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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. Check with your teacher to find out if they want you to use MLA 7 or MLA 8. 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.

Formatting your Works Cited list

Your Works Cited list should be a separate page or at the end of your presentation (such as the last slide of a PowerPoint). Label it "Works Cited" (with no quotation marks, underlining, etc.). The title should be centered at the top of the page or screen.
  • 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.

General citation guidelines to follow

  • 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.

Parenthetical citation

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.

Citing Works with an Author

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.

Examples:

    • 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).

Citing Works with No Author

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.

Example:

    • 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).

Citing Web Pages

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.

Example:

    • 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").

For more examples and further information, visit the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University.

For specific information about citing sources for a multimedia presentation, visit the Creating Presentations web page.

Works Cited Examples

MLA 7 Example

Brandychloe. "Great Horned Owl Family." JPEG. Webshots. N.p., 22 May. Web. 5 November 2009.

Jones, Samantha. “New Bill Promotes Debate at Smith.” New York Times 4 April 2004. Web. 15 March
     2006.

Matsuoka, Judy Chiyo,. “Blindness.” Encyclopedia Americana. 1996. Print.

Miller, James E. “Beatles.” Worldbook Online. Web. 18 May 2005.

"Rather Than Create Something New, Let's Redesign What Already Exists." The Seattle Times. 30 June
     1973: B4. Print.

Sheftel-Gomes, Nasoan. Everything You Need to Know About Animals. New York: Rosen Publishing
     Group, Inc., 1998. Print.

Tuinstra, Rachel. “Microsoft Expansion Plans Approved by City Council.” The Seattle Times. 19 May
     2005: D3. Print.

MLA 8 Example

Achebe, Chinua. “Nigeria’s Promise, Africa’s Hope.” The New York
     Times. 15 Jan 2011. New York Times Company, www.nytimes.com/2011/01
     /16/opinion/16achebe.html?_r=0.

"Alexander Hamilton: Most Influential American.” Stuff You Should Know, Narrated by Josh Clark and
     Chuck Bryant, 13 September 2016. HowStuffWorks, www.stuffyoushouldknow.com
     /podcasts/alexander-hamilton.htm.

“A Man-Made Plastic Ecosystem May Be Damaging the Ocean.” Adapted by Newsela Staff. Los Angeles
     Times, 13 January 2014. Newsela, newsela.com/articles/plastic-ocean/id/2306/.

Andrea, Alfred, and Overfield, James. The Human Record, Sources of Global History, Volume II.
     Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.

Beck, Roger B, et al. “Africa at the Center.” World History: Patterns of Interaction. McDougal Littell,
     2009.

Chinese Unknown. Jade Carving Inscribed with Poem. 1736-1795, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle.
     Seattle Art Museum,
     www1.seattleartmuseum.org/eMuseum/code/emuseum.asp?emu_action=collection&
     collection=27526&collectionname=WEB%3AAsian¤trecord=1&moduleid=1&module=.

Dalkilinc, Murat. “The Benefits of Good Posture.” Animation by Arbel, Nadav, TEDEducation, 30 July
     2015. YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyk0oe5rwfy.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Berkeley Publishing Group, 1954, New York.

"First Peoples Asia." Nova, season 1, episode 4, PBS, 14 July 2015. YouTube,
     www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti_214s9Gqc.

MLA Handbook 8th Edition. The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Olinto, Pedro, et al. “The State of the Poor: Where Are the Poor, Where Is Extreme Poverty Harder to
     End, and What Is the Current Profile of the World’s Poor.” Prem Network, no. 125, October 2013.
     The World Bank, www.worldbank.org/economicpremise.

Philbrick, Rodman. Freak the Mighty. Scholastic Inc, 1993.

Rossabi, Morris. "The Mongols in China: What Was the Mongols Influence On China." The Mongols in
     World History. Asia for Educators Columbia University, 2004, afe.easia.columbia.edu
     /mongols/china/china.htm.

Shakespeare, William. "Romeo and Juliet." The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, Edited by
     John Jowlet et al., 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 369-400.