In Text Citation Mla Anthology Bibliography


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A Complete Guide to MLA 8th Edition


 

 

Key differences in MLA 8th Edition

1. One standard citation format that applies to every source type

In previous editions of the MLA Handbook, researchers were required to locate the citation format for the source that they used. For example, if a magazine was used, researchers needed to locate the specific citation format for periodicals. Due to the various ways that information is now received, in books, websites, lectures, tweets, Facebook posts, etc, it has become unrealistic for MLA to create citation formats for every source type. Now, there is one standard, universal format that researchers can use to create their citations.

2. Inclusion of “containers” in citations.

Containers are the elements that “hold” the source. For example, if a television episode is watched on Netflix, Netflix is the container. Both the title of the source and its container are included in a MLA 8th edition citation.

3. The ability to use pseudonyms for author names

It is now acceptable to use online handles or screen names in place of authors’ names.

Example:

@WSJ. “Generation X went from the most successful in terms of homeownership rates in 2004 to the least successful by 2015.” Twitter, 8 Apr. 2016, 4:30 p.m., www.twitter.com/WSJ/status/718532887830753280

4. Adding the abbreviations vol. and no. to magazine and journal article citations.

In MLA 7, there was no indication that the numbers in periodical citations referred to the volume and issue numbers.

Example of a journal article citation in MLA 7th Edition:

DelGuidice, Margaux. “When a Leadership Opportunity Knocks, Answer!” Library Media Connection 30.2 (2011): 48-49. Print

An example of a journal article citation in MLA 8th edition:

DelGuidice, Margaux. “When a Leadership Opportunity Knocks, Answer!” Library Media Connection, vol. 30, no. 2, 2011, pp. 48-49.

5. Inclusion of URLS

In previous versions of the MLA handbook, it was up to the discretion of the instructor whether URLs should be included in a citation. In MLA 8, it is highly recommended to include a URL in the citation. Even if it becomes outdated, it is still possible to trace the information online from an older URL.

Omit “http://” or “https://” from the URL when including it in a MLA 8th edition citation.

6. Omitting the publisher from some source types

It is not necessary to include the publisher for periodicals or for a web site when the name of the site matches the name of the publisher. For periodicals, the name of the publisher is generally insignificant.

7. Omitting the city of publication

In previous versions of the MLA handbook, researchers included the city where the publisher was located. Today, this information generally serves little purpose and the city of publication can often be omitted.

Only include the city of publication if the version of the source differs when published in a different country (Example: British editions of books versus versions printed in the United States).

Features that have not changed, and are the same as MLA 7:

  • The overall principles of citing and plagiarism
  • The use of in-text citations and works cited pages

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How to Format an MLA 8 Works Cited List

The purpose of a Works Cited list is to display the sources that were used for a project. Showcasing the sources that were used allows others to locate the original sources themselves. In addition, a Works Cited list gives credit to the original authors of the works that were consulted for a project.

Works Cited lists are typically found at the very end of a project. The last page of a research paper, the final slide of a presentation, and the last screen of a video are all appropriate places to display a Works Cited list.

Each source is displayed in a special format, called a citation. This guide explains how to create citations for the Works Cited page.

When starting to build your Works Cited page, start by consulting your list of core elements. Remember, your core elements are:

  1. Author
  2. Title of source
  3. Title of container
  4. Other contributors
  5. Version
  6. Number
  7. Publisher
  8. Publication date
  9. Location

Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation, which is typically the last name of the author.

When there are two or more sources with the same author, only include the author’s name in the first citation. In the second or subsequent citations, use three hyphens in place of the author’s name, followed by a period.

Example:

Sparks, Nicholas. Dear John. Grand Central, 2007, p. 82.

– – -. A Walk to Remember. Warner, 1999.

If the individual is someone other than an author, such as a director or an editor, follow the three hyphens with a comma. Then, include the role of the individual after the comma. Place the citations in alphabetical order by the title of the work when there are multiple works by one author.

Example:

Allen, Woody. Getting Even. Vintage, 1978.

– – -, director. Midnight in Paris. Sony Pictures Classics, 2011.

