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MLA

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MLA Citations

MLA Handbook, 8th ed., Ref. LB 2369.G53 2016

Core Elements

 

The 8th edition of the MLA handbook changes the basis by which citations are derived in a substantial way. Citations are now comprised of a series of nine "core elements" in the following order. The core elements are as follows:

Author(s).

Title of Source.

Title of Container,

Other Contributors,

Version,

Number,

Publisher,

Publication Date,

Location.

An element should be omitted from the entry if it's not relevant to the work being documented.  Each core element should be followed by the above punctuation, unless it is the final element, which should end with a period. These changes reflect the difficulties in citing the ever growing forms of information that are sometimes difficult to fit into traditional style guidelines  This is particularly true for non-print items and is intended to simplify the process of creating citations. This guide will explain each core element and give examples.

Author

The term author is defined as the person or group primarily responsible for producing the work or the aspect of the work that is being cited. If the role of that person or group is something other than creating the work's main content, follow the name(s) with a label that describes the role i.e. editor(s), translator(s), etc. Pseudonyms, including online user names, usually function as the author names.

Regardless of role, the following rules will apply regarding the number of people involved in the author role:

One person: Last name, first name.

Two people: Last name, first name, and first name last name.

Three or more people: Last name, first name, et al.

One Author

Begin the entry with the author's last name, followed by a comma and the rest of name ending in a period as written in the work.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

(Baron 194)

Or:

Baron (194) argues that...

Note: For the in-text citation, if the authors of different sources have the same last name or you are using more than one source by the same author, add the first initial or full name if the initial is the same, or a short form of the source's title.

 (N. Baron 194) or (Baron, "Redefining" 194)

Two Authors

Begin the entry with the last name, first name, followed by a comma, add "and" and write the second author name in normal order.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdrich. The Crown of ColumbusHarperCollins Publishers, 1999.

(Dorris and Erdrich 30)

Or:

Dorris and Erdrich (30) make positive changes...

Three or More Authors

Begin the entry with last name, first name, followed by a comma and et al.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital_Humanities. MIT P, 2012.

(Burdick et al. 279)

Or:

Burdick et al. (279) discuss evolving...

One or more Editors

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor. The Future of the Book. U. of California P, 1996.

Holland, Merlin, and Rupert Hart-Davis, editors. The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde. Henry Holt, 2000.

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.

(Nunberg 23)

(Holland and Hart-Davis 184)

 

(Baron et al. 41)

Note: In the eighth edition terms titles like editor, translator, etc. are no longer abbreviated. 

Translators

For translations of a work, the citation will depend on whether the focus of the citation is the translation or the work itself. If the translation is the focus then the translator(s) will have the author role.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Peavar, Richard, and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators. Crime and Punishment. By Feodor Dostoevsky, Vintage eBooks, 1993.

(Peavar and Volokhonsky 7)

If the work is the focus then the author will have the author role.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Dostoevsky, Feodor. Crime and Punishment. Translated by Richard Peavar and Larissa Volokhonsky, Vintage eBooks, 1993.

(Dostoevsky 7)

Pseudonyms

Pseudonyms and usernames are usually considered the same as a standard name.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

@persiankiwi. "We have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now - #Iranelection." Twitter, 23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persiankiwi/status/2298106072.

(@persiankiwi)

 

 

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Stendhal. The Red and the Black. Translated by Roger Gard, Penguin Books, 2002.

(Stendhal 88)

No Author

When a work is published without an author, begin the entry with the title of the work.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Beowulf. Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Person, 2004.

The New Jerusalem Bible. General editor, Henry Wainsbrough, Doubleday, 1985.

 

 

(Beowulf 723)

 

(New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10)

And:

(for subsequent in-text citations)

(Ezek. 1. 5-10)

Note: The first time you cite the Bible, italicize the version of the Bible you are using, then include book, chapter and verse. For all subsequent citations using the same version, leave out the version name. The book name may be abbreviated if they have a longer title (ex. Gen. instead of Genesis). 

Corporate Author

A work may be created by an organization rather than an individual. In such cases the organization becomes the author.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

United Nations. Consequences of Rapid Population Growth in Developing Countries. Taylor and Francis, 1991.

(United 82)

When the author of a work and the publisher are the same, skip the author altogether and list the organization as the publisher.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004.

(Reading 19)

Note: For the in-text citation, if the title of a work is longer than a noun phrase, abbreviate to the initial noun phrase. The abbreviated title should begin with the word by which the title is alphabetized. If the title does not begin with a noun phrase, cite the first word if it is enough to direct the reader to the correct entry:

Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America becomes Reading

And Quiet Flows the Don becomes And

Indirect Sources

An indirect source is a source that quotes or paraphrases another source. An example would be Sontag's On Photography cited in Zelizer's book Remembering to Forget, and you have not read Sontag. In the text of the paper, name the original source of information, and in the parenthetical reference use "qtd. in" (quoted in) before the indirect source.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Zelizer, Barbie. Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory through the Camera's Eye. U of Chicago P, 1998. National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004.

