Citing Article Publication Date -- Original Print vs. Online

As more and more scholarly articles tend to be published exclusively online, it seems that little by little many older articles originally published in print format are also being converted into digitized versions and re-published. At the same time, some articles are published online "ahead of print", then later in printed issues. This can tend to cause some confusion as to how to properly cite the publication date when requesting a reproduction through interlibrary loan services. Avoiding any informational discrepancies will make it easier for the ILL staff at both your host library and the supplier library to process your request quickly and efficiently.

When requesting a journal article, you generally are asked to provide the journal title, the volume number, the issue number (if possible), the publication year and inclusive pages, as well as the title and author of the article (each with its own respective data field in the request form). It is crucial that the volume number and the year properly coincide chronologically in order for holdings searches to be accurately carried out (especially in cases when multiple periodicals bear the same title or similar titles). When a single article may have two "different" publication dates, and the year specified in the request is not the original year corresponding to the print version, it becomes more difficult for staff to pinpoint the appropriate bibliographic serial record.

Although it is interesting (and possibly somewhat helpful) to mention that any such article was "Published online: October 2016" (for example), this is more appropriate as an aside (to be entered in the "Notes" field of the ILLiad request form) rather than into the citation data fields proper. We prefer that you cite using the original date (as well as volume, issue and pages) of the first print version, in any case. In a similar way, though it is possible to cite the "ahead of print" date instead of the official intended future print publication date, the "print" date is preferable as the actual citation date in the request form while the "Epub" date may be more appropriately mentioned in the "Notes" field. I have also commented at length on the topic of "[Epub ahead of print]" in the September 20, 2010 entry of this blog.

While we're at it -- a word or two about conference proceedings papers (i.e., presented at a conference, symposium, colloquium, meeting, etc.)... It is important to note that the year the event took place (normally the date cited in the title) is often not the same year the proceedings was published (which is the date referenced in the bibliographic record). When submitting your request, it is preferable to refer to the year the event took place in your citation, and then mention the publication year (if different) separately in the "Notes" field.

Please we aware that this discussion is only a recommendation on how best to submit requests for journal articles (and conference papers) when using the ILLiad resource. It is in no way intended as a guide for how to properly cite them in the footnotes or references of your own published writings. Such guidelines are the province of research scholarship, and format and stylistic rules are governed by the conventions of your own particular discipline (and its attendant scholarly publications).

Well, a lot of words just to make a simple point. Hope this was helpful, anyway.

Got questions about ILLiad or ILL services? Please feel free to contact the Kelvin Smith Library ILL staff by phone at 216-368-3463 or 216-368-3517, or by e-mail at smithill@case.edu.

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