How to Determine If Your Online Source Is Archived

Although most online sources can be updated, some (like dictionaries or encyclopedias) are designed to be changed frequently. Only a few sources (like Wikipedia) archive entries, so the specific version you used can be accessed later, even if the entry has since been updated. 

For online sources that are designed to change frequently and are archived, a retrieval date is not needed because the archived version of the page is stable and can be retrieved via a permalink. “Normal links always lead to the current version of a page, but the permalink leads to the text as it was at the time; the text does not include any edits made since” (“Help: Permanent Link,” 2020).


When citing a Wikipedia article, you can click on “Permanent link” in the left sidebar’s toolbox to get a permalink to the version you are currently using.


Or, if accessing the article later, you can access a prior version of a page from its “View history” tab. 

Both of these will display the version you used, and the page’s URL can be used as the permalink.

Other Online Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, or Wikis

On the perimeter, or edge, of the website, look for an “archive” link, a “permalink” or “permanent link” option, or a “view history” tab. If you see one of those options, you may be able to retrieve a URL for the archived version of the specific page you used. Otherwise, assume that the source is not archived and choose the “No, the entry is not archived” option on Citation Maker. That will allow you to enter a retrieval date to indicate the version that was used.


American Psychological Association. (2020). Elements of reference list entries. APA Style.

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Help: Permanent link. (2020, May 23). In Wikipedia.

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