How to Format the Publication Date in MLA 9

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Formatting the Publication Date in MLA 9

The publication date refers to the date that the source was made available. The formatting and placement of the date within the citation, as well as the amount of information included, varies based on the type of source being cited. When formatting sources with publication dates, keep the following in mind:

  • When there is more than one publication date, use the one that is most recent and/or most relevant to your research.
  • Include the date as it is shown on the sourcefor instance, use the season/year for a journal article or just the year for a book.
  • Online versions of articles sometimes display two dates: 1) the date the article was posted online and 2) the date that the printed version was published. If you used the online version, only include that date in your citation.
  • The MLA 9 Handbook recommends locating the publication date of books directly from the source rather than relying on online catalogs or book retailers, as their information may be incorrect.
  • For many online sources, you may also need to include the date that you accessed the source if the source has no publication date or the source is expected to change.
  • If you are including the publication month, months with names longer than four letters should be abbreviated to the first three letters.
  • Publication years are not included in the citations in prose (in-text citations) in MLA 9.

Book Publication Dates in MLA 9:

When citing a book in MLA 9, it is only necessary to include the publication year. This can be found on the book’s copyright page. If several years are listed, only include the most recent one. Additionally, if the copyright page includes both the month and year the book was published, you only need to include the year in your citation. When citing the e-book version of a book, you should use the publication year of the e-book version specifically, rather than the publication year of the original book.


Morgenstern, Erin. The Starless Sea. Doubleday, 2019.

Journal Article Publication Dates in MLA 9:

Journal articles will often provide either a publication season (i.e., fall or spring) and year, or a publication day, month, and year (or sometimes both). If both types of dates are included, you should include the one that is most specific in your citation (which will usually be the day and/or month and year). The publication date for a journal article can usually be found on the title page of the journal, in the header or footer of the article, on the article’s cover page, or at the top of the webpage.


Butarbutar, Ranta, et al. “Analyzing of Puzzle Local Culture-Based in Teaching English for Young Learners.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, vol. 343, no. 1, Nov. 2019,

Online Article Publication Dates in MLA 9:

Most online articles on news sites or other online publications will provide a full publication day, month, and year. You should include as much date information as is available.


Richtel, Matt. “Texting and Driving? Watch Out for the Textalyzer.” The New York Times, 27 Apr. 2016,

Website Publication Dates in MLA 9:

A general web page will often only have a publication year, which is usually found at the bottom of the webpage. However, if the month and/or day are also provided, you should include those as well. Webpages will also sometimes provide the date the page was last updated. In that case, you should provide the most recent date in your citation. Webpages may also provide no publication date, in which case you should instead provide the date that you accessed the webpage at the end of the citation. You should also provide the date you accessed the webpage (in addition to its publication date) if the information on the webpage is expected to change over time (for example, a page with statistics that are continually updated).


COVID Data Tracker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 July 2022, Accessed 20 July 2022.

YouTube Video Publication Dates in MLA 9:

When citing a YouTube video, you should use the date that the video was uploaded as the publication date. This date should include the day, month, and year that the video was uploaded, and is usually found beneath the video.


“‘Ew!’ With Jennifer Lopez.” YouTube, uploaded by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, 17 Feb. 2016,

Social Media Publication Dates in MLA 9:

When citing a social media post, the date the content was posted should be used as the publication date. This is usually found directly underneath or above the posted content. Since social media posts are sometimes edited or removed after being posted, you may want to include an access date as well (though this is optional).


National Park Service. Photo of a Western Osprey. Instagram, 20 June 2022, Accessed 20 July 2022.

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