In the database example in “Works Cited: A Quick Guide,” why is container 2 specified as EBSCOHost, not as the database searched on EBSCOHost (e.g., Academic Search Premier)?

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.

At EBSCOHost, visitors can search for articles in a range of databases at once. When an article is retrieved, the database containing it is not always evident to the user, as the screenshot in our example shows. The identity of EBSCOHost as the container of the article is always clear, however. MLA style encourages writers to document the facts they observe. This principle is especially important online, where the presentation of information changes constantly. An advanced user of EBSCOHost who determines that an article comes from a certain database would not be wrong to cite the database instead of EBSCOHost as container 2.