Dr Abel Scribe PhD

4.0 MLA Works Cited

MLA References comprise a list of "Works Cited" in MLA style, the heading a reminder that only references to works cited in the text may be included in the reference list. The style has historically followed the Chicago bibliography format, though recently this tradition has been abandoned to create a seemingly bizarre "container" model for composing references. The elaborate set of instructions for using this model can be found at style.mla.org. The style featured on this page follows the earlier 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, modestly updated to current conventions. © Copyright 2009-2017 by Dr. Abel Scribe PhD.

MLA Basic for Research Papers: Contents

1.0 Mechanics of Writing
  • 1.1 Abbreviations/Acronyms
  • 1.2 Capitalization (Titles)
  • 1.3 Italics/Quotation Marks
  • 1.4 Numbers & Dates
2.0 Page Layout
  • 2.1 Title & Text Pages
  • 2.2 Direct Quotations
  • 2.3 Headings & Lists
  • 2.4 Tables & Graphics
3.0 Text Citations
  • 3.1 Basic Format
  • 3.2 Ephemeral Sources
  • 3.3 Literary Citations

arrowAn abridged PDF version of MLA Basic is available to download.

square Titles of works that stand alone, (e.g., books, films, monographs, reports, webpages) are usually placed in italics). The titles of works that are parts of something (e.g., parts of books, journals, encyclopedias) are usually placed in quotation marks. The day-month-year format, 1 April 2010, is preferred.

pointer MLA Basic recommends referencing only the top level domain for URLs (Universal Resource Locators), the part that contains the .com, .edu, .org, .net, etc. These rarely change. Site indexes or search engines at this level can be used to locate specific documents. Lower level pages can easily be changed, rendering a long URL useless, the document unretrievable. When a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is available use that instead of a URL.

pointer Documents that cannot be retrieved by the reader do not go on reference lists!

4.1 Page Layout (TOP)

Works Cited Page Fig 10. Works cited. References are double-spaced in formal MLA style; block spaced as shown enhances readability. Only sources cited in the text are referenced.

square Place references on a new page under the centered heading "Works Cited" (in heading caps one inch below the top of the page just inside the top margin). Continue the page numbering from the previous page. The list of works cited comes after the text and endnotes (if any); it is the last part of your paper. Reference only what you cite in the text and cite in your text every entry in the reference list.

  • Arrange references alphabetically by author, if there is no author by title (ignore A, An, The, and equivalents). "The alphabetical order of names is determined by the letters before the commas that separate last name and first names. Spaces and other punctuation marks [and case] are ignored" (MLA 131).
  • Use a hanging indent, with the indent one-half inch from the left margin.
  • Give authors’ full names (first, middle, last) when possible. "You may spell out a name abbreviated [to initials] . . . if you think the additional information will be helpful to readers" (MLA 149). Fill in the names in brackets.
  • List up to three authors to a work, or the first plus "et al."; give the first plus et al. with four or more authors.
  • Multiple works by the same author list alphabetically by title, not by date. MLA style approximates a three-em dash with three hyphens followed by a period. Use this "three-em dash" in place of the author’s name in subsequent works by the same exact author(s).
  • All titles are set in heading caps (except languages where sentence caps are customary). Titles of articles, reports, and chapters in edited books are placed in quotes. Titles of books and volumes, and the names of journals, are underlined or placed in italics.

4.2 Articles in Journals, Magazines, & Newspapers (TOP)

square Use decimal notation to indicate issue number in a journal volume, that is, volume four, number two is written "4.2" not the more conventional "4(2)", for example, 96.3 in the reference below.
  • Article titles are in heading caps inside quotation marks. Languages not English use native capitalization.
  • The name of the periodical is in italics.
  • Cite the volume and issue number for journals, just the date for newspapers and magazines.
  • Elide page number ranges, that is, drop digits when feasible. For example, write 1134-56 rather than 1134-1156.
Journal Articles

Dietler, Michael. "'Our Ancestors the Gauls': Archaeology, Ethnic Nationalism, and the Manipulation of Celtic Identity
in Modern Europe." American Anthropologist 96 (1994): 584–605.

