Take a look at the graphic from the MLA website below--there are 9 elements in a container of a citation. You can repeat a container for a citation, if necessary. The good thing about MLA 8 for students? The rules are less strict! Notice that commas are EVERYWHERE except after the author, title, and location.
A Closer Look at the Core Elements
1. Author - Last name, first name is still the standard in MLA 8. However, if you have three or more authors, just use the first author's name as usual, and add ", et al." to indicate that there are many more authors. You can also write out "editor" or "translator" here if those people are the main contributors to the source you are using. You can use social media handles as authors now, too!
2. Title of Source - Capitalize the main words in the title and subtitle and italicize if the only title. If it's a little title (my phrase), like a song, episode of a TV show, a poem, etc., then it's placed inside quotation marks.
3. Title of Container - This is the "bigger title" which might be the name of the website, or the name of the journal or book. These are usually italicized, since the the title of source up above is in quotes.
4. Other Contributors - This is where you write out who helped with the source. So you can actually state ", illustrated by Sarah Hill," and use other phrases like directed by, translated by, edited by, introduction by, performance by, etc. See page 37 in the MLA Handbook for more information.
5. Version - In librarian words, this can also mean edition. So here you can use ", New International Version," or ", revised ed., " or ", 10th ed.," if it's noted in your source.
6. Number - Look for key words like volume, issue, number, episode. If your source has them, then you use descriptions like ", vol. 2," or "vol. 26, no. 3,"
7. Publisher - Look on the title page or the back of the title page (the tp verso) to find the publisher of a book. On a website, the publisher is sometimes an organization or the overall sponsor of the site that is mentioned at the very bottom of the page. You can chop off words like company and incorporated and university press can still be abbreviated as UP. Sample publishers: "Harcourt Press" or "U of Illinois P."
8. Date - Sources often have more than one publishing date, like online and print. If you used the online version, then stick with that date and use it in your citation. Write the full date that you see in your source--you may be given a month and day or just a season and year. Some examples are "18 Nov. 1943" or "Fall 2017" or "2011"
9. Location - In print sources, location means pages numbers: "pp. 24-34" or "A3." For web sources, location means the URL or website, but omit the "http://" part at the beginning. If you are using a scholarly article, then you will have a DOI, or digital object identifier number that can serve as a location: "doi:39.28503/dkb2001."
Optional elements to add to an entry are discussed on pages 50 - 53 of the MLA Handbook, 8th edition.
Contact Sarah Hill, Information Services Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-234-5440
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