The examples found in the MLA section are based on the manual MLA Handbook, 9th ed., 2021.

  • In the MLA style, the location refers to where you consulted your source (e.g. the link to a website or the page number of an article). It is not a geographical location!
  • Two kinds of sources have locations: sources with a container and sources that are found online.

Multiple containers

If your source is from a library database, you have to indicate a location two times as you are looking at multiple containers.

  • As a general rule, follow the format for “Part of a print work” found below.

First container

  • With an essay in an eBook or an article in a journal, the location associated with your first container (the eBook or the journal) will be the page number of the first page of the article and the last page separated by a hyphen. Write “p.” for one page or “pp.” for multiple pages.
  • If your source appears on non-consecutive pages (for instance if an article starts on page 1 but only continues on page 6), write the number of the first page followed by a +.


pp. 26-35.

p. 5

pp. 4+

Second container

  • If your source was found in an online database, the location associated to your 2nd container (the database) is the DOI, which is an identifying number that functions like a link. Make sure your DOI is formatted like a URL, beginning with:


  • If your DOI does not begin with the above text, make sure to add it to the rest of the string of numbers. A complete DOI should look like this:


  • In situations where you don’t have a DOI, use the URL of your source instead. If possible, look for a stable URL or permalink.
  • Make sure to remove http:// or https:// from your URLs.
  • Do not insert spaces or hyphens in your links to break them, even if they do not fit well on your page.
  • Avoid using links shortened using services like bit.ly or tinyurl.
  • If your link is very long (more than 3 lines), truncate it by keeping only the first elements enclosed between slashes at the beginning of the address. For instance: go.gale.com/ps/

Click on the section of your choice to learn how to format locations in different situations.