Print vs. Digital Publishing


  • printed documents have a tangible, physical form (we can pick up and feel a magazine or journal or book in our hands)
  • this tangible nature also gives an edition or revision a permanent nature
  • its usually possible to assign a date of publication to a work, and if there are revisions of different editions of a work, it's possible to date and look at the revisions
  • if a new edition of a printed work exists, that doesn't mean that older editions or versions were destroyed


  • don't have a tangible form
  • it's relatively easy for an author to publish a work (the work usually only needs to be in a certain directory on a computer that functions as a Web server.
  • it's easy to modify or revise a work
  • when a work is revised, the previous edition is usually destroyed or overwritten with a new version - the most recent version may be the only one that exists - therefore the version you cited may not exist anymore
  • it is therefore necessary to include the date you accessed or read a work you listed in a citation
  • you may want to keep a copy of the document in a file or print a copy to provide documentation if someone answers your questions

Ways to find out when a page was modified

  • to find the date a work was last revised, see if the date is mentioned as part of the work; you will often see a line like Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 in a Web document, usually at the bottom of the main page
  • you may also see something like this at the bottom of a page: Copyright@2007-2011
  • if you don't find this information on the Web page or you want to verify that date that is cited, you can try this technique for determining the date of a Web page. When you have a page loaded in your browser, type the following line of JavaScript code directly into the location bar: javascript:alert(document.lastModified) - this will activate a pop-up box that displays the time stamp
  • if you are unable to determine the date of the page, you can indicate this in the citation by inserting "n.d." in the appropriate place

Determining Web Page Titles

  • the title is what shows up as a hyperlink in the search results i you use a search engine
  • you may also find the title by selecting View/Page Info, or View/Page Source; the title is specified in the HTML source for the page and doesn't necessarily show up in the text of the document as you view it with a browser.
  • there are cases when the title is uninformative or not descriptive; in these situations, the main heading can be used
  • some documents have no title (If a document doesn't have a title, you can construct one by using the major heading or the first line of text. You should enclose this title in square brackets to show that you created it.


Hartman, Karen and Ernest Ackerman. Searching and researching on the Internet and the world wide web. Sherwood, OR: Franklin, Beedle & Associates, 2010.