Understanding MLA 8

Element sequence

  1. Author.
  2. Title of source.
  3. Title of Container,
  4. Other Contributor,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication Date,
  9. Location.

MLA 8's Elements

MLA 8 guidelines break a citation into nine elements (left). It is OK to omit elements that do not exist. Some sources may have multiple containers (element 3).

Click to access

Check out the YouTube playlist of 14 mini videos to walk you through the elements of MLA 8 ->

Sample Citations (Grouped by category)

Sample Citations (grouped by categories)

Remember that databases consistently cite sources incorrectly. Building citations from scratch, following the elements one-by-one is the most effective strategy for citing sources. It challenges the researcher to be more reflective about source evaluation.

Academic journal:

Marston, Daniel. “Army, Partition, and the Punjab Boundary Force, 1945-1947.” War in History, vol. 16, no. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 469-505. Explora, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=shib&db=aph&AN=44287983&custid=s9378636.

Vernick, Jon S., et al. "Effects of Maryland's Law Banning Saturday Night Special Handguns on Crime Guns." Injury Prevention, vol. 1353 no. 8047, Dec. 1999, p. 259. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=shib&db=edb&AN=66859683&site=eds-live&custid=s9378636.


“India’s Chronic Battle with Malnutrition.” Blog. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2012, india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/indias-chronic-battle-with-malnutrition/.


Brown, Paul Tolliver. "Science and Technology." American Decades: 2000-2009, edited by Eric Bargeron and James F. Tidd, Jr., Gale, 2011, pp. 433-473.

Diamond, Jared. “Norse Greenland’s End.” Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking, 2005, pp. 211-247.

---. “Norse Greenland’s Flowering.” Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking, 2005, pp. 248-276.

Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor, and Anthony Esler, "The Soviet Union: Rise and Fall of a Superpower." World History: Connections to Today, Prentice Hall, 2005, pp. 843-847, 887.

"Ethnic Cleansing." Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, vol. 2, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006, pp. 989-993. World History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3447000329/WHIC?u=new11256&xid=bf56e45a.

Mack, Glen R., and Asele Surina. "Diet and Health." Food Culture in Russia and Central Asia." Greenwood, 2005, pp. 185-198.

"Malta." Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia, edited by Ken Albala, vol.4: Europe, Greenwood, 2011, pp. 231-238.

Menzel, Peter, and Faith D'Alusio. "China: Xu Zhipeng the Extreme Gamer." What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets. Ten Speed Press, 2005, pp. 47-49.

Menzel, Peter, and Faith D'Alusio. "Ecuador: The Aymes of Tingo." Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. Ten Speed Press, 2005, pp. 106-117.

Martin, John Bartlow. "Election of 1964."History of American Presidential, 1789 - 1968. Edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger, vol. 4, McMillan, 1971, pp. 3565-3702.

Peterson, Scott. “Genocide Denied.” Me Against my Brother at War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda: a Journalist Reports from the Battlefields of Africa, Routledge, 2002.

Sahovic, Nevena Vuckovic. "Children." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by Dinah L. Shelton, vol. 1, Macmillan, 2005, pp. 163-167.

Sargent, Lyman Tower. "Utopia." New Dictionary of the History Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 6, Scribner, 2005.

Seusse, Theodore. The Lorax, Random House, 1971.


“Do You Think the Jews are Trying to Get too Much Power in the U.S., or Not?” iPoll, conducted by Ben Gaffin and Associates, Roper, June 1952, ropercenter.cornell.edu.

Marston, Daniel. “Army, Partition, and the Punjab Boundary Force, 1945-1947.” War in History, vol. 16 no. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 469-505. Explora, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=shib&db=aph&AN=44287983&custid=s9378636.

Emma, Thomas. “A College Perspective on Academics and the Student Athlete," Coach and Athletic Director, vol. 77, no. 8, Mar. 2008. "Preferential Admissions Treatment Is Harmful to Student Athletes." College Admissions, edited by Dedria Bryfonski, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010919225/OVIC?u=new11256&xid=1d5990aa.


