Publication Date,

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

Follow those instructions to properly format a date using the MLA style.

  • Format the date by day, month, year using the abbreviation for the month (e.g. 12 Dec. 2015). You do not have to abbreviate month names of 4 letters or less (such as June).
  • If parts of the date are missing, just use what is given to you. If a time is given (like on certain web page), add it after the date  (e.g. 22 May 2015, 1:00 p.m.).
  • The publication date is followed by a comma.
  • If your source is in print format and has no date, simply leave it out.
  • If your source is online and has no date, add a date of access at the end of your citation. You can also do this if you suspect the source has been altered or removed since you last consulted it.

“Fennec Fox.” Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/fennec-fox. Accessed 27 July 2021.

Sometimes, you will encounter sources that seem to have multiple publication dates.

  • If your source stands on its own (like books, movies, plays) and has more than one version or edition, it might list several publication dates. Cite the date for the version that you consulted.
  • If your source was published inside a container (on a website, in a journal, etc.), provide the date of publication for the container.
  • If providing the original publication date of your source could be useful to the reader (such as for primary sources or classical texts), you can insert it directly after the title of the source. See example below:

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. Könemann, 1995.

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