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MLA 8th Edition: Core Elements And Examples

MLA Quick Guide

Core Elements

 

 

  1.      Author

  2.      Title of Source

  3.      Title of Container

  4.      Other Contributors

  5.      Version

  6.      Number

  7.      Publisher

  8.      Publication Date

  9.      Location

 

 

Note that the publication format isn’t considered. MLA no longer cares if your information comes from a book, magazine, streamed video, or whatever. The publisher is what’s important, not the mode you use to access it.

 

 

 

The 9 Elements

 

This is only a brief discussion and explanation of the core elements. For specific criteria, consult an MLA Guide, your professor, or a librarian.

 

All examples are from the MLA Handbook Eighth Edition.

 

Author

For books, articles, and most traditional items, the rules for citing authorship are easy to define and essentially unchanged from MLA 7. One difference between MLA 8 and previous versions is that when a work has more than one author, only the first author has their name reversed (last name first), while additional authors have their name in the standard format (first name then last name).

 

In the following example, Michael Dorris’s name is reversed, but Louise Erdrich’s isn’t:

 

Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdrich. The Crown of Columbus. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.

 

Here are three more examples:

 

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communications Media." PMLA, vol. 24, no. 1, Jan.

2013, pp 193-200.

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

          Kincaid, Jamaica. "In History." Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2001, pp. 620-25.

 

 

For film, television, and other media there’s often not a single author, and not always one relevant to the idea you’re expressing with your quote. Choose the person most relevant to the quotation you’re using or the point you’re making and cite that person as the author. This could be a writer, director, or even actor or sound editor, and you’re allowed to use your own judgment based on your citations.

 

Here are two ways to create a Works Cited entry for the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The first uses the central actress; the second uses the creator/producer/writer.

 

Gellar, Sarah Michelle, performer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.

Whedon, Joss, creator. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.

 

Note that the individual’s role was described next to their name.

 

Here are some other examples:

 

@persiankiwi. "We have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now - #Iranelection." Twitter, 23 June

2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persiankiwi/status/2298106072.

Stendhal. The Red and the Black. Translated by Roger Gard, Penguin Books, 2002.

Tribble, Ivan. "Bloggers Need Not Apply." The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 July 2005, chronicle.com/article

/Bloggers-Need_not_Apply/45022.


When there are more than two authors, use the first author than put et al. (this means "and others"):

Horiuchi, Yusaku, et al. “Should Candidates Smile to Win Elections? An Application of Automated Face Recognition

Technology.” Political Psychology, vol. 33, no. 6, 2012, pp. 925–933., JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable

/23324199.

 

When the author's name is unknown, start with the title:

 

Beowulf. Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

 

When the author is a organization, use the name of the organization:

 

United Nations. Consequence of Rapid Population Growth in Developing Countries. Taylor and Francis, 1991.

 

Title of Source

Like virtually all formatting and style guides, this is simply the title of the item your information came from.

 

Here are some examples:

 

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4,

episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

Joyce, Michael. Othermindedness: The Emergence of a Network Culture. U of Michigan P, 2000.

Puig, Manuel. Kiss of the Spider Woman. Translated by Thomas Colchie, Vintage Books, 1991.

 

Note that different kinds of items have their titles formatted in different ways. If the title is from a:

 

Self-contained works such as a book, or collection of essays or stories:  Use Italics

Essay, story, or poem:  Use "Quotations"

Part of a larger work:  Use "Quotations"

An article or periodical:  Use "Quotations"
 

The above rules apply across all media, so the title of TV show would be in italics, the same as a book. The title of an episode of a TV show would be in quotes, because it's part of a larger work. The title of a website would be in italics, but the title an article posted on a website would be in quotations.

 

Title of Container

 

If your source is part of a larger whole (a page of a larger website; an article in a magazine; a specific episode of a YouTube series; a single issue of a comic book), the Container is the larger whole.

 

For example, if you were to cite what you’re reading right now, “Core Elements” is the title, and “MLA 8th Edition” is the Container.

 

MLA provides an example for “a web site which contains articles, postings, and almost any other sort of work.”:

 

Hollmichel, Stehanie. “The Reading Brain: Difference between Digital and Print.” So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,

somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/.

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4,

episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

 

A work can also have more than one Container. For example, if you’re referencing an episode of a television show you watched on Hulu, the episode is the source, the series is the Container, and Hulu is a second Container (it contained the whole series).

 

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A.

Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1902, HathiTrust Digital Library, babel.hathitrusht.org/cgi         /pt?id=coo.31924079574368;view=1up;seq=266

“Under the Gun.” Pretty Little Liars, season 4, episode 6, ABC Family, 16 July 2013. Hulu, www.hulu.com/watch

/511318

 

This can be scaled up as far as necessary, and you should account for all the containers that enclose your source. Hulu will also come up in the “Location” core element (See below). When this happens, there is no need to repeat the information.

 

Other Contributors

These are simply other people relevant enough to your quotation or the source that they are worth mentioning. Think of the people who direct or translate.

