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Citation Style Guides: MLA

This Research Guide was designed to provide you with assistance in citing your sources when writing an academic paper.

MLA Style


One of the most frequently used style manuals for citing sources is the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, which is published by the Modern Language Association.

The most recent edition, the eighth edition, was published in 2016. Copies of this edition are found in the Ready Reference section of the Library. The call number is Ready Reference LB 2369 .G53 2016. Listed below are examples of sample citations.

Works Cited Page: General Rules

Here are some general rules on how to format your Works Cited page: 

  • The works cited page appears at the end of your paper

  • Each cited source must be on the works cited page and each entry on the works cited page must be cited in the text of your paper

  • Begin the works cited page on a new page

  • Number each page, continuing the page numbers of the paper

  • Label the page "Works Cited"; centered at the top

  • Double-space all the text on the page

  • Indent one-half inch from the left margin all the lines after the first line (hanging indentation)

  • Capitalize each word in titles of articles, books, etc, do not capitalize article, prepositions or conjunctions

  • Italicize titles of larger works and quotation marks for titles of shorter works

  • Invert the authors' names; give the last name first, then the first name

  • Alphabetize the entries by the last name of the author of each work

Please note: These are basic guidelines, for more detailed information, consult the MLA Manual. You can view a sample MLA paper at the OWL at Purdue website. (Refer to page 12 for an example of a Works Cited page).

MLA 8th Edition: Guiding Principles

In the 7th edition of the Handbook, a separate set of citation instructions were given for each format type.  The problem with this approach is that there is no way to anticipate all format types a student may encounter.

To solve this problem, this new edition of the MLA Handbook provides a "universal set of guidelines" for citing sources across all format types.

These guidelines state that, if given, these major elements should be included in the citation:

1. Author.
2. Title of Source
3. Title of Container
4. Other Contributors
5. Version
6. Number
7. Publisher
8. Publication date
9. Location

Sometimes, elements 3-9 will repeat again, if say, your journal was inside a database.

Putting it all together:

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

Major Changes in the 8th Edition

  • vol. and no. are now spelled out.
    • Instead of 32.3; it's: vol. 32, no. 3
  • Place of publication is omitted.
  • Page numbers are designated with pp.
  • Date of access is omitted.
  • Medium of publication is omitted.

A Journal Article Retrieved from a Database

A source in two containers -

1. Author: Lorensen, Jutta.
​2. Title of source: "Between Image and Word, Color, and Time: Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series."

Container 1

3. Title of container: African American Review
6. Number: vol.40, no. 3,
8. Publication date: 2006,
9. Location: pp. 571-86.

Container 2

3. Title of container: EBSCOHost,
9. Location:

Final Works-Cited List Entry


Source: Works Cited: A Quick Guide 

Works Cited entries: Format Examples

The discipline of English, as well as many other disciplines in the humanities, use MLA citation format.  Below are some examples for formatting the Works Cited page.  Look in the drop-down menu for examples of in-text citations.

Single Author

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. Love in the Time of Cholera. Vintage, 1988.     

Two Authors

Casell, Kay Ann and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: An Introduction. Neal-Schuman, 2004.

(NOTE: Authors should be listed in the order they are listed on the title page.)

Three or More Authors

Robbins, Chandler S., et al. Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden, 1966.

with Translator or other contributors

Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles, Viking, 1996.

Here are other common descriptions: Adapted by, Directed by, Edited by, Illustrated by, Introduction by, Narrated by, Performance by.

A work (e.g., essay, short story) in an anthology or compilation.

Kimball, Jean. "Growing Up Together: Joyce and Psychoanalysis, 1900-1922." Joyce through the Ages: A Nonlinear View, edited by Michael Patrick Gillespie, UP of Florida, 1999, pp. 25-45.

Later Edition

Blamires, Harry. The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide through Ulysses. 3rd ed., Routledge, 1996.

Article in an Online Database

Hannah, Daniel K. "The Private Life, the Public Stage: Henry James in Recent Fiction." Journal of Modern Literature, vol.30, no. 3, 2007, pp. 70-94. JSTOR,

Note: When including a URL, omit the http:// and https://

Article in Print Journal

Hannah, Daniel K. "The Private Life, the Public Stage: Henry James in Recent Fiction." Journal of Modern Literature, vol.30, no.3, 2007, pp. 70-94.

Article (Web Page) on a Web Site

Farkas, Meredith. "Tips for Being a Great Blogger (and a Good Person)." Information Wants to Be Free, 19 July 2011, 

Note: When including a URL, omit the http:// and https://

Website (Whole site) Farkas, Meredith. Information Wants to Be Free. Jun. 2015,

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Cite an OER the same way you would cite any work. The following is a sample citation for a writing course available online as an OER:

“Technical Writing (ENGL 235).” OER Commons, 31 Oct. 2011,

Work Cited

Sparks, Sarah D. “Open Educational Resources (OER): Overview and Definition.” Education Week, Editorial Projects in Education, 12 Apr. 2017,


Source: “How Do I Cite an Open Educational Resource?” MLA Style Center, 16 Feb. 2021.

MLA Online Sources

The following links provide more information on how to cite using MLA.

Citation Help

Use these websites to help you create citations.

Some parts of this page were adapted from the Citing Sources (Citation Styles) LibGuide created by Britt McGowan, Reference & Instruction Librarian at the University of West Florida.