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Citation Guides


What is MLA?

MLA, like all writing styles, is a set of guidelines that are used to create consistency when writing a research paper.

Writers use these rules to format research papers and document resources.  This standard for writing papers makes it easier for the reader to understand and locate information.

These guidelines were developed by the Modern Language Association, and will generally be used in your English, Writing, History, and similar classes.

Hanging Indent

MLA 8th Edition

Previous versions of the MLA Handbook were created based on the publication format of the source.  Citations looked different and followed different rules depending on whether the source being cited was a book, a journal article, a website, etc.  Now, users identify 9 pieces of information about the source, regardless of format, and put those pieces of information into a prescribed order with simplified punctuation.  The core elements are, in order and with punctuation:

  1. Author. [or authors]
  2. Title of source. [Title of Movie, Book, Article, Video, Painting, etc. being cited]
  3. Title of container, [Title of anthology, website, Journal, etc. Where Source was found. Stand-alone works have no container]
  4. Other contributors, [Translators, editors, etc.]
  5. Version, [Editions, special editions, etc.]
  6. Number, [Volume]
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location. [Page number, paragraph, time stamp, web-address, etc.]

Also, note that works can be nested: An article can be found in a journal, found in a database. List all containers. Elements 4-9 should be listed for each container, if known.

In the Works Cited, citations should still be formatted using a hanging indent.  Please note, not every citation will contain all 9 core elements.  Provide as much information as is available and pertinent to your source.  They should appear in alphabetical order based on the core element that appears first (usually author or title) and should end with a period regardless of the last core element that appears.  See examples below:


Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins, 1999.


Peet, Lisa. "To Kill a Mockingbird Author Harper Lee Dies." Library Journal, vol. 141, no. 5, 15 Mar. 2016, pp. 18-19.

For further details, please contact the library.

MLA Citation Examples

Web Page

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Website.   Publisher, Date of Publication. Medium of Publication.   Date of Access.

Morris, Hal.  “The end of the party.”  American History.  University   of Groningen, n.d.  Web.  13 April 2016.

Book with One Author

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication:   Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of   Publication.

Tonsetic, Robert.  1781 : The Decisive Year of the   Revolutionary War.  Havertown, PA: Casemate,   2011.  Print.

Book with Three Authors

The first given name appears in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in first name last name format.

Jaures, Jean, Henry Heller, and Mitchel Abidor. A Socialist   History of the French Revolution.  London: Pluto   Press, 2015.  Print.

Journal Article

Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Title of Journal. Volume.   Issue Number (Year of Publication): Page Numbers of   Article. Database.  Medium of Publication. Date of   access.

Schwartz, Barry.  “The Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln's   Many Second Thoughts.”  Society 52.6 (2015): 590-603.    MasterFILE Premier. Web. 13 April 2016.

Youtube Video

AgeOfAntiquity.  “The Roman Empire - Episode 1: The Rise of   the Roman Empire (History Documentary).”  Online   video clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 23 Feb. 2014.  Web.  15   April 2016.

Example MLA Paper