MLA 8th Edition

The MLA 8th Edition has made a dramatic change in how to approach citations. Now that we are in the era of digital publication, MLA updated their citation style to depend less on a strict structure based on source type and more on core citation elements that can be applied in order to any type of source, whether it is a journal article or a YouTube video.

For each resource you want to cite, you can go down this list one by one and include the elements that apply to your source! The core elements are as follows:

  1. Author
  2. Title of Source
  3. Title of Container
  4. Other Contributors
  5. Versions
  6. Number
  7. Publisher
  8. Publication Date
  9. Location

Containers can be a confusing part of MLA 8. A container is the larger work that a source is a part of and sometimes a source can have multiple containers. A few examples of containers are an academic journal, a database, or a website (like YouTube). Some sources, like books, are their own containers so that element of the citation does not apply to them.

  • Example: An article (the source) published in the American Journal of Medicine (1st container) and located in one of our online databases, Academic Search Complete (2nd container)

Read more at MLA's "What's New in the Eighth Edition"

Basic Format for Any Citation

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 URL or DOI). 2nd container's title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Other MLA citation elements to remember:

  • All citations should be double spaced (we have single spaced our citations to save space)
  • The final element in a citation needs to end with a period
  • If ever in doubt about what to include your citation, contact your instruction. They will be able to tell you what elements they require.

Citation Resources

In-Text Citations

Purdue Owl: 

    Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).
    • Because we already stated the author's name at the beginning of the sentence we only need to cite the page number.

  • Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
    • If there are more than three authors, just list the first last name and then et. al. 

  • Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).
    • Although we are not directly quoting Wordsworth, we still want to give credit to Wordsworth's idea.

Examples of Citations

The following are a list of citation examples. Remember, these are examples of only a few sources you may encounter in your research.

Journal Article

Note: If a source has three or more authors, only the first author is listed followed by et. al

Brewer, Paul R., et. al. "The Impact of Real News about 'Fake News': Intertextual Processes and Political Satire." International Journal of Public Opinion Research, vol. 25, no. 3, Autumn 2013, pp. 323-342. Business Source Ultimate,

Book with One Author

Note: For books, the city of publication is no longer given.

Drezner, Daniel W. Theories of International Politics and Zombies. Princeton University Press, 2011. 


Piette, Adam and Mark Rawlinson. The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century British and American War LiteratureEdinburgh University Press, 2012. EBSCOhost,, 12 June 2017.

Online Video

Note: If the author's name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. 

"Your Future is Here." YouTube, uploaded by University of Houston-Victoria, 1 May 2013,

Essay in an Anthology (Book of Essays)

Note: Common terms like editor and edited by are no longer abbreviated in MLA 8. 

Smiley, Pamela. "Gender-lined Miscommunication in 'Hills like White Elephants." Ernest Hemingway: Seven Decades of Criticism, edited by Linda Wagner-Martin, Michigan State University Press, 1998, pp. 81-94. 

Entry from an Online Encyclopedia or Reference Database

"John (Ernst) Steinbeck." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2004,

r&asid=a5a9ccc71091cf6da86d195535b07a6b, 7 June 2017.


Note: For online objects, the URL is normally given. If the object has a DOI, it is encouraged to include it in the citation. Citing the date of access is now optional.

Raine, Lee and Janna Anderson. "The Internet of Things Connectivity Binge: What are the Implications?" Pew Research Center, 6 June 2017,, 7 June 2017.

MLA 8th Edition

Do you prefer print? We have the MLA Handbook Eighth Edition in print here at the library. Just ask for it at our "Ask A Librarian" desk on the first floor!