MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

Note: The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook was released in April 2016. Please stay tuned for updates to MLA Style.

The definitive guide for MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is kept at the Reference Desk in Mullins Library:

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009. Ref Desk LB 2369 .G53 2009.

Some important changes in the 7th edition include:

  • Format of work cited: Print is no longer the "default" medium. Citations must now indicate whether or not a work is Print or Web (see examples, below).
  • URLs for electronic citations are no longer required.
  • The Library Name where an electronic item was access is no longer required.
  • Issue numbers must now be provided for journal article citations, in addition to volume numbers, when available.

Parenthetical Citation

MLA Style includes guidelines for parenthetical (in text) citations, with the full bibliographic information supplied in a Works Cited list. Guidelines for parenthetical citation are given in chapter 6 of the MLA Handbook. What is included in a parenthetical citation depends on many variables, including the wording of your sentence, the number of works by the same author in your Works Cited list, and the nature of the source being cited.

Examples of parenthetical citations:

...In her Guide to Immaculate Academic Style, Lucy Librarian stresses the importance of proper citations (113).

...Many experts stress the use of scholarly attribution in academic writing (Librarian 113).

...Librarian has observed in one work that some citation guidelines are suggestive rather than proscriptive (Guide 113) while claiming the opposite in another (Handbook 433).

What is most important is that your parenthetical citations are consistent and give your reader a clear idea of the source being cited.

Electronic Formats

MLA style now stipulates that authors denote the format of a work, whether Print, Web, Email, or other kind of publication.

Electronic articles found in a library subscription database (e.g., JSTOR, Ebsco, ProQuest) should include the name of the database in the citation. For freely available Web materials, one does not need to indicate the library name. If you do not know whether or not a source is a subscription product or a free site, you can always consult the librarians at the reference desk or simply include the library information, just in case.

Citations to electronic articles and web pages should include the date the item was accessed in the format DD Month YYYY (e.g., 8 August 2009).

With the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, URLs for electronic sources are optional and should only be included "only as supplementary information when the reader probably cannot locate the source without it or when your instructor requires it" (Handbook 182).

We've given examples below for electronic resources from library subscription databases and for resources available freely on the Web.

MLA Examples

Below are some examples of MLA citation style for a Works Cited list of common publication formats. You may also wish to consult our links to online MLA help pages for additional information.

Article in a scholarly journal

Print

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Journal volume.issue (if issue numbered) (year): pages. Print.

Brinkmeyer, Robert H., Jr. "New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter." Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Culture 44.4 (1991): 429-41. Print.

Electronic

In a library subscription service:

Author Last Name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Journal volume.issue (if issue numbered) (year): pages. Database Name. Vendor or Platform Name (if different from database). Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Brinkmeyer, Robert H., Jr. "New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter." Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal of Southern Culture 44.4 (1991): 429-41. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Web. 26 April 2006.

Article in a Popular Magazine

Print

Author Last Name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Month Year or Day Month Year of publication. pages. Print.

Gilchrist, Ellen. "My Delta, Myself." Outside June 1999. 70-1. Print.

Electronic

In a library subscription service:

Author Last Name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Month Year or Day Month Year of publication. pages. Database Name. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Gilchrist, Ellen. "My Delta, Myself." Outside June 1999. 70-1. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Web. 26 April 2006.

Direct from the magazine site:

Author Last Name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Month Year or Day Month Year of publication. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Gilchrist, Ellen. "My Delta, Myself." Outside June 1999. Web. 26 April 2006.

Article in a Newspaper

Print

Author Last Name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Publication Day Month Year, edition: sectionpages. Print.

Gorman, James. "Deep in the Swamp, an 'Extinct' Woodpecker Lives." New York Times 29 April 2005, Late Edition - Final ed.: A18. Print.

Electronic

In a library subscription service:

Author Last Name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Day Month Year of publication. Name of Database. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Gorman, James. "Deep in the Swamp, an 'Extinct' Woodpecker Lives." New York Times 29 April 2005. Lexis Nexis Academic Web. 26 April 2006.

