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MLA Citation Guide

MLA Core Elements in Database Citations

Author

  • One author: Listed as LastName, FirstName. Example: Smith, Jane.
  • Two authors: Listed in the order they appear in the work as Author1LastName, FirstName, and Author2FirstName LastName. Example: Smith, Jane, and John Doe.
  • Three or more authors: Listed as Author1Lastname, FirstName, et al. Example: For a work with the authors Jane Smith, John Doe, and Rita Jones, the author element becomes Smith, Jane, et al.​​​​​​​
    • ​​​​​Et al. is an abbreviation for et alia, a Latin phrase that means "and others." Style manuals and editors use the abbreviation "et al." to save space and ink.
  • Corporation or organization as author: Do not reverse any part of the organization's name. If the organization's name begins with an article (aan, or the), omit it. Examples: RAND CorporationBeatles

Title of Source

  • Articles from magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals, and encyclopedias: The title of the source will go in quotation marks. Example: "Art Fraud."
  • Book chapters: Same format as articles - the title goes in quotation marks.
  • Entire books: The title is italicized. Example: The SAGE Handbook of Child Research.

Title of Container

  • Articles: The title of the article's magazine, journal, newspaper, or encyclopedia in italics. Example: Consumer Reports.
  • Book chapters: The title of the entire book in italics. Example: Skateboarding: The Ultimate Guide.
  • Entire books: Omit this element and skip to Other Contributors. (The library database is a container, but it goes at the end of the citation.)

Other Contributors

  • Articles: Typically don't have other contributors.
  • Book chapters: If the author of the chapter is different than the book's editor, use the phrase Edited by FirstName LastName. Example: Edited by Jane Doe.
  • Entire books: If there is an editor or translator in addition to the book's author, use the phrase Edited/Translated by FirstName LastName. Example: Translated by Seamus Heaney.

Version

  • Articles: Library database articles typically don't have versions.
  • Book chapters: Same as for entire books - see below.
  • Entire books: If the book's publication information includes a version (e.g., "Revised edition" or "3rd edition"), use the phrase X ed. Example: 3rd ed.

Number

  • Articles: Individual issues of magazines, newspapers, and journals typically have a volume number (abbreviated vol.) and an issue number (abbreviated no.). Example: vol. 12, no. 3
    • Some periodicals have only issue numbers without volumes. In this case, omit vol. from your citation.
    • Articles from multi-volume encyclopedias use the same number format as entire books - see below.
  • Book chapters: Same as for entire books - see below.
  • Entire books: Only included if it is a multi-volume work. Use the phrase vol. X. Example: vol. 3

Publisher

  • Articles: Magazines, newspapers, and journals typically do not include publisher information. Encyclopedia articles use the same format as entire books - see below.
  • Book chapters: Same as for entire books - see below.
  • Entire books: Omit "the" if it begins the publisher's name. Abbreviate the words Company (Co.), Corporation (Corp.), Incorporated (Inc.), and Limited (Ltd.). For academic presses, University is abbreviated as U (no period) and Press is abbreviated as P (no period).

Publication date

  • Articles: 
    • If the publication lists an exact date, use the format DD Month Year. Example: 12 June 2019
    • If the exact date is not listed, use the format Month Year or season Year. Examples: Apr. 2015, winter 2017
    • If the article is from a periodical published every other month or every other season, use the format Month-Month Year or season-season Year. Examples: spring-summer 2016, July-Aug. 2011
  • Book chapters: The year the book was published.
  • Entire books: The year the book was published.

Location

  • Articles: 
    • For a single-page article, use the format p. X. Example: p. 22.
    • For articles of two pages or more, use pp. X-X. Example: pp. 37-52.
    • For articles that run on non-consecutive pages (for example, a newspaper article that starts on p. B1 and continues on p. B4), use pp. X+. Example: pp. B1+.
  • Book chapters: Use the same formatting as for articles.
    • Some books use Roman numerals for introductions and prefaces. If this is the case, use the same number formatting as the book. Examples: p. III,  pp. xx-xiv.
  • Entire books: Do not use this element.

Supplemental Element 2

  • Date of access: Do not include this in database citations unless your instructor asks you to. If you do need to include it, format it as Accessed DD Month Year. Example: Accessed 12 Feb. 2020.
  • Medium of publication: Include when you use a source's supplemental material. Examples: Transcript, PDF download
  • Government documents: Specifically for documents created by the United States Congress (the Senate and/or the House of Representatives). Include: the number of Congress, the session of Congress, whether the document came from the Senate or House of Representatives, the type of document (bill, resolution, report), and the number of the document. If it was legislation that passed, also include the date. Example: 115th Congress, 2nd session, House Resolution 6147, passed 1 Aug. 2018.

