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MLA 8 for ESL: Core Elements


A citation is made is up of many different information elements or pieces. MLA Style calls these "core elements." Most citations will not have all nine core elements.

Let's start by finding the core elements of a book. Grab a book & a book worksheet.

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.


3. Container: 

Sometimes a source is part of a larger whole. For example, a magazine article is part of a larger whole, the magazine itself. For citation purposes, we call the larger whole, in this case the magazine, a container.

4. Other Contributors:

Other people who contributed to the source are often editors. This is common for text books and encyclopedias. Editors are responsible for the overall content of the book. They often work directly with the authors themselves. So some sources will have both authors and editors.

7. Publisher: 

The publisher is the name of the organization or company responsible for making the source available. Sometimes there will be many organizations listed as being responsible for publishing the source.

In this case, just include the company that you believe is most responsible for the source’s publication. (Use your best judgment).