Dumper, Michael. "Israeli Settlement in the Old City of Jerusalem." Journal of Palestine Studies 21.4
(1992): 32-53.

Solé, Yolanda. "Valores aspectuales en español." Hispanic Linguistics 4.1 (1990): 57-85.

Citations: (Dietler 123); (Dumper 123); (Solé 123); (Dietler 123; Dumper 123; Solé 123)

NB> If there are quotation marks in a title these are changed to single quotes. The article by Solé is in Spanish
and is capitalized according to the conventions of that language. Several sources can be noted in a single citation,
each separated by a semicolon.

Two Authors - Paged by Issue

Kelley, Klara, and Harris Francis. "Traditional Navajo Maps and Wayfinding." American Indian Culture and
Research Journal 29.2 (2005): 85-111.

Citation: (Kelley and Francis 123)

Three Authors

Thwaites, Guy, Mark Taviner, and Vanya Grant. "The English Sweating Sickness 1485 to 1551." New England
Journal of Medicine 336.8 (1997): 1341-52.

Citation: (Thwaites, Taviner, and Grant 123)

Four or More Authors - Annual Review

Rivara, Frederick P., et al. "Prevention of Bicycle-Related Injuries: Helmets, Education, and Legislation."
Annual Review of Public Health 19 (1998): 293-318.

Citation: (Rivara et al. 123)

NB> When there are four or more authors you may list all authors or just the lead author, and others (et al.).

Corporate/Group Author (Magazine)

Editorial Staff of the Smithsonian. "28 Places to See Before You Die." Smithsonian Jan. 2008: 78-93.

Citation: (Editorial Staff of the Smithsonian 123)

No Author - Review

Review of Anthology of Danish Literature, by F. J. Billeskov Jansen and P. M. Mitchell. Times Literary Supplement
7 July 1972: 785.

Citation (no author): (Review of Anthology of Danish Literature 123)

Newspaper & Magazine Articles

Curry, Andrew. "Trekking Hadrian's Wall." Smithsonian Oct. 2009: 40-47.

"Feds Close Vail Logging Road." Colorado Daily [Boulder] 27–29 July 1999: 2.

Hall, Trish. "IQ Scores Are Up, and Psychologists Wonder Why." New York Times 24 Feb. 1998, late ed.: F1+.

NB> If the locale of a publication is not evident from its name and likely to be unfamiliar to readers add that information in brackets.


Camhi, Leslie. "Art of the City." Review of New York Modern: The Arts and the City, by William B. Scott, and
Peter M. Rutkoff. Village Voice 15 June 1999: 154.

NB> A review may have a title different from the work being reviewed. That title goes in quotes.

4.3 Books & Compilations (TOP)

square Compilations combine features of references to articles and to books. When referencing a part of a compilation the title of the part goes in quotes, the title of the compilation is in italics. Both titles are in heading caps: page numbers are required.

Anthology/Compilation - Reprint/Translation

Hemingway, Ernest. "The Big Two-Hearted River." In The Nick Adams Stories. Edited by Philip Young. New York:
Bantam Books, 1973. 159-180.

Jung, Carl G. "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry." In The Portable Jung. Edited by Joseph Campbell.
Translated by R. F. C. Hull. New York: Viking-Penguin Books, 1971.

Whitman, Walt. Complete Poetry and Selected Prose. 1891-1892. Edited by James E. Miller, Jr. Boston:
Houghton, 1959.
One Author: Translation-Initials/Editor

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. Translated by William Weaver. New York: Harcourt, 1983.

Tolkien, J[ohn] R[onald] R[euel]. The Silmarillion. Edited by Christopher Tolkien. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977.

