still find the copyright for the entire website in most cases.

  4. Right-click on the web page in your browser and view the source code. Look towards the top of the code, between the and tags. Sometimes tags contain date information. This date reflects the date the web page was uploaded or created within a CMS like Drupal, WordPress or Joomla.

  5. Right-click on the web page in your browser and view the web page info. Look for the "last modified" date. Note that this date might reflect a bug fixed on the page, rather than a change of information in the actual content. Internet Explorer lacks this feature, but you can do it on any other popular browser.

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About the Author

Sara Williams lives in western New York, where she is a freelance Web designer and content writer. She specializes in Web design, development and computer-hardware topics. Williams holds an Associate of Applied Science in computer information systems.

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