For every source that you use in your project, you must include a full citation in a list of works cited. Here are instructions for compiling your works cited list and for structuring each citation. Click the tabs at the top to see examples of citations for different types of sources.
The following are the core elements of any entry in the works cited list. Note: Your source may not have all of these elements. Examine each source carefully to determine which elements to include. Ask a librarian for help if you are unsure.
The author refers to the person, persons or entity responsible for the work. This may include any of the following: authors, editors, translators, directors, producers, performers, screenwriters, pseudonyms, or corporate authors. For roles other than an author, the person’s role should be listed following their name. Here are general examples for listing authors and other responsible persons.
Editor: Haerens, Margaret, editor
|2||Title of source.||Period||
The title and subtitle of the work are listed next. If the source is part of a larger work (e.g. an article in a periodical or a webpage on a website), then the title is placed in quotation marks. If the source is self-contained (e.g. an entire book or a full website), then the title is italicized. Capitalize the first word in the title, the last word in the title and all other words except the following parts of speech: articles, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions. Here are examples of the formatting of a title:
|3||Title of container,||Comma||
The container is listed when the source is part of a larger whole (e.g. an essay in a book, an episode in a TV series, an article in a newspaper, etc.). The title of the container is italicized and followed by a comma. An easy rule to keep in mind is that you will have a container in your citation only if the previous title is in quotation marks. Here is an example of the formatting for a container:
At times the container of a source may be located in a second container (e.g. a journal stored in a database or a book of short stories found on Google Books). In such cases, provide the relevant information from elements 3-9, then provide the second container with any relevant elements 3-9. Here is an example with the containers highlighted:
Credit other contributors in a source if they are important to the identification of the source. Begin with a description of their role followed by their name. Common descriptions include: adapted by, directed by, edited by, illustrated by, introduction by, narrated by, performance by, or translated by (MLA Handbook 37). Here are a few examples of other contributors:
If the source has been released in more than one form, include a description of the version. For a book this may be the edition. For media this may be a description such as abridged, unabridged, director’s cut, etc. Below are examples of versions:
If the source is part of a numbered set, include the corresponding number in the citation. Depending on the type of source this may be the volume number, issue number, season and/or episode number. Below are examples of how the number may be cited.
The publisher is the organization primarily responsible for producing the source. If multiple publishers or distributors are stated, use the organization that had the main responsibility for the work. If more than one organization was equally responsible, list each of their names separated by a forward slash (/). Do not list a publisher for the following: a periodical, a self-published work, a website whose title is the same as the name of its publisher, or a website not involved in the creation of the content (MLA Handbook 40-42). Examples:
|8||Publication date,||Comma or period (depending on whether it is the last element of the citation)||
List the date that the source was published. Write the date as you find it in the source (e.g. year of publication only or day, month, year). If a source has more than one date, cite the date that is most meaningful to the version you are using (MLA Handbook 42). Here are examples of how to format the publication date:
Include a location at the end of the citation to help the reader access the specific material cited. In a print source, you may include a page number (preceded by p.) or page range (preceded by pp.). For an online work, you may include the URL (but exclude the https://). For a journal article you may include a digital object identifier (DOI) if one is available. (Note: A DOI is an identifier assigned to online publications such as journal articles. The DOI may be listed on the bottom of the article or on the database or website where the article was found.)
Author. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, location.
There are several optional elements, which may be included in a works cited entry at the writer’s discretion. Optional elements may include:
Some elements are added at the end of the entry while others are placed in the middle of the entry. Consult the MLA Handbook pp. 50-53 for detailed instructions.
Note: In this guide we have included one of the optional elements, date of access, for all web-based sources.