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Reference Department: MLA Style Guide

LibGuide for the LIU Post Library Reference Department.

Heads Up! New Edition in 2021

Forthcoming in April 2021, the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook will serve as both a textbook and a reference guide.

Check back for updates to this Guide!

MLA Handbook, 8th edition (Print)

Two copies of the print edition of MLA 8 are available at the Help Desk for onsite use only.

Resources for MLA Style

The Modern Language Association (MLA) style for writing a research paper is used primarily in the humanities. The MLA Handbook is in paper format only and can be found at the Help Desk in the library.  Here you will find useful tips on how to correctly format your paper and how to cite the resources you used in your paper. Some example citations of MLA style can be found in the tabs above for various resources. There are also several digital resources to help you in formatting and structuring your cited references and research paper according to MLA prescripts.

Here are just a few:

MLA's Core Elements

The MLA Handbook, 8th edition presents a chart or worksheet to create proper MLA formatted citations.

All sources will have similar elements regardless of their format. Some sources may not have a particular element (e.g. version), so you can skip to the next element. For instance, a journal article should have an Author, Title of source (Article title), Container (Name of journal), Numbers (Volume and issue) and Location (Page numbers) but adding a publisher is not necessary.

Digital sources will not have page numbers, but should have a URL, DOI, or persistent link to indicate the Location element.




Title of source.


Title of container,


Other contributors,








Publication date,




Check out MLA's Quick Guide for a thorough explanation of these core elements and containers.

Why Cite?

Citation isn't just about doing the right thing, it's about making your writing stronger and improving the quality of all research performed.

Here's three good reasons why we cite:

  1. Giving credit. The idea is fairly straightforward: great writing of all types is built at least in part on the work of others. We honor and acknowledge the ideas that give birth to our own.
  2. Strengthening our position. A large percentage of writing is persuasive in nature. Citing authoritative sources helps to support our key ideas and arguments. By attributing original works, we place our own ideas in a broader, ever-expanding context.
  3. Showing diligence. Without citation, every word, fact, and idea is attributed to you by default. If some of that information turns out to be wrong, it is on you. Citations show our research and our processes. Without them, any error is an error of negligence. In this way, citation isn't just about providing credit, it's about protecting yourself if mistakes are made in your research.

Source: Bailey, J. (2017, May 16). "Why cite? Three reasons to cite your sources." Plagiarism Today. 


Louis Pisha's picture
Louis Pisha
B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
LIU Post Campus
720 Northern Blvd.
Brookville, NY 11548

Do you need writing help?

Don't forget our friends at the Writing Center!

The Writing Center is staffed by trained undergraduate and graduate students who work collaboratively with LIU Post students on a one-to-one basis to help them develop the strongest texts possible.

Staffers can help you to brainstorm, plan, edit, revise and proofread your paper. In short, the Writing Center will collaborate with you on any work in progress.

Make an appointment here. 


This guide was created by my wonderful colleague, librarian Robert Delaney. It has been modified to include formatting suggestions for remote learning tools, such as Blackboard, and for new media, such as TED Talks and TikToks.