The only instance when it is acceptable to include an author’s name more than once in a Works Cited Page is when the author is a coauthor with another individual or team.

Example:

Patterson, James, and Chris Grabenstein. House of Robots. Little, Brown and Co., 2014.

Patterson, James, and Chris Tebbetts. Middle School: Get Me Out of Here. Little, Brown and Co., 2012.

When there is no author listed for a source, place it in alphabetical order by the title. Omit words such as A, An, and The. If the title begins with a number, write the number out in word form.

Example:

Twenty-Eight Days Later. Directed by Danny Boyle, produced by Alex Garland, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2002.

Example of an MLA Eighth Edition Works Cited Page:

Patterson, James, and Chris Grabenstein. House of Robots. Little, Brown and Co., 2014.

Patterson, James, and Chris Tebbetts. Middle School: Get Me Out of Here. Little, Brown and Co., 2012.

Sparks, Nicholas. Dear John. Grand Central, 2007, p. 82.

– – – . A Walk to Remember. Warner, 1999.

Twenty-Eight Days Later. Directed by Danny Boyle, produced by Alex Garland, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2002.

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How to Format the Author’s Name in an MLA 8th Edition Citation:

The author’s name is generally the first piece of information included in an MLA 8th edition citation. Start with the author’s last name, follow it with a comma, and add the rest of the author’s name exactly as it appears on the source. Immediately following the author’s name is a period.

Examples:

Sparks, Nicholas.
Stine, R.L.
Brown, Margaret Wise.
Seuss, Dr.

When two authors are included on a source, add them into the citation in the order that they appear on the source. The first author’s name is in reverse order: Last name, comma, and then the rest of the name as it appears on the source. Follow it with a comma and add the word “and.” For the second author’s name, write it exactly as it appears on the source.

Examples:

Pratchett, Terry, and Neil Gaiman.
Mortenson, Greg, and David Oliver Relin.

When three or more authors share responsibility for a work, include only the first author’s name. Write the first author’s name in reverse order: Last name, comma, and then the rest of the name as it appears on the source. After the first author’s name, add a comma, and write et al. This is a latin term meaning “and others.”

Examples:

White, Karen, et al.
Chan, Danny Elizabeth, et al.

An author may not always be the person responsible for a source. Often times, others, such as an editor or a translator can play the leading role.

When citing an edited book in its entirety, add a comma at the end of the editor(s) names and add the role of individual.

Examples:

Hage, Ghassan, editor.
Nielson, Frank, and Rajendra Bhatia, editors.
Ashraf, M., et al., editors.

If a translated text was used, place the translator’s name in the “other contributors” section of the citation.

Example:

Viripaev, Ivan. Illusions. Translated by Cazimir Liske, Faber and Faber, 2012.

However, if the focus of your research revolves around the translation itself, place the translator’s name as the leading name in the citation.

Eshleman, Clayton, and Lucas Klein, translators. Endure. By Bei Dao, Black Widow Press, 2011.

For other works, such as film and tv shows, the individual that was the main focus of your research should be the leading name in the citation. Add a comma after the name of the individual and add a description of their role.

Examples:

Parker, Sarah Jessica, actress. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. New World Pictures, 1985.

If the focus was on the whole film or television show, and not an individual, start the citation with the title.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Directed by Alan Metter, performance by Sarah Jessica Parker, New World Pictures, 1985.

It is acceptable to use online usernames or social media handles as the author’s name.

Example:

@BilldeBlasio. “A union gathers its strength from its workers. So does a company. I commend @Verizon and its employees for coming to a tentative agreement.” Twitter, 1 June 2016, 8:30 a.m., www.twitter.com/BilldeBlasio/status/737964964066004992.

Companies and organizations can also produce sources. Start the citation with the name of the company or organization.

Example:

United States, Food and Drug Administration. National Food Safety Education Month – Myths and Facts. June 4, 2014, www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/ucm368393.htm.

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How to Format the Title in MLA 8

Titles of sources are included in the citation as they appear on the source. They are generally located on the front or top of the source. Include all words in the title and any subtitles as well.

Example:

Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Atheneum, 1987.

If a subtitle is given, place a colon in between the title and the subtitle.

