Last Updated: 09 Sep, 2019     Views: 1

Finding the dates of books can be difficult. You have the original publication date, reprint dates and dates for new editions.

The date you should be using is the publication date for the edition you are using.

If a book has been reprinted, might simply means a new copy has been produced - the information in the book may not have changed (although the formatting may have changed slightly). Therefore the information in the book still has the same date of publication.

A new edition, however, has changed some of the contents of the book, so you need the publication date for that edition.

A good rule of thumb is to use the copyright date of the book and confirm with the date in the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data (if available).

Look at the verso page for your book (this is the "other side" of the title page. You should be able to find it in an eBook, as well as a print book, but it may be in a separate section called "front matter" - DO NOT use the information on the book preview/overview, but always consult the book itself). Find the copyright date on that page.

The copyright date is a good guide, but it's not always reliable, unless it's the only date on the page. Confirm the copyright date by checking the Library of Congress data:

  1. Find the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.
  2. Find the LOC number (it's usually the second last line of the Cataloging-in-Publication Data - just above the Dewey number) - the year of publication follows the LOC.

For example:

LB2369.G32 2009 (the publication date is 2009)

BF76.7.P83 2010 (the publication date is 2010)

PE135.B34 2012 (the publication date is 2012)

This image shows the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-publication data for a book. The LOC number is towards the bottom of the image.

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