A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley


Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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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.

Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham


Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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