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Return to the OSU Library Home Page Quick Guide to Using Style Manuals, MLA Style

APA Style (5th) space APA Style (6th) space MLA Style

This guide gives the basic format of MLA Style for citing sources in a Works Cited page. For a complete overview of MLA Style, consult:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers Current edition is the 7th (2009). Published by the Modern Language Association of America. Reference Area
808.02 M689m 2009
"Frequently Asked Questions About MLA Handbook" MLA Style. Modern Language Association of America. 2009. Internet Resource

The following examples are taken from or are modified from examples from these guides.

Book Citation Format space Periodical Article Format space Full-text Journal Article from an Electronic Database
Internet Site Basic Format space Works Cited List

Book Citation Format:

Author. Book title. City of Publication: Publisher, year of publication. Medium of publication (Print for books).

  • Single Author
    Wilson, Frank R. The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture. New York: Pantheon, 1998. Print.
  • Two or More Authors
    Marquart, James W., Sheldon Ekland Olson, and Jonathan R. Sorensen. The Rope, the Chair, and The Needle: Capital Punishment in Texas, 1923-1990. Austin: U of Texas P, 1994. Print.
  • Corporate Author
    American Medical Association. The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine. New York: Random, 1989. Print.
  • Work in an Anthology
    More, Hannah. "The Black Slave Trade: A Poem." British Women Poets of the Romantic Era. Ed. Paula R. Feldman. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. 472-82. Print.
  • Article in a Reference Book
    • If it is is a familiar reference work, full publication information is not necessary
    • If articles are arranged alphabetically, you may omit volume and page #s
    • For lesser known reference works, give a full citation
    "Ginsberg, Ruth Bader." Who's Who in America. 48th ed. 1994. Print.

    Allen, Anita L. "Privacy in Health Care." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Ed. Warren T. Reich. Rev. ed. 5 vols. New York: Macmillan-Simon, 1995. Print.

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Periodical Article Format:

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical volume # and issue # for scholarly journals (date of publication in parentheses for scholarly journals): page numbers. Method of publication ("Print" if it is a paper periodical).

  • Article in a Scholarly Journal
    Craner, Paul M. "New Tool for an Ancient Art: The Computer and Music." Computers and the Humanities 25 (1991): 303-13. Print.

    Baum, Rosalie Murphy. "Alcoholism and Family Abuse in Maggie and The Bluest Eye." Mosaic 19.3 (1986): 91-105. Print.
  • Article in a Magazine
    Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. "The Creative Personality." Psychology Today July-Aug. 1996: 36-40. Print.
  • Article in a Newspaper
    Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. "What's in a Movie Soundtrack? Catchy Tunes and Big Business." Wall Street Journal 1 Aug. 1994, eastern ed.: B1. Print.

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Full-text Periodical Articles from an Electronic Database:

Author. "Article Title." Journal Title. Publication information (see examples above; if the article has no pagination, use n. pag.). Title of database (italicized). Method of publication ("Web" for an article from an online database). Date of access (day, month, year).

  • Full-text Newspaper Article from Online (Web-delivered) Database
    Krugman, Paul. "Can This Planet Be Saved?" New York Times 1 August 2008: A19. ProQuest Newspapers. Web. 24 May 2009.
  • Full-text Journal Article from Online (Web-delivered) Database
    King, Neal. "Secret Agency in Mainstream Postmodern Cinema." Postmodern Culture 18.3 (2008): n. pag. Project Muse. Web. 24 May 2009..

    Yarup, Robert. "Sutpen's Delay in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!" Explicator 67.3 (2009): 206-09. Academic Search Elite. Web. 24 May 2009.

    Cerasano, S. P. "Philip Henslowe, Simon Forman, and the Theatrical Community of the 1590s." Shakespeare Quarterly 44.1 (1993): 145-58. JSTOR. Web. 24 May 2009.

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E-Book or Other Nonperiodical Work from an Electronic Database:

To cite a book, essay from a book, or nonperiodical work available electronically from an online database, see pp. 187-190. Cite as much as you can of the original source (author, title, city of publication and publisher if present, date), then add the title of the database or the Website, medium of publication (Web), and the date you accessed the material.

  • Work from Early English Books Online or Other Historical E-Book Database
    Milton, John. Areopagitica; A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Vnlicens'd Printing, to the Parlament of England. London, 1644. Early English Books Online. Web. 15 September 2010.
  • Essay from Gale Literary Database
    Wagner, Linda W. "William Faulkner (25 September 1897-6 July 1962)." American Novelists, 1910-1945. Ed. James J. Martine. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale Research, 1981. 282-302. Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online. Web. 13 September 2010.

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Internet Site Basic Format:

See pages 181-193 in the 7th edition of the handbook or the MLA Website for complete instructions on citing different types of electronic publications, including online scholarly projects, professional and personal Web pages, online books, and others. Cite as much information as is given such as author/editor/compiler, title or type of page if no title, title of the overall Web site (in italics), version or edition, publisher or sponsor of the site, date of electronic publication or last update for the page (use n.d. if no date is available), medium of publication (Web), date of access, and the URL of the page in angle brackets (< >), though the 7th edition of the handbook indicates that the inclusion of URLs is now optional (include only when a reader probably could not easily locate with a search for author or title).

  • Scholarly Project
    Willett, Perry, ed. Victorian Women Writers Project. Indiana U, 24 Apr. 2003. Web. 24 May 2009.
  • Professional Site
    Pountain, Chris. Portuguese Language Page. U of Cambridge, 26 February 2003. Web. 24 May 2009. <>.

    Beck, Susan E. "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly or, Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources." New Mexico State University Library Instruction Program. New Mexico State U Library, 27 April 2009. Web. 22 May 2009.
  • Personal Site
    Lancashire, Ian. Home page. Computing in the Humanties and Social Sciences. U of Toronto, 23 January 2005. Web. 24 May 2009. <>.

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Works Cited List

(See pp. 213-232 of the handbook.)

When writing a research paper in MLA style, you need to list all your sources (cited as indicated in the examples above) in a Works Cited page that goes at the end of the paper.

"Works Cited" should appear as the heading at the top of the page. Each entry starts at the left margin and each subsequent line, if any, should be indented one half inch or 5 spaces. Double space the entire list and first, last, and all principal words of titles should be capitalized. Follow the example below:

Hallin, Daniel C. "Sound Bite News: Television Coverage

        of Elections, 1968-1988." Journal of Communication

        42.2 (1992): 5-24. Print.

The list should be alphabetized by the author's last name. For anonymous authors or if no author is given, begin the entry with the title. Underline the title but not the period following the title. Check with your instructor about substituting italics for underlining.

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Last Updated: 22 June 2009