This tab discusses elements that may or may not appear in your citation. Unlike the "optional elements" (see below), which may be included or not at your choice, the following elements are mandatory if they apply to your source, but not all sources will have them.
Version: Second editions, revised and expanded editions, and more.
Number: Periodical volumes and issues and other numbered series.
Publisher: Book publishers, websites' sponsoring organizations, etc.
Date: Publication dates.
Location: Page numbers, URLs, DOIs
If a given element does not exist for your source, simply skip it and move on to the next one--don't put "no version," "no date," etc.
MLA 8 also describes some "optional elements" that writers may wish to include in some circumstances. Consult the MLA Handbook--available at Rothrock Library and at the centers--for more information about these. Optional elements include:
- Date of original publication, for a work that has been republished or reissued.
- City of publication was a required element in earlier versions of MLA style, but is now included only in a few rare circumstances.
- Other facts such as the name of a series of which the source is a part, or the source's format.
- Date of access was called for in some earlier version of MLA style; now, MLA suggests using it if a publication date is unavailable or if there is a concern that the source could have been changed after you consulted it.
These elements are typically used only if there is some special reason that the information is important. In general, instructors will not expect to see them in your citations.
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
- Email us through Ask a Librarian
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