Electronic Sources

Introduction

Don’t think of electronic sources as radically different from other sources. The same works cited sections still apply. For instance, instead of the location being a set of page numbers, it is now usually a URL or DOI.

Because we’re still meant to follow the same structure as with other sources, the MLA Handbook (8th ed.) does not have a specific section dedicated to electronic sources. Instead, the main thing is to know what information you might collect from a webpage or website.

Don’t be afraid to poke around a bit to find what you’re looking for:

Website Example

In this example, it’s easy to find the URL, the title, and the date, but we have to do more digging to discover the author’s name and the website title.

Date of Access

Before we get to specific kinds of entries, it is good to note that one element is optional. That’s the date of access. This date is when you last consulted the electronic source for your research:

Beard, Stuart. “The Final Run.” Sofa Surfers, 8 Feb. 2017, www.sofasurfers.com/stories/the-final-run/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

The date of access is useful because websites change constantly. However, this element is not mandatory.

Specific Sources

Entire Website

Cite as much information as you can gather about a website. Start with the creator’s name and the website title, and then add information for the container(s):

Kumar, Hardeep. Kabaddi Highlights. Singh Sports Company, 2014-16, www.kabaddihighlights.com. Accessed 18 Jan. 2017.

The publisher of a website may be a company that runs the site or it may be a single person. If the publisher and the creator are the same, don’t list the publisher again.

If you add the hyperlink (which MLA recommends), be sure to take off the https: and don’t underline it. If MS Word changes it to a hyperlink, right click on it and select “remove hyperlink.”

If the website was developed over a period of time then cite the first and last date:

Slackers Anonymous. 1999-2000, www.slackersanonymous.com.

Page of a Website

Citing a page of a website is similar to citing a shorter work such as a poem or essay. Start with the author and title of the page and then provide information for the larger website:

Tannenbaum, O. “The Christmas Sweater from Helsinki.” World’s Ugliest Christmas Sweaters, 14 June 2009, www.ugliestchristmassweaters.uk/christmas-sweater-from-helsinki/.

Remember that if the publisher is the same as the website name, then cite just the latter. Also, you usually just have to give the date of the webpage, and not the publication dates of the entire website.

Online Article

Please see the section on citing articles for more information.

E-book

When you cite an e-book, provide the traditional publication information first, and then add the digital platform where you accessed the text:

Schadenfreude, Kirsten. Teachers’ Jokes from around the World. Humorist Press, 2012. My Digital Library, mdl.09875628.us.mydiglib.org./13/jokes/teachers.pdf. Accessed 13 May, 2014.

This method is taken from p. 34 of the MLA Handbook. By contrast, the MLA FAQ section online provides a different approach. It suggests that an e-book should be classified as a “version”:

Chewbacca, Phil. The Language of Spitting. Kindle ed., Spittoon Press, 2012.

Presumably this second method is more appropriate for citing popular books accessed through e-book readers.

Video on a Website

When you cite online videos there are a few things to watch out for. Often a video has both an original creator and an uploader. Cite the latter as part of the contributors section of the container:

RAP$HEET. “‘Race Matters’ by Rapper Rap$sheet.” Youtube, uploaded by Itsmymoney, 22 Feb. 2017. www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoUh8Rap?.

If you do not know the original creator, skip the author section:

 “My Favorite Epic Fails.” Youtube, uploaded by Immature98, 19 Aug. 2008. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ran123dom4. Accessed 9 Sept. 2015.

In addition, note that the site that hosts the video is considered the title of the container. Provide the date the video was uploaded, as well as a URL. Adding a date of access is optional.

Comment on a Web Page

Here’s how you cite a comment on a post:

Merkel, Angelica. Comment on “Why the Greek Monopoly Board No Longer Has Free Parking.” Board Game Greek, 18 Dec. 2010, 2:21 a.m., boardgamegreek.com/2010/12/18/why-the-greek-monopoly-board-no-longer-has-free-parking/.

Remember that your own description of the title (Comment on) should not have quotation marks around it.

Email

When you cite an email, use the subject line as your title (adjusting the formatting as required):

Lacy, Sandra. “Unfair Plagiarism Accusation.” Received by Professor Manina Sprocket, 8 Nov. 2015.

Use the tag “Received by” before the recipient’s name.

 


For more information about citing electronic sources, see the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), especially the sections on URLs and DOIs (pp. 48, 110)

 

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