MLA 7 v. MLA 8: What’s different?

The following source was referenced: Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. MLA, 2016.

In the past, MLA rules for work cited entries varied by type of source (book, journal article, film, etc.). In the new edition, however, MLA provides one general template that is applied to all source types. In other words, MLA now takes core elements found in most texts & makes those elements standard in the works cited page.

In addition, the punctuation for works cited entries has changed, and a few rules related to in-text citations have also changed.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how to cite sources.

Take note of the punctuation marks following each breakdown.

Citation elements

What does that mean?

Author Last Name, First.

Who wrote the article?
Alternatively, if you’re citing a television show and your source focuses on a specific character or director, this is where you place that specific person.

Title of Source.

What is the title of the source you’re referencing?
Ex. journal article, podcast episode, artwork

Title of Container #1,

Is there a larger body of work the source was pulled from?
Ex. If you found a journal article, the journal is the original container is the journal

Other contributors,

Did someone translate, edit, or narrate the container?

Ex. Translated by, Edited by, Narrated by


Ex. vol. 1 or season 1


Ex. no. 2 or episode 2


Who produced or distributed your source?

** Do not reference publisher in periodicals

Publication date,

When was this originally published?


What pages are you referencing OR if using an online source, what’s the URL or DOI?
(Note: Only use if you don’t have container #2 & aren’t using page numbers)

Container #2,

Where did you access this source?
Ex. If you found a journal article in JSTOR, JSTOR would be the second container.


What’s the URL or DOI?

What else is different?


  • In works cited, editor, edited by, translator and review of are no longer abbreviated

  • To see what else should be abbreviated, consult the MLA Handbook: 8th Edition


  • With three or more authors, write the first author (Last, First) followed by et al.

  • With two authors it would be the first author (Last, First and John Smith)

Books and Printed Works

  • Page numbers in works cited (but not in-text citations) are preceded with p. or pp.

  • Do not include the publishing city in works cited, except in special situations. See MLA 8 handbook page 51.


  • With volumes and issues, write “vol. 64, no.1” instead of “64.1”

  • If a journal includes a season or month, put that alongside the year (which is no longer in parentheses)

Online Works

  • Include the URL (without http://) in a Web source & do not use angle brackets around the link

  • Use DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) if included in the source

  • It is now optional to include the date when you retrieved an online source

  • Don’t use placeholders for unknown information, such as n.d. for no date


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

Jeromack, Paul. “This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor.” New York Times, 13 July 2002, pp. 30-39.

  • Give the publishers’ full name, except with business terms like company (which are now dropped).

  • The abbreviations for University (U), Press (P) and UP are still used

  • When citing co-publishers, separate with a forward slash (/)

  • Omit publisher’s name in: periodicals, a self-published work, a website not involved in producing its content (i.e. WordPress or YouTube), a website where the title is pretty much the publisher

  • If an organization is the publisher AND the author, only cite the organization as the publisher. Omit the author