Answered By: Mandy Wong Last Updated: Jan 06, 2015 Views: 73
This is a common question, and the answer is very different depending on the citation style that you are using:
According to the APA guidelines, you normally do not need to mention when you accessed a source in your citations. Include the retrieval date only when you are citing a source that is updated frequently, for example a Wikipedia article (although really you shouldn't be citing Wikipedia!).
- When to Include Retrieval Dates for Online Sources
This article from the APA Style Blog gives more information on when to include retrieval dates.
The MLA takes a very different view to the APA. According to the seventh edition of the MLA handbook, "any version of a Web source is potentially different from any past or future version and must be considered unique. Scholars therefore need to record the date of access..." (p. 181).
So in MLA style you must provide the retrieval date. See our MLA citations page for examples of how to do this.
The Chicago Manual takes a similar approach to APA Style, noting that the value of the access date is of limited value as it cannot be verified by the reader. Chicago does not require the access date "unless no date of publication or revision can be determined from the source" (section 14.7 of the Manual).
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