MLA Citation Style

 

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition, is located in the reference area of the library and in the stacks (AC1.G53 2009) and is for sale at bookstores. The MLA Handbook is used in the humanities, i.e., literature, languages, and the arts; check with your professor if you're not sure which style format to use for a particular class. MLA format uses an author/page, in-text citation, meaning the author's last name and the page number from which you are quoting appears in the text, and a complete reference appears in the Works Cited list at the end of your paper.

This handout is intended to be a brief overview of basic MLA style. MLA has very specific rules about punctuation, quotation marks, etc. - please refer to the handbook for details not covered here!

The seventh edition of the MLA Handbook includes many changes from the earlier editions, including: No More Underlining (Italicize!); No More URLs (Not required, but use when necessary to find the site); and, Add the Publication Medium (Print or Web).

Additional examples may be seen at: MLA Formatting and Style Guide (the OWL at Purdue)

In-Text Citation Guidelines     Works Cited & Print Examples      Online Examples

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DOCUMENTING SOURCES IN THE TEXT
Your in-text, (parenthetical), citations will lead the reader to a complete citation in the Works Cited page. Every in-text citation must correspond to an entry in the Works Cited list. Precise punctuation and abbreviations are important! Please consult the Handbook for details and additional examples.

When quoting or paraphrasing a specific passage in a book or article, cite the relevant page number(s) and author's name, unless it's already used in the sentence:

  • Tannen has argued this point (178-85).
  • This point has already been argued (Tannen 178-85).
  • It may be true, as Rpbertson maintains, that "in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance..." (136).

Citing Indirect Sources  

  • Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an "extraordinary man" (qtd. in Boswell 2: 450).
    (In this example, the Boswell book would be in your Works Cited list; "2" refers to a volume #)

If you cite an entire work, or an electronic publication that has no pagination or other type of reference, MLA prefers a reference in the text, rather than in a parenthetical reference, to the name of the person that begins the corresponding Works Cited entry:

  • William J. Mitchell's City of Bits discusses architecture.... (Mitchell will be the Works Cited entry)
  • Fukuyama's Our Posthuman Future includes many examples of this trend. (Fukuyama will be the Works Cited entry)

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The WORKS CITED page appears at the end of your paper. It is alphabetized by author's last name or by title, if author is unknown. Refer to the MLA handbook, Chapter 5, for details and examples.  From the Handbook: MLA style is flexible about the inclusion of some information and even about the ordering of the elements; while it is tempting to think that every source has only one complete and correct format for its entry in a list of works cited, in truth there are often several options for recording key features of a work. For this reason, software programs that generate entries are not likely to be useful. You may need to improvise when the type of scholarly project or the publication medium of a source is not anticipated by this handbook. Be consistent in your formatting throughout your work. Choose the format that is appropriate to your research paper and that will satisfy your readers’ needs.

  • Each entry begins flush left, with subsequent lines indented 5 spaces (i.e., hanging indention).
  • The entire list, both between and within entries, is double-spaced.
  • The page numbers continue after the last page of your paper: if your paper ends on page 10, Works Cited begins on page 11.  Page numbers go in the top right corner of the page.
  • Two or more works by the same author: give the name in the first entry, and thereafter type three hyphens, followed by a period, then the title.

EXAMPLES (hanging indention not shown):

BOOK WITH ONE AUTHOR
Harbord, Janet.  The Evolution of Film: Rethinking Film Studies. Cambridge: Polity, 2007. Print.

ARTICLE IN A SCHOLARLY JOURNAL
Piper, Andrew. "Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything."  PMLA 121.1 (2006): 124-38. Print.

BOOK BY TWO OR MORE AUTHORS
Eggins, Suzanne, and Diane Slade. Analyzing Casual Conversation. London: Cassell, 1997. Print.

ARTICLE IN A MAGAZINE PUBLISHED EVERY WEEK OR EVERY TWO WEEKS
McEvoy, Dermot. "Little Books, Big Success." Publishers Weekly 30 Oct. 2006: 26-28. Print.

EDITED BOOK
Tannen, Deborah, and Roy O. Freedle, eds.  Linguistics in Context: Connecting Observation and Understanding. Norwood: Ablex, 1988. Print.

ARTICLE IN A MAGAZINE PUBLISHED EVERY MONTH OR EVERY TWO MONTHS
Wood, Jason. "Spellbound." Sight and Sound Dec. 2005: 28-30. Print.

