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Home » Student Writing Assistance » MLA Format – Overview » MLA Format – Works Cited Page

MLA Format – Works Cited Page

A. Basic format

  • Every paper should have a Works Cited page (bibliography), which corresponds with any and all in-text citations within the paper itself
  • Begin the Works Cited page on a separate page, after the body of the paper
  • Label the page “Works Cited” without any formatting (no bolding, italicizing, underlining, or quotation marks)
  • Entire page is double-spaced, including entries
  • Utilize hanging indentation: Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches (as if starting a new paragraph)
  • List page numbers, if possible
  • Entries are listed alphabetically, by author’s last name*
    *This may change if the author’s last name is not used in the citation; see below
  • For each entry, the Medium of publication must be determined
    • Most entries will likely be listed as Print or Web sources
    • Other possibilities include: Film sources, CD-ROM sources, etc.
  • It is not necessary to provide URLs for Web entries
    • Some instructors still ask for URLs, however; if so, use the following format:
      • Include the URL in angle brackets after the entry with a period
      • For long URLs, break lines only at slashes
    • If an article or publication was originally issued in print, but was retrieved online, type the online database name in italics
    • Capitalize each work in the titles of articles, books, etc.
      • Do not capitalize articles (e.g. the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of a title or subtitle (subtitles are indicated by a colon)
    • Use italics for titles of larger works (e.g. books, magazines, etc.)
    • Use quotation marks for titles of shorter works (e.g. poems, articles, etc.) 

B. Listing an author/authors 

  • Entries in a Works Cited are listed alphabetically by the author’s (or first author’s, if a work has multiple authors) last name
    • For an entire edited collection, list the editor names
  • Author names are written last name, first name middle initial (if applicable)

Last name, First name.
O’Donnell, Alexandra
Last name, First name middle initial.
O’Donnell, Alexandra A.

  • Do not list titles (e.g. Dr., Mrs., etc.) or degrees (e.g. PhD, MA, BS, etc.) with names
  • Suffixes (e.g. Jr., “II.”) should be included
    • The suffix follows the first or middle name and a comma

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. à King, Martin Luther, Jr.

  • If there is more than one citation by a particular author:
    • Order the entries alphabetically by title
    • Ignore articles in title such as A, An, or The
    • Use three hyphens in place of the author’s name for every entry after the first

Last name, First name. Title of work.
—. Title of work…

  • Sometimes an author or collection editor appears as both the sole author of one text, and the first author of another
    • List sole author entries first
    • Do not use the hyphens in this case; only use hyphens if discriminating between the same solo author
  • If the author is unknown, alphabetize the entry by the title (which will either be italicized or have quotations around it, depending on the type of title)

C. Works Cited: Citing books and other print sources

  • When referencing books as sources, the following items of information will be needed to form the citation:
    • Author name(s)
    • Book title
    • Publication date
    • Publisher
    • Place of publication
  • The medium of publication for all hard copy (non-electronic) books is Print
  • The basic format for referencing books goes as follows:

Last name, First name. Title of Book. City of Publication:
          Publishers, Year of publication. Medium of Publication.

  • If a book has multiple authors, the first name appears in “last name, first name” format, and all subsequent author names appear in “first name, last name” format
  • If there are more than three authors, it is okay to list the first author (“last name, first name” format) followed by et al. in place of the subsequent authors’ names
    • It is also okay to list all of the authors in the order their names appear on the title page – this formatting is decided by personal preference, but remember to stay consistent! Do not format one entry using et al. and another using all author names; stick to one style throughout the Works Cited
  • Sometimes, a corporate author or organization (e.g. a commission, committee, or group that does not identify individual members in title) can be the author of the work
    • In this case, list the name(s) of the corporate author(s) (e.g. American Psychological Association) in the place where an author’s name would typically appear, at the beginning of the entry
  • If the author of a book is unknown, list the entry by the title of the book
  • Remember to incorporate all entries alphabetically, regardless of if the author, organization, or title of the book is the beginning of the entry
  • If a book has been translated, add “Trans.” (the abbreviation for “translated by”), followed by the name(s) of the translator(s)

Last name, First name. Title of book. Trans. First name Last
          name of translator. City of Publication: Publisher, year of publication.
          Medium of publication.

