The main person or group responsible for the creation of your source. If unknown, leave blank.
For some media types, this field is used for the person whose contribution to the source is most relevant to your research.
Punctuation: ends with a period.
The full, exact, title of your specific source, except it uses standardized capitalization for titles (first word and all main words are capitalized). If there is no title given, you provide a description of what the source is.
Punctuation: ends in a period
A "Container" is a larger work that your source is part of, or the particular "Thing" that your source is "in".
For example the poem "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Sheley could have been found in an 1818 issue of The Examiner magazine, online at Bartleby.com, or in a copy of The Norton Anthology book. Same "Source" (the poem) but different "Containers".
Container is important, because it tells your audience where you encountered the source which helps them follow your footsteps.
Examples of things that are commonly containers:
IMPORTANT NOTE: A Source can be in a container, which is itself in a container. See the notes on "multiple containers" in this guide.
Format: Container level works are nearly always in Italics.
Punctuation: Unless it is a self-contained source, the container is followed by a comma ",".
NOTE: If a Container Title contains the title of another ContainerTitle... un-italicize the title of the contained Container.
ex in bold:
Jones, Scout. The Only Source on To Kill a Mockingbird You Will Ever Need. Definitive ed., Netzel Press, 1 Jan. 2021.
These are additional people who made a significant (to your research) contribution to the container your source is in, or the source itself. People like an editor, translator, director, performer, illustrator, inker, etc.
Format: [thing done (lowercase, no abbreviations)] by [Firstname Lastname],
Punctuation: all "Contributors" are separated by a comma.
Example in bold:
Sims, Chris and Chad Bowers. "Chapter One: Hope You Survive the Experience ." X-men '92, illustrated by Scott Koblish, cover illustration by Pepe Larraz, vol. 1, issue 1, Marvel Comics, 24 Jun. 2015.
Version is used to describe the specific version or edition of your container. This could be a numbered edition (like the 8th ed. of the MLA Handbook) or a descriptive version (like the director's cut of a movie), The Bible is a good example of a source with a variety of different versions. Not every container has a "Version" identified.
If your Container is something that comes in parts or pieces, use this field to identify the specific part, like the number in a series, or the volume number of an encyclopedia, or an episode in a season, or so on, or the issue number of a comic book series, or the volume number of an academic journal.
The Publisher is the group or organization that produced, or otherwise made available, the container or source you are using. For books, the title page is usually the best place to look.
Important Abbreviations and exclusions:
You can skip it IF it doesn't exist, or:
Punctuation: ends in a comma
NOTE: Publisher can be hard to determine because of things like "Divisions" and "Imprints" etc. See pages 108-109 of the MLA Handbook for more information. In general: cite the "Division" over the Parent Company; cite the "Publisher" over the "Imprint".
The date the container of your source was published, NOT the date your source was published (or aired, or occurred). If there are multiple dates pick the one most relevant to your research.
Format: 1-2 digit Day Abbreviated Month 4-digit Year [ ## Mon. ####] -- include only what is presented
Punctuation: comma (unless it's the last element, then a period)
This is the specific location of your source within the container you are citing. It is NOT where you would note material type, this is NOT location of the publisher. Locations could include: page numbers, URLs (webpage addresses), disc number, theater or museum name, DOI numbers.
Format: depends on the medium of the container.
Punctuation: always ends in a Period.
Note for sources found in databases:
The "Location" field for online sources is usually a URL. For items for which a Subscription Database is one of the containers, the URL can often be long and messy, which makes them hard to read, and they can also change, which makes them an unreliable way to get back to a source.
Look on the page of your source for a "Bookmark " link (Gale) or "Permalink" (EBSCO), which is a shorter, stable, version of the link. Use that whenever possible as your "Location". For databases, avoid Copy-and-Pasting URLs from your browser's URL bar.
See the "Special Note for Citing Gale Databases" box for a special note on citing sources found in Gale Databases.
These elements are only used in certain circumstances. For the most part they appear after the period the closes your main citation. They used to be considered "Optional" because they do not apply to every kind of source, or are not always needed, even if known and available, but MLA 9 changed the name to "Supplemental" because the elements aren't actually optional, they're just not needed for every kind of source.
There are a variety of different kinds. The first three listed (Date of Access, Date of Original Publication, Information about Prior Publication) are the ones generally most relevant to the Thesis
Though less frequently found in our Thesis, these are also considered Supplemental:
A "Source" can be nested in more than one container. In cases like this, simply create a citation [elements 3-9, where applicable] for the additional container after the first.
Examples of multiple containers:
an article ("Source") from a scholarly journal (Container 1) that is stored in a library database (Container 2).
a book chapter ("Source") from a book (Container 1) available on a Web site (Container 2).
"Commas are for Containers": Commas are used to separate elements within a "container". Other elements end in a Period.
When your "Title of Source" is the exact same as "Title of Container", you can omit the "Title of Container". The "Title of Source" ends in a Period.