Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources

A guide for source citation (APA, MLA, and Chicago)

MLA 8th & Containers

Matryoshka dolls. By Amanda ErMLA core elements: 1. Author. 2. Title of source. 3. Title of container. 4. Other contributors, 5. Version, 6. Number, 7. Publisher, 8. Publication date, 9. Location.

The new MLA 8th Edition focuses on the concept of "containers" instead of formats.

For example, a book is a container. If it's a print book, then it just has one container. But if it's an e-book, then it has two containers (the e-book itself, and the database or e-reader that you used to access the e-book.)

The same thing happens with articles from journals. The journal is the main container of the article, but if you found the journal article from a database, then the database is an outer container for the journal.

MLA provides examples for using the container structure on their website.

All works-cited entries provide the same types of information, what MLA calls the Core Elements:

It might help to think about how these core elements fit within a who, what, where, when format

Er, Amanda. Matryoshka Dolls. 2010, March 13, Flickr,

  • Who. Who's responsible for writing the source? (1) Author, (4) Other contributors.
  • What. What's the name of the source? (2) Title of source, (3) Title of container.
  • Where. Where in a container is a source located? Who produced the source? What is the page range or the URL? (5) Version, (6) Number, (7) Publisher, (9) Location.
  • When. When was the source published or produced? (8) Publication date.
  • MLA Style also wants to know when you accessed online material (webpage, websites, etc.).

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.