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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.

Ways to Get Research Help

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.

Learn more about the style at the MLA Style Center, use the MLA Handbook online (linked in the box below) and check out the tools and interactive templates (also linked below)

MLA is most commonly used for early and undergraduate research, literature research, and research in the humanities. You may see MLA used in other contexts as well, as it is up to the professor, publication, or department!

A couple of important notes about MLA:

  • MLA doesn't have footnote citations! MLA's in-text citations are parenthetical and generally list the author and page number of a citation
  • MLA can have explanatory footnotes, such as when you need to explain, translate, or expand on a point and would like to do so outside of the main text
  • MLA's main focus is authorial importance, which is why there's a focus on the main author or authors in citations such as in-text. If you're more concerned about historical context around a citation, you might want to consider using Chicago Style, and if you're more concerned about showing the recency or date of a citation, you may want to consider using APA Style, both covered in this guide!

Zotero works well with MLA, but there are always edge cases where Zotero struggles! If you're not sure if your MLA citations are correct or if you want to cite something that Zotero isn't citing correctly please feel free to make an appointment with one of our Zotero specialists

MLA Manuals and Online

MLA 9 is the current edition! There are very few changes to the style between versions 8 and 9; if you'd like to check the examples in the book, you can find it on reserve at the Information and Borrowing Desk!

MLA 9 Overview

To get you started, check out the overview of how to cite your basic sources!

If you want to see examples of how different types of sources are cited, from television shows to legal documents and more, check out Appendix 2 of the MLA handbook, which you can access online or in-print!

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.

If you're not sure how to apply the following aspects, try using the interactive practice template!

  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. Contributor,

    • 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.