Direct from the newspaper site:

Author Last Name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Day Month Year of publication. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Gorman, James. "Deep in the Swamp, an 'Extinct' Woodpecker Lives." New York Times 29 April 2005. Web. 26 April 2006.

Review

Print

Review in a scholarly journal:

Review Author Last Name, Review Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article (if needed)." Rev. of Title of Work Being Reviewed, by/dir. Author or Director of Work First Name Author or Director of Work Last Name. Title of Periodical . volume and issue (year of publication): pages. Print.

Horowitz, Marc, and Josef Krebs. Rev. of Crash, dir. by Paul Haggis. Sound & Vision 70.9 (2005): 106. Print.

Review in a popular magazine:

Review Author Last Name, Review Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article (if needed)." Rev. of Title of Work Being Reviewed, by/dir. Author or Director of Work First Name Author or Director of Work Last Name. Title of Periodical . Month and Year or Day Month Year of publication: pages. Print.

Denby, David. Rev. of Crash, dir. by Paul Haggis. New Yorker 13 June 2005: 48. Print.

Electronic

Scholarly review in a library subscription service:

Review Author Last Name, Review Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article (if needed)." Rev. of Title of Work Being Reviewed, by/dir. Author or Director of Work First Name Author or Director of Work Last Name. Title of Periodical . volume.issue (year of publication): pages. Database Name. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Horowitz, Marc, and Josef Krebs. Rev. of Crash, dir. by Paul Haggis. Sound & Vision 70.9 (2005): 106. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 April 2006.

Review in a popular magazine:

Review Author Last Name, Review Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article (if needed)." Rev. of Title of Work Being Reviewed, by/dir. Author or Director of Work First Name Author or Director of Work Last Name. Title of Periodical . Month and Year or Day Month Year of publication. Database Name. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Denby, David. Rev. of Crash, dir. by Paul Haggis. New Yorker 13 June 2005. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 April 2006.

Review direct from a website:

Review Author Last Name, Review Author First Name or initials. "Title of Article (if needed)." Rev. of Title of Work Being Reviewed, by/dir. Author or Director of Work First Name Author or Director of Work Last Name. Web Site Name. Day Month Year of publication. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Atkinson, Michael. Rev. of Crash, dir. by Paul Haggis. Village Voice Online. 3 May 2005. Web. 26 April 2006.

Entire Book

Print

Single author:

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. Title of Book. Place: Publisher, year. Print.

Cochran, Robert. Our Own Sweet Sounds: A Celebration of Popular Music in Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1996. Print.

Multiple authors or edited work:

First Author last name, First Author First Name or initials, Second Author First Name Second Author Last Name and Third Author First Name Third Author Last Name, eds. Title of Book. Place: Publisher, year. Print.

Donovan, Timothy, Willard Gatewood and Jeannie Whayne, eds. The Governors of Arkansas. 2nd ed. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1995. Print.

Electronic

In a library subscription service:

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. Title of Book. ed. by Editor First Name Editor Last Name (if needed). Place: Publisher, year. Database Name. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Anger, Jane. Jane Anger her Protection for Women To Defend them Against the Scandalous Reportes of a Late Surfeiting Lover... London: Printed by Richard Iones, and Thomas Orwin, 1589. Early English Books Online. Web. 26 April 2006.

Freely available online:

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. Title of Book. ed. by Editor First Name Editor Last Name (if needed). Place: Publisher, year. Site name. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Pay as You Go! or, The Unconstitutionality of the Nine Million Debt Bill Demonstrated. New York: W.C. Bryant, 1851. Making of America. Web. 26 April 2006.

Book Chapter

Print

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of the Book Chapter." Title of Book. Ed. Editor's First Name Editor's Last Name. Place: Publisher, year. pages of chapter. Print.

Cochran, Robert. "Lessons of the Bear." Value and Vision in American Literature: Literary Essays in Honor of Ray Lewis White. Ed. Joseph Candido and Charles H. Adams. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1999. 83-94. Print.