Database as container

Since these sources are all from library databases, you will need to include the following information at the end of the citation:

  • Title of the database in italics. Example: EBSCOhost.
  • URL or DOI of the article.
    • URLs: If a DOI is available, use that instead of the URL (see below). If the article does not have a DOI, use the URL instead. 
      • Don't copy the link from your browser's address bar - it is often a temporary link. Instead, look at the article's record for a link button or a field labeled permalinkdocument link, or stable link.
      • Don't insert a space or hyphen to create line breaks.
      • Don't use a URL shortener such as Bitly or TinyURL.
      • Omit https:// from the beginning of the URL, unless doing that breaks the link.
    • DOIs are designed to be persistent (unlike URL links, which can go dead if a website is rearranged). If a work has a DOI, always use that instead of the URL.
      • If the DOI is already in link format, you can use it as-is. Example: https://www.doi.org/10.1139/cjp-2018-0821
      • The DOI might be listed on the document in an older format, such as DOI: 10.2514/1.J052201. If so, place the DOI at the end of the URL https://www.doi.org/ (do include the https://). Example: https://www.doi.org/10.2514/1.J052201.

Database Citation Examples

Articles

Britannica Academic

Britannica Academic is unusual. Because it is both hosted and published by Encyclopedia Britannica, there is only one container. The citation format is: Author Last Name, First Name if available. "Title of Article." Britannica Academic, Encyclopedia Britannica, Date. URL.

“Ghana.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009. academic-eb-com.butlerlib.butlercc.edu/levels/collegiate/article/Ghana/36657.

Keane, Marguerite. “Art Fraud.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018. academic-eb-com.butlerlib.butlercc.edu/levels/collegiate/article/art-fraud/607349.

Credo Reference

Author of entry Last Name, First Name if available. “Title of Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia, Author/Editor of Encyclopedia if available, Publisher, Year of Publication. Credo Reference, URL.

“Drone.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Paul Lagasse, Columbia University Press, 8th edition, 2018. Credo Reference, butlerlib.butlercc.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/columency/drone/0?institutionId=6058.

Rice, Stanley. “Dinosaurs.” Encyclopedia of Evolution, Facts on File, 2nd edition, 2015. Credo Reference, butlerlib.butlercc.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/fofe/dinosaurs/0?institutionId=6058.

Magazine Article from a Database

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine, vol. x if available, no. x if available, Publication date, pp. x-x if available. Title of Database, DOI/URL of article.

Dickinson, Tim. “The Sky Thief.” Rolling Stone, nos. 1353-1354, Jul.-Aug. 2021, pp. 90+. ProQuest Research Library, www-proquest-com.butlerlib.butlercc.edu/magazines/sky-thief/docview/2547621560/se-2?accountid=40640.1.

Lowry, Brian. “News Hard to Be Good.” Variety, vol. 425, no. 1, 14 Nov. 2011, pp. 2+. ProQuest Literature & Language, butlerlib.butlercc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.butlerlib.butlercc.edu/docview/906761671?accountid=40640.

Newspaper Article from a Database

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper, vol. x if available, no. x if available, Publication date, pp. x+ if available. Title of Database, DOI/URL of article.

Eaton, Collin, and Amrith Ramkumar. Colonial Pipeline Shutdown: Is There a Gas Shortage and When Will the Pipeline be Fixed?” Wall Street Journal (Online), 13 May 2021. US Newsstream, www-proquest-com.butlerlib.butlercc.edu/newspapers/colonial-pipeline-shutdown-is-there-gas-shortage/docview/2526226102/se-2?accountid=40640.

Root, Tik. 9 Questions About the Civilian Climate Corps, Answered. Washingtonpost.com, 16 Sept. 2021. Gale OneFile: News, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A675725061/STND?u=klnb_bucc&sid=bookmark-STND&xid=dc736386. 

Scholarly / Peer-Reviewed Article with DOI

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, vol. x if available, no. x if available, Publication date, pp. x-x if available. Title of Database, DOI of article.

Crum-Cianflone, Nancy F., et al. “Mental Health and Comorbidities in U.S. Military Members.” Military Medicine, vol. 181, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 537-545. EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier, https://doi.org/10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00187.

Klor, Sebastian. “‘Marginal Immigrants’: Jewish-Argentine Immigration to the State of Israel, 1948–1967.” Israel Studies, vol. 21, no. 2, summer 2016, pp. 50-76. Gale Academic OneFile, https://doi.org/10.2979/israelstudies.21.2.03.

