MLA Citing authenticated URLs via Wayback Machine

Webpages are fluid … that’s bad for being used as a citation.

It would be nice if Gramps could cite dynamic content with an annotation of a static crawl date. This would be aided by a feature offering a list of the nearest crawl snapshots.

The Wayback Machine has 2 applicable FAQ topics:

How do I cite Wayback Machine urls in MLA format?

This question is a newer one. We asked MLA to help us with how to cite an archived URL in correct format. They did say that there is no established format for resources like the Wayback Machine, but it’s best to err on the side of more information. You should cite the webpage as you would normally, and then give the Wayback Machine information.
They provided the following example:
McDonald, R. C. “Basic Canary Care.” Robirda Online. 12 Sept. 2004. 18 Dec. 2006 []. Internet Archive. [].
They added that if the date that the information was updated is missing, one can use the closest date in the Wayback Machine. Then comes the date when the page is retrieved and the original URL. Neither URL should be underlined in the bibliography itself. Thanks MLA!

How can I get pages authenticated from the Wayback Machine? How can I use the pages in court?

While the Wayback Machine tool was not expressly designed with legal use in mind, we receive regular requests for certified records for use in legal proceedings. Our affidavit request procedure can be found here. Please review that information including our standard affidavit and the legal request FAQ section linked there to prior to contacting us.

Retrieving crawl dates for a URL:*/

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I make local copies of ANYTHING I want to include in my DB.

I digitally photograph all my paper records (family documents, photos etc), I download all online record images (census, PR), and I cut ‘n’ paste from web pages.


A citation serves 2 purposes:

  • to help you manage your own research materials
  • to support 3rd party validation of your published conclusions by facilitating access to the same reference materials