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MLA Citation: 8th Edition  

This guide explains the rules for citation and formatting in 2016 update of MLA Style.
Last Updated: Aug 8, 2017 URL: http://infoguides.lccc.edu/mla Print Guide RSS Updates

Location--URLs and more Print Page

Should URLs Be Hyperlinked?

MLA does not have an official position on whether URLs on the works cited page should be hyperlinked or not: they say that you should decide based on what makes sense for your audience and writing circumstances.  Check your syllabus and assignment instructions to see if your professor has a preference.


A note on hanging indents

MLA style requires "hanging indents" for works cited entries:  the second and subsequent lines of each entry are indented 5 spaces past the first line.  

Examples in this guide do not show the hanging indent, because of the way that the guide displays across different screen sizes.  See the tab "hanging indents" for more information on hanging indents and how to create them.

In addition, example citations in this guide are shown in bold.  This formatting is used to help separate them from explanatory text.  Do not use bold type for the citations on your real works cited page. 


Contact Us!

We at Rothrock Library are happy to help you with your questions about research and citation!  You can:

  • Stop by the library
  • Give us a call:  610-799-1150

Library Hours:

Monday-Thursday:  7:30 AM to 9:45 PM

Friday:  7:30 AM to 5 PM

Saturday:  8 AM to 1 PM

Sunday:  Closed

Saturday Hours are for Fall and Spring semesters only.  



The location element helps readers find your source.  For print sources, the location is usually a page number.  For online sources, the location may be a URL or a DOI.  


Page Numbers

Page numbers are preceded by the abbreviation “p.” if the source being cited occupies a single page, or “pp.” if it occupies two or more pages. 

Sparks, Sarah C. “Hunt is on for Clues to Students’ Test-Taking strategies.”  Education Week, vol. 36, no. 7, 05 Oct. 2016, p. 9.  EBSCOhost. 0-search.ebscohost.com.wave.lccc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,url,uid&db=a9h&AN=118648447&site=ehost-live

Sokoloff, Jason.  “Information Literacy in the Workplace:  Employer Expectations.”  Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship, vol. 17, 2012, pp. 1-17.

Occasionally, a database may provide only a starting page for a multi-page article.  In that case, put “pp. x- ”, substituting the starting page number for x


URLs and DOIs

URLs are generally provided for sources found on the open web (that is, not a library database), unless a DOI is available.  It is usually best to cut and paste the URL from your browser’s address bar, to make sure it is completely accurate—even a single typo will make the URL useless.  If the source has something labeled “permalink,” or “stable link,” copy and paste that instead.

Gibson, Angela. “URLs: Some Practical Advice.”  MLA Style Center, 2 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/2016/11/02/urls-some-practical-advice/.

Omit the http://, and end the citation with a period.

DOIs or Digital Object Identifiers, are often provided for academic sources that are published online.  They are intended to be a more stable alternative to URLs.  You may encounter them in the library databases.  If a source has a DOI, use it in place of a URL.  Copy it very carefully and include all digits and punctuation:

William, Shannon M., et al.  “First Generation College Students and U.S. Citizens:  Is the University Perceived like Family or Strangers?”  Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, vol. 41, no. 1, Jan-Mar2013, pp. 45-54. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/10852352.2012.719798.

URLs for Database Articles can be very long, and frequently don’t work anymore by the time someone clicks on them.  For that reason, there is some debate over whether they should be included in citations or not.  Look for a permalink or stable link to use instead of copying the one from your browser’s address bar.  If you cannot find one, MLA suggests using the URL for the database’s home page, rather than a lengthy, nonworking URL. 

“Sources and Searches: Resources for Media Literacy and Research.”  American Libraries, vol. 48, no. 5, May 2017, pp. 60-61.  EBSCOhost, 0 -search.ebscohost.com.wave.lccc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,url,uid&db=a9h&AN=122898587&site=ehost-live. 


Geographic Locations

Geographic locations are sometimes provided for special sources such as live performances, original artworks, or archival material.  Here is an example of a citation for an original artwork located in the LCCC library:

Anderson, Theo.  Cadillac.  2006.  Rothrock Library, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, PA.

Provide as much location information as is necessary for the reader to understand where the source is (or was).  This example includes the name of the entity that holds the artwork (Rothrock Library) and the name of the larger institution of which the library is a part (LCCC), because the name “Rothrock Library” alone wouldn’t mean much to a reader who isn’t part of our campus community.  Similarly, the state is included because many people may not know where Schnecksville is.  On the other hand, if the artwork was in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the name of the museum alone would be enough, because it includes the city, and the city is well-known. 

Only use a geographic location if you accessed the source live, at that location.  If you used a recording, photograph, or other reproduction, cite that recording, etc.  For instance, if you view an image of a painting at a museum’s website, your location would be the URL of that web page, not the physical location of the museum:

Arning, Eddie.  Plant with Abstract Flowers.  1965.  www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/312212.html?mulR=348536947|6. 


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