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Citing Sources

MLA Guides

Introducing the Elements

MLA style elements: author, title, container, contributors, version, number, publisher, date, location.

The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook introduces a new model for entries in the Works Cited list, one that reflects recent changes in how works are published and consulted. Previously, a writer created an entry by following the MLA’s instructions for the source’s publication format (book, DVD, web page, etc.). That approach has become impractical today, since publication formats and modes of access are constantly evolving.

In the new model, the writer does not need to ask, “How do I cite a book (or DVD or web page)?” Instead, the writer creates an entry by consulting the MLA’s list of nine core elements—attributes common to many works—which are assembled in a specific order.