Citations: (Eco 123); (Tolkien 123)

NB> "You may spell out a name abbreviated [to initials] . . . if you think the additional information will be helpful to readers" (MLA 149).

Two Authors

Bourdieu, Pierre, and Jean-Claude Passeron. Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London:
Sage, 1977.
Three Authors - Edition Other Than First

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL:
University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Corporate Author: Government Publication-Edition Other Than First

Bureau of the Census. "Higher Education Price Indexes: 1965-1991." Statistical Abstract of the United States:
1993. 113th ed. Washington, DC: US GPO, 1993. Table 277.
Multiple Works by One Author

Follett, Ken. Lie Down with Lions. New York: Signet, 1986.

———. The Pillars of the Earth. New York: Signet, 1990.

Citations (Follett, Lie Down 123); (Follett, Pillars 123)

NB> A 3-em dash is used to list multiple works by the same author in place of the name after the first reference.
If an em dash is not available in your word processor use three dashes followed by a period.

Title as Author (No Author)

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America,
Edited Book

Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Edited by Claudia Johnson. New York: Norton, 2001.

Friedman, Howard S., editor. Personality and Disease. New York: Wiley, 1990.

Foreword, Afterword, Introduction, Preface

Nicholls, David G. Preface. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language
Association of America, 2009. xvii-xix.
Language Other Than English

Hadot, Pierre. Exercices Spirituels et Philosophie Antiques [Spiritual exercises and ancient pholosophies]. 3rd ed.
Paris: Institut d'Etudes Augustiniennes, 1993.

Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. 1958. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

NB> The original publication date of a reprint usually goes immediately after the title.

Multivolume Work - Reprint

Burton, Richard F. Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah. 2 vols. 1855. New York:
Dover, 1964.

Translator as Author

French, R. M., translator. The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way. New York: Ballantine-
Random House, 1974.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 3rd ed. Boston, MA: Houghton, 1992.


Pfingstag, Benjamin Nelson. "Aspects of Form and Time in the Paintings of William Henry Mount." PhD
dissertation, Graduate School of the State University of New York at Binghamton, 1980.

Bergman, Peter G. "Relativity." Encyclopedia Britannica. Vol. 26. 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica,
1998. 501–508.
Government Report

Taylor, Barry N. Guide for the Use of the International System of Units. NIST Special Publication 811. 1995 ed.
Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute of Standards and Technology, April 1995.

4.4 Common Nonprint Sources (TOP)

square Articles in Journals, Magazines, & Newspapers. References to electronic sources follow the same format as those to print sources, with additional information. The MLA Handbook no longer asks that URLs be included in references to online sources (182). However, if the URL is included it should lead directly to the page. An access date is required with or without a URL in all references where the Web is designated the medium.

Online Journal

Barry, John M. "The Site of Origin of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and Its Public Health Implications." Commentary.
Journal of Translational Medicine 2.3 (20 Jan. 2004): 1-4. www.translational-medicine.com.

Bowers, Rick. "Comedy, Carnival, and Class: A Chaste Maid in Cheapside." Early Modern Literary Studies
8.3 (Jan. 2003): 22 pars. purl.oclc.org.

NB> References to these electronic journals follow MLA notation style in numbering the issue in the respective volumes, 2.3 (volume 2, issue 3) and 8.3. The second has numbered paragraphs in the original.

NB> Line wrap URLs by breaking them after a slash (or before a period). Do not insert a hyphen!

Online Facsimile of a Print Journal

Fine, Gail. "Descartes and Ancient Skepticism: Reheated Cabbage?" Philosophical Review 109 (2000):
195-235. Expanded Academic ASAP. InfoTrac Web.

Weber, Wendy, et al. "Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort) for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in
Children and Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial." JAMA 299.22 (2008): 2633-41.
Newspaper & Magazine Articles

Adams, Phoebe. Review of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The Atlantic Monthly Aug. 1960.

Cordi, Margaret. "Weekly Review." Harpers 12 Apr. 2003. www.harpers.org.

