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Ellender Library

Research and Instruction: MLA

How to Cite: MLA


MLA style is generally used by subject areas in the humanities.  Overall, it is simpler than other styles, featuring parenthetical citations and an alphabetized list of references at the end.  Entries for the list of works cited must be alphabetical and double-spaced, with the indent of the subsequent line one-half inch from the left margin. The most recent style guide for MLA citation can be found at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of the library.

Please consult your professor for the citation style they prefer. Always follow any specific guidelines given by your professor, even if they differ from what is explained here.

Citing one work by one author: Place the author’s last name in parentheses followed by the page number the information cited came from. If the author’s last name is used in the sentence, you should put just the page number in parentheses.

Example:

It may be true that “in appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance…” (Robertson 136).

It may be true, as Robertson maintains, that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance…” (136).

Citing one work with multiple authors: Place both authors' last names in parentheses followed by the page number the information cited came from. If the author’s last name is used in the sentence, you should put just the page number in parentheses.

Example:

...as shown by Durant and Durant (214-48).

...it has been shown (Durant and Durant 214-48).

Citing 2 or more works within the same parentheses: Cite each work as you normally would and use semicolons to separate the citations.

Example:

(Fukuyama 42; McRae 101-33)

General format:

Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Source." Title of the Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

Take Note:

Container refers to the larger work holding the smaller work. For example, if you cite a chapter in a book, the "Title of Source" is the chapter title and the "Title of the Container" is the Book Title. If you cite the entire book, skip "Title of Source" and just list the book title as the "Title of the Container."

Other contributors could include editors, illustrators, or translators, among others.

Version may be an edition of a book.

Number may refer to the volume of the work.

Location refers to the way the source can be located. This may be the page numbers or URL.

If a work is found in a specific way (through a database, for example), repeat elements "Title of Container" through "Location" and plug in the applicable information.

All citations on a Works Cited page should be ordered alphabetically by the author's last name or title of the work, whichever is listed first in the citation.

If a citation is on 2 or more lines, the 2nd and all subsequent lines should have a hanging indent.

If one of the elements listed in the general format doesn't apply, skip that element and move on to the next one.

Examples:

Book by a Single Author

Franke, Damon. Modernist Heresies: British Literary History, 1883-1924. Ohio State UP, 2008. 

eBook from Database by a Single Author: eBooks that you get from the Nicholl's online catalog should be cited as follows:

Shuman, Michael. The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition. Berret-Koehler Publishers, 2006. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), http://ezproxy.nicholls.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=260747&login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_Cover

Book with an Editor but No Author

Shell, Marc, editor. American Babel: Literatures of the United States from Abnaki to Zuni. Harvard UP, 2002.

Book by Two or More Authors

Hutcheon, Linda, and Michael Hutcheon. Bodily Charm: Living Opera. U of Nebraska P, 2000.

Print Book by Three or More Authors: If there more than two authors, you may name the first author and write et al. in place of the remaining names.

Plag, Ingo, et al. Introduction to English Linguistics. Mouton, 2007.

Print Book by a Corporate Author or a Group: If the author is a committee, association, or some other group of people, name the group as the author. Remove A, An, or The at the beginning of their name. If the author and publisher are the same organization, skip the author and begin with the work's title.

National Research Council. Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World's Population. Washington: Natl. Acad., 2000.

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

A Work in an Anthology (essay, short story, poem, etc.)

Bordo, Susan. "The Moral Content of Nabokov's Lolita." Aesthetic Subjects. Edited by Pamela R. Matthews and David McWhirter, U of Minnesota P, 2003, 125-52.

A Book Published in a Second or Subsequent Edition

Baker, Nancy L., and Nancy Huling. A Research Guide for Undergraduate Students: English and American Literature. 6th ed., Modern Languages Association, 2006.

Periodicals include anything published on a regular basis. Examples are journals, newspapers, and magazines. Articles found in a library database are cited in this format rather than like something found through a search engine like Google. For information on how to cite something found in a search engine, see the "Works Cited: The Internet" tab.

General format:

Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Source." Title of the Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

Take Note:

Container refers to the larger work holding the smaller work. For example, if you cite an article in a journal, the "Title of Source" is the article title and the "Title of the Container" is the journal title. 

Other contributors may be listed if their contributions are significant to your research. Skip it if it does not apply.

Version may refer to an edition. Skip it if it does not apply.

Number may refer to the volume and/or issue of the work.