Example:

Sheff, David. Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World. Vintage Books, 1994.

When a title stands alone, meaning it is not part of a larger work, place the title in italics. If it is indeed part of a larger work, such as a short story in an anthology, or a chapter in an edited book, place the title in quotations and the title of the larger work in italics.

Example:

Hughes, Langston. “Red-Headed Baby.” The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, Oxford UP, 1992, pp. 365-370.

*The exception to this rule is when a title that is found in a larger work normally stands alone. In this case, both titles are written in italics, without quotation marks.

Example:

Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book. The Complete Children’s Short Stories, Wordsworth Editions, 2004, pp. 1-128.

For newspaper, magazine, and journal articles, the title of the article is placed in quotation marks and the name of the source is placed in italics. The same rule applies to other forms as well. Episodes of television shows are placed in quotation marks and the name of the television series is placed in italics. In addition, song titles are placed in quotation marks and the album names are placed in italics directly afterwards. Articles on web sites are placed in quotation marks and the title of the web site is placed in italics.

Example of an MLA 8th edition citation for Periodicals:

Martinson, Nichole. “Can I Cut Through a Murky German Tale to Find Grandma?” Ancestry, vol. 27, no. 1, January/February 2009, p. 63.

Example of an MLA 8th edition citation for television shows:

“Brave New World.” Grey’s Anatomy, directed by Eric Stoltz, season 5, episode 4, ABC, October 16, 2008.

Example of an MLA 8th edition citation for songs:

Rufus Du Sol. “Take Me.” Atlas, Sweat It Out, 2013.

Example of an MLA 8th edition citation for websites:

Provenzano, Nicholas. “Project Based Learning and the Great Gatsby.” The Nerdy Teacher, May 3, 2016. www.thenerdyteacher.com/2016/05/project-based-learning-and-great-gatsby.html.

When citing something that doesn’t have a title, it is acceptable to include a brief description of the source. Only capitalize the first letter in the first word of the description. Do not italicize or place the description in quotation marks.

Example of an MLA 8th edition citation with no title:

Kirschner, Ariel. Purple diagonal stripes painting. King Townhouse, New York.

When citing posts on social media, such as a Tweet, the title is the full posting, placed in quotation marks. For e-mail messages, the subject of the message is used as the title and placed in italics.

Examples of an MLA 8th edition citation for tweets:

@BilldeBlasio. “A union gathers its strength from its workers. So does a company. I commend @Verizon and its employees for coming to a tentative agreement.” Twitter, 1 June 2016, 8:30 a.m., www.twitter.com/BilldeBlasio/status/737964964066004992.

Taparia, Neal. “Team Meeting Reminder for Tomorrow.” Received by Michele Kirschenbaum, 4 May 2016.

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How to Format the Title of the Container in MLA 8

Titles do not always stand alone. They are often found in a larger whole, or a container. Here are some examples of containers:

A chapter is placed in a container, which is the book it sits in.
A song is placed in a container, which is the album it is on
A television episode is placed in a container, which is the name of the show
An online article sits in a container, which is the website

It is important to include the title of the container as it provides necessary information to help the reader locate the information themselves.

When a source has a container, place the title of the work in quotation marks and add a period directly afterwards. For the container, place it in italics and add a comma.

Examples of MLA 8th edition citations with containers:

Kivisto, Peter. “Marxism after Marx.” Key Ideas in Sociology, 3rd ed., 2011, pp. 28-33.

Rihanna. “Don’t Stop the Music.” Good Girl Gone Bad, track 3, Def Jam, 2007.

“Walk of Punishment.” Game of Thrones, season 3, episode 3, HBO, 14 Apr. 2013.

Ferlazzo, Larry. “Statistic of the Day: Many Students are Chronically Absent.” Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day, 10 June 2016, www.larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2016/06/10/statistic-of-the-day-many-students-are-chronically-absent/.

There are instances when a source can sit in more than one container. It is possible to have two containers.

Here are some examples:

For a scholarly article, the first container is the title of the journal, the second container is the title of the database.
For a television show watched online, the first container is the title of the show, the second container is the title of the web site that the show was watched on.

It is necessary to include information about both containers.

When formatting a citation with two containers, use the following template:

Author. Title of source. Title of first container, Other contributors, Version, Numbers, Publisher,
Publication date, Location. Title of second container, Other contributors, Version,
Numbers, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

If any parts of the above citation are irrelevant to the reader, omit them from the citation.

Examples of MLA 8th edition citations for sources with two containers:

Rossetti, Christina. “Caterpillar.” The Random House Book of Poetry for Children: A Treasury of 572 Poems for Today’s Child, Random House, 1982, p. 76. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=zLF_sKMUYS8C&lpg=PP1&dq=poetry&pg=PA76#v=onepage&q=poetry&f=false.

In the above example, “Caterpillar” is the title of the poem, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children: A Treasury of 572 Poems for Today’s Child is the first container, and Google Books is the second container.

Notice that the title of the source is placed in quotation marks, while the titles of the first and second containers are placed in italics.

Here are a few more examples:

Stemmer, John, et al. “Investigating the Relationship of Library Usage to Student Outcomes.” College & Research Libraries, vol. 7, no. 3, May 2016, pp. 359-375. ERIC, dx.doi.org/10.5860/crl.77.3.359

Alesso. “Tear the Roof Up.” Forever, 2015, track 4. Spotify, open.spotify.com/track/2ze8tFyaI1W6db1pJBWBGq

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How to Format Other Contributors in MLA 8:

While it is generally just the author of a work that is included in a citation, there can be times when there are other contributors that can be included, especially when their work played a large role in your research. “Other contributors” can include directors, performers, editors, translators, and many other roles.

When including another contributor in a citation, first include the role of that individual, add the word “by” and then place their name in standard form (First name Last name).

Some possible examples of contributors include phrases such as:

translated by
directed by
produced by
illustrated by

Examples of MLA 8th edition citations for sources with more than one contributor:

“Daddy’s Home.” Full House, performance by Bob Saget, season 1, episode 6, ABC, 30 Oct. 1987.

Baum, L. Frank. “The Wizard of Oz.” Audible, narrated by Anne Hathaway, Audible Studios, 8 Mar. 2012, www.audible.com/pd?asin=B007BR5KZA&action_code=AUDORWS0424159DCE

Bessen, James, and Alessandro Nuvolari. “Knowledge Sharing Among Investors: Some Historical Perspectives.” Revolutionizing Innovation: Users, Communities, and Open Innovation, edited by Dietmar Harhoff and Karim R. Lakhani, MIT Press, 2016, pp. 135-156. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=RMqrCwAAQBAJ&lpg=PP1&dq=edited%20book&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false.

It is acceptable to include more than one contributor. In fact, it is acceptable to include many contributors if they all played an important part in your research. . You may want to include a performer and a director, or an editor and a translator, or two performers.

Examples:

Titanic. Directed by James Cameron, performance by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Paramount Pictures, 1997.

Puff Daddy and the Family. “Victory.” No Way Out, performance by The Notorious B.I.G and Busta Rhymes, Bad Boy, 1997, Track 2.

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How to Format the Version in MLA 8:

Sources can be released in different versions, or forms. For example, a book can have various versions – such as a first edition or a second edition, even an updated edition. A song can have an extended version or a radio edit. A movie can have an unrated or an uncut version. It is important to communicate to the reader which version was used to help them locate the exact source themselves.

For books, the version can often be found on the front cover or on the verso page. If it is a numbered edition, type out the numeral and use the abbreviation “ed.” for edition.

If no specific version is mentioned or located, omit this information from the citation.

Examples of MLA 8 edition citations for sources with various versions:

Weinberger, Norman M. “The Auditory System and Elements of Music” The Psychology of Music, edited by Diana Deutsch, 2nd ed., Academic Press, 1999, p.61. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=A3jkobk4yMMC&lpg=PP1&dq=psychology&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=psychology&f=false.

JFK. Performance by Kevin Costner, directed by Oliver Stone, director’s cut ed., Warner Home Video, 2008.

