MLA Citation Guide
If you’re writing a paper according to MLA guidelines, you’ll need to use two kinds of citations: in-text (or parenthetical) and end-text (which make up your Works Cited page).
Parenthetical citations are used in the body of your paper. Use them any time you’re paraphrasing or quoting a source. The typical format for a parenthetical citation in MLA is (Lastname pagenumber). Note that there is not a comma after the author’s name and that the period is outside of the parentheses.
Due to the prevalence of smartphones in today’s society, we are bombarded by an ever-increasing amount of information in our daily lives. Framing information as a “story significantly improves the likelihood that your content will be remembered and recalled” (Haven 72).
Basic format of Works Cited
- Begin your works cited on a new page. If your paper ends at the top of page 6, for example, your works cited will begin on page 7.
- Keep the same basic formatting used in the rest of your paper: one-inch margins, double-spacing, and a header on the top right-hand corner of the page with your last name and the page number.
- Label the page Works Cited. Center these words on the top line of the page. Do not use quotation marks, bold, or italics.
- Begin your citations on the next line. There is no need to skip an additional line between this heading and your citations. Likewise, you do not need to skip a line between citations.
- Arrange the citations in alphabetical order.
- If there is no author for the work you are citing, start the citation with the title. The entry should still fall in alphabetical order just like citations that do have an author.
Changes to MLA as of 2009 (MLA Handbook 7th ed.)
- Rather than underlining the titles of books and other major publications (such as journal titles or websites), italicize them.
- Each citation now requires you to state a medium of publication. In most cases, this will be either “Print” or “Web”. Keep in mind that many sources are available in both formats. If you use a print edition of a book that is also available as an ebook, choose Print as your medium of publication. If you accessed a scholarly journal through an online database, whether or not it is available in print, cite the medium of publication as Web. For other mediums, such as a CD, Performance, or Lecture, refer to section 5.7 of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.
- When citing a website, you no longer need include the URL unless requested by your instructor. If you do include them, be sure to break long URLs at slashes and enclose the URL in <angle brackets> at the end of the entry.
Book by a single author:
Lastname, Firstname. Title of Work. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.
Haven, Kendall. Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story. Westport, CT: Libraries Ultd., 2007. Print.
Book by two authors:
Lastname, Firstname, and Firstname Lastname. Title of Work. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.
Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. New York: Broadway, 2010. Print.
Two or more books by the same author:
Arrange citations alphabetically by the title of the work. Rather than restating the author’s name, subsequent entries should begin with three hyphens followed by a period.
Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Print.
---. The Graveyard Book. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. Print.
Article in a scholarly publication, print:
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication.
Johnson, Clay. “The 2008-2009 Presidential Transition: Preparing Federal Agencies.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 39.4 (2009): 819-822. Print.
Article in a scholarly publication, web:
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Title of Database. Medium of publication. Day Month Year accessed.
Johnson, Clay. “The 2008-2009 Presidential Transition: Preparing Federal Agencies.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 39.4 (2009): 819-822. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Mar. 2010.
Newspaper article, print:
Lastname, Firstname. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper Day Month Year edition(if applicable): pages. Medium of Publication.
Branch, John. “Perfection in the Horseshoe Pit as the Best Ever Takes His Turn.” New York Times 20 July 2010 New York ed.: A1. Print.
Newspaper article, web:
Lastname, Firstname. “Title of Article.” Title of Website. Day Month Year edition(if applicable): pages. Medium of Publication. May Month Year accessed.
Branch, John. “In Horseshoe Pit, the Best Ever Takes His Turn.” NYTimes.com. New York Times, 20 July 2010: Web. 23 July 2010.
Newspaper article, web, NO AUTHOR:
"Pines, Beetles and Bears." Editorial. NYTimes.com. New York Times, 26 July, 2010. Web. 27 July 2010.
Include as much of the following information as possible.
Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). “Article Name.” Name of Site. Version number. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.
Elliott, Kate. “Bishop Inspires Digital Creativity.” Valdosta State University News. Valdosta State University, 19 July 2010. Web. 21 July 2010.
For more help
For information about citing other types of resources (television shows, live performances, etc.) please refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.