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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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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.

      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.

      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.