 

Any extra contributors should be introduced with their role, for example:

 

Adapted by

Directed by

Edited by

Translated by

 

Beowulf. Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

Fagih, Ahmed Ibrahim al-. The Singing of the Stars. Translated by Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley. Short

Arabic Plays: An Anthology, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Interlink Books, 2003, pp. 140-57.

Schubert, Franz. Piano Trio in E. Flat Major D 929. Performance by Wiener Mozart-Trio, unabridged version,

Deutsch 929, Preiser Records, 2011.

 

 

Version

These refer to the specific version of the item you’re using (the Authorized King James Bible is a version of the Bible, for example). If the item you’re using is not the first edition, the edition is the version. Specific episodes of TV show or volume and issue numbers of a periodical or comic book count as numbers. These rules are basically unchanged from previous forms of MLA.

 

Volume and issues numbers should be identified as such instead of left as just numbers (vol. 128, no. 1; season 4, episode 10, etc.).

 

The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998

Schubert, Franz. Piano Trio in E. Flat Major D 929. Performance by Wiener Mozart-Trio, unabridged version,

Deutsch 929, Preiser Records, 2011.

Scott, Ridley, director. Blade Runner. 1982. Performance by Harrison Ford, director's cut, Warner Bros., 1992.

 

Number

The rules for this are virtually the same for those of "Version", above.

 

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4,

episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

Kafka, Ben. "The Demon of Writing: Paperwork, Public Safety, and the Reign of Terror." Representations,

no. 98, 2007, pp. 1-24.

Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes. 2nd ed., vol. 2, Oxford UP 2002.

 

Publisher

The publisher is the organization primarily responsible for the work. For television shows or movies which have many levels of ownership, you generally cite the largest organization in the chain, or the organization “that had the primary overall responsibility”, such as Twentieth Century Fox. In the case of a website you have to determine what person or organization produces or owns the page.

 

Example of a TV show and book:

 

Kuzui, Fran Rubel, director. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Twentieth Century Fox, 1992.

Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Penguin Press, 2008.

 

Example of a website and blog:

 

Clancy, Kate. "Defensive Scholarly Writing and Science Communication." Context and Variation, Scientific American

Blogs, 24 Apr. 2013, blogs.sceintieficamerican.com/context-and-variation-/2013/04/24/

Harris, Charles "Teenie." Woman in Paisley Shirt behind county in Record Store. Teenie Harris Archive, Carnegie

Museum of Art, Pittsburg, teenie.cmoa.org/interactive.index.

 

Publication Date

Many sources will have more than one publication date. A printed newspaper article will often be republished on a website, and that digital version maybe modified later, so there can be an original date and more than one digital date for publication. A television show watched on Hulu that originally aired years prior on television or a video found in an online article that had originally been created for YouTube are other examples of tricky publication dates.

MLA recommends: “When a source carries more than one date, cite the date that is most meaningful or most relevant to your use of the source.” In other words, cite the publishing date of the item you found, not previous or other versions.

 

For example, if you're citing the online version of William Deresiewicz's "The Death of the Artist", it looks like this:

 

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist--and the birth of the Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, 28 Dec.,

2014, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-the-creative-entrepenuer/383497.

 

If you're citing the print version, it looks like this:

 

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist--and the birth of the Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, Jan.-Feb.

2015, pp 92-97.

 

A more complex example: If citing the episode "Hush", from season 4 of the show TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you could use the following as potential dates:

 

  • The year it aired (1999)
  • The date it aired (14 Dec. 1999)
  • The year the DVD of season 4 was released, if discussing the DVD or its features (2003), or the year the box set was released
  • The date it was posted to a website
  • Even the date it was shown at a Buffy Meet Up Group,or the date it was added to a digital download or stream service are potential options.

 

Again, use your best judgment, and be consistent.

 

 

Location

This refers to the location of your reference within a larger whole.

 

  • If you’re quoting a book, the location of your quote is the page number.
  • The location of a website is its URL (use permalinks whenever possible).
  • The location of an academic article you found in a database is the name of the database.
  • The location of a television episode on DVD or BluRay is the disc number; on Netflix, the location is Netflix; on YouTube, the location is the YouTube.
  • The location of a physical object, such as a painting or archived item is the institution and city where you would find it.

 

Keep in mind that for many of these you will have to use your own judgment and common sense. If you sat in our library and found an article on the JSTOR databases, the location is JSTOR, not our library.

 

Also, being consistent is extremely important.

 

Here are some final examples:

 

William Deresiewicz's "The Death of the Artist", online version:

 

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist--and the birth of the Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, 28 Dec.,

2014, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-the-creative-entrepenuer/383497.

 

William Deresiewicz's "The Death of the Artist", print version:

 

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist--and the birth of the Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, Jan.-Feb.

2015, pp 92-97.

 

More examples, a live performance, piece of art, and TV show on DVD:

 

Atwood, Margaret. "Silencing the Screream." Boundaries of the Imagination Forum. MLA Annual Convention, 29

Dec. 1993, Royal York Hotel, Toronto.

Bearden, Romare. The Train. 1975, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah

Michelle Gellar, episode 10, WB Television Network, 203, disc 3.