Sontag writes...(qtd. in Zelizer 11)

Title of Source

The title of the source is dependent on whether it is a stand alone work or a greater part of a whole. Stand alone works will be italicized and parts of a work will be in quotation marks.

Note: When the source is a stand alone work, even if it is part of a collection, the title will be italicized because it is considered a stand alone work within a stand alone work:

Books

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Puig, Manuel. Kiss of the Spider Woman. Translated by Thomas Colchie, Vintage Books, 1991.

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.

Euripides. The Trojan Woman. Ten Plays, translated by Paul Roche, New American Library, 1998, pp. 457-512.

(Puig 22)

 

(Baron et al. 90)

 

(Euripides 481)

When part of a larger work, the title will be standard text in quotation marks:

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Dewar, James A., and Peng Hwa Ang. "The Cultural Consequences of Printing and the Internet." Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, edited by Sabrina Alcorn Baron et al., U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007, pp. 365-77.

(Dewar and Ang 373)

 

Journal or Magazine Article

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88.

(Goldman 82)

Media Series vs. Episode

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.

vs.

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

(Buffy)

 

 

(Hush)

A Website vs. A Posting or an Article on a Website

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Hollmichel, Stefanie. So Many Books. 2003-13, somanybooksblog.com.

vs.

Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,  somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/.

(Hollmichel)

 

(Hollmichel)

 

Untitled Source

When a source is untitled, provide a generic description of it, neither italicized nor enclosed in quotation marks, in place of a title. Capitalize the first word of the description and any proper nouns in it.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:
Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of stained oak. 1897-1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

(Mackintosh)

Comment in an Online Forum

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Jeane. Comment on "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, 10:30 p.m., somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/#comment-83030.

(Jeane)

 

Short Untitled Messages (ex. Tweets)

Instead of a title, reproduce its full text, without changes, in place of a title. Enclose the text in quotation marks.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

@persiankiwi. "We have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now - #Iranelection." Twitter, 23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persiankiwi/status/2298106072.

(@persiankiwi)

E-mail

Use the subject of an e-mail message as the title and enclose it in quotations.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Boyle, Anthony T. "Re: Utopia." Received by Daniel J. Cahill, 21 June 1997.

(Boyle)

Title of Container

Container is the term used for the larger whole when the cited source is only a part thereof. Usually it will be italicized followed by a comma allowing for further details about the container.  See examples below for a book, periodical, television series, and web site.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Bazin, Patrick. "Toward Metareading." The Future of the Book, edited by Geoffrey Nunberg, U of California P, 1996, pp. 153-68.

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/.

(Bazin 161)

 

(Baron 199)

 

(Hush)

 

(Hollmichel)

Container Within a Container

A container can also be contained within a larger container such as issues of a journal being stored on a database, or a blog being part of a network of blogs. With the increased reliance on platforms such as databases for information retrieval and the possibility of different versions of the same source in different databases, increased specificity becomes paramount.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol.64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41403188.

"Under the Gun." Pretty Little Liars, season 4, episode 6, ABC Family, 16 July 2013. Hulu, www.hulu.com/watch/511318.

Gikandi, Simon. Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Cambridge UP, 2000. ACLS Humanities E-book, hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.07588.0001.001.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58. HathiTrust Digital Library, babel.haithitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079574368;view=1up;seq=266.

(Goldman 82)

 

 

(Under)

 

(Gikandi 45)

 

(Poe 251)

Other Contributors

In addition to the author, other individuals such as editors or translators may have contributed to the creation of a source. In such cases, these individuals and their roles need to be cited. Some of the more common roles are as follows: adapted by, directed by, edited by, illustrated by, introduction by, narrated by, performance by, and translated by.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Chartier, Roger. The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Stanford UP, 1994.

Dewar, James A., and Peng Hwa Ang. "The Cultural Consequences of Printing and the Internet." Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, edited by Sabrina Alcorn Baron et al., U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007, pp. 365-77.

Fagih, Ahmed Ibrahim al-. The Singing of the Stars. Translated by Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley. Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Interlink Books, 2003, pp. 140-57.

(Chartier 304)

 

 

(Dewar and Ang 373)

 

 

(Fagih 146)

Version

If the source carries a notation indicating that it is a version of a work released in more than one form, identify the version in your entry.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.

Newcombe, Horace, editor. Television: The Critical View. 7th ed., Oxford UP, 2007.

Scott, Ridley, director. Blade Runner. 1982. Performance by Harrison Ford, director's cut, Warner Bros., 1992.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello. Edited by Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine, version 1.3.1, Luminary Digital Media, 2013.