  • If a book has been republished (but has not become a new edition), insert the original publication date before the publication information.

Last name, First name. Title of Book. Original publication
          year. City of Publication: Publisher, year of       
          republication. Medium of publication. 

  • If a subsequent edition is being referenced, cite the book normally, but add the number of edition after the title. 

Last name, First name. Title of book. Number of edition (e.g.
          3rd ed.). City of Publication: Publisher, year of
          publication. Medium of Publication.

  • If a work has been prepared by an editor, cite the book as normal, but add the editor after the title:

Last name, First name. Title of book. Ed. First name Last
          name. City of Publication: Publisher, year of publication.
          Medium of Publication.

  • To cite a work in an anthology, reference, or collection (e.g. an essay in an edited collection, a chapter of a book, etc.), use the following format:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Essay/Chapter/etc.” Title of
          Collection.
Ed(s). Editor’s Name(s). City of Publication:
          Publisher, Year of publication. Page range of entry.
          Medium of Publication.

  • If an article from a reference book (e.g. dictionary, encyclopedia, etc.) is being referenced, cite the work as it would be in a collection, but do not include the publisher information
    • If the reference book is organized alphabetically, do not list the volume or page number
  • If only one volume of a multivolume work is being referenced, include the volume number after the title, or after the editor’s name

Last name, First name. Title of Work. Vol. number. Location

          of Publication: Publisher, year of publication. Medium of
          publication. 

  • If more than one volume of a multivolume work is being cited, cite the total number of volumes in the work
    • Make sure the in-text citation provides both the volume number and page number(s)!

Last name, First name. Title of work. Number of vols. (e.g. 4
          vols.) Location of Publication: Publisher, year of
          publication. Medium of Publication.

  • When citing either an introduction, preface, foreword, or an afterword, include the name of the author(s) of whichever is being cited, followed by the name of the part being cited (this does not receive any special format)
    • If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work, then wite the full name of the principal author’s work after the word “By.”

Author(s). Introduction/Preface/Foreword/Afterword. Title of Work. By
          Original Author. City of publication: State, year of publication.
          Page(s). Medium of Publication.

  • If a government publication is being referenced, cite the author of the publication (if applicable). If there is no appointed author, then begin the reference with the name of the national government (e.g. United States), followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) appointed as the organizational author (e.g. Government Accountability Office).
    • If referencing a congressional document, include the number of the Congress and the session that is being referenced
    • United States government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office (which will serve as the publisher), and can be abbreviated to GPO

Name of National Government. Agency. Subdivision or agency. Title of
          Document
. Washington: GPO, year of publication. Medium of Publication.

Name of National Government. Agency. Subdivision or agency. Title of 
          Document. Number of Congress and session. Washington: GPO, year of publication. Medium of Publication.

  • It is possible to reference a dissertation or thesis, which are cited the same way as books, but also includes the designation Diss. (or MA/MS thesis), followed by the degree-granting institution, and the year the degree was awarded (which will not necessarily be the same as the year the piece was published, if it was)
    • If the dissertation was published, italicize the title and include the publication date
    • It is also permitted to include the University Microfilms International (UMI) order number, if one should so choose

Author. Title of Dissertation or Thesis. Diss./MA thesis/MS thesis Insitution, year degree was awarded. City of publication: UMI, year of publication. UMI order number. Medium of Publication.

  • If the work was not published, the title will be put in quotation marks, and end with the date the degree was awarded

Author. “Title of Work.” Diss./MA thesis/MS thesis Institution, year degree
          was awarded. Medium of Publication.

  • If an article is being cited from a magazine, begin by listing the author, followed by the title (in quotation marks), italicizing the periodical title, and the date of publication (abbreviate the month).

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Periodical Day Month Year: page(s).
          Medium of Publication.

  • To cite a review, include the title of the review (if applicable), followed by the abbreviation “Rev. of” (i.e. Review of), the title of the work (books, plays, and films receive italics; articles, poems, and short stories receive quotation marks), and the performance (if a living art) and/or publication information 

Review Author. “Title of Review.” Rev. of Title, by Author/Director/Article
          Name. Title of Periodical Day Month Year: page(s). Medium of Publication.

