This page illustrates how to interpret the parts of an MLA citation for different types of sources. This is important when you have a citation in hand (for example, from the bibliography of a journal article, from a website, or from a professor) and want to track down the original source.
Although citations look different in other styles such as APA and Turabian, the same information is generally present, but with a different order and formatting.
Using the Citation to Find the Item
Identifying the key parts of a citation will help you know how to search for the source. For example:
If the entire book was written by the same author(s), including the chapter being cited, there will be no book editor(s) listed in the citation.
If the article is available online in a research database, you will often see the database's name and the date of retrieval in the citation, as in the example below. If the article was obtained from a print copy of a magazine or journal, the citation will end with the page numbers.
If the web document has no author or publication date, its citation will not include this information. The "publisher" refers to the organization, company, or other entity on whose website the article or page resides.