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MLA

Note: The MLA Handbook: 8th Edition has changed from the structures of previous editions and now offers a new approach to citing various sources. The updated book turns its direction toward a more simplified and universal structure to encompass a variety of sources you may encounter. It encourages the logic that as long as your citation includes the core elements, it still aligns with proper MLA principles and provides the following generalized structure:

MLA CITATION FORMAT (MLA Handbook, 8th ed., p. 20)

  1. Author
  2. Title of Source
  3. Title of Container (larger work, such as an anthology)
  4. Other Contributors
  5. Version
  6. Number
  7. Publisher
  8. Publication Date
  9. Location
  10. Date of access (recommended for online resources)

The Library of Congress offers these citation structures for various formats of primary sources accessible through LOC.gov as a guide.

Entire Website

loc.gov

The website of the Library of Congress connects users to content areas created by the Library’s many experts. In some cases, content can be posted without a clear indication of author, title, publisher, or publication date. Look for available clues and give as much information as possible, including the URL and date accessed.

MLA Citation Format
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Name of the author, compiler, director, editor, narrator, performer, or translator of the work (when the site is also the publisher omit here and instead place in publisher section)
  2. Title of the work (italicized if the work is independent; in roman type and quotation marks if the work is part of a larger work)
  3. Title of the overall website (italicized), if distinct from item 2
  4. Other Contributors
  5. Version or edition used
  6. Number
  7. Publisher or sponsor of the site; omit if not available.
  8. Date of publication; omit if not available.
  9. DOI or URL (DOI is encouraged and “http://” is left out)
  10. Date of access (recommended for online resources)

Examples:
Last name, First name. “Section of Website.” Title of the Website, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Name of publisher or sponsor, Date of publication, DOI or URL. Day Month Year of access. opt. URL.

Library of Congress. United States Government, 10 Feb 2012, www.loc.gov/. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.

Articles and Essays

Childhood portrait of Wilbur Wright

Articles and essays include examples that illustrate collection themes. Many collections include specific items, such as timelines, family trees or scholarly essays, which are not primary source documents. Such content has been created to enhance understanding of the collection. If no author is named, in most cases The Library of Congress may be cited as the author.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Author last name, author first name
  2. Title (italicized if independent; in roman type and quotation marks if the work is part of a larger work)
  3. Title of the overall website (italicized)
  4. Version or edition
  5. Publisher; omit if not available
  6. Date of publication (day, month, year); omit if not available
  7. URL or DOI
  8. Date of access

Examples:
Last name, First name. Title. Title of the Website, Version or edition, Publisher,. Day Month Year of publication, URL. Day Month Year of access.

Brief History of the National Parks. Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/collection/national-parks-maps/special-presentation/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2012.

Cartoons and Illustrations

Join or Die

Cartoons and illustrations included in newspapers, magazines or other periodicals often represent the historical perspectives and opinions of the time of publication. This illustration, Join or Die from the May 9, 1754, Pennsylvania Gazette, was published by Benjamin Franklin and expresses his views about the need for the colonies to join forces to confront their mutual concerns with England. This is often referred to as the first political cartoon.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook,8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Artist last name, artist first name
  2. Title of work (in quotation marks)
  3. Format (cartoon or illustration)
  4. Title of Container (website or database) italicized
  5. Other Contributors
  6. Publication information
    • Newspapers: Name of Print Publication date, page numbers (mark as pp. #)
    • Journals: Volume number, date of publication, page number (mark as pp. #)
    • Books: City: Name of Publisher, date of publication, page numbers if being referenced (mark as pp. #).
  7. DOI or URL.
  8. Date of access

Examples:
Last Name, First Name. “Title.” Illustration. Newspaper title, [Location], Day Month Year of publication, page number, opt. URL. Day Month Year of access.

Franklin, Benjamin. "Join or Die." Illustration. The Pennsylvania Gazette, 9 May 1754, Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/2014647887/. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.

Films

Department Stores in New York, Bargain Day on 14th Street

Films and other moving images offer visual tools for studying not only the technology of a time, but also the prevailing social attitudes.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Film Title (quotation marks)
  2. Director Name or relevant creator name, e.g., Dir. John Doe
  3. Title of Container (original producer) italicized, original production date.
  4. Other Contributors
  5. Version (if it is edited—e.g., director’s cut)
  6. Number (if within a set of episodes or section—e.g., part two)
  7. Title of database or website (italicized)
  8. Publication Date (omit if not shown)
  9. Location (DOI, URL)
  10. Date of access

Examples:
“Film Title.” Directed by First name Last Name, Distributor, version, number, Title of the Website, Day Month Year, URL. Day Month Year of access.

Filmed by Frederick S. Armitage. “Bargain Day, 14th Street, New York.”, American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1905. Library of Congress,10 Aug. 2012, www.loc.gov/item/00694373. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.

Government Publications

An excerpt from pages 747 & 748 of the Annals of Congress

Many government publications originate through executive departments, federal agencies, and the United States Congress. Many of the documents are chronicled records of government proceedings, which become part of the Congressional Record. These documents are often posted without a clear indication of author, title, publisher or copyright date. Look for available clues and give as much information as possible, including date accessed.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook,8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Name of government
  2. Name of agency
  3. Title of the publication (italicized)
  4. Publisher, year published.
  5. Title of the database or website (italicized)
  6. DOI or URL
  7. Congressional information or location (if applicable)
  8. Date of access

Examples:
Government. Agency name. Title of Publication, page numbers. Publisher, Year published. Title of the Website. URL. Congressional information or location (opt.). Location. Day Month Year of access.