  • If an article is anonymous (i.e. no author name is provided), cite the title of the article first, then continue the citation as it would be for any other periodical.
    • Simply put: Act as though the title of the article is the author, and continue from there
  • There is a new way to reference an article from a scholarly journal, which is listed below. If, however, an article appears in a special issue of the scholarly journal, simply cite the name of the special issue in the entry’s title space (still in italics), and end with a period. Add “Spec. issue of” before the name of the journal (still in italics), followed by the rest of a standard scholarly journal reference. The special issue format is listed below the typical scholarly journal format. 

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year of
          publication): page(s). Medium of Publication. 

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Special Issue. Spec. issue of Title of
          Journal
Volume number.Issue number (Year of publication): page(s).
          Medium of Publication.

D. Works Cited: Citing Electronic Sources

  • Electronic sources, as per MLA, are listed as Web Publications. Therefore, the medium of publication for web publications is listed as “Web.”
  • In previous years, MLA required the URL in citations. However, this is no longer necessary, but be sure to consult with a professor/advisor if s/he requires this, as some may still
    • If including a URL in the citation is required, simply place the URL in angle brackets (example: <http://www.website.com>) after the date of access, and break the URL after slashes
  • If there is no publishing information (e.g. a publisher name or publishing date) available, MLA utilizes a special set of abbreviations to indicate that this information is not available:
    • “n.p.” indicates that neither a publisher/sponsor name is provided
    • “n.d.” indicates that a publication date has not been provided
    • “n. pag.” indicates that no pages have been provided (this will usually only occur if the source is retrieved from an “online-only” source, such as an online-only journal)
  • The basic style for citing electronic sources in MLA includes the following information (Note: not every Web page will have all of this information available; collect as much information as possible):
    • Author/editor name(s)
    • Article name (in quotation marks)
    • Title of Website/project/book (in italics)
    • Any available version numbers (e.g. revisions, posting dates, volumes numbers, issue numbers, etc.)
    • Publisher information (publisher name and date)
    • Page numbers
    • Medium of publication
    • Date material was accessed
    • URL (if required) 
  • If an entire website, or a specific page from a website is being referenced, use the following format:

Author(s)/Editor(s). Name of Website. Version number. Name of
          institution/organization affiliated with site (e.g. sponsor or publisher),
          date of resource creation. Medium of publication. Date of access.
          <URL> (if required)

  • If an article from an online magazine is being referenced, provide the following information:
    • Author name(s)
    • Article name (in quotation marks)
    • Title of magazine (in italics)
    • Publisher name
    • Publisher date
    • Medium of publication
    • Date of access
    • URL (if required)

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine. Publisher name, day
          Month(abbreviated) year. Medium of publication. Date of access.
          <URL> (if required)

  • If an article from an online scholarly journal is being referenced, provide the following information:
    • Author(s)
    • Name of article (in quotation marks)
    • Title of publication (in italics)
    • All volume numbers
    • All issue numbers
    • Year of publication
    • Page range (this is only necessary if the article also appears in print)
    • Medium of publication
    • Date of access
  • If an article appears in an online-only scholarly journal, be sure to remember to use the abbreviation “n. pag.” to indicate that there are no available pages 

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal: Subtitle if applicable Volume
          number.Issue number (Year of publication): page(s). Medium of
          publication. Day Month Year of access.

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal Volume Number.Issue Number
          (Year of publication): n. pag. Medium of publication. Day Month
          Year of access.

  • If an article from an online database (e.g. EBSCOhost; an electronic subscription service) is being referenced, cite these articles as any would be in print sources, along with the following information:
    • Title of the database (in italics)
    • Medium of publication
    • Date of access

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal Month Year of publication:
          page(s). Name of Database. Medium of publication. Day Month Year
          of access.

