As with so many simple questions, there is no quick, simple answer.
There are ways, but they may not always give you what you need. But
then, don't always believe what the author claims, either!
When there is no date of posting or last revision shown, in Netscape
(version 4.7, if not others) you can click on View, Page Info (or
Ctrl+I) and you may see the date the page was last modified in the
lower half of the screen.
You could also try looking up the URL in the Way Back Machine
<http://webdev.archive.org/>. Dates when the page was altered are
shown with an asterisk. This can be very accurate indeed - and
possiby more accurate than any information shown on the actual page
you are looking at.
However: some pages are altered automatically, kept apparently
up-to-date by software. An example can be found at Shakespeare Online
: <http://www.shakespeare-online.com/>. Open the page and hey, the
page was last updated just seconds ago. Give it a couple of minutes
and click on shift+reload and hey, the page was last updated just
seconds ago... et cetera (This feature does not appear to work in
Netscape, but just try Internet Explorer!
Some online journals do this too. Although the page you are looking
at was published weeks or months or even years ago, the date shown is
today's. Sometimes in fact theoriginal date of posting is there, but
not as prominent as today's date. Sometimes it is not there at all.
We are taught at school and college that when we evaluate the value of
a web site, one of the criteria may be currency, or contemporaneity,
or similar date-worthiness. We are also asked to find the date of
posting for use in any citation or bibliography. Ironically, a number
of web pages on evaluating web pages fail themselves to state the date
when they were posted, but that is by the way. As important as date
of posting is, I suggest it is just as imporant to state the date when
you found the page, and the standard style guides stress this too.
You might also make a habit of printing out at least the first page of
any web page you use or might use - if you make sure the settings are
set to give the URL and the date, you will be well on the way to being
able to give full bibliographic information.
One other tip: try looking for sites which mention or even link to the
page whose date you cannot find. Sometimes the linking page makes
mention of a date, sometimes the link page may have its own posting
date which will help narrow down the date of posting of the page you
are tracking down.
If all else fails and you need this for your citation, you just have
to resort to (n.d.), to show no date.
Hope that helps track down those missing details, read2live
Request for Answer Clarification by
03 Mar 2003 10:27 PST
I enjoyed your answer, but I'm disappointed: if I read you right,
their is no set place to access the date of posting. Is that right?
BTW, I use IE 6. It just seems like such a huge oversight........is
this a shortcoming of the browser, i.e. the information exists, but
because of browser inadequecies, can't be accessed? Or is it that the
Web doesn't automatically associate a date with a posting, and
therefore, there is not necessarily a date of posting in existence? I
mean i always assumed one could go to File/Properties or something
like that and find a date.
Regardless, thanks for your answer.
Clarification of Answer by
03 Mar 2003 12:32 PST
Hello yet again,
I had not realized this was so comnplicated. Yes I did: my opening
comment was that there is no simple answer. I thought I had found it
I did try the MyIE2 option - but found no download available for the
LastModified plug-in, there's no link as there is under most other
files. MyIE2 does have a number of good-loking features, though I am
laready irritated by the way I move from browser page to browser page
when I click on Ctrl+left arrow (or + right arrow) when in a text
editor - I am too used to moving to the previous word/ next word. But
that is beside the point.
I do prefer robertskelton's response: "Ordinarily, one cannot find the
date a page was updated, just by using a browser" - this is my
experience. So I hope your disappointment is with the browser, and
not with my answer.
There are ways of getting around IE's shortcomings, not perfect and,
per clouseau's response, not accurate either - apart possibly from
MyIE2, and as I said I cannot verify this myself, I cannot download
If you remain disappointed with the answer, then I will withdraw it -
we don't like having dis-satisfied customers on Google Answers, don't
want you paying out for unsatisfactory answers. Give clouseau's
suggestion a try, see if you have more success than I did!