chat loading...
Skip to Main Content

MLA Citations (9th ed.)

This guide will help you format your paper and cite resources according to MLA citation style.

Publication Date Basics

The Publication Date element tells your reader when the version of the work you are citing was published. (p. 173)

The Publication Date element may include one or more of the following components:

  • a year
  • a day and month
  • a season
  • a time stamp
  • a range of dates or years

Sources--especially those published online--may be associated with more than one publication date. When a source carries more than one date, cite the date that is most meaningful or most relevant to your use of the source. (p. 174)

Books and eBooks

When documenting a book, look for the date of publication on the title page. If the title page lacks a date, check the book's copyright page. If more than one date appears on the copyright page, select the most recent one. 

Here is an example:

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Vintage Books, 1995.

Later editions of a book may contain dates of all the editions. Cite the date of the edition you used.

Do not take the publication dates of books from an outside resource--such as a bibliography, an online catalog, or a bookseller like Amazon--since the information there may be inaccurate. (pp. 174-175)

For the publication date of an eBook, the copyright page may include a month and a year. In your entry, give the year only. (p. 176)

Crystal, David. Making a Point: The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation. E-book ed., St. Martin's Press, 2015.


An issue of a periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) usually carries a date on its cover or title page. Periodicals vary in their publication schedules: issues may appear every year, season, month, week, or day. (p. 178)

Here are some examples: 

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

Belton, John. "Painting by the Numbers: The Digital Intermediate." Film Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 3, spring 2008, pp. 58-65.

Kafka, Ben. "The Demon of Writing: Paperwork, Public Safety, and the Reign of Terror." Representations, no. 98, 2007, pp. 1-24.

Articles on the Web

Many kinds of articles on the web plainly carry dates of publication. 

Here is an example:

Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,

Article on Web Site of News Organization

If you consult an article on the web site of a news organization that also publishes its articles in print, the date of online publication may appear at the site along with the date when the article appeared in print. Since you consulted only the online version, ignore the date of the print publication. (p. 177)

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist--and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2014,

A reader of the print version would find only one date of publication in the source and would produce the following entry:

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist--and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, Jan.-Feb. 2015, pp.92-97.