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MLA Style Guide

Works Cited page: The basics

For every in-text citation that you include in your assignment, you need to have a corresponding full citation on the Works Cited page. Similarly, every citation entry on your Works Cited page should represent at least one in-text citation. It is easiest to collect the full citation information for every resource that you find while doing your research, then add them to the Works Cited page as you use information from them in your narrative, as it can be very challenging if you wait to build your full citations while writing your paper!

  • Basic format of page
    • Begin the Works Cited list on a new page immediately after the body of your text. It is the last page in your paper unless you have appendices or an index.
    • The words “Works Cited” are centered at the top of the page without bold, italics, or underlines.
    • Double space the entire list.
    • Each entry provides information on the Source and Container of the work being cited.  See the details section below for more information!
    • Entries are ordered alphabetically by Author; ignore 'A', 'An', and 'The' if it begins the Author element.
    • The first line of each entry is left justified with every subsequent line of the entry indented by 1/2".
    • All entries should end with a period.

Visit Purdue's OWL to see a sample MLA paper including a Works Cited page; another example to help you visualize the format for a Works Cited page is shown here in a graphic by Jennifer Betts of Bibliography.com (2020):


Betts, J. (2020, February 14). MLA Format Citation Generator (Free) & Quick Guide. Bibliography.com. https://www.bibliography.com/mla/mla-format-and-citations/#MLA%20Works%20Cited

Purdue OWL. (n.d.). MLA Sample Paper. Purdue Writing Lab. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_sample_paper.html

Works Cited page: The details

List of core elementsWorks Cited: A Quick Guide

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

The concept of containers is crucial to MLA style. 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.

 


Modern Language Association. “Works Cited: A Quick Guide.” MLA Style Center, 29 Dec. 2020, style.mla.org/works-cited/works-cited-a-quick-guide.


Author may be a person, many people, or an organization.

  • Basic format is Last, First M. as shown in work = Lastname, First Middle.
    • 1 Author:  Smythe, George B. Title...
    • 2 Authors:  Smythe, George Brian, and Coleen Smythe. Title...
    • 3+ Authors:  Smythe, George, et al. Title
    • International Association of Smythe Families. Title...
    • No Author
      • Eliminate the Author element and begin the entry with the Title of the source.
      • Example: Yearbook of the International Association of Smythe Families. Container elements.

Title format changes depending on whether you are citing part of a larger work or if the citation is for a whole, stand-alone work.

  • Title for parts of a work.
    • Includes journal and newspaper articles, book chapters, web page, etc.
    • Use the title of the article, chapter, or page as the Title element; the title of the whole work is the Container Title.
    • Basic format is to use title case and to place quotation marks around the Source Title.  The Container Title follows the rules for Title for an entire work (below).
      • Lastname, Firstname M. "Title of the Source: Subtitle as Written". Container Title, Container...
  • Title for an entire work
    • Includes books, government reports, websites, journals, etc.
    • Use the entire Title of the work.
    • Basic format is to use title case and italicize the Title of the work. 
      • Lastname, Firstname M. Title of the Work: Subtitle as Written, Container...

Additional Container elements will depend on the Container. For example, the Container when citing an entire book will include the Place of Publication, Publisher, and Date; the title was already cited as the Source Title, as the work is self-contained. For example, the Container for:

  • a book will include: ... book publisher, publication date, place of publication.
  • a chapter from a book will include: ... Title of Book: Subtitle, book publisher, publication date, place of publication.
  • a journal article will include: ...  Title of Journal, date of publication, DOI/URL.

Works Cited Examples

Books

  • Book by One Author

Mantel, Hilary. Wolf Hall. Picador, 2010.

  • Book by an Unknown Author

Beowulf. Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

  • An Edited Book

Sánchez Prado, Ignacio M., editor. Mexican Literature in Theory. Bloomsbury, 2018.

Online Works

  • Article on a website

Deresiewicz, William. “The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2014, theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/ the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-thecreative-entrepreneur/383497/.

  • Book on a website

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Masque of the Red Death.” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58. HathiTrust Digital Library, hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924079574368.

  • Journal Article in a proprietary Database

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, spring 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41403188.


Modern Language Association. “Citations by Format.” MLA Style Center, 17 June 2021, style.mla.org/works-cited/citations-by-format.

Citing Non-print Media

Songs, Recordings, and Performances

  • Song from an Album

Snail Mail. “Thinning.” Habit, Sister Polygon Records, 2016. Vinyl EP. 

  • Song on a website

Snail Mail. “Thinning.” Bandcamp, snailmailbaltimore.bandcamp.com.

Movies, Videos, and Television Shows

  • A Movie Viewed in Person

Opening Night. Directed by John Cassavetes, Faces Distribution, 1977. 

  • A Movie Viewed Online

Richardson, Tony, director. Sanctuary. Screenplay by James Poe, Twentieth Century Fox, 1961. YouTube, uploaded by LostCinemaChannel, 17 July 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMnzFM_Sq8s.

  • A Television Show Viewed on Physical Media

“Hush.” 1999. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season, created by Joss Whedon, episode 10, Mutant Enemy / Twentieth Century Fox, 2003, disc 3. DVD.

Images

  • An Image Viewed in Person

Cameron, Julia Margaret. Alfred, Lord Tennyson. 1866, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

  • An Image Viewed Online

Bearden, Romare. The Train. 1975. MOMA, www.moma.org/collection/works/65232?locale=en.


Modern Language Association. “Citations by Format.” MLA Style Center, 17 June 2021, style.mla.org/works-cited/citations-by-format.