I’m citing an online article that lacks page numbers. The database containing it provides the page range for the original print version. Do I include the page numbers in my entry?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Yes. Databases house digital copies of works and supply the publication information for the version of those works that have been digitized, usually in PDF or HTML. They generally are not considered a republished version of the work, and so it is insufficient to provide information only about the database version. Thus when you cite the HTML version of a print article from a database, provide the original publication information that the database supplies—including the page range, if given—in the first container of your works-cited-list entry. Then list the name of the database and the URL in the second container.
The following example shows a quotation from an HTML version of an article by James G. Frycek contained in the database Academic OneFile. The publication information supplied by the database includes the page range for the original print article, so the page range is given in the “Location” slot in the entry’s first container. But since the version quoted has no page numbers, no page number is given in the in-text citation:
James G. Frycek and colleagues argue that “[o]xygen delivery is an important factor in promoting the proliferation and growth of aerobic microorganisms when biologically degrading chemical contaminants such as petroleum hydrocarbons.”
Frycek, James G., et al. “Aerobic Bioremediation: Progresses to the Next Level.” Pollution Engineering, vol. 36, no. 6, June 2004, pp. 16+. Academic OneFile, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A118494258/AONE?u=nysl_li_jhsch&sid=
Read more on citing sources with no page numbers.