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When citing a work on a Web site, should I use the original publication date or the last-updated date?

As the MLA Handbook notes, “When a source carries more than one date, cite the date that is most meaningful or most relevant to your use of the source” (42). Thus, if you are citing a work on the Web that lists both an original publication date and a last-updated date, use the last-updated date or, if provided instead, the last-reviewed date. Providing the last-updated or last-reviewed date lets your reader know that the information you are citing is current.
For an example of a works-cited-list entry listing a last-reviewed date, see our post on crediting the reviewers of an online article.

Published 12 July 2019

Should I use BC and AD or BCE and CE for era designations?

The choice of era designations is up to the writer. In our publications, we prefer to use BCE (before the common era) and CE (common era), both of which follow the year:

200 BCE
300 CE

If you use BC (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini, medieval Latin for “in the year of the Lord”), note that, by convention, BC follows the year, and AD precedes it:

200 BC
AD 300

  . . .

Published 25 January 2019

What is the advantage of MLA-style date format over the format recommended by the International Standards Organization (ISO)?

The International Standards Organization recommends writing dates with numerals in year-month-day format (e.g., 2018-10-24) because it is useful when people need to convey information across international borders about such practical matters as “[o]rganizing meetings and deliveries, writing contracts and buying airplane tickets” (“Date and Time Format”). The MLA Handbook, in contrast, recommends the more humanistic approach of spelling out the month and using either the day-month-year format (e.g., 24 October 2018) or the month-day-year format (e.g., October 24, 2018) in prose because MLA style was devised for writers of research papers in the humanities (94). 
Works Cited
“Date and Time Format—ISO 8601.”  . . .

Published 23 January 2019

How do I cite an interview conducted by e-mail?

Follow the MLA format template. Treat the person being interviewed as the author. Then provide a description that includes the format (“E-mail interview”) in the “Title of source” slot. You may list the interviewer’s name as an “Other contributor” after the description. Then list the date on which the interview was conducted.

Smith, Helen. E-mail interview. Conducted by Rachel Green, 6 June 2017.

If the interview did not take place on a single day, style the dates as shown in our post on citing an interview that occurred on more than one day.
Note: We have updated our guidelines on citing interviews.

Published 17 December 2018

How do I cite a periodical that I am using over a range of dates?

How you cite a periodical that you are using over a range of dates depends on whether you are borrowing any material from it. If you quote or paraphrase passages, you must create an individual works-cited-list entry for each article you cite, as shown below: 

In The Edinburgh Review, Abraham Hayward notes that Thackeray’s “effects are uniformly the effects of sound wholesome legitimate art” (50). The writer of an unsigned review from a later issue of the same journal observes that Thackeray’s “powers” include “rare observation, an acute penetration of motives, an abhorrence of sham or pretence, and an entirely new and genuine humour” . . .

Published 11 December 2018

When should you give a range of dates for a Web site?

If you’re documenting an entire Web site or Web project, provide a date range in your works-cited-list entry when the Web site provides one:

Centre for Editing Lives and Letters. U College London, 2003-14,


If the Web site provides more than one date, provide the date that is most useful. In the example below, where a date range and date of last update are provided, the date of update is likely to be the most useful because it tells your reader the currency of the information (an exception might be if you are using the source to make a historical point about changes to the site over time):

Piers Plowman Electronic Archive.

Published 5 July 2018

How do I cite an essay from one volume of a multivolume work when the volume is identified by a date range?

You can cite an essay from one volume of a multivolume work when the volume is identified by a date range in any one of the ways shown in our previous post on citing essays in multivolume works. 
Let’s say you want to cite The Essays of Virginia Woolf, volume 5, which is identified by the date range 1929–1932. Consider the volume title The Essays of Virginia Woolf, 1929–1932.
Method 1
Cite the volume independently from the multivolume work: 

Woolf, Virginia. “How Should One Read a Book?” The Essays of Virginia Woolf, 1929–1932, . . .

Published 26 April 2018

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