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Citing Works Guidelines
Learn how to put together your Works Cited page and how to cite a work in the body of your paper
If your project or paper for a class requires you to research, you will need to document your sources. One method of doing this is through the use of the MLA (Modern Language Association) format, which is the adopted format for LWSD. This guide introduces the format and how to compose a works cited page.
A new format for MLA (MLA 8) was introduced in May 2016. A sample Works Cited page has been included in the MLA 8 format, but see the Online Writing Lab for more information on MLA 8.
Your Works Cited list leads to your sources
The Works Cited list should appear at the end of your work (essay or presentation).
- Each source you cite must appear in your Works Cited list; it provides the information for anyone to locate and read any sources you quote or paraphrase.
- Include all sources used in your work, including images, tables, and graphs.
- Use a left margin.
- If an entry is more than one line, indent any additional lines one-half inch. This is known as a hanging indent.
- Double space all entries, with no skipped spaces between entries.
- List all of the resources used, in alphabetical order.
- Look at the first letter in the citation, ignoring “A," “An,” or “The”.
- If the first word is the same, alphabetize by the second word.
- If the title starts with a number, alphabetize it by how the number is spelled ("2000" goes with the titles starting with "t")
- Each entry has four key elements: 1) author’s name, 2) title or source of the work, 3) publication information, and 4) medium of publication.
- (MLA 7 only) Online resources need to include the date that you accessed the information. Online resources need to include the date that you accessed the information.
- Do not use bullets in your Works Cited list.
- Put a period at the end of each element, like author’s name, title, etc.
- Authors' names are inverted; if a work has more than one author, invert only the first author's name, follow it with a comma, then continue listing the rest of the authors.
- Capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc. This rule does not apply to articles, short prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle.
- Put titles of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and films in italics.
- Use quotation marks around the titles of articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Also use quotation marks for the titles of short stories, book chapters, poems, and songs.
- (MLA 7 only) For the publisher, list the city first, followed by a colon, then the publishing company.
- Always end your citation with a period.
- (MLA 7 only) Be sure to include whether the medium of publication was print or web. For print material, this note goes at the end of the citation. For a website, put this information before the date of access.
A parenthetical citation documents the source you used within the text of your writing. You cite information that is quoted and ideas that are paraphrased from your source by a single phrase in parenthesis that will lead your audience to the correct source listed in your Works Cited page.
If you are quoting or paraphrasing a print work with a known author (book, magazine, newspaper, etc.), you need to provide both the author's name and page number of the source in parenthesis. If you mention the author's name in your writing, then just put the page number in the parenthesis.
- Blindness can be caused by many things, including accidents and birth congenital disorders (Matsuoka 117).
- Judy Matsuoka explains that blindness can be caused by many things, including accidents and congenital disorders (117).
If the quote or paraphrasing comes from a printed work with no author, then use a shortened version of the title of the work and a page number.
- Even though most people seemed happy with the building's aesthetics, the city council pushed toward tearing down the existing structure ("Rather Than Create" B4).
For web pages, you need to use whatever phrase that would relate to the work in your Works Cited page. This is usually the title of the web page (use the author or editor if the name is known; include a comma between the author's name and the title). Do not use the URL in the parenthetical citation.
- Ms. Jones concludes that even though most historians would argue against in, the change in tenure laws would have saved Smith College from the problems it currently faces ("New Bill Promotes Debate).
- Even though most historians would argue against in, the change in tenure laws would have saved Smith College from the problems it currently faces (Jones, "New Bill Promotes Debate").
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