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Research Help: MLA Style Guides

MLA List of Core Elements

MLA citations are made up of the following core elements* (in this order):

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

Each element is followed by the punctuation as shown in the list above. 

Not every element will be relevant to every item being documented. 

A single item may have more than one container.

For more information and examples, please see Works Cited: A Quick Guide accessible at the new MLA Style Center.


* In addition to the core elements, there are optional elements that may also be included in a citation (see pages 50-53 of the Handbook). 

New Eighth Edition of the MLA Handbook

MLA is the citation style most commonly used in the Arts and Humanities. 

A new edition of the MLA Handbook was published in 2016.

The 8th edition introduces many changes as well as a new approach to documenting sources. 

  • The new edition recommends a universal set of guidelines that can be used for any source regardless of format. 
  • Citations are created by referring to the new MLA list of core elements
  • Elements are then assembled in a particular order. 
  • MLA now also uses the concept of containers to describe when a source is part of a larger whole. 

Details, Examples, and a Practice Template:

The new MLA Style Center provides a range of guides and resources, including:

Print Copies and Guides:

Multiple copies of the new 8th edition are now available at the R.P. Bell Library and Music Library (LB 2369 .G53 2016). 

Also, the popular (and helpful) MLA Formatting and Style Guide produced by the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has been revised and updated to reflect the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook. 

The Mount A Library’s MLA Citation Guides based on the 7th edition remain accessible below. 

MLA Style Guides

The following guides are based on the older 7th edition of the MLA Handbook:

The guide below is based on the new 8th edition of the MLA Handbook:

The MLA Handbook

New 8th edition (2016)

The 7th edition (2009)

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