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MLA Style Guide

Core Elements of MLA Citations

MLA identifies the following core elements of a citation: 

Element Punctuation Description
Author. Period Can be an individual, group, organization, or government. Types include writer, editor, translator, director, artist, performer, etc. If author is unknown or anonymous, skip this field. 
Title of Source. Period Stand-alone source in italics; item in a series or collection in quotation marks. 
Title of Container, Comma Resource that is part of a larger whole ("container"). Ex. journal, edited work, website (when it is the publisher of a resource). Normally italicized.
Other contributors, Comma Editors, translators, directors, performers, illustrators, etc.
Version, Comma Edition, revised, abridged, ebook, audiobook, etc.
Number, Comma Volume, issue, episode, season, etc.
Publisher, Comma Usually clear for books; may also be an organization, government agency, film studio or distributor, etc.  
Publication date. Period Use the most recent date. May also be a date of revision, forthcoming date, etc. If there is no date and the source is not static, include when the source was accessed, viewed, etc. 
Location in text. None Not publishers location. Page range, URL, DOI, etc. For archival items, name archive; for live performances, indicate venue; etc. 


  • Not all may apply.
  • Note the punctuation with each element.
  • When the publisher and the author are identical (often found in resources published by organizations or governments), leave it out of the author position. 
  • If there are multiple items from a single element, separate them with a comma. 
  • Note: Use the author name as given in the source, either full name or initials; list authors in same order as published.
Last Updated: Jun 13, 2024 9:14 AM