"These OWL resources will help you learn how to use the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation and format style. "
Nine Core Elements of MLA 8 Citation
MLA 8th Edition has several changes from MLA 7th Edition. To explore the major differences in greater detail, you can look at the MLA's What's New in the Eighth Edition page or click HERE for a GBS color-coded printable handout.
But here are the key things you need to know:
In order to accommodate the rapidly expanding number digital sources and formats, MLA 8th edition has moved away from citation formats for specific source types (e.g., a book, a magazine article, a web page, etc.).
Instead, MLA 8 requires writers to identify sources based on nine key properties, or Core Elements listed in the box below. The idea is that these nine features are common across different platforms and can be combined to identify any source type that you might run across.
The writer's job is to identify these elements and use them to create citations. This new approach requires students to recognize what these elements look like in different contexts. I have color coded the nine elements in order to facilitate the process of identifying the elements across platforms and source types (DVDs, books, web pages, articles, videos, etc.). You will see this color coding throughout this guide.
Note that many sources do not have all of the nine core elements while many online resources, such as articles found in GBS databases and television programs and documentaries watched on digital platforms like Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix, will use more than one instance of certain elements. See the other sections of the guide for specific information about citing different source types.
Here's how to break down the Core Elements of the following article, "Burr Conspiracy", from the Encyclopedia of the New American Nation in the Gale Virtual Reference Library. Note that the encyclopedia is a container which is housed in a larger container, the Gale Virtual Reference Library: