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Citation Style Guides RCL

MLA Style Introduction

How to identify MLA components as shown on

  • Core Elements: Each entry in the list of works cited is composed of facts common to most works—the MLA core elements. They are assembled in a specific order.
  • Containers: When the source being documented forms part of a larger whole, the larger whole can be thought of as a container that holds the source. For example, a short story may be contained in an anthology. The short story is the source, and the anthology is the container.
  • Practice: It can help to manually list the different elements of a MLA citation before formatting it.

An example MLA citation using the listed Core Elements.

Basic Formats & Examples

Websites (An Entire Site):

Basic Format:

    Editor, author, or compiler name (if available).  Name of Site, Name of

       institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of

       resource creation (if available), URL.  Date of Access.  


     Brennan School of Business.  Dominican University, 2009,   Accessed 7 Dec. 2009.  

Part of a Web Site (Such as One Page Within the Site):

NOTE: If the publisher is the same as the website name, list it only once.

Basic Format:

     Editor, author, or compiler name (if available).  "Title of Page."  Name of Site,

        Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), 

        Date of resource creation (if available), URL.  Date of Access.


   "Paying for Graduate School: Financial Aid for Grad Students."  eHow,   Accessed 8 Dec. 2009.

Article in a Web Scholarly Journal:

Basic Format:

 Lastname, Firstname.   "Title of Article."  Title of Journal, volume, issue, Date of Publication, 

      Page Range of Entry (if available), URL.  Date of Access.  


 Wheelis, Mark.  "Investigating Disease Outbreaks under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin

      Weapons Convention."  Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 6, no. 6, Dec. 2000, 

      pp. 595-600,  Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

Article in a Web Magazine:

Basic Format:

 Lastname, Firstname.  "Title of Article."  Title of Magazine, Date of Publication,  URL.  

     Date of Access.  


 Beaird, Jason.  "Cooking with Stock."  Digital Web Magazine, 9 Sept. 2008,  Accessed 26 Jan. 2017.  

Scholarly Articles in Online Library Databases:

Basic Format:

Lastname, Firstname.  "Title of Article."  Title of Journal, volume, issue, Date of Publication, pages.  

     Title of Database, DOI or URL.  Date of Access.


  Giersch, Anne, and Virginie Rhein. "Lack of Flexibility in Visual Grouping in Patients with

      Schizophrenia." Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. 117, no. 1, Feb. 2008, pp. 132-142.

      PsychInfo, doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.117.1.132.  Accessed 26 Jan. 2017.

Newspaper & Magazine Articles in Online Databases:

Basic Format:

Lastname, Firstname.  "Title of Article."  Title of Periodical, volume (if provided), issue (if provided), Date of 

     Publication, pages.  Title of Database, URL.  Date of Access.


"Iran and America: An Intersecting History."  Newsweek, 1 June 2009, pp. 29-52.  Academic

     Search Premier,  Accessed 3 Dec. 2015. 

Scholarly Articles in Print:

Basic Format:

Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article."  Title of Journal, volume, issue, Date of Publication, pages.


Green, Samuel Swett. "Personal Relations between Librarians and Readers.” Library

     Journal, vol. 118, no. 11, June 1993, pp. 74-81.

Magazine & Newspaper Articles in Print:

NOTE: If there is more than one edition available for the date of the newspaper, include the edition after the date of publication.  If the newspaper is a less well-known publication, include the city name in brackets after the title of the newspaper.  

Basic Format:

Lastname, Firstname.  "Title of Article."  Title of Periodical, Date of Publication, pages.


Caplan, Jeremy.  "Trying to Make a Decent Living."  Time, 26 June 2006, pp. 56-58.

Citing Books:

  Basic Format:

    Lastname, Firstname.  Title of Book.  Publisher, Year of Publication.


     Pollan, Michael.  The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.  Penguin Press, 2006.

Citing eBooks:

  Basic Format:

    Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Publisher, Year of Publication.  Name of Database, URL.  

       Date of access.


    Verner, Dorte.  The Impact of the Euro on Latin America.  World Bank Publications, 2000.  eBook

       Collection (EBSCOhost),

        direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=33326&site=ehost-live&scope=site.  Accessed 26 Jan. 2017.  

One Essay or Chapter Within an Edited Book (different essays or chapters have different authors):

Basic Format:

    Lastname, Firstname.  "Title of Essay."  Title of Collection, edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, 

        Year of Publication, pages.  


   Flam, Jack.  "Bonnard in the History of Twentieth-Century Art."  Pierre Bonnard: The Late Still

        Lifes and Interiors, edited by Dita Amory, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009, pp. 47-60.

General Formatting Notes

Preparing a Works Cited List in MLA Style:

  • Begin your works cited list on a separate page at the end of your document under the label Works Cited.  Put the label at the center top of the page.  Do not italicize, underline or use quotations marks in the label.
  • Alphabetize the list of works cited by the first word in each entry (usually the author's last name.)

  • Make the first line of each entry in your list flush with the margin.  Subsequent lines in each entry should be indented one-half inch.  This is known as a hanging indent.

  • Double space all entries, with no skipped spaces between entries.

  • Capitalize each word in the titles, but do not capitalize articles (the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle: Gone with the WindThe Compleat Angler, To Kill a Mockingbird.  

  • For works with 2 - 3 authors, the first author that appears on the title page is listed first in the citation as Lastname, Firstname.  Subsequent authors are listed after "[first author], and" as Firstname Lastname.

  • For works with more than 3 authors, include only the first name that appears on the title page, followed by a comma and "et al."

  • For online sources, MLA recommends that the citation include where you found your source.  Use the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) if provided by the database; otherwise, use the URL or Permalink (delete “http://” or “https://” from the URL). However, if your professor prefers that you not include the URL, you should follow your professor's directions.

  • For online sources, including the date of access is optional.  Follow your professor's directions in this regard.

  • Dates (such as the “Date of Publication") should use the Day Month Year format.