Adding Accessed Date to Chicago Style

Many universities require accessed date in both footnote and bibliography whenever a URL is cited. I also think this may be good practice, and perhaps should be considered as a standard feature in the style?

See Chicago Style:

In the mean time, I have made the change (UK date style), and thought I'd share it on the forums for others.

Open styles/chicago-fullnote-bibliography.csl.

Find the first instance of:

<text variable="URL"/>

Above add:

<date variable="accessed">
<text term="accessed" suffix=" "/>
<date-part name="day" suffix=" "/>
<date-part name="month" suffix=" "/>
<date-part name="year"/>

Then find the second instance of:

<text variable="URL"/>

Above add:

<date variable="accessed">
<text term="accessed" text-case="capitalize-first" suffix=" "/>
<date-part name="day" suffix=" "/>
<date-part name="month" suffix=" "/>
<date-part name="year"/>

  • Here is what the Chicago Manual has to say about this (14.7):
    An access date—that is, the self-reported date on which an author consulted a source—is of limited value: previous versions will often be unavailable to readers; authors typically consult a source any number of times over the course of days or months; and the accuracy of such dates, once recorded, cannot readily be verified by editors or publishers. Chicago does not therefore require access dates in its published citations of electronic sources unless no date of publication or revision can be determined from the source
    They do encourage users to archive a copy of a webpage (which Zotero does by default). I couldn't agree more with this. So I won't change the default Chicago style, no.
    More generally, the trend is actually to move away from access dates more generally - e.g. APA has mostly moved away from accessed dates in its 6th edition, as has MLA.
  • Thanks Adam for the clarification.

    Anyway, I'm sure this thread will still be useful for the many who are (still) required to provide access dates.
  • absolutely, yes, thanks for that. Here are some general instructions to get start in editing/customizing styles that will help people to follow your instructions:
  • Thanks a million - this was a life-saver for me :-)
  • Very helpful! Thanks for the hack. Saved me hours.
  • edited July 23, 2019
    I would just add for Americans, the order of the above code would need to be changed, and a comma added. I tried to copy and paste my own code but it didn't show up.
  • edited July 23, 2019
    The modern way to do that is this:

    <date variable="accessed" form="text" date-parts="year-month-day"/>

    The order of elements will adjust depending on the locale of the style. Documentation is here.
  • edited July 25, 2019
    Thanks for the modern update fbennett! It adds the date nicely but not the text "Accessed" before the date. I added a line from jamespl and it seems to work.

    However, for webpages, I get 2 "Accessed" dates. What kind of if/else wizardry could help eliminate that?
  • Add <text term="accessed" text-case="capitalize-first"/> As the line before. You will want to surround both with a <group delimiter=" "> </group> pair.
  • Many thanks bwiernik! Any hints on the double "Accessed" problem for webpages?
  • Somewhere else in the style there is already a part calling ‘accessed’ for web pages. Remove that (or remove what you added and drop the conditional on that section).
  • I tried to change this for apa style with the above information and it changes mine to ....Retrieved from accessed 10 October 2019 Accessed October 2019 and then the URL. Could someone cut and paste the text here that I need to change to fix it to say .... Retrieved September 9, 2018, from...

    Please let me know if you can help.
  • For APA, don’t add anything. Instead, search for “accessed”. The style has a “choose” element checking if the item type is a webpage, post, or blog post. Delete that conditional to print the access date for all items.
  • (didn't we explain this to someone in detail for APA a couple of weeks ago? Someone remember/has link?)
  • (I don’t see it in my comment history)
  • That’s Chicago.
  • that's what I remembered, though, thanks.
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