Location refers to the way the source can be located. This may be the page numbers or URL.

All citations on a Works Cited page should be ordered alphabetically by the author's last name or title of the work, whichever is listed first in the citation.

If a citation is on 2 or more lines, the 2nd and all subsequent lines should have a hanging indent.

If a work is found in a specific way (through a database, for example), repeat elements "Title of Container" through "Location" and plug in the applicable information.

Examples:

Print Article in a Scholarly Journal

Piper, Andrew. "Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything." PMLA, vol. 121, no. 1, 1 Jan. 2006, pp. 124-38.

An Electronic Article in an Online Database

Piper, Andrew. "Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything." PMLA, vol. 121, no. 1, 1 Jan. 2006, pp. 124-38, JSTORhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/25486292.

A Print Article in a Newspaper

Jeromack, Paul. "This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor." New York Times, late ed.13 July 2002, p. B7+.

An Electronic Newspaper Article in an Online Database

Jeromack, Paul. "This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor." New York Times, late ed. 13 July 2002, p. B7+, LexisNexis Academic,http://www.lexisnexis.com/inacui2api/api/version1/getDocCui?Ini=468H-Y5C0-01CN-H2CR&csi=6742&hl=t&hv=t&hnsd=f&hns=t&hgn=t&oc=00240&perma=true.

A Print Article in a Magazine

McEvoy, Dermot. "Little Books, Big Success." Publishers Weekly 30 Oct. 2006, pp. 26-28.

An Electronic Article in a Magazine

McEvoyDermot. "Little Books, Big Success." Publishers Weekly 30 Oct. 2006, pp. 26-28, Literature Resource Center, http://ezproxy.nicholls.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsglr&AN=edsgcl.153899243&site=eds-live.

 

Articles found in a library database are cited as periodicals rather than like something found through a search engine like Google. For information on how to cite something you found in a library database, see the "Works Cited: Periodicals" tab.

General format:

Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Source." Title of the Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

Take Note:

Container refers to the larger work holding the smaller work. For example, if you cite an article on a webpage, the "Title of Source" is the article title and the "Title of the Container" is the website title. 

Other contributors may be listed if their contributions are significant to your research. Skip it if it does not apply.

Version may refer to an edition. Skip it if it does not apply.

Number may refer to the volume and/or issue of the work.

If the Publisher and the Title of the Container are the same, you may skip this element.

Location refers to the way the source can be located. This would be the URL.

All citations on a Works Cited page should be ordered alphabetically by the author's last name or title of the work, whichever is listed first in the citation.

If a citation is on 2 or more lines, the 2nd and all subsequent lines should have a hanging indent.

Examples:

Fessler, Pam and Chris Lehman. "20 Years Since Welfare's Overhaul, Results are Mixed." National Public Radio, 22 Aug. 2016, http://www.npr.org/2016/08/22/490245470/20-years-since-welfares-overhaul-results-are-mixed.

 

General format:

Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Source." Title of the Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

Take Note:

If the Author is an organization or government agency, name the group as the author. Remove A, An, or The at the beginning of their name. If the author and publisher are the same organization, skip the author and begin with the work's title.

Container refers to the larger work holding the smaller work. For example, if you cite a chapter in a book, the "Title of Source" is the chapter title and the "Title of the Container" is the Book Title. If you cite the entire book, skip "Title of Source" and just list the book title as the "Title of the Container."

Other contributors could include editors, illustrators, or translators, among others.

Version may be an edition of a book.

Number may refer to the volume of the work.

Location refers to the way the source can be located. This may be the page numbers or URL.

If a work is found in a specific way (through a database, for example), repeat elements "Title of Container" through "Location" and plug in the applicable information.

All citations on a Works Cited page should be ordered alphabetically by the author's last name or title of the work, whichever is listed first in the citation.

If a citation is on 2 or more lines, the 2nd and all subsequent lines should have a hanging indent.

If one of the elements listed in the general format doesn't apply, skip that element and move on to the next one.

Examples:

Report

Fuller, Lori M. and Richard S. Jodoin. Estimation of a Trophic State Index for Selected Inland Lakes in Michigan, 1999-2013. U.S. Department of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey, 2016, http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo69451/sir20165023.pdf.

Federal Register

"Ammonium Nitrate from Russia; Termination of Five-Year Review." Federal Register, vol. 81, no. 162, International Trade Commission, 22 Aug. 2016, p. 56695, https://federalregister.gov/a2016-19913.

 

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