(The Bible)

(Newcombe)

 

(Scott)

 

(Shakespeare 4.2.186-191)

Note: Editions of commonly studied poems and verse plays sometimes provide line numbers. When this is the case, omit page numbers altogether and cite by division (act, scene, canto, book, part) and line(s), separating the numbers with periods.

(Shakespeare 4.2.186-191) is a citation from Othello, Act 4, Scene 2, lines 186-191.

Number

If a source is part of a multi-volume set, indicate the number of the consulted volume. For journals, there may be a volume, issue, and/or number.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Wellek, René. A History of Modern Criticism, 1750-1950. Vol. 5, Yale UP, 1986.

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

Kafka, Ben. "The Demon of Writing: Paperwork, Public Safety, and the Reign of Terror." Representations, no. 98, 2007, pp. 1-24.

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

(Wellek 58)

(Baron 199)

 

(Kafka 6)

 

(Hush)

Publisher

The publisher is the organization primarily responsible for producing the source or making it available to the public. If two or more organizations are named in the source and they seem equally responsible for the work, cite each of them, separating the names with a forward slash (/).

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Kuzui, Fran Rubel, director. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Twentieth Century Fox, 1992.

Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible. Folger Shakespeare Library / Bodleian Libraries, U of Oxford / Harry Ransom Center, U of Texas, Austin, manifold.greatness.org.

Clancy, Kate. "Defensive Scholarly Writing and Science Communication." Context and Variation, Scientific American Blogs, 24 Apr. 2013, blogs.scientificamerican.com/context-and-variation/2013/04/24/defensive-scholarly-writing-and-science-communication/.

(Jacobs 22)

 

(Kuzui)

 

(Manifold)

 

(Clancy)

Publication Date

Sources, especially those published online, may be associated with more than one publication date. When a source has more than one date, cite the date that is most meaningful or relevant to your use of the source. Typically you will write the date as you find it. In cases where there is a time along with the date, include the time. For books with multiple copyright dates, use the most recent.

Note: All months except for May, June, and July are abbreviated to three letters followed by a period.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Vintage Books, 1995.

Belton, John. "Painting by the Numbers: The Digital Intermediate." Film Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 3, Spring 2008, pp. 58-65.

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist--and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-the-creative-entrepreneur/383497/.

Jeane. Comment on "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, 10:30 p.m., somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/#comment-83030.

(Ellison 156)

(Belton 64)

 

(Deresiewicz)

 

 

(Jeane)

Note: Since online works can be changed or removed at any time, the date on which you accessed online material is often an important indicator of the version consulted. If you feel it has the potential to be relevant to the reader, you have the option of adding when you accessed the material even if the original date is available.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

"Under the Gun." Pretty Little Liars, season 4, episode 6, ABC Family, 16 July 2013. Hulu, www.hulu.com/watch/511318. Accessed 23 July 2013.

(Under)

Location

Print Source

When a source comes from a large work such as an anthology or a journal, use a page number or a range of page numbers to indicate the location.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. "On Monday of Last Week." The Thing around Your Neck, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, pp. 74-94.

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

(Adichie 93)

 

(Baron 194)

Online Source

The location of an online work is commonly indicated by its URL or web address. Because URL's can change or become outdated quickly, some sources offer a permanent link or a "permalink" which should be used if offered. Some publishers assign a DOI number which is preferable to a URL.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/.

Chan, Evans. "Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema." Postmodern Culture, vol. 10, no. 3, May 2000. Project Muse, doi:10.1353/pmc.2000.0021.

(Hollmichel)

 

 

(Chan)

Alternative Source

Sources such as media sets, a physical object such as a piece of art experienced firsthand, or a live presentation should include information to describe its location for the reader. If necessary, include any special identifiers such as disc numbers, cities, or archival codes. If the city is part of a venue's name, omit a second mention of the city.

Works Cited Format: In-text Citation:

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season, created by Josh Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, episode 10, WB Television Network, 2003, disc 3.

Bearden, Romare. The Train. 1975, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Circa 1400-10, British Library, London, Harley MS 7334.

Atwood, Margaret. "Silencing the Scream." Boundaries of the Imagination Forum. MLA Annual Convention, 29 Dec. 1993, Royal York Hotel, Toronto.

(Hush 00:17:35-00:18:02)

 

(Bearden)

 

(Chaucer)

 

(Atwood)

Note: If a media source has a runtime that you are referencing, indicate the time range i.e. (Hush 00:17:35-00:18:02).

Other Resources

For more examples and information on how to format your paper

Online Resource

Print Resource

  • MLA Handbook, 8th ed., Ref. LB 2369.G53 2016 (available at the Reference Desk)

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