I am using biblatex-apa for my references and I have this enty in my .bib file:

    TITLE = {Mission, Vision \& Values},
    URL = {http://www.tchabitat.org/missionvisionvalues},
    ORGANIZATION = {Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity website},
    URLDATE = {2011-09-15}

The output shows the date of the reference as 'Retrieved 15 September 2011 from...'. Shouldn't the date be like the english date format, September 15th, 2011?


This is my preamble

  • 2
    From the documentation: The ‘american’ babel option will give you APA compliant US date formats Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 18:08
  • I am using the 'american' babel option, as well as the recommended language definition in my preamble.
    – ravl1084
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 22:40
  • It seems like a bug in american-apa.lbx: the definition of \mkbibdateapalong is identical with that in french-apa.lbx.
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 23:08
  • Interesting. @egreg would you be able to post the correct definition? I'm very new to latex, I read the files but I have no idea where or how to fix the definitions.
    – ravl1084
    Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 16:21
  • @ravl1084 Sorry, but it's quite complicated and it should be addressed by the package author.
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


I've just uploaded version 3.6 to CTAN which should fix this. Thanks for spotting it. I realised that the APA 6th edition manual which I used to write the style has not one example of "Retrieved on" in chapter 7. So, it slipped by me. APA 5th edition had many. Strange really since the 6th edition is so focussed on "new media" formats ...

  • Thank you :). On a sidenote, I noticed the output is different for that same bib file when you use biber as a backend. Is this intended?
    – ravl1084
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 21:20
  • Quite possibly - the apa style uses some biber only features and it strongly recommended. In fact, the reason I got involved with biber development is precisely because there are APA style features that require things bibtex can't do (uniquelist).
    – PLK
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 6:38
  • I am no expert in APA style, but with the above example I think the biber output is wrong. Like the reference date showing () instead of (n.d.). The citation is also different, showing the year of retrieval instead of n.d.. Again, I'm no expert but the output without biber looks more consistent to other references. But APA is meant to confuse us all, is it not?
    – ravl1084
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 22:05
  • You're right, something is wrong here - I am looking into it.
    – PLK
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 15:47
  • The "()" is clearly wrong but the cite is correct - with biber you can specify a list of fields for labelyear and the biblatex default will make sure that labelyear is set to the url year if there is no real date. So, the citation will be the urlyear as it's set from labelyear. You need to change the labelyear definition if you don't want this (see \DeclareLabelyear in section 4.5.2 of the biblatex manual)
    – PLK
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 15:55

To obtain an APA-compliant date (to my understanding) I modified the american-apa.lbx file. I changed the function \mkbibdateapalongdmy to read as follows


This produces the output date 'September 15, 2011'.

Disclaimer: I succeeded in getting the output I wanted, but I cannot guarantee that this won't break something else. As far as I understand from reading the code, the \mkbibdateapalongdmy function is called for entries of type url and event but it might be used in other cases.


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