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Citation Help: MLA (8th Ed)

Books for MLA

MLA Style Center Quick Guides

Click on some of the most commonly cited sources below to view information on what they look like, where to find their citation information, and how to cite in MLA format.

MLA Style (8th Edition)

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is one of several different formats dictating citation styling/formatting and is most commonly used to for writing within liberal arts and humanities. The primary source for MLA style is the MLA Handbook, shown to the left. The most current edition is the 8th edition, which offers examples of citations and in-text citations, along with abbreviation and scholarly writing tips.

MLA style (8th Ed) follows these three principles (pp. 3-4):

  1. Cite core elements shared by most works.
  2. There is often more that one correct way to cite a source.
  3. Documentation needs to be useful to readers. 

Core Elements (pp. 20-50):

These are the core Elements, identified in MLA 8, that should generally be included in the citation (if they exist) to fulfill principle #1, above.  For many sources there is more than one container.


  1. Author.
  2. "Title" (italics if self-contained source or quotes if part of a larger container; title case caps).


  1. Title of Container,
  2. Other Contributors,
  3. Version,
  4. Number, 
  5. Publisher,
  6. Publication Date,
  7. Location.

Optional Elements (pp. 50-53)

Optional elements may be included at the writer's discretion to fulfill principle #3, above.

  • Date of Original Publication
  • City of Publication
  • Total number of volumes for a multi-volume work.
  • Type of work, if unexpected (eg. Transcript or Lecture.)
  • Information about prior publication.
  • Congressional Session
  • Date of Access

8th Edition Change Highlights

  • In-text citations appear to have remained the same.
  • No longer includes source by source formatting recipes.
  • No more "print" or "web" indicators.
  • No more angle brackets around URL's.
  • Place of publication no longer required.
  • Date of access no longer required.
  • URL's (permalinks) are now recommended, if no DOI.
  • Now focuses on the "core elements" that will facilitate changing modes of access and mediums with the primary goal of making citations useful to the reader.
  • Contributor's roles are now written out (edited by, illustrated by, translated by).
  • Numbers are clearly identified (vol. #, no. #). 
  • Many items are now optional,to be included only if particularly useful to the reader (series name, date of access, original publication information, publisher location, and type of work).

More In-Depth Help

This guide is meant as a general overview.  For more in-depth help, please use the following resources, review the MLA Handbook , or contact an LPC librarian.