United States, House of Representatives. Annals of Congress, pp. 747-48. Gales and Seaton, 1849. Library of Congress . memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ ampage?collId=llac&fileName=llac003.db&recNum=370. Proceedings, 2nd Congress, 2nd session. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.

Manuscripts

Helen Keller to John Hitz, August 29, 1893

The Library of Congress online collections include letters, diaries, recollections, and other written material. One example is this letter from Helen Keller to Mr. John Hitz. Helen describes her trip to Chicago to visit the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.).

Structure

  1. Author last name, author first name
  2. Title (italicized, or quotation marks for a minor work)
  3. Date of composition (omit if not shown; for uncertain dates place a question mark—e.g. 1870?)
  4. Name of library, institution, or collection which houses the work, followed by the location
  5. Form of the material (version) – (Manuscript or Typescript)
  6. Publisher or website (italicized)
  7. URL
  8. Date of access

Examples:
Last name, First name. “Title.” Date. Institution, city. Form of the material. Title of the Website. URL. Day Month Year of access.

Keller, Helen. “Letter to John Hitz 29 Aug. 1893.” 1893, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Typescript. Library of Congress. www.loc.gov/item/magbellbib004020. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.

Maps and Charts

Map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone, 1830

Maps are far more than just maps of cities and towns. They document historical places, events, and populations, as well as growth and changes over time. This map is from the Library of Congress online collections.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Cartographer or Creator
  2. Title (italicized; in roman type and quotation marks if the work is part of a larger work)
  3. Title of Container (if part of a larger work, include that title, italicized, after the format)
  4. Other Contributors
  5. Format (map or chart)
  6. Publisher
  7. Publisher date
  8. Location
  9. URL or DOI
  10. Date of access

Examples:

Cartographer. Title, Title of Container, Other Contributors, Map. Publisher, date, Location, Title of the Website, URL. Day Month Year of access.

Map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, including the Colony of Liberia, Map. Finley, 1830. Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/96680499. Accessed 10 Feb. 2012.

Newspapers

An excerpt from The Stars and Stripes

Historic newspapers provide a glimpse of historic time periods. The articles, as well as the advertising, are an appealing way to get a look at the regions of the country or the world and the issues of the day.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Author last name, author first name (if applicable)
  2. Title of article (in quotation marks)
  3. Name of newspaper (italicized), city of publication if needed, such as local, less-known newspapers (square brackets, not italicized)
  4. Other Contributors
  5. Version or Edition
  6. Issue Number
  7. Publication Date
  8. Title of the database or website (italicized)
  9. URL or DOI
  10. Date of Access

Examples:
Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper [city], Other contributors, Version, Issue No., Day Month Year published, Title of the Website, URL. Day Month Year of access.

“Free Education While You Wait For Orders Home.” The Stars and Stripes, 6 Dec. 1918. Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/sn88075768/1918-12-06/ed-1 . Accessed 10 Feb. 2012.

Oral History Interviews

Gwendolyn M. Patton

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.).

Structure

  1. Interviewee last name, first name
  2. Title of the interview (if any) In quotations if it is part of a publication, in italics if published independently. Use Interview without quotes or italics if there is no title
  3. Name of interviewer if known
  4. Publisher: Title of the database or website (italicized)
  5. Date of interview
  6. URL or DOI
  7. Date of access

Examples:
Last name, First name. “Title of Interview.” By Name of Interviewer, Day Month Year of Interview. Title of the Website, URL. Day Month Year of access.

Patton, Gwendolen M. “Gwendolyn M. Patton oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier. in Montgomery, Alabama, 2011-06-01.” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/afc2010039_crhp0020/. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.

Photographs

Incidents of the War

Photographs and drawings appear in many of the Library of Congress digitized historical collections. This photograph from the Library's online collections shows casualties of war on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Artist last name, artist first name
  2. Title (italicized)
  3. Date of composition
  4. Version (photograph)
  5. Title of Container (name of the institution it is housed), country or state.
  6. Publisher: Title of the database or website (italicized)
  7. Date published URL or DOI
  8. Date of access

Examples:
Last name, First name. Title. Date of composition, Photograph, Institution, Country. Title of the Website, Date published on site, URL. Day Month Year of access.

O'Sullivan, Timothy H. Incidents of the War. A Harvest of Death. 1865, Photograph, Library of Congress, Washington D.C., www.loc.gov/item/2018667213/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2012.

Sound Recordings

Haste to the Wedding

This recording of Thomas Mann performing Haste to the Wedding is an example of Anglo-American dance music on the dulcimer recorded in July, 1937.

MLA Citation Format:
(MLA Handbook, 8th ed.)

Structure

  1. Creator last name, creator first name
  2. Title (quotation marks)
  3. Title of Container (e.g. album—italicized)
  4. Any additional performers are listed here – first name followed by last name
  5. Indicate the original audio format (CD, audiocassette, etc.)
  6. Manufacturer and year published/issued
  7. When citing a performance, list the date of the performance here, with the abbreviation “rec.” preceding the date
  8. Title of the database or website (italicized)
  9. URL or DOI
  10. Date of access

Examples:
Last name, First name. “Song title.” Perf. First name Last name, Manufacturer, Year, Rec. Day Month Year Original format. Title of the Website, URL. Day Month Year of access.

Mann, Thomas. “Haste to the Wedding.” Rec. July 1937 by Sydney Robertson Cowell, 78 rpm. Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/2017700868/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2012.

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