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Core Elements

MLA 8th edition instructs writers to use universal guidelines that can be applied to any source, since information can be accessed through multiple formats (watching a movie on a DVD vs streamed online). Universal guidelines are also helpful because it is not always easy to define the type of information resource. 

Core Elements are pieces of information common to all sources. Use the core elements found within your information resource to create your MLA citation.

Core Elements:

Author                          Number          

Title of Source              Publisher

Title of Container*         Publication Date

Other Contributors       Location


* Examples of "Title of Container" include journal title, streaming service, website, anthology title, etc.

Typical order of the core elements:

Author. Title. Title of the container. Other contributors. Version, Number, Publisher’s name. Date of publication, location. 

Citation Examples

Full citations should go on your work cited page at the end of your document. 

Citing a Scholarly Journal:

Kincaid, Jamaica. “In History.” Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2001, pp. 620-26.

Citing a Print Book with one author:

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Citing a Web Page:

Rosenberg, Gabriel. “When your Dream House is a Dollhouse, No Space is too Small.” Time,
     10 August 2016,


In-text citations

In-text citations are typically placed in parentheses at the end of a quote, summary, or paraphrase. 

Include the first word found in the full citation (typically an author's last name) and the location of the quote or paraphrase (paragraph or page number). 

Example: (Farkas 25)

Annotated Bibliographies

Citing images

Stevenson University Library