Citing custom courseware: MLA (8th ed.) citation guide

This guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed. and provides elected citation examples for common types of sources. For more detailed information please consult the print version of the handbook available at the SFU Library.

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The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook does not list specific rules on how to cite a DVD, a book, a journal article, etc., but instead outlines a universal set of general guidelines of citation and documentation that can be applied to any source type, including custom courseware. These are the guidelines we followed to develop the following examples for you.

Custom courseware


Custom courseware packages are compilations of journal articles, book chapters and other materials selected by your instructor. The MLA manual does not give specific advice about citing these materials, so you will have to use your judgment and come up with your own solution. 

If you need to cite a source from a Custom Courseware package, we recommend that you check with your instructor.

However, here are two possible approaches to citing this type of material:

Find the full, original citation

Find the full citation where the article, chapter, etc. was originally published, and cite accordingly. The full citations may be included on the first page of the coursepack.  If the full citation is not included within the coursepack, try finding the citation via Citation FinderLibrary Search or a database.

Treat the Courseware package as an anthology

Treat the article, chapter, etc. as if it was part of an anthology, or edited book. If you take this approach, credit the instructor who did the compilation as a book editor/compiler. 

You will probably not have the page numbers, since the Custom courseware is not a true publication and is not paginated throughout.

You will also have to include the name of the compiler, the title of the Courseware, the name of the course (e.g. CMNS 210), the semester (e.g. Spring 2006) and the publisher (Simon Fraser University).

Bear in mind that someone trying to find the article/chapter from a coursepack you cited might not have access to the same coursepack.