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MLA Style Guide, 9th Edition: Works Cited entries: What to Include

This LibGuide reflects the changes to MLA style as directed by the MLA Handbook, Ninth Edition

The Core Elements

MLA Core Elements

Image credit: Modern Language Association. MLA core elements. 2016,

Key Points

Never include a document in a reference list that you have not seen.

Square brackets are used to identify material that is not found in a document, but that has been added by you.

Components of Works Cited Entries

Works Cited entries are made up of core elements. To create your Works Cited reference citation, move down this table from Author to Location, inputting the relevant information into your citation.

Some core elements will not be necessary or available for some sources. Include the core elements you have, need, and are relevant to your use of the source. Optional elements may be added.

Some sources are part of one or two containers and will require the repetition of some core elements for each container. Add the elements to your reference entry from Author through Location, then add any second elements in that same order. For example, online articles from databases have two containers: the first is the journal in which the article is contained and the second is the database in which the journal is contained. The same article could also have two locations: the first is the page number and the second is the Digital Object Identifier (doi) or permalink. 

Want some practice?  Anatomy of Citations (MLA) is a interactive tutorial from Raynor Memorial Libraries / Marquette University that will help identify the different elements needed to create a citation.

Books Part of a book or anthology Articles Websites
1. Author. Author(s) and/or editor(s). Author of essay or chapter. Author(s). Author(s) and/or editor(s).
2. Title of source. Book Title: And Subtitle if Included.  "Title of Essay or Chapter."       "Article Title: And Subtitle if Included." "Web Page or Article Title."
Container 1        
3. Title of container, Book Title, Title of Journal, Newspaper, or Magazine, Title of the Website,
4. Other contributors, Other contributors (if applicable), Book editors or compilers,  Editor(s) (if applicable/relevant), Other contributors (if applicable),
5. Version, Edition (if applicable), Edition (if applicable),
6. Number, Volume (if applicable), Volume (if applicable), vol. #, no. #,
7. Publisher, Publisher (shortened name), Publisher (shortened name),   Publisher (if applicable and available)
8. Publication date, Publication date, Publication date, Publication date, Publication date,
9. Location. Page number (p.) or page range (pp.). Page number (p.) or page range (pp.). Page number (p.) or page range (pp.). URL.
Container 2        
3. Title of second container, Database Name,
4. Other contributors,        
5. Version,    
6. Number,      
7. Publisher,      
8. Publication date,        
9. Second location. URL ("http://" or "https://" omitted) or DOI (doi:xxxxxxxxxx).