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MLA Style Writing Guide: Works Cited Page

Works Cited

The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook has changed how sources are cited. Now, rather than using different formatting for each source, you will use the same formatting for all sources. You will include the different sections listed below based on whether your source has that section or not. The order for all of the core elements of the citation is: 

  1. Author.
  2. Title of source. 
  3. Title of container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version, 
  6. Number, 
  7. Publisher, 
  8. Publication date, 
  9. Location.

Some items will also have a second container

Note: No highlighting should be included in your works cited page. The highlighting below is used to show what section of the citation corresponds to that section of the works cited entry. 

1. Author.

The author's name is listed with the last name first, followed by the remainder of the author's name as presented in the work and ending with a period. 

Example:

Fitzgerald, F. ScottThe Great Gatsby. Scribner, 2004. 

2. Title of Source.

The title of the source will either be in italics or quotation marks, and it will end in a period.

Use quotation marks for: 

  • Short stories
  • Poems
  • Articles (news articles, journal articles, magazine articles, etc.)
  • Webpages (e.g., "Research Guides" is the title of this webpage on the JFL website, but the website itself is in italics, e.g., Jerry Falwell Library.)
  • Song or piece of music

Use italics for: 

  • Books
  • Collections (e.g., an entire collection of poetry, essays, or short stories)
  • Plays
  • Websites (e.g., Jerry Falwell Library or Wikipedia, the individual webpage is in quotation marks as shown above)
  • Music albums

Examples: 

Fields, Ronald. "The Complexities of Noah in The Grapes of Wrath." The Steinbeck Review, vol. 6, no. 1,

2009, pp. 52-61. JSTORhttp://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/41582098

Accessed 14 Aug. 2015.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 2004.

3. Title of container,

A container is any work that contains the source. In the case of books, plays, and other self-contained sources, you will likely not have a container source. However, shorter works, such as a poem published in a book or an article published in a journal, you will have a container. The container is the book title, in the case of the poem, or the journal title, in the case of the article. Container titles are almost always going to be in italics. 

Example: 

Fields, Ronald. "The Complexities of Noah in The Grapes of Wrath." The Steinbeck Review, vol. 6, no. 1,

2009, pp. 52-61. JSTORhttp://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/41582098

Accessed 14 Aug. 2015.

4. Other contributors,

The other contributors section includes editors, translators, annotators, illustrators, etc. Unlike previously, you will not abbreviate the contributor's title, so you would write out the full phrase "Edited by..." or "Translated by..."

Examples: 

Carver, Raymond. "Why Don't You Dance." Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of

the Short Story, Edited by Lorin Stein and Sadie Stein, Picador, 2012, pp. 198-204. 

5. Version,

If the work you're citing is a specific edition or version, include that information here. E-books that do not have a URL are listed as versions. This means that if you're citing an e-book you downloaded to your computer and read using specific software (e.g., Kindle, iBooks, Nook, etc.) you would list this as a version. E-books that you read online and that have a stable URL would be cited with a second container (i.e., e-books you access from the library's website). See the section about second containers below for more information.

Examples: 

McCarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses. Kindle ed., Vintage International, 2010. 

6. Number,

For any work with multiple volumes, issue numbers, etc. you will list those here.

Examples: 

Fields, Ronald. "The Complexities of Noah in The Grapes of Wrath." The Steinbeck Review, vol. 6, no. 1,

2009, pp. 52-61. JSTORhttp://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/41582098

Accessed 14 Aug. 2015. 

7. Publisher,

List the name of the publisher if available; do not list the publisher name for the following works:

  1. Periodicals (including journals, newspapers, magazines, etc.)
  2. Works published by the author or editor (e.g., blog posts)
  3. Websites whose name is the same as the publisher
  4. Websites that make works available but do not publish them (e.g., Youtube)

Examples: 

Stein, Lorin and Sadie Stein, editors. Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of

the Short StoryPicador, 2012.

8. Publication date,

List the publication date. Depending on the source, your date may be a year, a month and year, or a month, day, and year. If a book has more than one date listed, use the most recent year since this will correspond to the edition you are using. For items that were published on more than one date, use the one most relevant to your research. For example, if you are citing an online version of an article previously published in print, use the online version's publication date.

If you're unsure about which date to use, you may use the original publication date. For instance, if you are citing an episode of a television show that was originally aired  and then later released online, you can use the original air date. 

Examples: 

Scrimgeour, Andrew D. "Scribbling in the Margins." The New York Times2 February 2014,  

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/opinion/sunday/scribbling-in-the-margins.html?_r=0

Accessed 18 Aug. 2015. 

9. Location.

The location will include page numbers (preceded by the abbreviation pp.), a URL for online materials, or a physical location for materials you experienced in person (e.g., a sculpture or painting at a museum). For online materials, you may have both page numbers and a URL, so include both page numbers first, followed by a comma, then the URL.  

Examples: 

Carver, Raymond. "Why Don't You Dance." Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of

the Short Story, Edited by Lorin Stein and Sadie Stein, Picador, 2012, pp. 198-204

Scrimgeour, Andrew D. "Scribbling in the Margins." The New York Times, 2 Feb. 2014,  

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/opinion/sunday/scribbling-in-the-margins.html?_r=0

Accessed 18 Aug. 2015. 

Wilson, Christopher P. "'He Fell Just Short of Being News': Gatsby's Tabloid Shadows." American Literature,

vol. 84, no. 1, 2012, pp. 119-149

Items with a Second Container

Some items may have a second container title. For instance, an article that you retrieve from an online database. The title of the source would be the article title, the title of the first container would be the journal title, and the title of the second container would be the database name. If you have a second container, you will follow it with all of the same information, if applicable. So the order would be as follows: 

  1. Author. 
  2. Title of source. 

  3. Title of first container,
  4. Other contributors, 
  5. Version,
  6. Number, 
  7. Publisher, 
  8. Publication date, 
  9. Location.

  10. Title of second container,
  11. Other contributors,
  12. Version,
  13. Number,
  14. Publisher,
  15. Publication date, 
  16. Location.

Most second containers will not have as much information, so you will likely skip many of the sections after number 10 above.  

Examples: 

Fields, Ronald. "The Complexities of Noah in The Grapes of Wrath." The Steinbeck Review, vol. 6, no. 1,

2009, pp. 52-61. JSTORhttp://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/41582098

Accessed 14 Aug. 2015.

Above you can see that the second container starts with the Title of second container (JSTOR), Location (URL). Followed by access date, which is not required, but can be included for online resources as an Optional Element