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MLA Citations- 8th Edition — Home

MLA Handbook Guides

MLA Handbook (8th Edition)

Core Elements

MLA focuses on the core elements that are common to all the different types of citations you might make. Remember, one of the points of a citation is to help others find the work you have consulted. Keep that in mind as you put together your core elements!

Not every source is going to all of these elements.

  • Author
  • Title of Source (e.g. a book, article, chapter, song, or episode)
  • Title of Container (e.g. a journal, a book, album, or TV show)
  • Other Contributors (e.g. translator, editors, producers)
  • Version
  • Number
  • Publisher
  • Publication date
  • Location

Author

The creator of the source you're citing.

Title of the Source

Title of the Container - This can be a tricky one!

The Container is the larger whole that the source is part of. If you have a chapter in a book, it's a book. If you're citing a TV episode, it's the whole TV show. "In some cases, a container might be within a larger container. You might have read a book of short stories on Google Books, or watched a television series on Netflix. You might have found the electronic version of a journal on JSTOR. It is important to cite these containers within containers so that your readers can find the exact source that you used." (Purdue OWL)

Publication Date

"The same source may have been published on more than one date, such as an online version of an original source. For example, a television series might have aired on a broadcast network on one date, but released on Netflix on a different date. When the source has more than one date, it is sufficient to use the date that is most relevant to your use of it. If you’re unsure about which date to use, go with the date of the source’s original publication." (Purdue OWL)

Other Contributors

In addition to the author, there may be other contributors to the source who should be credited, such as editors, illustrators, translators, etc. If their contributions are relevant to your research, or necessary to identify the source, include their names in your documentation. (Purdue OWL)

Version

If a source is listed as an edition or version of a work, include it in your citation. (Purdue OWL)

Number

If a source is part of a numbered sequence, such as a multi-volume book, or journal with both volume and issue numbers, those numbers must be listed in your citation. (Purdue OWL)

Publisher

The publisher produces or distributes the source to the public. (Purdue OWL)

Publication Date

The same source may have been published on more than one date, such as an online version of an original source. For example, a television series might have aired on a broadcast network on one date, but released on Netflix on a different date. When the source has more than one date, it is sufficient to use the date that is most relevant to your use of it. If you’re unsure about which date to use, go with the date of the source’s original publication. (Purdue OWL)

Location

This refers to a location like page numbers, a URL, or the physical location of a physical object.

Check Yourself!

Test your ability to use MLA format in this quick, interactive exercise!