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MLA Style: MLA 8th Edition

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Citation Basics

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try and find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every Web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible both for your citations and for your research notes:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available)
  • Article name in quotation marks.
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • URL (without the https://)  DOI or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed)—While not required, it is highly recommended, especailly when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.
  • Remember to cite containers after your regular citation. Examples of containers are collections of short stories or poems, a television series, or even a website. A container is anything that is a part of a larger body of works.

Use the following format (including punctuation):

Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).


Citing an Entire Web Site

It is a good idea to list your date of access because web postings are often updated, and information available on one date may no longer be available later. When using the URL, be sure to include the complete address for the site except for the https://.

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Example:

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

From Purdue OWL, for more information visit Purdue OWL's Works Cited Page: Basic Format webpage

Citation Tips & Reminders

Abbreviations

  • Common terms in the works-cited list like editor, edited by, translator, and review are not abbreviated.

Authors

  • When a source has three (3) or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is normally given. It is followed by et al.

Books and Other Printed Works

  • Page numbers in the works cited list (but not in in-text citations) are preceded by p. or pp.

  • For books citations, the city of publication is not necessary, except in special situations.

Example:

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Journals

  • Issues of scholarly journals are written “vol. 64, no. 1” rather than “64.1”

  • If an issue of a scholarly journal is dated with a month or season, the month or season is always cited along with the year.

Example:

Kincaid, Jamaica. “In History.” Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2001, pp. 620-26.

Online Works

  • The URL (without https:// or https://) is included for a web source without angle brackets.

  • The citing of DOIs (digital object identifiers) is encouraged.

  • Citing the date when an online work was consulted is optional.

  • Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) are not used. If facts missing from work are available in a reliable external resource, they are cited in square brackets. Otherwise, they are simply omitted.

Miscellaneous

  • When an organization is both author and publisher of a work, the organization’s name is given only once, usually as the publisher. No author is stated.

  • The medium of publication not stated, except when it is needed for clarity.

  • When the title of a periodical (journal, magazine) begins with an article (A, An, The), the article is treated as part of the title. The article name is italicized and its first letter capitalized, for example, The New York Times

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