"Amanpour, Christiane." War in the Persian Gulf Reference Library, edited by Laurie Collier Hillstrom and Julie Carnagie, vol. 2: Biographies, UXL, 2004, pp. 1-10. World History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3436300032/WHIC?u=new11256&xid=d630e92e.

Coerver, Don M., et al. Mexico an Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History. e-Book, ABC-CLIO, 2004.

Kemp, Donna R. "Deinstitutionalization." Mental Health in America: A Reference Handbook, e-Book, ABC-CLIO, 2007.

Nagel, James. "Kate Chopin’s Bayou Folk." Race and Culture in New Orleans Stories : Kate Chopin, Grace King, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and George Washington Cable. University Alabama Press, 2014, pp. 119-159. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=shib&db=e000xna&AN=681638&site=eds-live&custid=s9378636.

Peterson, Scott.“Genocide Denied.” Me Against my Brother at War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda: a Journalist Reports from the Battlefields of Africa. e-book, Routledge, 2002, pp. 289-302.

Sahovic, Nevena Vuckovic. "Children." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by Dinah L. Shelton, vol. 1, Macmillan, 2005, pp. 163-167. Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=new11256&v=2.1&it=aboutBook&id=GALE|0QPI.


"Han Dynasty." Britannica Academic, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 29 Dec. 2016, www.britannica.com/topic/handynasty.

“Hong Kong.” World Data Analyst, Britannica, 2018, world.eb.com.proxy1.athensams.net/new-multimedia/pdf/wordat089.pdf.

Violatti, Cristian. "Han Dynasty." Ancient History Encyclopedia. 27 May 2013, www.ancient.eu/Han_Dynasty/.


Nichols, Jeff. Loving. Performed by Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton, Focus, 2016.


Alessandro Chechi, Liora Aufseesser, and Marc-André Renold. “Case Machu Picchu Collection – Peru and Yale University,” ArThemis, University of Geneva, plone.unige.ch/art-adr/cases-affaires/machu-picchu-collection-2013-peru-and-yale-university. Accessed 12 Nov. 2018.

“Bamiyan Buddhas.” West Buddha surrounded by caves, c. 6th-7th c C.E., stone, stucco, paint, 175 feet high. Khan Academy, posted by Melody Rod-ari, 2018, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/west-and-central-asia/a/bamiyan-buddhas.

“The False Identity Card of Vladka Meed.” United States Holocaust Museum, New York Times, 24 Nov. 2012, nyti.ms/2mFg0e6.

“League of German Girls in the Hitler Youth (c. 1936).” Spartacus Educational, 2016, spartacus-educational.com/2WWgirls.htm.

Ortner, Jon. “The Pediment On The Gopura Of The Second Level Illustrates The Hindu Myth Of Creation, “The Churning Of The Sea Of Milk.” from "Photographer Showcases Legendary Khmer Temple Preah Vihear." Changing Planet, National Geographic, 23 June 2009, blog.nationalgeographic.org/2009/06/23/photographer-showcases-legendary-khmer-temple-preah-vihear.

“Over Here!” 01 Jan. 1942, Hulton Archive, Getty Images, 2017, www.gettyimages.com/license/3232590.

"This Copy Of The Code Of Hammurabi From The Library Of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal Was Excavated At..." The Ancient Near East: An Encyclopedia for Students, edited by Ronald Wallenfels and Jack M. Sasson, vol. 3, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2000. World History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/PC2897387032/WHIC?u=new11256&sid=WHIC&xid=d33ae7e7. Accessed 12 Nov. 2018.


Trabant, Gigi. "Working for Time Life in the 1960s." Interviewed by Michelle Luhtala, StoryCorps, 23 Feb. 2017.

Yee, Sophia, et. al. “School Shooting Interview.” Voice Memos, interviewed by Heather Doherty, 12 Nov. 2018.


Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making us Stupid?" Atlantic, July/Aug. 2008, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868.

