Citation Guide: Modern Language Association (MLA)

Database Sources

1. Portable Periodical Databases

Information is often collected in portable databases such as CD-ROM, diskette, or magnetic tapes. Just as print journals, newspapers, magazines, and indexes are published and updated periodically, so are some of these; they should be treated like similarly, with additional information about the electronic format:

  1. title of database,
  2. publication medium (like "CD-ROM," "Diskette," or "Magnetic Tape"),
  3. name of the vendor (the manufacturer or distributor of the CD-ROM, etc.), if relevant, and
  4. date of electronic publication (which is likely to be different from the date of print publication).

Last Name of Author [when there is an author], First Name of Author. "Title of Article in the Database." Journal or Book in Which the Print Version Could be Found. Day Month (abbreviated version) and Year of publication of the print version, Information about Edition, Release, or Version (if relevant): Page Numbers. Title of Database. Publication Medium (i.e., CD-ROM, Diskette, or Magnetic Tape). Vendor of the Database. Date of electronic publication.


"The Events of Yesterday." The Charleston Mercury 28 Dec. 1860. The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective. CD-ROM. Folio Corporation. 1990.

2. Portable Non-Periodical Databases

Unlike online databases, which exist on a computer service or network and subject to continual revision, formats for sources on CD-ROM, diskette, or magnetic tape vary according to whether or not the database is published periodically.

Non-periodical databases, like books, are published at a single, specific time. They might be updated, or different versions of them might be issued, but updates/versions are not released in any regular manner. Because these databases are like books, they should be treated like them as much as possible, with an entry listing the basic bibliographic information first, then adding in the information specific to the electronic medium.

[What follows is the format for a typical entry of this kind.]

Author's Last Name [if author is given], Author's First Name. "Title of the Part of the Work" (if relevant, and underlined if it is a book-length source). Title of Database or Product. Edition, Release, or Version (if relevant). Publication Medium [i.e., CD-ROM, Diskette, or Magnetic Tape]. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.


Sheehy, Donald, ed. Robert Frost: Poems, Life, Legacy. CD-ROM. New York: Holt, 1997.

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