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How to Format Numbers in MLA 8:

There are times when sources are given a number. For example, a print encyclopedia, which is part of a set, often has a volume number. In addition, lengthy books are sometimes split into a few volumes. Comic books, magazines, and journal issues are often given a volume number AND an issue number. Television episodes are often numbered, as well as their seasons, too.

If a book is given a volume number, it can generally be found on the spine, cover, or on the title page. Comic books, magazines, and journals often have their volume number and issue number printed on the front cover. For television show episodes and seasons, this information can usually be found on the packaging or by clicking on the information while watching the show.

For volume numbers, use the abbreviation “vol.” and for issue numbers, use the abbreviation “no” in the citation.

Examples of MLA 8 edition citations for sources that are numbered:

Fillipponi, Piero, and Herta T. Freitag. “For an Arbitrary Argument.” Applications of Fibonacci Numbers, Edited by G. E. Bergum, et al., vol. 4, Springer Science and Business Media, 1990, pp. 91-98. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=bszoCAAAQBAJ&lpg=PR1&dq=volume%20numbers&pg=PR5#v=onepage&q=volume%20numbers&f=false.

Sadler, Philip M., and Gerhard Sonnert. “Understanding Misconceptions: Teaching and Learning in Middle School Physical Science.” American Educator, vol. 40, no. 1, American Federation of Teachers, 2016, pp. 26-32.

Kanigher, Robert. “Stone Slayer.” Wonder Woman, illustrated by Harry G. Peter, vol. 1, no. 65, DC Comics, April 1954.

“Thirsty Bird.” Orange is the New Black, directed by Jodie Foster, season 2, episode 1, Netflix, 6 June 2014.

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How to Format the Publisher in MLA 8:

The publisher is the company that was responsible for making the work available. There are numerous publishing companies that are responsible for the creation and the release of books, movies, television shows, and other sources. Web sites are often published by many different types of organizations and companies, such as museums or government agencies.

To locate the publisher of a book, look at the bottom of the title page or on the verso page. For films and television shows, the publisher can often be found on the packaging or in the credits. For web sites, the name of publisher is often next to the copyright symbol at the bottom of the page.

Here are some examples of how to include the publisher in an MLA 8 edition citation:

How to cite a book in MLA 8:

Grissom, Kathleen. The Kitchen House. Touchstone, 2010.

Touchstone is the name of the publisher for the book.

There are times when it is not necessary to include the publisher in a citation. For web sites, when the name of the site matches the name of the publisher, omit the publisher from the citation. This prevents the same information from being displayed twice in a citation. Also, it is not necessary to include the publisher for any magazines, periodicals, or journals. Often, the name of those sources match the name of the publisher.

Example of how to cite an article on a blog in MLA 8 (when the publisher matches one of the other components of the citation)

Chan, Magdalene. “Volunteering with NYC Department for the Aging.” New York Public Library, 29 June 2016, www.nypl.org/blog/2016/06/29/volunteering-nyc-dfta.

In the above example, the New York Public Library is the name of the web site, but also the name of the organization responsible for publishing the content. Therefore, New York Public Library was only included once in the citation.

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How to Format the Publication Date in MLA 8:

The publication date, which is the date that the source was released, is a necessary component of an MLA 8 edition citation. Including this information helps the reader locate the specific source that was used, as often times there are numerous versions of sources that are released at different times.

When including the date of publication, there aren’t any set rules to how the date should be input into the citation. For example, you can use May 5, 2016 or 5 May 2016. What does matter is consistency. Whichever way the date is placed in one citation, the same format should be used in the other citations in your project.

Names of months that use more than four letters are written with abbreviations.

Examples:
Jan.
Sept.
Nov.

In addition, sometimes the day and month might not be featured on a source. Include the information that is readily available.

Example of how to cite a movie in MLA 8:

Ratatouille. Directed by Brad Bird, Pixar, June 29, 2007.

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How to Format the Location in MLA 8:

It’s often helpful to include the exact location of where you found your information so that the reader can locate it themselves. For example, let’s say that you used a quote from a book in your project. If the reader wanted to find the quote for themselves, it would be helpful to include the page number in the citation. Or, if you were to use a cover story from a magazine, including the page ranges helps the reader easily find the information. Additionally, web site addresses are extremely helpful to include.

