How to find out author and date details for a PDFJuly 13, 2012
Peter, a work colleague, wanted to know how to reference a PDF he’d located on a government website. There was no identifying information on the PDF — there was a date, a semblance of a title, but no authoring body, and the headers and footers offered only a variation of the title. He couldn’t guess the authoring body from the website address as this government department had changed names several times over the years since the publication date.
Here’s the top of page 1 of the PDF so you can see his dilemma:
Fortunately, I was able to help him. By looking at the Document Properties for the PDF, I identified the author and the correct title for this document and Peter was able to complete his bibliography.
First, right-click anywhere in the PDF and select Document Properties.
Then check the details on the Description tab.
In this example, the full title was listed (1), along with the correct authoring body at the time the document was created (2), and the date it was created (3).
By the way, I’m pretty sure that this information comes from the metadata of the original software that was used to create the document (e.g. Microsoft Word), so while it’s good that it’s available in the PDF’s document properties, don’t rely on it 100%.
(based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my work colleagues)