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MLA Citation Guide

Incomplete Information about Resources

You have your quote and you have your source, but there is a problem. You don't have some of the information you need for a complete citation. Don't worry because there is a solution. Remember, no matter what, put in as much information as you have about your citation.

Every piece of information has its place in the citation. When a piece is missing, you have a few options.


Author is missing: Place the title in the Author's position. Continue the citation as normal.

Example: "Article Title." Journal Title. Date of Publication. Medium of Publication. (if web: Date of Access)


Date is missing: Use the place holder N.d. to indicate no date

Example: Author. Title of Book. Place: Publisher, n.d. Medium of Publication


Place of publication is missing: Use the place holder n.p. to indicate no place

Example: Author. Title of Book. N.p.: Publisher, date. Medium of Publication


Publisher is missing: Use the place holder n.p. to indicate no publisher. 

Example: Author. Title of Book. Place: n.p., date. Medium of Publication

Combine these tips when multiple pieces of information are missing. Fill in what you can with the information you have. Use place holders or move the title as a way to fill in the missing pieces.  

You may find a great resource and quote or paraphrase a piece of information from it.  However, your joy starts to crash when you see that there is a date/publisher missing and you cannot complete your citation as usual. Don’t worry, there is a solution for that. An essential key of citing is putting in as much information as possible about the source. 

  • If you have any missing information, supply as much as possible, using square brackets.
  • If you are unsure of any fact given, use a question mark in square brackets. For example, [2017?]
  • If the date is approximate use circa in front of the date. E.g. [circa 2017] 

Author is missing:  move the title into the author’s position and follow the rest of the citation in the correct order.  

Example: "Where Angels no Longer Fear to Tread." Economist, 22 Mar. 2008, pp. 89-92.

*See entry for Journal Article (no author/editor) in our handout. 

Date is missing: skip this step, instead add the date you accessed the resource at the end of citation (e.g. Accessed 20 Aug 2017).

Example: Clear, James. "Procrastination: A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating". James Clear, http://jamesclear.com/procrastination. Acessed 6 Jun 2017


Place of Publication is Missing: If you used a local newspaper, add the city of publication in square brackets 

Example: Daily Herald Tribune [Grande Prairie]

*Remember: Do not add the city of  publication for nationally published newspapers

Publisher is Missing: omit this information from entry.

Example: Lapointe, Annette. Stolen. 2006.


Page numbers are missing: skip this step and continue in a regular manner.

Example: McEvoy, Dermot. “Little Books, Big Success.” Publishers Weekly, 30 Oct. 2006. 


Other Considerations:

If you have any missing information, skip the missing information and continue your citations as normal, remember to check the general template for MLA 8th edition.  

For more information see MLA Handbook (111).
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