MLA (Modern Language Association) format is only one style for citations. Other format styles you may encounter are CSE (Council of Science Editors) and APA (American Psychological Association) used for the social sciences. While these look different, they serve the same purpose - which is to systematically and reliably give your readers all the details they might need to find the exact same sources that you used.
Why does that matter? In professional or academic writing, we need to show how the ideas in our writing connect to what others have reported, without plagiarism. It also demonstrates to our readers that we write from an informed viewpoint.
Create a citation when you are using:
Details matter when formatting citations, and it can be confusing - but help is available!
A good place to start online is with the Library's citation guides. The parts of an MLA citation are explained in the MLA 8 Guide. If you prefer to use examples as models, there is also this MLA Quick Guide.
A reference librarian can also work with you in-person to format the citations in your paper. Use this online form to schedule an appointment with a reference librarian; if you have a quick question, just stop by the Reference Desk in the Library to ask.