Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. I’m editing an online wildlife correspondence course. Subject-matter specialists who have written the lessons sometimes cite web links that are now dead. How do I style a bibliography citation with a dead link? Often I can find a live link containing the article or information. Thank you!

A. There are two main ways to approach this task, so consult with the author or publisher to decide which approach to use. (1) You can update each link silently (adding the date you accessed it), or (2) you can leave the dead links but add the dates they were accessed. The second plan requires the author to supply the access dates. A caveat: You should update a link only if the web page still contains the information referenced in the lesson. If the information has been removed or changed, then the only accurate way to cite is to use the dead link with the date it was accessed.