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Citing Sources

This guide provides an overview of citation management software offered at Brandeis, as well as information on print and online citation guides.

Modern Language Association Style

Modern Language Association (MLA) style is commonly used to write papers and cite sources for disciplines within the humanities. It's developed and maintained by the Modern Language Association of America.

MLA Manuals at the Library

Please note: MLA has recently published the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook. The 8th edition presents updated guidelines for documenting sources. Please check with your instructor to determine if they would like you to use the 7th or 8th edition.

MLA 8 Overview

For a complete overview of MLA 8 changes, please visit style.mla.org.

MLA 8 approaches citing sources in a new way. Instead of specifying strict rules for each type of source, MLA has moved to a "container" system, where the elements of a citation are placed in a specific order. With no specific rules for types of sources, include as many elements from your source as you can.

The information you will need to gather will come from the list below. Please note that each item in the list ends with a comma or period. This is the punctuation you'll want to use for each element in your citation.

  1. Author.

    • The person, people, or organization that created the source you are looking at; multiple author citations are provided in the examples below

  2. Title of source.

    • The name of the source that you are looking at, generally given by the author

  3. Title of container,

    • Where the material you are looking at is housed (website name, journal name, TV show name, etc)

  4. Other contributors,

    • Editors, translators, or others who helped with the material

  5. Version,

    • Also known as "volume"

  6. Number,

    • Also known as "issue"

  7. Publisher,

    • Who is putting the information out in the world

  8. Publication date,

    • When the information that you are holding or looking at was put out in the world. Don't be fooled by re-publication dates!

  9. Location.

    • Where you go to find the information: URL, doi, page range, etc

As you gather sources, make sure to keep an eye out for these pieces of information! Who created the source? What is the title? How was it published? Where did you find it? Where was it published?

The citation information should always appear in the order stated above. If you do not have information for one citation element, simply skip it.

The punctuation given above is accurate; a period will always appear at the end of a citation or citation section whether or not it specifies the location.

To get you started, take a look at the MLA Style Center, where you can find explanations, practice sheets, and more.

MLA Style Resources