How to find the publication date of an article

Whether you’re citing an article in your research paper or just want to check Google search results for topicality. There are times when you want to know when an article was first published on the website. Overall, 3 ways to do it

  • Check the publication date, either just below an article title or at the end
  • Copy and paste the url in Internet Archive
  • Do a reverse Google search of the title and look for the latest update dates.

While these tricks work most of the time, it’s hard to tell the difference between the published date and the last updated date. Most search engines, like Google, collect the last updated date as published dates. And the internet file is also not reliable all the time.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to find out when the article was first published on the website. All you have to do is look at the source code for the publication date or, better yet, if the article has any images, find out when those images were uploaded. Follow the simple steps.

  1. Right click on the website and click ‘View source code’
  2. On the source page, press Cmd + F for Mac or CTRL + F for Windows to bring up the ‘Search’ box
  3. Search for keywords like year of publication: ‘2019’, ‘2018’, ‘2017’, etc. alternatively you can also search for ‘posted_time’
  4. Analyze the highlighted part of the source code

Analyze the data

Many websites do not have ‘Last Updated’ or ‘Published Date’ in the source code, especially if it is a page or a research article. Therefore, it is better to look at other metrics, such as the media upload date. Since the site is made in WordPress (most of them are) and the web page has images, it is better to look at the year / month of upload of the image.

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For example, if your code looks like this / wp-content / uploads / 2019/05, it means the image was uploaded in May 2019. If more images are uploaded on the same date, it is highly likely that the article will be published for the first time that day. Of course, it goes without saying, you shouldn’t consider the upload date of the logo, favicon, etc. as they were probably uploaded when the site was designed.

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