E. Works Cited Page: Miscellaneous Sources and Information

  • Below are some examples of miscellaneous sources that are often used, and have special format in MLA style:
  • If an interview is being referenced, it is important to first make the distinction between the type of interview, which falls into two categories:
    • Print/broadcast published interviews
    • Personal unpublished interviews
  • Published interviews require the following information:
    • List the interview by the name of the interviewee
    • If the name of the interview is part of a larger work (e.g. a book, TV program, film series, etc.), then place the title in quotation marks
    • If the name of the interview is an independent title, italicize the name
    • Determine the medium of publication (e.g. print, web, etc.) and fill in the rest of the entry with information required by that medium (e.g. for books, the author, editor name, and book title would be included)
    • If the interview does not provide a title, add the descriptor “Interview” (with no quotation marks or other formatting) after the interviewee’s name

Last name of interviewee, First name of interviewee. Interview with Name
          of Person Being Interviewed. Rest of citation follows accordingly to
          the medium of publication. 

Below are two examples of published interviews (source: Purdue OWL):

Gaitskill, Mary. Interview with Charles Bock. Mississippi Review 27.3 (1999): 129-50. Print.

Amis, Kingsley. “Mimic and Moralist.” Interviews with Britain’s Angry Young Men. By Dale Salwak. San Bernardino: Borgo, 1984. Print. 

  • Personal interviews include interviews conducted by the author of the paper him or herself. The following information is needed in order to reference the interview in the Works Cited:
    • List the interview by the name of the interviewee
    • Include the descriptor “Personal interview”
    • Date of the interview

Last name of interviewee, First name of interviewee. Personal interview. Day Month Year of interview.

  • If the interview is published online-only, then the following information is needed:
    • List the interview by the name of the interviewee
    • Interview title, if applicable (In quotation marks)
      • If there is no title, however, add the descriptor “Interview” (no quotation marks or other formatting) after the interviewee’s name
    • The remainder of the entry is cited as any other Web-only content:
      • The name of the website (in italics)
      • The publisher name(s)/sponsor(s) (Note: remember to use “n.p.” if no name is provided)
      • Publication date
      • Medium of publication (Should be “Web”)
      • Date of access
    • If a source is being referenced from either a conference presentation, lecture, speech, or other forms of oral presentations, then include the following information:
      • The speaker’s name
      • Title of oral presentation (In quotation marks)
      • Name of the meeting
      • Name of the organization
      • Location of occasion
      • Date
    • Be sure to use the descriptor that will appropriately describe the type of presentation (e.g. Address, Reading, Lecture, Conference Presentation, etc.), and be sure to remember any necessary abbreviations if any of the above information is not provided (e.g. n.p. or n.d.)
    • Another commonly used source can be a film or movie, and there is a difference between citing films/movies that are either in theatres or not yet on DVD/video, and ones that are already recorded.
    • For movies/films that are not yet recorded, the following information is needed:
      • Title of film (Italics)
      • Name of director (Formatted “Dir. Name of director”)
      • Film studio/distributor
      • Release year
      • Medium of publication (“Film”)
    • For movies and films that have been recorded (i.e. are available on DVD/video), the following information is needed:
      • Title of film (Italics)
      • Name of director (Formatted “Dir. Name”)
      • Distributor/film studio
      • Release year
      • Medium of publication (e.g. DVD, VHS, etc.)

Title of Film. Dir. Name of Director. Film studio/distributor, release year.
          Film.

  • If a source is being referenced from a broadcast television or radio program, the following information is required:
    • Title of episode (in quotation marks)
    • Series/program (in italics)
    • Network name
    • Call letters of the station
    • City
    • Date of broadcast
    • Medium of publication (e.g. Television, Radio)

Title (with appropriate formatting). Series/Program. Network Name. Call
          letters of station, City. Day Month Year of broadcast. Medium of
          publication.

  • If a television episode has been formally recorded (e.g. on DVD), then they are cited like films, using the following information:
    • Episode name (in quotation marks)
    • Series name (in italics)
    • Title of series (If the title of the collection of recordings is different than the original series (e.g. a specific season of a series, not the entire series), list the title that will most help others locate the reference
    • Distributor name
    • Date of distribution
    • Medium of publication (e.g. DVD, Videocassette, etc.)

“Episode Name.” Series Name: Title of Series. Distributor name, Date of
          distribution. Medium of publication.