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MLA Style Guide: Electronic Databases

This guide is designed to help students learn about MLA style and cite sources for their research.

Qucik Tips

When preparing a reference for a book or an article retrieved from an electronic database, follow the same style guidelines as you would for a print book or article.

Provide the name of the database from which you retrieved the article, e.g. EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier, Gale Academic OneFile, Oxford Music Online, etc. Do not include the URL for the article if the link is likely to change.  You may include either a permalink (provided by the database) or a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) insead of the URL.

If the database provides a PDF file for the reference, you should include page numbers in your in-text citations; however, if an HTML copy of the publication is provided, omit this part of the citation. If the article is complete on one page, you may omit the page reference from the in-text citation.

Electronic Databases

Information required for an electronic database reference includes:

  • Author(s) and/or editor(s)
  • Title of book or article
  • Title of journal, magazine or newspaper (for articles)
  • Volume, issue and page numbers as required (for articles)
  • Name of publisher (for books)
  • Date of publication
  • Title of database
  • DOI or permalink (provided by database)

Examples of References:

Loxley, Simon. Type: The Secret History of Letters. I.B. Tauris, 2004. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost),

"The Mouse Is Mightier than the Pencil: The Rise of CGI Animation." Globe and Mail, 18 May 2007, p. R6. Gale OneFile News.

Devalle, Veronica. "Graphic Design as a University Discipline in Argentina, 1958-1985." Design Issues, vol. 32, no. 3, Summer 2016, pp. 67-77, doi:10.1162/DESI_a_00400.

Examples of In-Text Citations:

Released in 1995, Pixar's pilot feature, Toy Story, is considered to be the first movie made entirely from CGI ("Mouse").

According to Simon Luxley, "The story of type begins in the mid-fifteenth century" (ch. 1).

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