When including a page or page range in your citation, use the abbreviation p. when including information about one page, and use pp. when including a page range.

When including web site addresses in a citation, omit the http:// or https:// of the citation, since the reader can assume that the beginning of the address includes that information.

Here are some examples of MLA 8 edition citations that include locations:

Mohr, Nicholasa. El Bronx Remembered: A Novella and Stories. Harper Trophy, 1975, p. 87.

Szabo, Liz. “Zika Could Hit People in Poverty Hardest.” USA Today, 30 June 2016, www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/30/zika-could-hit-people-poverty-hardest/86358782/.

Since the following citation has two containers (the book itself and Google Books) there are two locations included, a page range and a web site address:

Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book. Everyman’s Library, 1994, pp. 27-28. Google Books, www.books.google.com/books?id=Y3xXkWyQZggC&lpg=PP1&dq=the%20jungle%20book&pg=PA4#v=onepage&q=the%20jungle%20book&f=false.

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How to Create In-Text Citations in MLA 8:

The overall purpose of in-text citations is to allow the reader to briefly see where the direct quote or paraphrase came from, and to be able to identify it later on, as a full citation, in the works cited list.

As stated in the first part of this guide, when using a direct quote or paraphrase, place an in-text citation after the borrowed information. Generally the in-text citation is found immediately following the direct quote or paraphrase, but it is acceptable to insert it in a place, soon after, that allows for a natural pause while reading.

In-text citations are generally made up of two items: the author’s last name and the page number. If there isn’t an author, use the first item in the full citation entry. Place the name of the author (or the first item found in the full citation entry) and the page number in parentheses. Do not include any commas in between the two pieces of information.

Example on an in-text citation found in the body of a project:

“Professor McGonagall’s voice trembled as she went on. ‘That’s not all. They’re saying he tried to kill the Potter’s son, Harry. But – he couldn’t. He couldn’t kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they’re saying that when he couldn’t kill Harry Potter, Voldemort’s power somehow broke – and that’s why he’s gone” (Rowling 22).

In the works cited list, found at the end of the project, readers will be able to see the full citation in its entirety, and will be able to locate the source for themselves.

The full citation, on the works cited page, will look like this:

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Scholastic, 1999, p. 22.

How to format in-text citations for two authors:

When there are two authors, or coauthors, add both names to the in-text citation, with the word and between the two names.

Example:

(Johnson and Selleck 44)

How to format in-text citations for three authors or more:

For three or more authors, include the last name of the first author listed on the source. After the first author’s last name, place et al. afterwards. This is a Latin term which means “and others.”

Example of an in-text citation for three or more authors:

(Chan et al. 134)

How to format an in-text citation for corporate authors:
When adding an in-text citation for corporate authors, place the name of the corporation or organization in parentheses, followed by the page number. If there is a common abbreviation in the name of the corporation, it is acceptable to use the abbreviated term:

Examples of in-text citations with corporate authors:

(American Lung Association 14)
(Penn. Dept. of Motor Vehicles 62)

When an author’s name is not listed in the full citation, use the title in the in-text citation. It is acceptable to shorten or abbreviate the title. If the title starts with A, An, or The, exclude it from the in-text citation and include the first main word.

Examples:

Full title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

In-Text citation: (Tree Grows in Brooklyn)

Full title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

In-Text citation: (Harry Potter)

How to format page numbers in in-text citations:

For page numbers, use the same style that the source uses. If a source is numbered using Roman numerals, in the in-text citation, use Roman numerals for the page number.

Example:

(Franklin IV)

(Wall Street Journal B8)

When it comes to e-books, it can be difficult to determine the page number. Furthermore, the page number on one type of e-reader, such as a Kindle, might differ on another e-reader, like a Nook. Exclude page numbers from in-text citations if the page numbers differ across devices. Only include the page number from an e-book if it is consistent with other readers. It is acceptable to use a chapter number or division number if it is stable across devices.

