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MLA 9th

This Research Guide lists examples of how to cite sources according to the MLA Handbook, 9th edition.

MLA 9th Edition

This guide provides citation information in accordance with guidelines set forth in the new (2021) 9th edition of the MLA Handbook. The 9th edition is very close to the 8th edition in style advice, and serves largely to give a more detailed explanation of what is contained in the 8th. It does, however, include some updated recommendations, particularly in regard to URLs. Please check with your instructor if you are unsure of what exact citation format is preferred for your assignments.

What's New in the MLA 9th Edition?

  • The name of a season is not capitalized when it appears as part of the publication date for a periodical citation: summer 2021
  • All divisions of a government agency do not need to be listed when a government entity is the author or publisher of a source. For author, list what appears in the source just as it appears (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). For publisher, you may truncate the name to include only the government (country, state, county, etc.) and the primary agency (e.g., U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).
  • The DOI , when listed, is still recommended instead of a URL for online journal articles, but all DOIs should be standardized to follow this format:

(A period must be placed at the end of the DOI as part of the citation, but will need to be removed if copying and pasting the DOI into a web browser to find the source.)

  • The inclusion of and exact format for the URLs of articles or e-books found in library databases depends largely on instructor preference. Instructors may request that these sources include a clickable hyperlink, or that URLs are eliminated entirely. If URLs are used, they should be rendered in the shortest form that meets the instructor's format requirements:
    • No "https://" (or "http://") is needed at the beginning, unless necessary to result in a clickable hyperlink.
    • End slashes "/" are not needed, unless necessary to result in a clickable hyperlink.
    • When a clickable hyperlink is not needed, the URL may be shortened to end after the host name (e.g., it may look like for those articles retrieved from one of PCC Library's ProQuest databases, if there is no need to be able to click the URL to get back to the article).

(A period must be placed at the end of the URL as part of the citation, but will need to be removed if copying and pasting the URL into a web browser to find the source.)

Using Core Elements to Arrange Your Citations

The 9th edition continues to follow the "container" system of citation organization, which asks you to think of your citation as having a number of small parts (core elements) that are arranged to fit in a larger container, a container that has sometimes been placed into an even larger second container. Use only those core elements that apply to your specific source when forming your citation. In many cases, most of the core elements listed below will not be needed. Here is an example of how you would arrange the elements of a  journal article you found in a library database:

Author.                     Bruce, Cicero.
Title of Source.       “The Ideal Teacher of Literature.”
Title of Container,   Modern Age,
Number,                   vol. 62, no. 1,
Publication Date,    winter 2020,
Location.                  pp. 5-13.
Title of Container,   Literary Reference Plus,
Publication Date,

To form your citation, arrange this information in the order listed, using the punctuation shown:

Bruce, Cicero. “The Ideal Teacher of Literature.” Modern Age, vol.62, no. 1, winter 2020, pp. 5-13. Literary Reference Plus,