Electronic

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of the Book Chapter." Title of Book. Ed. Editor's First Name Editor's Last Name. Place: Publisher, year. pages of chapter. Database Name. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Arnold, Edwin T. "Donald Harington." Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 152: American Novelists Since World War II, Fourth Series. Ed. by James Giles and Wanda Giles. Detroit: The Gale Group, 1995. 82-91. Gale Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 April 2006.

Entry in a Reference Source

Print

"Title of article or entry." Work Title. Edition. Number of volumes. Place: Publisher, date. Print.

"Ivory-billed woodpecker." The New Encyclopædia Britannica. 15th ed. 32v. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2002. Print.

Electronic

Article in a subscription reference service:

"Title of article or entry." Work Title. Edition or Date of Work. Name of database. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

"Ivory-billed woodpecker." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. 26 April 2006.

Article in a free Web reference source:

"Title of article or entry." Site Title. Ed. Site Editor First Name Site Editor Last Name (if available). Edition or Date of Work. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

"Ivory-billed Woodpecker." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 27 April 2006. Web. 27 April 2006.

Published Conference Paper

Print

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of the Paper." Title of Conference Proceedings . Ed. Editor's First Name Editor's Last Name. Place: Publisher, year. pages of paper. Print.

Woods, Randall B. "The Rhetoric of Dissent: J. William Fulbright, Vietnam, and the Crisis of International Liberalism." Presidential Rhetoric; Critical Reflections on the Cold War Linking Rhetoric and History, 4th Annual Conference, 1988. Ed. M.J. Medhurst and H.W. Brands. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2000. 187-208. Print.

Electronic

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of the Paper." Title of Conference Proceedings . Ed. Editor's First Name Editor's Last Name. Month Day Year of Publication. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Maness, Jack and Sarah Naper. "Hurry! Hurry! r u dum? *#%@!" Virtual Reference Desk Conference 2005. 20 January 2006. Web. 26 April 2006.

Government Document

Print

Country/State/Country/Municipality. Name of Issuing Agency. Title of Document . additional identifying information (document number, Congress number, etc.). Place: Publisher, date. Print.

United States. Executive Office of the President. The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned. PREX 1.2:K 15. Washington: GPO, 2006. Print.

Electronic

article in a subscription reference service:

Country/State/Country/Municipality. Name of Issuing Agency. Title of Document. additional identifying information (document number, Congress number, etc.). date. Name of online service. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on the Levees of the Mississippi River. Memorial of the Chamber of Commerce of New Orleans, La., Asking that the National Government Assume the Construction and Care of the Levees of the Mississippi River. 42nd Congress, 3rd Session S.Misc.Doc. 42. 22 January 1873. U.S. Congressional Serial Set Online. Web. 26 April 2006.

document freely available on the Web:

Country/State/Country/Municipality. Name of Issuing Agency. Title of Document . additiional identifying information (document number, Congress number, etc.). Day Month Year of Publication or update. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

United States. Executive Office of the President. The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned. PREX 1.2:K 15. 23 February 2006. Web. 26 April 2006.

Unpublished Thesis or Dissertation

Print

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of thesis or dissertation." Diss. / MA Thesis / MS Thesis. University, Place, year. Print.

Zeller, Gary. "'If I ain't one, you won't find another one here': Race, identity, citizenship, and land, the African Creek experience in the Indian Territory and Oklahoma, 1830-1910." Diss. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 2003. Print.

Electronic

Author last name, Author First Name or initials. "Title of thesis or dissertation." Diss. / MA Thesis / MS Thesis. University, Place, year. Database Name. Web. Day Month Year accessed.

Zeller, Gary. "'If I ain't one, you won't find another one here': Race, identity, citizenship, and land, the African Creek experience in the Indian Territory and Oklahoma, 1830-1910." Diss. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 2003. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Web. 26 April 2006.

Web Page

Electronic (duh!)

Page Title. Ed. Site Editor First Name Site Editor Last Name (if available). Day Month Year of page date, if known. Web. Day Month Year accessed. <URL in brackets if needed.

Rock Art in Arkansas. Ed. George Sabo et. al. 2001. Web. 26 April 2006. <http://rockart.uark.edu/>.

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