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Citation & Style Guide

This guide will help you find information, tools and resources on citation and style.

Note about new MLA 8th Edition

MLA released the new 8th edition in May 2016. See MLA's "What's New in the Eight Edition" for changes since the 7th edition.Check with your faculty to learn which edition s/he would like you to use. You can find the print version of the 7th and 8th editions in the Reference section of the Library.

This page offers advice according the the 8th edition.

Who Uses Modern Language Association (MLA) Style?

  • Literatures
  • Languages
  • Other Humanities fields
  • If you aren't sure which citation style to use, be sure to ask your professors which style they prefer for assignments.

What's Unique About MLA?

  • Use in-text citations. Example: (Wordsworth 262)
  • Bibliography heading: Use "Works Cited" as page heading.
  • Core elements: Rather than give strict format rules for different types of sources, the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook identifies 9 "core elements" common to most sources and provides flexible guidelines on how to reference them in your Works Cited list.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations are brief, parenthetical references to your sources that point readers to the full citation in your Works Cited page. In-text citations should interrupt the flow of your text as little as possible.

The Basics

  • Include the author's last name and the appropriate page number(s) in parentheses immediately following the cited material.
  • Do not use commas inside the parentheses.
  • Quotation marks come before the parentheses; sentence punctuation follows them. 

Example

Rather than belabor the point or summarize what you've already said, a strong conclusion should "take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right" (Zinsser 64).

Special Situations

Block Quotes

The 9 Core Elements in "Works Cited" Page

Instead of having separate citation groups for each format type, the MLA 8th ed. identifies a set of 9 elements for "universal guidelines" applicable to all of them.

Container Concept

Besides standardizing the elements required for a citation, the MLA 8th edition also introduces the idea of "containers", so that the basic elements of a citation in a works cited list are the same regardless of the type of resource cited.

Below is a template using the "container" concept to help you formulate citations in MLA style.

       

Print Book Examples

Format: Author’s last name/first name (and second author's name if applicable). Title of Source. Publisher, Date of Publication. 

Brooks, Max. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. Three Rivers Press, 2003.

Book with two authors:
Verstynen, Timothy and Bradley Voytek. Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain. Princeton, 2014.

Book with three or more authors:
Evans, Arthur B., et al.The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction. Wesleyan University Press, 2010.

Book with translator or other contributor:
Murakami, Ryu. From the Fatherland with Love. Translated by Ralph McCarthy, et al. Pushkin Press, 2013.
 

E-book Examples

Similar to print, except also add e-book source (where you got the e-book from database, Hathi Trust, Amazon, etc), Location.

Format: Author's last name. Title. Publisher, date of Publication. Ebook source, Location.

Zehr, E. Paul. Becoming Batman: the Possibility of a Superhero. Johns Hopkins Press, 2009. EBL, www.middlebury.eblib.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=3318448.

Print Journal

Format: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, Volume, Issue, Date, pages. 

Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, vol15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50. .

Online Journal Article from a Database

Author’s name. “Title of the Article.” Journal Title, Volume, Issue, Date of publication): pages. Name of database or other relevant information. Access Provider, URL or DOI.

Joye, Stijn and de Walle Van. "Batman Returns, Again and again: An Exploratory Inquiry Into the Recent 'batman' Film Franchise, Artistic Imitation and Fan Appreciation". Catalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies 7, no. 1, 2015, pp. 37-50. MLA International Bibliography, ezproxy.middlebury.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1696259860?accountid=12447.

Online Magazine Example

Format: Author's name. "Title of Article." Magazine Title, day month year: pages. URL or DOI.

Berlatsky, Noah.. "Bring back Doofus Batman: Attention, Ben Affleck: the Dark Knight Is Better when He's an Idiot." Atlantic, 26 Aug. 2013, www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/08/bring-back-doofus-batman/279038/.

 

Online Newspaper Example

Format: Same as magazine.

Muskus, Jeff. "A Sampler: A Batman Wrestling With Ghosts of the Past."  New York Times Online, 29 July 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/arts/television/a-sampler-a-batman-wrestling-with-ghosts-of-the-past.html.

Website Example

Format: Author’s name. "Title of Source." Title of Web Site, Other contributors, Institution or organization associated with/producing the website, Date of posting/revision, URL. [Optional: Date Accessed].

“Rover Report: Three Years on Mars!” NASA’s Journey to Mars: Videos, edited by Sarah Loff, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 30 July 2015, www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/videos/index.html.

Book Review Example

Format: Author of Review. "Title of Review." (if there is one) Rev. of Title of work reviewed, by Name of Author. Source Information. (follow format for print, online journal, etc. as given above)

Grimes, William. "Beyond Mandalay, the Road to Isolation and Xenophobia." Review of The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma, by Thant Myint-U. New York Times, 13 Dec. 2006, pp. E8+. ProQuest, search.proquest.com/docview/93034828?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12447.

How to Cite Primary Sources

Citing Special Collections and Archives (Middlebury College Special Collections)

Citing Unpublished & Archival Sources (McMaster University Guide)

Optional Elements

You may include additional elements if they help distinguish your source. Optional elements may be placed near related core elements or at the end of the citation.

  • Date of original publication
  • City of publication
  • Other facts about the source (e.g., total number of volumes, series name, unexpected type of work such as a transcript, information about prior publication, Congressional session)
  • Date of access (for online sources - especially when no publication date is given or for sites where content is likely to change)

In-Text Citations

In-text citations are brief, parenthetical references to your sources that point readers to the full citation in your Works Cited page.

Example

Rather than belabor the point or summarize what you've already said, a strong conclusion should "take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right" (Zinsser 64).

The Basics

  • Include the author's last name and the appropriate page number(s) in parentheses immediately following the cited material.
  • Do not use commas inside the parentheses.
  • Quotation marks come before the parentheses; sentence punctuation follows them. 

Special Situations

Entire Works: If you are citing an entire work, you can omit page numbers.

(Zinsser)

Signal Phrases: You don't need to include the author's name in the parentheses when context clarifies whom you are citing (e.g., you have used the author's name as part of your signal phrase, you have cited the same source immediately preceding the current citation.) If you are in doubt, include the author's last name.

In On Writing Well, William Zinsser argues a strong conclusion should "take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right" (64).

Multiple Works by Same Author: If your Works Cited list has more than one work by the same author, include the work title in the in-text citation, separated by a comma.

(Zinsser, On Writing Well 64)

Multiple Authors with Same Last Name: If your Works Cited list has more than one author with the same last name, include the initial of the author's first name in the in-text citation.

(W. Zinsser 64)

Multiple Authors of a Single Work: If three or fewer authors, include all in your in-text citation; if four or more, list the first author only followed by the abbrevation "et al."

(Rodriguez, Jones, and Bartell 273)
(Rodriguez et al. 273)

Indirect or Quoted Material: Find the original source if possible. If not, use the abbreviation "qtd. in" for "quoted in".

(qtd. in Liu 392)

Ebooks: If the ebook has stable page numbers (i.e., page numbers remain consistent regardless of device used or font size), use those as you would a print book. If the ebook has reflowable pages, do not use page numbers. Instead, cite the section or chapter if possible.

(Zinsser, ch. 9)

If the ebooks does not have stable page numbers, sections, or chapters, cite the work as a whole.

(Zinsser) 

Formatting Papers & Samples

Resources from the online MLA Style Center

Formatting a Research Paper (margins, spacing, headings, etc.)

Sample papers

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography includes a citation and a written statement or abstract about each work to help potential readers decide if an item is relevant to their interests.