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MLA Style Guide for Citations (9th edition): Title of container

The "title of container" applies only if the source you are citing is a part of a larger work. Examples of sources that have containers are articles or information from a website.

An article would have a title of container in its citation because the title of the article itself would be the title of source, while the title of the periodical it is published in would be the title of container. For example, if you are citing an article from The New York Times titled "The Hunt for an Alaskan Bumblebee" the title of the source is "The Hunt for an Alaskan Bumblee," while The New York Times is referred to as the title of the container.

In the case of a website, you may find a webpage that has information specific to your research. You would cite the title of the page as the title of source, and the title of the whole website would be the title of container.

Some sources that have containers

  • A song on an album
  • A poem in a collection of poems
  • A short story in a collection of short stories
  • An essay in a collection of essays
  • An episode of a television series
  • An article from any type of periodical
  • A blog post
  • A page or article from a website
  • An encyclopedia entry

Quotes or Italics?

Whether the title is in quotes or italics depends on the nature of the source. According the the MLA Handbook, "A title is placed in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work. A title is italicized if the source is self-contained and independent. For example, a book is a whole unto itself, and so its title is set in italics."

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Title in Italics

Title in “Quotes”

A book

An article

A collection of essays, stories, or poems

An essay, story, or poem

The title of a TV series

An episode of a TV series

A movie

A song

A website

A posting, article, or page of a website


Example citations

Eggers, Dave. “The Man at the River.” The Best American Essays 2014, edited by Robert Atwan, Houghton, 2014, pp. 150-61.

Gouveia, Sidney, et al. “Forest Structure Drives Global Diversity of Primates.” Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 83, no. 6,  Nov. 2014, pp. 1523-30.

Bozeman Science. “A Tour of the Cell.” YouTube, 24 Feb. 2012,

Tett, Gillian. “Economists’ Tribal Thinking.” The Atlantic, 1 Sept. 2015,

"Marge vs. the Monorail." The Simpsons, performances by Julie Kavner and Phil Hartman, season 4, episode 12, Twentieth Century Fox, 14 Jan. 1993.

Ronson, Mark. "Uptown Funk." Uptown Special, performance by Bruno Mars, RCA, 10 Nov. 2014.

Parisot, Eric. Graveyard Poetry: Religion, Aesthetics, and the Mid-Eighteenth Century Poetic Condition. Ashgate, 2013. EBSCOhost eBook Collection,


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