Scholarly / Peer-Reviewed Article - No DOI

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, vol. x if available, no. x if available, Publication date, pp. x-x if available. Title of Database, URL of article.

Tsianos, Vassilis S., and Dimitris Papadopoulos. “Crisis, Migration and the Death Drive of Capitalism.” Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context, & Enquiry, vol. 29, no. 3, Dec. 2012, pp. 4–11. EBSCOhost Art Full Text, ssearch-ebscohost-com.butlerlib.butlercc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aft&AN=83191968&site=ehost-live.

E-Books

E-Book from a Library Database

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year. Title of Database, URL or DOI of book.

Bennette, Rebecca, et al., editors. Daily Life through World History in Primary Documents. Greenwood, 2008. ABC-CLIO, publisher.abc-clio.com/EGR3898. 3 vols.

Hall, Kimberly, editor. Construction Projects: Improvement Strategies, Quality Management and Potential Challenges. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/butlercc/detail.action?docID=4789267.

Chapter from an E-Book

Chapter Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Chapter or Essay.” Title of Book, edited by Editor First Name Last Name if relevant, Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year, pp. x-x if available. Title of Database, URL or DOI of book.

Beal, Becky. Navigating the Built Environment: Technology and Physics. Skateboarding: The Ultimate Guide, Greenwood, 2013, pp. 91-102. ABC-CLIO eBook Collection, legacy.abc-clio.com/reader.aspx?isbn=9780313381133&id=A2257C-407.

Beier, Margaret E., and Ruth Kanfer. “Work Performance and the Older Worker.” The SAGE Handbook of Aging, Work and Society, edited by John Field et al., Sage Publications Ltd., 2013. SAGE Knowledge, https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446269916.n6.

Oxford Very Short Introductions

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Version if relevant, Oxford UP, Publication Year. Very Short Introductions, DOI of book.

Clapham, Andrew. Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction. 2nd ed., Oxford UP, 2015. Very Short Introductions, https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780198706168.001.0001.

Media

Video from a Database

Title of Movie/Long Standalone Video [or] “Title of Clip/TV Episode/Short Standalone Video.” Title of TV Show or Longer Video [if citation is for a clip], produced by/directed by/other creative role by First Name Last Name [if relevant], Production Company/Publisher of Video, Video release date. Title of Database, URL or DOI of video.​

“Rutherford B. Hays: Great Compromise of 1877.” The Presidents: 1865-1885, produced by History Education, 2005. Films on Demand, fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=95465&xtid=43177.

“Overcoming Barriers to Effective Multicultural Counseling and Therapy.” Directed by Derald Wing Sue, Microtraining Associates, 2003. Alexander Street Press Counseling and Therapy in Video, video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/overcoming-barriers-to-effective-multicultural-counseling-and-therapy.

Audio or Video Transcript from a Database

Title of Movie/Long Standalone Video [or] “Title of Audio Clip/Video Clip/Episode/Short Standalone Video.” Title of TV Show/Radio Show/Podcast or Longer Video if Citation is a Clip, produced by/directed by/other creative role by First Name Last Name [if relevant], Production Company/Publisher of Video/Audio, release date. Title of Database, URL or DOI. Transcript.

“Green Products Manufacturer - Career Q&A: Professional Advice and Insight.” Cambridge Educational, 2017. Films on Demand, fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=95465&xtid=139610. Transcript.

“How Video Games Can Help Us Explore Ideas About Race.” All Things Considered, hosted by Ari Shapiro, National Public Radio, 19 July 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, link.galegroup.com.butlerlib.butlercc.edu/apps/doc/A547427229/OVIC?u=klnb_bucc&sid=OVIC&xid=1731685f. Transcript. 

Image from a Library Database

Artist or photographer Last Name, First Name. Title of Artwork. Date work was created. Title of Database, URL or DOI.

Argent, Godfrey. Henry Moore. 2 June 1970. Credo Reference, butlerlib.butlercc.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/npg/henry_moore_by_godfrey_argent_2_jun_70/0?institutionId=6058.

Dürer, Albrecht. St. Bartholomew. 1523. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/27018624.

Other Database Sources

Federal Bill or Act of Congress from a Database

United States, Congress, House [or] Senate [if chamber is indicated]. Title of Bill or Statute. Title of Publication if available, vol. x, Day Month Year of publication, pp. x-x. Title of Database, URL or DOI. Xth Congress, Xth session, Resolution Number if available, passed Day Month Year [if passed].

United States, Congress. An Act: To Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas. United States Statutes at Large, vol. 10, 1854, pp. 277-290. HeinOnline, heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.slavery/ssactsaa0168&i=1. 33rd Congress, 1st session, passed 30 May 1854.