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MLA 8th ed Faculty Toolbox: What's New in MLA 8th ed.?

Learn what is NEW about using MLA style in the 8th edition!

Welcome to the MLA 8th edition Toolbox!

Know How at ACC Library Services


What’s new in the 8th edition MLA Handbook?

-       One universal set of citation format guidelines is used to apply to any source

-       The title of a source and its container are included in citations

-       Authors: when a source has 3 or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is given, followed by et al.

-       Screen names may replace author names

-       Journals: Abbreviations for volume (vol.) and issue numbers (no.) makes citations easier to locate

-       Include URLs but do not include http:// or https:// in the citation for online sources

-       URL Date accessed is optional 

-       Use of doi is encouraged, if available

-       Publisher names are not included on periodical or website citations

-       If an organization is both the author and publisher, the name is only listed once, usually as publisher

-       City of publication is only included if the source is published outside of the United States

-       Page numbers are now preceded by p. (for one page) or pp. (for several pages)

-       Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (no date found) are no longer used

-       Medium of publication is no longer stated (Print, Web), except where needed for clarity

Containers and Sources

MLA Handbook, 8th edition, asks writers to consider containers when creating citations. A container is WHERE you found your source.

Containers normally appear in italics. They are followed by a comma because everything that comes after a container title--editor and other contributors, publisher name, date of publication, and page numbers--describes the container (30). Many MLA citations will include one or two discrete containers. 

Types of Containers

  • Compilations, such as books of essays, poems, or short stories
  • Newspapers, magazines, and academic journals
  • Websites (including online periodicals) 
  • Library databases and online book platforms

source is a segment of a container. "Use quotation marks for the titles of sources that are contained in larger works. Follow a source with a period" (68). 

Types of Sources

  • Pages on a web site
  • Books that are not compilations
  • Chapters, short stories, or poems in a book 
  • Newspaper, magazine, or journal articles
  • TV series episodes

Important Exception:  MLA 8th still expects writers to "italicize titles of sources that are self-contained and independent" (68). Therefore, italicize book and film titles even when they are not containersbut place a period after them.

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016. 

Works Cited - The Works Cited in your research paper appears at the end of your paper; use Works Cited for the title of your bibliography.

  • List only sources used as references for your in-text citations throughout the paper
  • All sources are listed alphabetically by the first word in the citation.
  • Double-space the list and indent the second line of each citation entry 5 spaces or by using Hanging indentation formatting
  • URLs or doi numbers may be used. 


Formatting your paper:

MLA website

- Formatting a research paper

- Sample papers

Setting up your software to write a paper in MLA style:

MLA style requires you to format your paper with the following:

  • 1 inch margins
  • Recommended 12 pt. Times New Roman text

Works Cited

Baron, Naomi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

Chan, Evans. “Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema." Postmodern Culture, vol. 10, no. 3, May 2000. Project Muse, doi:10.1353/pmc.2000.0021.

Deresiewicz, William. “The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic, Jan.-Feb. 2015, pp. 92-97.

Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdrich. The Crown of Columbus. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Vintage Books, 1995.

Hollmichel, Stefanie. So Many Books. 2003-13,

“Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 14 Dec.1999.

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

Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor. The Future of the Book. U of California P, 1996.


@persiankiwi. “We have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now - #Iranelection.” Twitter, 23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m.,

Pevear, Richard, and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators. Crime and Punishment. By Feodor Dostoevsky, Vintage eBooks, 1993.

Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004. Research Division Report 46.

Sullivan, Alan, and Timothy Murphy, translators. Beowulf. Edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

Welleck, Rene, A History of Modern Criticism, 1750-1950. Vol. 8, Yale UP, 1992. 8 vols.

Whedon, Joss, creator. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.


The updates to MLA 8th edition in  the EBSCO, Gale and Proquest Databases are now complete but some of the databases do not state MLA, 8th ed.. 

Some databases have errors in the citations (such as listing the title in all capital letters). The student will need to check citations carefully and make corrections to make the citation follow the guidelines for MLA 8th edition style.


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