what is the correct way to cite a website that has published date, but also a updated date?

Example: https://www.philzimmermann.com/EN/essays/WhyIWrotePGP.html

  author = {Philip R. Zimmermann},
  title = {Why I Wrote PGP},
  year = 1991,
  url = {https://www.philzimmermann.com/EN/essays/WhyIWrotePGP.html},
  urldate = {2016-15-05}

What is the correct way to reflect that the text got updated in 1999?

  • Welcome, you could try date=1999, origdate=1991. – Johannes_B May 15 '16 at 15:47
  • Thanks for the suggestion. Seems like orig is the correct way to do it, but requires some modifications to show up. – Alex Cole May 15 '16 at 15:53
  • 1
    mwe needed. – Johannes_B May 15 '16 at 15:54
  • "The date fields date, origdate, eventdate, and urldate require a date specification in yyyy-mm-dd format. " ... from biblatex doc. – juanuni May 15 '16 at 19:32

You would probably give the year as 1999 here. That is the version present on that page, the 1991 version cannot even be accessed that way.

Like Johannes_B I would have given the advice to use the origdate field for 1991 (this field is ignored by the standard styles). After I had a look at the page in question though, I would not even do that. It is not at all clear which parts have changed since the 1991 version, but it is clear that significant parts of the text must have been written after 1991. So maybe we should treat this case in the same way you would treat the second edition of a book. There you would normally not give the year of the first edition, but that of the edition you actually read. Indeed the main application of origdate is reprints or translations (i.e. where the content did not change). I don't see any advantage in adding the 1991 to the entry if you are clearly referring to the 1999 version.

Unless you are doing historical-critical exegesis or historic research, I wouldn't worry too much about mentioning the year 1991.

If all else fails you can always give additional information in the note or addendum fields.

Note that since web pages are known to be volatile anyway, it is much more important to give the access date (urldate). People can then assume that you cited the most recent version as of the date indicated there.

  author  = {Philip R. Zimmermann},
  title   = {Why I Wrote PGP},
  year    = 1999,
  url     = {https://www.philzimmermann.com/EN/essays/WhyIWrotePGP.html},
  urldate = {2016-15-05},
  • Haven't you done something similar recently? I can't find it. make citation callout different for books than for articles – Johannes_B May 16 '16 at 14:32
  • @Johannes_B Mhhh, I don't recall something like this. I did something with numeric citations and the author, year and title a while ago. Should be pretty basic though, if we can take authoryear as a base and don't add any fancy stuff. – moewe May 16 '16 at 17:35

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