How to Cite Copyright Dates


Methods of copyright date citations in essays and research papers differ depending on which style guidelines the writer must follow. Popular styles include APA, MLA and Chicago, each of which requires separate formatting styles for dates. Furthermore, the format itself changes depending on whether the cited document is an offline or online work. Dates don't always stand by themselves in the citation. Some styles require writers to include information about the publisher and publisher's location in the same parentheses as the date.

APA Style

  • Determine whether the work is an offline work or electronic document. Copyright dates appear right after the name of the author in APA citations.

  • Place the copyright date in between a set of parentheses, followed by a period outside the parentheses for an offline work that is not a periodical. For example, "(2011)."

  • Write the copyright date using the directions in Step 2 if the online document does not include a month and day with the date or if the document is a periodical. If the document does include this information, such as in a blog post, write the year, followed by a comma. Place the full name of the month plus the date it was published after the comma. Use parentheses around the entire date, followed by a period. For example, "(2010, January 2)."

MLA Style

  • Place the copyright date at the end of the citation for MLA citations.

  • Include the name of the city the work was published in, followed by a colon. Name the publisher, place a comma after the publisher's name and end with the copyright year and a period. For example, "New York: Jones, 2005." This applies to offline works that are not periodicals.

  • Cite periodicals using the month, week and day of publishing, depending on the type of periodical. For monthly periodicals, underline the name of the periodical, followed by the abbreviated month and year. For example, "Vogue Oct. 2009:" Place a colon after the year if you need to include more information, such as the page number cited. Cite weekly periodicals using the first date of the week, followed by the month and year. For example, "Newsweek 10 Aug. 2001:". Cite daily periodicals using the date, month and year. For example, "1 May 2008:".

  • Reference online materials using any date information possible, following the same format as for books and periodicals. If more than a year is available, and you must include a month or date and month, finish the citation with a period, rather than with the colon you used for the periodicals. For example, "10 Jan. 2007." or "June 1994."

Chicago Style

  • Format copyright dates in MLA style for offline books. Place the dates inside parentheses as in APA style. For example, "(Harrisburg: Smith Publishing, 2005)."

  • Place the date after the month name for periodicals, followed by the year of publishing. Italicize the name of the publication, followed by a comma and the copyright information. For example, "Time, January 30, 2010." Do not place copyright dates for periodicals in parentheses.

  • Cite online document copyright dates using the name of the website followed by the date accessed. For example, "Yahoo, accessed May 25, 2010." Include the date on the document, if provided. For example, "Yahoo, last modified May 24, 2010."

Tips & Warnings

  • Short month names, such as May, June and July, do not require abbreviation.
  • Don't forget to include the link text for online documents after citing the copyright date.

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