Sifferlin, Alexandra. "When A Guy Gets An Eating Disorder." Time, 8 April 2014, time.com/54158/when-a-guy-gets-an-eating-disorder.

"Why Israel Needs a Palestinian State; The legacy of the Six-Day War of 1967." Economist, 20 May 2017, p. 11. U.S. History In Context, go.galegroup.com.proxy1.athensams.net/ps/i.do?p=GPS&sw=w&u=new11256&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA491932039&asid=a45d05aaee3af09627dd1268c0e981bb.

Wiedeman, Reeves. “The Sandy Hook Hoax.” New York, 5 Sept. 2016, nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/09/the-sandy-hook-hoax.html.


Harris, Gardiner. “Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children with Malnutrition.” New York Times, 13 July 2014, nyti.ms/2kr4nTy.

"Helicopter Parents: You're Grounded!" New York Times, 22 Oct. 2014, p. A26. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=shib&db=edsgwh&AN=edsgcl.386822360&site=eds-live&custid=s9378636.

Slackman, Michael. “Deep Roots of Denial for Iran’s True Believer.” New York Times, 14 Dec. 2006, nyti.ms/2l6yYK8.

"Teach Wellesley Maids." New York Times, 26 Dec. 1920, pp. 31, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, search.proquest.com/docview/98054682?accountid=4973.

Newspaper (editorial):

Editorial Board. “How to Tell Truth from Fiction in the Age of Fake News.” Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2016, www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-fake-news-facebook-edit-1120-md-20161118-story.html.

Kristof, Nicholas. “Half the Kids in This Part of India Are Stunted.” Editorial. New York Times, 15 Oct. 2015, nyti.ms/2k1yq3w. Editorial.

Newspaper (OP-ED):

Blow, Charles M. "Blood in the Water." New York Times, 22 May, 2017, p. A25. National Newspapers Core, search.proquest.com/docview/1900777558?accountid=4973.

Friedman, Thomas. “The New Untouchables.” New York Times, 21 Oct. 2009, nyti.ms/2mxj9gx.

Noonan, Peggy. "Democracy Is Not Your Plaything." Wall Street Journal, 18 May 2017, www.wsj.com/articles/democracy-is-not-your-plaything-1495149082?tesla=y.

Newspaper (specific section):

Zimmer, Carl. "The Purpose of Sleep? to Forget, Scientists Say." New York Times, late edition, 7 Feb. 2017, Science sec., p. 5.


Lutton, Linda, et al. "Harper High School - Part One" This American Life, National Public Radio, 15 Feb. 2015, www.thisamericanlife.org/487/harper-high-school-part-one.

Pérez, Miriam Zoila. "How Does Racism Affect Pregnant Women And Babies?" Podcast. TED Radio Hour. Hosted by Guy Raz, National Public Radio, 16 Mar. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/03/16/593870089/miriam-zoila-p-rez-how-does-racism-affect-pregnant-women-and-babies. The Consequences of Racism 2.

Tran, Thom. "15 Years Later, An Iraq Veteran Looks Back." Death, Sex & Money. Podcast. Hosted by Anna Sale. 21 Mar. 2018. WNYCStudios, www.wnycstudios.org/story/thom-tran-death-sex-money/.


Rothstein, Richard. “A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America.” Hosted by Terry Gross, Fresh Air, National Public Radio, 3 May 2017, www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=526655831.

Vedantam, Shankar, et al. "How Stereotypes Can Drive Women to Quit Science." All Things Considered, intyerview by Melissa Block, National Public Radio, 12 July 2012,

Social Media:

Beyonce. "#LEMONADE the Visual Album Available Now!..." Facebook, 25 April 2016, facebook.com/beyonce/photos/10156956506310601.

@persiankitty. "We are low on cat food and kitty litter." Twitter, 28 June 2016, 4:45 p.m., twitter.com/persionkitty/status/2938479832.

@tombrokaw. "SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign." Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.


Esler, Anthony, and Elisabeth Gaynor Ellis. “Early Civilizations in India and China.” World History: Connections to Today, Pearson, 2005.


