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Citation Guide: Optional Elements

Help with citing your sources for a research paper.

Essential Elements

All citations should include the following elements:

1. Author.
2. Title of Source.
3. Title of Container,
4. Other Contributors,
5. Version,
6. Number,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date,

9. Location.

  *  Optional Elements
 
**  In-Text Citations

 

Note: E-books require additional information. See the example to the right and the Online Databases section for more details.

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Have Questions about MLA?

You should always consult with your professor if you have specific MLA questions.

Optional Elements

* Optional Elements: 
While the eighth edition is more streamlined than previous editions, authors should include any information that may help readers identify a source without including any distracting information. The following Optional Elements should only be included in a citation at the writer's discretion. 


      Date of Original Publication: 
      Some works have been published more than once; and, if the information may be helpful to the reader the writer can include
      both dates in the citation.


      City of Publication: 
      Unlike the previous edition, the eighth edition does not require the place of publication to be included in a citation. In some
      instances, however, the writer will want to include the place of publication. For example, in books published before 1900
      the place of publication was synonymous with the publisher; hence, in this instance, the writer can list the year of publication
      in lieu of the place of publication.


      Date of Access: 
      Since an online source may move locations or disappear at anytime, the MLA Handbook recommends including the
      Date of Access (when you accessed the material) in the citation.


      URLs: 
      While the eighth edition recommends including the URL in your citation, you should always check with your professor and
      include the URL at his or her discretion.


      DOIs: 
      The DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a series of numbers, letters, and symbols for locating an online source. Journal articles
      often are assigned a DOI, which allows a source to be located even when the URL changes. You should always use the DOI
      in lieu of a URL if your source is assigned a DOI.