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MLA Basics: Web Rules

When citing sources from the Internet, try adding as much of the following in the same sequence:

  1. Contributor information
  2. Title of work (quotes)
  3. Title of overall website (italicized)
  4. Version / Edition
  5. Publisher or sponsor of website
  6. Date of electronic publication
  7. Medium of publication (web)
  8. Date accessed

Sources published directly online

Sources published directly online have no in print originals, and therefore, it is important to include online publication information (i.e. the website publisher/sponsor and date of electronic publication). If unavailable, for online only sources, MLA7 suggests writing “N.p, n.d.” which means no publisher and no date, respectively. We believe adding such place holders is unnecessary, as it provides no information, and the lack of information can be assumed by its absence in the citation.

Citing an article from an online only resource



Friedland, Lois. “Top 10 Natural and Wildlife Adventure Travel Tips.” New York Times Company, 22 Sept. 2008. Web. 25 Sept. 2008.

Citing an entire website with no identifiable electronic publication date

Example: Imagine Easy Solutions, n.d. Web. 8. 2009.


Note: that newspaper and magazines websites are considered non-periodical, directly published online sources even if they have in-print copies. Follow the published directly online format.

Citing an article from an online only news source


Chen, Stephanie. “Growing up is Hard with Mom in Prison” Cable News Network, 7 May 2009. Web. 8 May 2009.


Note: Many times, the publisher’s name is the same as the online newspaper name.

Citing an article from an online newspaper


Shorto, Russell. “Going Dutch.” New York Times. New York Times, 3 May 2009. Web. 8 May 2009.

Note: Some online only sources have publication information unique to its source type, such as online only journals (volume & issue information). Follow the journal format and add information on the date accessed.

Citing an online only journal


Glotzer, Richard and Anne Federlein. “Miles that Bind: Commuter Marriage and Family Strength.” Michigan Family Review 12 (2007): 7-31. Web. 8 Apr. 2009.

Sources published indirectly online

As opposed to some sources published by a website (direct), other sources may be originally in print, or in another medium, and found online. Cite these sources as you would in their original form, and then add as much relevant web information as possible (website title, publisher / sponsor, date of electronic publication, medium, and date accessed). However, because the source was not published by the website, you do not have to use the “N.p, n.d.” placeholders if no website publisher or date of electronic publication is available.

Citing a book originally in print found online


Catton, Bruce. The Civil War. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005. Google Book Search. Web. 15 May 2008.

Citing a newsletter found online with no page information


Puzzanchera, Charles. “Juvenile Arrests 2007.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin (Apr. 2009): n. pag. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Web. 8 May 2009.

Citing a video found online


West, Kanye. Amazing. Prod. Hype Williams. Roc-A-Fella Records, 2009. YouTube. Web. 8 Feb. 2009.

Citing a painting viewed online


Picasso. Pablo. Three Musicians. Web. 5 Apr. 2006.

Citing a musical recording listened to online, with no discernible manufacturer or date


Park, Obadiah. “Hey Ya.” N.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2007.

Citing a digital image


Hopper, Angie. Hedgehog. Digital Image.Flickr. Yahoo! Inc., 22 July 2007. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.

Note: In the above example the title is not in quotes because it is a description of the digital image. The URL was truncated to the search URL because it was too long and complicated.

Citing an originally in print journal article found in a database


Ahn, Hyunchul, and Kyoung-jae Kim. “Using Genetic Algorithms to Optimize Nearest Neighbors for Data Mining.” Annals of Operations Research 263.1 (2008): 5-18. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Sept. 2008.

Note: Sources found in online databases typically have been published elsewhere. Include as much as the original publication information as possible, and then add the database name, medium (web), and the date accessed.

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