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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?

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.

Published 22 July 2019

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)?

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.

Published 26 May 2016

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