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Do You Put a Copyright Date in a Citation for MLA Format?

by Marion J. Herbert, Demand Media

    In the Modern Language Association or MLA style format, citing a copyright date is critical. This is done on the Works Cited page, which is the page listing your sources and references at the end of your research paper. The kind of source used indicates whether just the copyright year or a full date is needed. For instance, books require the year it was published, while electronic and online sources require the month, date and year it was published in addition to when the information was accessed.

    Print Sources

    The copyright date is the last element in a standard citation on a Works Cited page for a book. If the book has been republished, use the most recent copyright date. For example: Woolf, Jenny. The Mystery of Lewis Carroll. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010. For printed magazines, periodicals and newspapers, use a full copyright date if applicable. A journal would only need the copyright year, as the issue and volume indicates when it was published. The year is placed in parentheses, followed by a colon and the page numbers. For example: Dacey, June. “Management Participation in Corporate Buy-Outs.” Management Perspectives. 7.4 (1998): 20-31. However, a newspaper, which is published daily, would require the full copyright date, followed by a comma, the edition and section of the paper in which the article was found.

    Electronic Sources

    Electronic sources, including online and CD-ROM references, must include both the date they were published -- day, month and year, if available -- and the day, month and year it was accessed. The published date is listed after the name of the online journal or website followed by a period. The day, month and year it was accessed then follows. For example: Lulu. “Five Lessons to Be Learned From Ageing in the Spotlight." Huffington Post 25 March, 2013. 26 March, 2013.

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    About the Author

    Marion J. Herbert is an experienced writer, editor and communications professional based in the greater New York City region. She is a graduate of Marist College and has worked for "District Administration" magazine and is currently the communications manager of a large Connecticut-based nonprofit organization.

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