Citation Tools and Guides


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MLA 8 Citation Guide

There are two types of citations for every source you use: an in-text citation and a Works Cited citation source.

  • When you write a research paper, it is necessary to cite your sources as you reference them in your text: this citation is called an in-text citation.
  • You are also required to list the details of all of the sources you've referenced in your paper at the end of your paper, usually on a separate page, which is called your "Works Cited" page and is titled as such.

In your research and writing process: it is a recommended practice that as you find possible resources, you capture and record the information needed to cite them correctly. To do this efficiently:

  • Before you start looking for resources, create a new document, and add a centered title to the page called "Works Cited" so that you can add to it as you find your materials.
    • You can use one of the following Works Cited templates, which has a list of made-up sources that you would replace with the information from your sources. Be aware that each of the made-up sources in these templates are for different types of sources: a book with one author, a book with two authors, a book with no author, a library database article, a tweet, a YouTube video, a Website, and a page from a Website. Use the correct form for your source, and copy and paste as needed.
    • Make sure you delete any of the examples in them template that you don't use before you submit your Works Cited page to your teachers.
  • It's always easier to delete a citation that you end up not using, than having to hunt for one after you've finished writing your paper and can't remember exactly where you found information you used.
  • If you're using one of the library's subscription databases, it's really easy to create your citation.
    • Just look for the citation button on the the database page that has the information you would like to use in your paper.
    • Make sure you select the citation style you want, which is either in a drop down menu or a tabbed window, labeled "MLA 8,"
    • Copy and paste the citation into your Works Cited page.
  • If you're using any other source, you're going to have to assemble your citation by identifying as many of the following bits of information, often referred to as "core elements," and then assemble those core elements together in the correct order.
  • As a final step, once you've gathered all the sources you have used in your paper, order them alphabetically on the page by the first word of every source, which is usually the author's last name.

Core Elements of an MLA 8 Citation

Gather these bits of information for each of your sources. You will assemble and format them properly later. You may use this Google Doc template to collect the elements for your sources: copy and paste the table into your own Doc for each source you find.

Core Element # Core Element Name Explanation of the Core Element
1. Authors This core element identifies who created the source. It can be a person, many people, a corporation or group, a government or government organization, or even something like a twitter handle or pseudonym of some sort. In librarian lingo, this is also called the "statement of responsibility." It answers the question "who created this?"
2. Title of the Source This can be a book title, or an article title, or a webpage title. Remember that a webpage may be part of a website.
3. Title of the Source "Container" A container here is what holds the title of the source you're referencing. For example, the container for a newspaper article would be the name of the newspaper, like The Washington Post. If you find an article in a library database, the library database is the container. If you find a poem in a book of poems, the title of the book is the container. Not every source has a container: a book that is a novel by itself, or an in-depth work that is focused on a single subject generally doesn't have a container. However, if you use just a chapter in a book, or if the book is a collection of works, then the book title is the container, and the work or chapter you're using is the Title of the source (core element #2).
4. Other Contributors This could be editors, translators, illustrators, photographers; anyone who contributed to the creation of the work in addition to the main author.
5. Version This could be an edition number, or a named version of a work, maybe something like "the Director's Cut," or an abridged version of a work. Many sources do not have a version.
6. Numbers Many sources don't have Numbers either. If they do, it would be identified as "Volume Number" followed by its number. For journals or other works that are issued several times a year, such as scholarly journals or long running TV series, there are often two numbers, the volume number which generally represents the nth year the journal has been published, or in the case of TV, the season number, followed by the issue or episode number, which is the number within one year's worth of work. For example Game of Thrones your source might reference Season 1, Episode 3.
7. Publisher The person or organization responsible for publishing the work.
8. Publication Date When the work was published. If there are many dates, record the latest one.
9. Location The URL, which is the full website address of the source, generally in the form of  ""