Can I look at source code to determine a publication date for online materials that don’t publicize a date?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

When doing so is useful to readers, specialists often supply missing publication dates, using a range of methods. For example, a medievalist with expertise in paleography might date a manuscript by looking at its handwriting. If there is a compelling reason to supply a missing date of publication by looking at source code, a specialist researcher can follow the guidelines in the MLA Handbook, section 2.6.1, and use brackets and a question mark to indicate that the information is supplied by the specialist and not certain.