GOVERNMENT PUBLICATION
United States Department of Labor. Child Care: A Workforce Issue. Washington: GPO, 1988. Print.

United States. Cong. House. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Al-Qaeda: The Many Faces of an Islamic Extremist Threat. 109th Cong., 2nd sess. H. Rept. 615. Washington: GPO, 2006. Print.

ANONYMOUS ARTICLE
"It Barks! It Kicks! It Scores!" Newsweek 30 July 2001: 12. Print.

LECTURE, SPEECH, ADDRESS, or READING
Alter, Robert, and Marilynne Robinson. "The Psalms: A Reading and Conversation." 92nd Street Y, New York.  17 Dec. 2007. Reading.

Matuozzi, Robert. "Archive Trauma." Archive Trouble. MLA Annual Convention. Hyatt Regency, Chicago.  29 Dec. 2007. Address.

INTERVIEWS  For purposes of documentation, there are two kinds of interviews: 1) published or broadcast,   and 2) conducted by the researcher

  • Gordimer, Nadine. Interview. New York Times. 10 Oct. 1991, late ed.: C25. Print.
  • Wolfe, Tom. Interview. The Wrong Stuff: American Architecture. Dir. Tom Bettag. Carousel. 1983. Videocassette.
  • Breslin, Jimmy. Interview by Neal Conan. Talk of the Nation. Natl. Public Radio. WBUR, Boston. 26 Mar. 2002. Radio.
  • Pei, I. M. Personal interview. 22 July 1993.
  • Reed, Ishmael. Telephone interview. 10 Dec. 2007.

WORK IN AN ANTHOLOGY
Allende, Isabel. "Toad's Mouth." Trans. Margaret Sayers Peden. A Hammock beneath the Mangoes: Stories from Latin America. Ed. Thomas Colchie. New York: Plume, 1992. 83-88. Print.

 PUBLISHED DISSERTATION
Fullerton, Matilda. Women's Leadership in the Public Schools: Towards a Feminist Educational Leadership Model. Diss. Washington State U, 2001. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2001. Print.


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CITING ELECTRONIC SOURCES 
*include the URL if needed to find the material
* sometimes you may want to include more information, as if for a print source - MLA 5.6.2

VISUAL ART
Bearden, Romare. The Train. 1974. Photogravure and aquatint. Museum of Mod. Art, New York.
E-MAIL COMMUNICATION
Boyle, Anthony T. "Re: Utopia." Message to Daniel J. Cahill. 21 June 1997. E-mail.

Harner, James L. Message to the author. 20 Aug. 2002. E-mail.  
ARTICLE FROM AN ONLINE JOURNAL DATABASE
Chan, Evans.  "Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema." Postmodern Culture 10.3 (2000):n. pag. Project Muse. Web. 5 June 2008.
ENTIRE INTERNET SITE

CNN.com. 2002. Cable News Network. 15 May 2002. Web.

ARTICLE IN A SCHOLARLY ONLINE JOURNAL
Shehan, Constance L., and Amanda B. Moras. "Deconstructing Laundry: Gendered Technologies and the Reluctant Redesign of Household Labor." Michigan Family Review 11 (2006): n. pag. Web. 8 Nov. 2007.

INTERVIEW (PUBLISHED, or CONDUCTED BY RESEARCHER)

Blanchett, Cate. "In Character with: Cate Blanchett." Notes on a Scandal. Dir. Richard Eyre. Fox Searchlight, 2006. DVD.

Breslin, Jimmy.  Interview by Neal Conan. Talk of the Nation. Natl. Public Radio. WBUR, Boston. 26 Mar. 2002. Radio.

A LEGAL SOURCE (see MLA 5.7.14)
Brown v. Board of Educ. 347 US 483-96. Supreme Court of the US. 1954. Supreme Court Collection. Legal Information Inst., Cornell U Law School, n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2007.


ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES (Web Sites, Magazines, Encyclopedia)

Committee on Scholarly Editions. "Guidelines for Editors of Scholarly Editions."  Modern Language Association. MLA, 25 Sept. 2007. Web. 15 May 2008.

Green, Joshua. "The Rove Presidency." The Atlantic.com.  Atlantic Monthly Group, Sept. 2007. Web. 15 May 2008.

"de Kooning, Willem." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.  Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Web. 15 May 2008.

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