Example:

(Rowling ch. 1)

MLA Works Cited Page: Books

Summary:

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Contributors: Tony Russell, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Russell Keck, Joshua M. Paiz, Michelle Campbell, Rodrigo Rodríguez-Fuentes, Daniel P. Kenzie, Susan Wegener, Maryam Ghafoor, Purdue OWL Staff
Last Edited: 2018-01-09 11:20:41

When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination.

The 8th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, in using this methodology, a writer will be able to source a specific item that may not be included in this list.

Remember these changes from previous editions:

  • Commas are used instead of periods between Publisher, Publication Date, and Pagination.
  • Medium is no longer necessary.
  • Containers are now a part of the MLA process, in light of technology. Periods should be used between Containers.
  • DOIs should be used instead of URLS when available.
  • Use the phrase, “Accessed” instead of listing the date or the abbreviation, “n.d.”

Below is the general format for any citation:

Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Basic Book Format

The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Book with One Author

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. Penguin, 1987.

Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.

Book with More Than One Author

When a book has multiple authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. The first given name appears in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in first name last name format.

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).

Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Utah State UP, 2004. 

Two or More Books by the Same Author

List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.

Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism. St. Martin's, 1997.

---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Southern Illinois UP, 1993.

Book by a Corporate Author or Organization

A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.

American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. Random House, 1998.

When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.

Book with No Author

List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.

Encyclopedia of Indiana. Somerset, 1993.

Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics.

A Translated Book

If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

If you want to focus on the translation, list the translator as the author. In place of the author’s name, the translator’s name appears. His or her name is followed by the label, “translator.” If the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, with a “By” after the title of the book and before the publisher. Note that this type of citation is less common and should only be used for papers or writing in which translation plays a central role.

Howard, Richard, translator. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. By Michel Foucault, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

Republished Book

Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information.

For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. 1990. Routledge, 1999.

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.

An Edition of a Book

There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).

A Subsequent Edition

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.

Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.

A Work Prepared by an Editor

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title with the label, "Edited by"

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Edited by Margaret Smith, Oxford UP, 1998.

Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)

To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "editor" or, for multiple editors, "editors." This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.

Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:

Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection, edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.

Some examples:

Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One, edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.

Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer, edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.

Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:

Rose, Shirley K., and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher. Heinemann, 1999.

Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:

L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.

Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.

Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list. 

Poem or Short Story Examples:

Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:

Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems. Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19. 

Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories. Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.

Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)

For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the piece as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.

"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed., 1997.

A Multivolume Work

When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 

When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s). (See Citing Multivolume Works on the In-Text Citations – The Basics page, which you can access by following the appropriate link at the bottom of this page.)

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 4 vols. 

If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.

Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution. Dodd, 1957.

An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.

Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture, by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.

If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work, then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:

Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.

Other Print/Book Sources

Certain book sources are handled in a special way by MLA style.

Book Published Before 1900

Original copies of books published before 1900 are usually defined by their place of publication rather than the publisher. Unless you are using a newer edition, cite the city of publication where you would normally cite the publisher. 

Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions. Boston, 1863.

The Bible

Italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics.)

The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.

 

The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.

 

The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985. 

A Government Publication

Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.

United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil. Government Printing Office, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 111-8.

 

United States, Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs. Government Printing Office, 2006.

A Pamphlet

Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)

Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.

Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs. California Department of Social Services, 2007.

Dissertations and Master's Theses

Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Cite the work as you would a book, but include the designation Dissertation (or MA/MS thesis) followed by the degree-granting school and the year the degree was awarded.

If the dissertation is published, italicize the title and include the publication date. You may also include the University Microfilms International (UMI) order number if you choose:

Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign. Dissertation, Purdue University, 2002. UMI, 2004.

Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership. Dissertation, Ohio University, 2005. UMI, 2006. AAT 3191701.

If the work is not published, put the title in quotation marks and end with the date the degree was awarded:

Graban, Tarez Samra. "Towards a Feminine Ironic: Understanding Irony in the Oppositional Discourse of Women from the Early Modern and Modern Periods." Dissertation, Purdue University, 2006.

Stolley, Karl. "Toward a Conception of Religion as a Discursive Formation: Implications for Postmodern Composition Theory." MA thesis, Purdue University, 2002.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry if the author and publisher are not the same.

    American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. Random House, 1998.

When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985. 

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