Which entity should you list as the publisher of a website if both a subsidiary and a parent company are listed as publisher?

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.

Determine the publisher of a website the same way you determine the publisher of a book.

The MLA Handbook notes that for books, when both a division and a parent company are listed, you should usually cite the division (108). For websites, if the name of a subsidiary (e.g., Slate Group) and that of a parent company (e.g., Graham Holdings) are given as publishers, list the subsidiary. But the handbook also explains that if the name of the website is basically the same as the name of the publisher, the publisher’s name is omitted from the works-cited-list entry (42). Thus, in the following example, since the name of the publisher (Slate Group) is similar to the website name (Slate), the publisher’s name is omitted:

Allen, Rachael. “How an Extraordinary Coincidence Inspired Lois Lowry’s New Book about World War II.” Slate, 22 Apr. 2020, slate.com/culture/2020/04/lois-lowry-on-the-horizon-interview-world-war-ii.html.

If you do need to list a publisher and are unable to determine which entity is the subsidiary, list both entities in the Publisher element with a slash between them.

Work Cited

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.