Aslam, Amina, et al. “The Role of School in My Life.” Hoshyar, 2015, hoshyar.org/students/the-role-of-school-in-my-life.

“Auschwitz.” Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005189. Accessed 13 Feb. 2017.

“Benazir Bhutto.” History, Arts & Entertainment Network, 2009, history.com/topics/womens-history/benazir-bhutto.

Central Intelligence Agency. “Sierra Leone.” The World Factbook, United States, 12 Jan. 2017, cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sl.html.

Crawford, Fred Roberts. “Witness to the Holocaust.” Georgia Tech Library, Georgia Institute of Technology, library.gatech.edu/holocaust. Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.

Department of Asian Art. "Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.) Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 200 -, www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/hand/hd_hand.htm.

Facebook. "Form 10-K Annual Report." compiled by David Wehner, Security and Exchange Commission, 28 Jan. 2016, sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1326801/000132680116000043/fb-12312015x10k.htm#sF56954A5C1B90DC1CA64F3139F51DF5C.

“The Faces of Malnutrition.” United Nations Children’s Fund, 20 July 2016, unicef.org/nutrition/index_faces-of-malnutrition.html.

"Gun Violence Must Stop. Here's What We Can Do to Prevent More Deaths." Prevention Institute, www.preventioninstitute.org/focus-areas/preventing-violence-and-reducing-injury/preventing-violence-advocacy. Accessed 3 Apr. 2018.

“The Holocaust.” History, Arts & Entertainment Network, history.com/topics/world-war-ii/the-holocaust.

“Poverty & Human Trafficking.”Unanima International, United States Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, unanima-international.org//wp-content/uploads/USCSAHT-HTandPoverty.pdf. Accessed 8 Feb. 2017.

Rodgers, Lucy, et al. "Syria: The Story of the Conflict." BBC News: The Middle East, British Broadcasting Corporation, 11 March, 2016, www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26116868.

Video (online):

Associated Press. "Yates Calls Flynn's Manner 'Problematic'." Times Video, New York Times, 8 May 2017, nyti.ms/2pYiUw2.

“In Nepal, Malnutrition is a Silent Emergency.” United Nations Children’s Fund, 10 July 2015. YouTube, youtube.com/watch?v=z7Wyl3pMehs.

“McCain Slams Putin in Fiery Senate Speech.” Cable News Network, Turner Broadcasting System, 7 Feb. 2017. YouTube, youtu.be/bJhRFTnwSvc.

Pearle, Richard. "A Necessary War?" Frontline, Public Broadcasting Service, 9 Oct. 2003, www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/truth/interviews/perle.html.

Pink, Dan. "The Puzzle of Motivation." Technology, Engineering, and Design Global, 2009, www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.

What is a container?

A container is the whole from which only a part is referenced. There can be more than one! Examples include:

  • A book from which only a chapter is referenced (e.g., Collapse: Why Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,)
  • A newspaper or magazine from which an article was referenced (e.g., New York Times,)
  • A database from which a resource was retrieved (e.g., JSTOR,)
  • A video streaming portal containing a referenced video (e.g. YouTube,)
  • A television or radio broadcasting organization from which a specific episode of a program is referenced (e.g., National Public Radio,)

MLA 8 elements in detail --->

NCHS students in grades 9-11 use MLA 8 (except in UCONN ECE courses which use APA).

MLA - The overview
MLA 8 Citations break down

Formatting a works cited list

This is a no-brainer! Don't lose points on this.

  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • Size 12 Times New Roman
  • Hanging margins (see video) --->
  • Arranged alphabetically according to the first word in the citation (after A, An, or The)
  • No abbreviations (cheat sheet)!

Bibliographies are H.A.R.D.

  • Header
  • Alphabetized
  • Reverse indented
  • Double-spaced

More details in the videos below.

Bibliographies are H.A.R.D.


Public Database Cheat Sheet A
2017 MLA8 model.docx

Bibliography Feedback

Additional resources