Yes, it’s that time again: MLA has updated the format to account for new advances in technology, namely how to cite online sources.

The basics remain the same—cite where the information came from inside some parenthesis and then include the full bibliographic citation on your Works Cited Page. So, nothing to fret over there.

MLA formatting for 8th edition, WritingCommons.org

So what is different? Mostly the Works Cited Page.

The publication format no longer matters! You won’t have to hunt for the formatting guidelines by searching “How do I cite an article I found in an online newspaper?” or “How do I cite this song I just listened to on Pandora?” or worry about the difference between a magazine, newspaper, and journal article.  Instead, you will simply have to include the core information in a specific order. 

What does this order look like?

Author. Title of source. Title of container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, location.

  1. Author. Still the author. We really care about who said it. Some things don’t change at all. 
  2. Title of source. Yes, you still use the same guidelines—quotations around shorter works and italics for longer ones.
  3. Title of container. What’s a container, you ask? Wherever you found the source is the source’s container: The New York Times, Wikipedia, CNBC.
  4. Other contributors. Is there an editor? A translator? Credit them now.
  5. Version. Is this the 8th edition of the source? Put that here.
  6. Number. Does the source have an issue number?
  7. Publisher. Who is responsible for this source getting to you?
  8. Publication date. When was this source made available to you?
  9. Location. Where was the book published (if relevant)?

There are a few other small changes, but you can see the full list here: https://www.mla.org/MLA-Style/What-s-New-in-the-Eighth-Edition

I know it may seem like MLA is a lot to remember, but this new edition simplifies the citing process for you. The important thing has always been the ease with which readers can find the source you are referencing. Share this information in this order, and readers will thank you for the information they needed to see the original.