"Don't Spoil the Sunset." Editorial. Washington Post 27 Apr. 2003. www.washingtonpost.com.

Jonsson, Patrick. "A Bill of Rights, Looted Long Ago, is Stolen Back." The Christian Science Monitor 22 Apr.
2003. www.csmonitor.com.

Sterritt, David. "Coppola, 'Apocalypse Now,' and the Ambivalent 70's." Review of Apocalypse Now, Francis
Ford Coppola, director. The Chronicle of Higher Education 3 Aug. 2001. chronicle.com.
square Books & Compilations. There is a vast amount of classical literature no longer protected by copyright laws. The more familar works are readily available in print, but some works are quite rare. If these works are also available in a print edition it may be helpful to note that if the information is readily available. Some of the information shown in the sample references may not be readily located. The objective of any reference is to lead the interested reader to the source. The title and URL may meet that essential need.

Book Online

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. 1854. Edited by Richard Lenat. 2002. EServer.org: Accessible Writing.
Seattle, WA: University of Washington. 30 Jan. 2003 eserver.org.
Part of a Compilation

Thoreau, Henry David. "Life Without Principle." The Thoreau Reader: The Works of Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862.
Edited by Richard Lenat. EServer.org: Accessible Writing. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, 2002. eserver.org.

Citations: (Thoreau, Walden 123); (Thoreau, "Life" 123)

Web Source with Print Publication

Rolt, C[larence] E[dwin], and Pseudo-Dionysius. Dionysius the Areopagite: On the Divine Names and the
Mystical Theology. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, 1997. Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Rolt, C[larence] E[dwin], and Pseudo-Dionysius. Dionysius the Areopagite: On the Divine Names and the
Mystical Theology. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, 1997. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Grand Rapids, MI:
Calvin College, 5 May 2003. www.ccel.org.

NB> "If the nonperiodical work you are citing also appeared in print, you may determine that it is important [or useful] to include the bibliographic data for the print publication" (MLA 187).

square Monographs, Reports, & Websites

Dr. Abel Scribe PhD. MLA (Style) Lite for Research Papers. Fall 2009. www.docstyles.com.

Dr. Abel Scribe PhD. "Research Writing Test." Dr. Abel Scribe's Guides to Research Style and Documentation.
Dr. Abel Scribe PhD, 2009. www.docstyles.com.

"Using Modern Language Association (MLA) Format." Edited by Jennifer Liethen Kunka, Joe Barbato, and Erin Karper.
OWL: Online Writing Lab. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University, Dec. 2000. owl.english.purdue.edu.

Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive. Edited by Kenneth M. Price and Ed Folsom. 1997-1998.

square Performance/Recording

Beethoven, Ludwig van. "Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92." Performed by the Boston Symphony Orch. Conducted by
Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein: The Final Concert. Recorded 19 Aug. 1990. Deutsche Grammophon, 1992.

Boskovsky, Willi, conductor. Neujahr in Wien [New Year in Vienna]: 1963-1979. Weiner Philharmoniker,
1963-1979. Deutsche Grammophon, 2004.

Strauss, Johann, II. "Freut euch des Lebens." Neujahrskonzet, 1974. Performed by Weiner Philharmoniker.
Conducted by Willi Boskovsky. Philharmonic Hall, Vienna. 1 Jan. 1974.

Dances with Wolves. Directed by Kevin Costner. Performed by Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene,
Rodney A. Grant. Orion, 1990.

Graham Greene, performer. Dances with Wolves. Directed by Kevin Costner. Orion, 1990.

Pink Floyd. "Any Colour You Like." The Dark Side of the Moon. 1973. Capitol Records, 1986.

———. The Dark Side of the Moon. 1973. Capitol Records, 1986.

square Play/ Score

Beethoven, Ludwig van. Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92. New York: Dover, 1989.

square Visua Art

Rembrandt van Rijn. Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer. 1653. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum
of Art, New York.