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Cite Your Sources: MLA

Tools for creating bibliographies in MLA, APA, Chicago, and other styles.

MLA 8 - Modern Language Association 8th edition

MLA is a citation format created by the Modern Language Association. It is used for research papers in many college classes, including English. MLA updated their guidelines to version 8.  Citation makers, database citations, catalog citations may still be using MLA 7.  It will be up to you to update the citation before turning in your bibliographies.

  • Center the words “Works Cited” one inch from the top of a new page at the end of the paper. Include only sources that have been quoted, summarized, or paraphrased. 
  • Double-spacing is used between sources as well as within each source.
  • Use a hanging indent: begin the first line of each entry at the left margin, and indent all subsequent lines of an entry one-half inch (5 spaces); you may also use the “Tab” key.
  • Alphabetize sources by the author’s last name.  List author by last name, followed by a comma, and then followed by the first name. If the source has no author, alphabetize by title ignoring the words “A, An, or The.”
  • Capitalize all title words except articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (to, from, between, etc.), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, etc.) unless they are the first/last word of the title or subtitle.
  • Use italics for titles of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, reference books, databases, and web sites.
  • Put titles of periodical articles and other short works (such as poems, essays, short stories, and songs) in quotation marks.
  • List just the publisher for books. Use the complete version of publishers’ names, except for terms such as Inc. and Co. Use U and P for University and Press. List vol. for the volume, no. for the number, and p. or pp. for the page numbers.
  • Separate the author, title, and publication information (publisher and year for books) with periods. Only commas separate the journal title, volume, number, date, and page numbers. A period also goes at the end of each source.
  • List dates as: day month year. Example: 7 Apr. 2016 (abbreviate months except for May, June, and July).
  • For a range of two-digit page numbers, list the first and last page (pp. 37-51); for longer numbers, list only the last two digits of the last page (pp. 137-51). In some cases, though, you may need more digits to clarify the range of pages (199-207). If the article does not appear on consecutive pages, use a plus sign (+) after the first page number (pp. 36+). 
  • Include as much of the following information about the source as is available: editor, translator, director, performer, version, volume and issue numbers, publisher or sponsor, date of publication, location of the source, page numbers, doi (digital object identifier), URL, etc. Not all sources will require every element.  

In-text parenthetical citations: Whenever you use a quotation, a paraphrase, or a summary, you should give the author’s last name (or the title if no author is included) in parentheses; you should also add the page number if you’re using a printed source. A parenthetical source might look like this for an author (Hammond 42) or like this for a title (MLA Handbook 58).

Works Cited entry:

Perry, Kate. “Picketing Firefighter Makes Few Friends.” Times Union [Albany, NY], 10 Nov.

            2006: pp. B3+.

(The abbreviation for page or pages (p. or pp.) is needed on the Works Cited page but      not for parenthetical/in-text citations.)

Parenthetical/In-text citation: (Perry B3).

Introduce the material being cited with a signal phrase that includes the author’s name.  Example:  HVCC librarian Mary Ellen Bolton points out that students who do not use libraries often find frustration in their research efforts (74).  Otherwise, provide the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.  No comma is used.  Example: (Bolton 74).

For sources with no author listed, use a shortened version of the title of the work. Titles of books are italicized; titles of articles are put in quotation marks.

BOOKS (Print):

Book (one author):

Mallon, Thomas. Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism.Ticknor and Fields, 1989.

Book (more than one author):

Lathrop, Ann, and Kathleen Foss. Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era. Libraries Unlimited, 2000.  

Book (three or more authors)

Cunningham, Stewart, et al. Media Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Book with no author listed (start with the title):

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 8th ed. Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

An Essay, Poem, or Short Story in an Anthology:

Crews, Harry. “Why I Live Where I Live.” The Short Prose Reader, 12th ed., edited by Gilbert H. Muller and Harvey S. 

         Wiener.  McGraw-Hill, 2009. pp. 307-10.

Article from an encyclopedia (if no author is listed, start with the title):

Cooper, John M. “Socrates.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward Craig, vol. 9. Routledge, 1998.  

BOOKS (Online):

E-book (from the Web):

            Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Cassell, 1852. Project Gutenberg, 2015,

E-book (from a library database or catalog):

Schmid, David. Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture, U of Chicago P, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central,


Article from a journal (if no author is listed, start with the title):

           Giaquinto, Richard A. “Instructional Issues and Retention of First-Year Students.” Journal of

        College Student Retention, vol. 11, no. 2, 2009-2010, pp. 267-85.

Article from a magazine (if no author is listed, start with the title):

Posnanski, Joe. “The Running Back, the Cheerleader, and What Came after the Greatest College

          Football Game Ever.” Sports Illustrated, 28 Dec. 2009, pp. 58-64.  

Article from a newspaper (if no author is listed, start with the title):

Nearing, Brian. “State Energy Plan: Less Is More.” Times Union [Albany, NY] 16 Dec. 2009, pp. D1-D2.  

ARTICLES (Online):

Journal article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title):

            Rice, D. Talbot. “Byzantine Pottery.” Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. 59, no. 1, 1939, pp. 138-39. JSTOR,


             Newspaper article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title):

            “Lizzie Borden Is Acquitted.” The New York Times (1857-1922), 21 June 1893, p. 1, ProQuest.

Article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title):

            Trumbull, Mark, and Cristinas Maza. "'Fight for $15' Protests: Why They're about More than Fast-food     

                   Wages." Christian Science Monitor, 15 Apr. 2015, Opposing Viewpoints in Context,

Article (with a digital object identifier number) from a database:

Ohman, Arne, and Susan Mineka. "Fears, Phobias, and Preparedness: Toward an Evolved Module of Fear and Fear

        Learning." Psychological Review, vol. 108, no. 3, 2001. Academic OneFile, doi: 10.1037//0033-295X.108.3483.


Citing an article from a web site (if no author is listed, start with the title):

            Smith, Kelsey Anne.“Increase in Plagiarism among College Students Thought to Be Caused by Technology.” The Guardian:

                     Wright State University Newspaper, 10 Jan. 2013,


Citing a web page (if no author is listed, start with the title):

“Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.”  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 June 2016,


Million Dollar Baby. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Performances by Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, and

          Morgan Freeman. Warner Brothers, 2004.

What is a  digital object identifier, or doi?

A digital object identifier (doi) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency ( the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to it's location on the Internet. The publisher assigns a doi when the article is published and made available electronically.

We recommend that when doi's are available, you include them for both print and electronic sources. The doi is typically located on the first page of the electronic journal, near the copyright notice. The DOI will be included in the citation of articles found in our databases.