Organizations and schools usually own repositories where their research publications are uploaded in PDF and other readable formats. However, PDFs are digital formats that house books or journals. For this reason, MLA citation doesn’t use PDFs as a primary source but rather the journals or books within a PDF. This comprehensive guide explores how to cite a PDF in MLA, providing clear instructions for in-text citations and Works Cited entries.
Definition: How to cite a PDF in MLA
This refers to the rules and guidelines for citing books and journals in PDF (Portable Document Format) forms as stipulated in the MLA guide for formatting academic papers. MLA PDF citation is essential for citing primary research sources to correctly acknowledge the original work and its owner(s).
How to cite a PDF in MLA: Book
PDFs used for academic research are often books or extracts from books, usually highlighted by a copyright or title section. In MLA PDF citation, such online books are cited using the standard book details in addition to the site’s name alongside a URL. Use the following format:
How to cite a PDF in MLA: Journal article
Journals typically have volume and issue numbers as part of a series of publications. In MLA PDF citation, you should include the number of the volume and issue where applicable with the journal’s name. Ideally, you should include a DOI but indicate the URL associated with the PDF if unavailable.
How to cite a PDF in MLA: Newspaper
Articles from magazines and newspapers can also be cited where available in PDF format. They mostly have page numbers, which can be indicated in your citation. You can also add the link and show it’s a PDF format for further clarity. The format is as outlined below:
How to cite a PDF in MLA: Report
Researchers often use reports released by organizations and state departments, and they may have report numbers or directly associated with the organization in place of a specific author. In most cases, the author is also the publisher, and you should indicate it only once in your citation. For example:
If you want to know how to cite a PDF in MLA, ensure you first identify the source in the PDF. This may be a book or journal, among other academic sources. Follow the common format of citing these types of sources and include a DOI or URL.
MLA citation guidelines dictate that government reports should be cited using the name of the government body rather than specific authors. Include the name of the report and year and mention the publisher/author once if they are the same.
A DOI or Digital Object Identifier is a unique number used to identify an online document such as a PDF. It is made of alphanumeric characters and is used to cite PDFs and other digital files.
The link to a newspaper is an optional component of a PDF Citation. However, ensure you include the author’s names, article title, and the newspaper’s name.