MLA Style book

MLA Style, 7th Edition

Developed by the Modern Language Association, this style is most widely used for research papers in the humanities.

This guide provides examples of the most commonly cited types of sources used by Williams College students. For additional examples and explanations, consult the print manual at Sawyer or Schow Reference (call number: LB2369 .G53 2009).

Each citation consists of two parts: the parenthetical reference, which provides brief identifying information within the text, and the works cited list, which provides full bibliographic information.

How to Format: Parenthetical References | Works Cited

How to Format Parenthetical References

(For more detailed information see MLA Handbook Section 6)

In MLA, in-text citations are called parenthetical references. They use the author's last name followed by the page number referenced in the work. The reference is placed in parentheses usually at the end of the sentence before the period.

This point has been argued previously (Said 3-4).

Each source in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper or article corresponds to a parenthetical reference in the text.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Print.

If the context makes it clear what work is being cited, only the page number need appear in the parentheses. For example, if the sentence already includes the author's name or you are citing the work again and it is obvious which work you are citing, only the page number is needed.

Said makes a similar argument (3-4).

Later, the protagonist of Jane Eyre proclaims, "I would always rather be happy than dignified" (413).

If citing more than one work by the same author, put a comma after the author's name, add the title of the work (if brief) or a shortened version, and the page numbers.

We should all try to "live in the Past, the Present, and the Future" (Dickens, A Christmas Carol 95).

If the author's name is already in the sentence, just the title of the work and the page number are needed.

We should all take Dickens's advice to "live in the Past, the Present, and the Future" (A Christmas Carol 95).

Group or corporate authors. Use full name of group or a shortened form.

(Modern Language Association 115)

(MLA 115)

Unknown Author. Use a few words of the title.

("Recent innovations" 231)

Two or three authors. Use the last names of each.

(Smith, Jones, and Brown 323)

More than three authors. Give all the authors' last names or just use the first and "et al" for the rest. In any case, use the same form as the entry in your Works Cited list.

(Bia, Pedreno, Small, Finch, Patterson 161)

(Bia et al. 161)

If the Works Cited list contains two or more authors with the same surname. In the parenthetical reference, include the first initial.

(A. DeCarrera 213)

If the initial is also the same, use the whole first name.

(Annette DeCarrera 213)

If the reference is to an exact quotation, the parenthetical reference is placed after the quote.

It may be true that "the attitude of the observer is of primary importance" (Robertson 136).

For exact quotations from sources without page numbers, use paragraph numbers, if available. If the work does not have page numbers or paragraph numbers, include in the text the name of the person that begins the corresponding entry in the works cited list, instead of using a parenthetical reference. For more information see MLA Handbook sections 6.4.1 and 6.4.2.

(Smith para 17)

As Smith points out....

Citations taken from a secondary source should generally be avoided; consult the original work whenever possible. If only an indirect source is available, put the abbreviation qtd. in (quoted in) before the indirect source in the parenthetical reference and include the indirect source in the Works Cited. (MLA Style, sec. 6.4.7)

parenthetical reference

In a May 1800 letter to Watt, Creighton wrote, "The excellent Satanism reflects immortal honour on the Club" (qtd. in Hunt and Jacob 493).

works cited list

Hunt, Lynn, and Margaret Jacob. "The Affective Revolution in 1790s Britain." Eighteenth-Century Studies 34.4 (2001): 491-521. Print.

How to Format Works Cited List

Books | Articles | Media | Web/Online | Government Information | Unpublished

Books
(MLA Handbook, sec. 5.5)

Single author

Perle, George. Serial Composition and Atonality: an Introduction to the Music of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. 6th ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. Print.

Multiple authors

Higonnet, Margaret R., and Joan Templeton, eds. Reconfigured Spheres: Feminist Explorations of Literary Space. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994. Print.

Edited Book

Gibbons, Reginald, ed. The Poet's Work: 29 Masters of 20th Century Poetry on the Origins and Practice of their Art. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979. Print.

Group or corporate author

World Bank. Transition, The First Ten Years: Analysis and Lessons for Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Washington: World Bank, 2002. Print.

Chapter or essay in book

Calvino, Italo. "Cybernetics and Ghosts." The Uses of Literature: Essays. Trans. Patrick Creagh. San Diego: Harcourt, 1982. 3-27. Print.

Article from a reference book

Loizou, Andros. "Theories of Justice: Rawls." Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics. Ed. Ruth Chadwick. Vol. 4. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998. Print.

Note: for standard, familiar reference works, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, do not list the full publishing information, just the year of publication. If you are using more than one volume of a multi-volume work, give number of volumes (x vols.) before place of publication. If you are using only one volume, use the example above. For greater detail, see section 5.5.14 of the MLA Handbook.

Articles

(MLA Handbook, sec. 5.4, 5.6.3, and 5.6.4)

Article in a journal (one author)

Wolff, Larry. "'The Boys are Pickpockets, and the Girl is a Prostitute': Gender and Juvenile Criminality in Early Victorian England from Oliver Twist to London Labour." New Literary History 27.2 (1996): 227-249. Print.

Note: Provide issue numbers (if available) in addition to volume numbers, for all items in the Works Cited list, even if the volume pagination is continuous. See section 5.4.1 of MLA Handbook.

Article in a journal (multiple authors)

Millán-Zaibert, Elisabeth and Leo Zaibert. "El Análisis Filosófico." Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 627 (2002): 29-35. Print.

Article in a popular magazine

Lerner, Barbara. "America's Schools: Still Failing After All These Years." National Review 15 Sep. 1997: 42+. Print.

Note: use the + sign if the pages are not consecutive; 42-44 would be the correct way if this article ran on consecutive pages; do not give the volume and issue number, even if they are available.

Article in a newspaper

Kennedy, Louise. "Same Old Song." Boston Globe 9 March 2003, late ed.: N1+. Print.

Article from a full-text database

Andreatta, Filippo. "Italy at a Crossroads: The Foreign Policy of a Medium Power after the End of Bipolarity." Daedalus 130.2: 45-65. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 9 March 2009.

Article from an e-journal collection

Brooks, Gwendolyn. "Henry Dumas: Perceptiveness and Zeal." Black American Literature Forum 22.2 (1988): 177. JSTOR. Web. 9 March 2009.

Article from a free web e-journal

Castle, Robert. "From Desperation to Salvation: Concealing and Revealing Nothing in History." Archipelago 6.3 (2003): n. pag. Web. 9 March 2009.

Note: n. pag. means that the publication does not have pagination.

Media
(MLA Handbook, sec. 5.7)

Music Score

Schoenberg, Arnold. A Survivor from Warsaw; For Narrator, Men's Chorus, and Orchestra. Op. 46. Long Island City: Bomart Music Publications, 1949. Print.

Note: Refer to MLA Handbook section 5.6.2 for scores online and 5.7.1 for television and radio broadcasts of music.

Sound Recording

Bernstein, Leonard. Candide: Opera House Version, 1982. Orch. New York City Opera Chorus and Orchestra. Perf. Erie Mills, Joyce Castle, Maris Clement, John Lankston, Jack Harrold, David Eisler, James Billings, Scott Reeve. Cond. John Mauceri. New York: New World Records, 1986. CD.

Note: If citing a medium other than compact disc, indicate that medium after the date; e.g., audiocassette, LP, etc.

Video Recording

Like Water for Chocolate [Como agua para chocolate]. Screenplay by Laura Esquivel. Dir. Alfonso Arau. Perf. Lumi Cavazos, Marco Leonardi, Regina Torne. 1992. Burbank, Calif.: Miramax Home Entertainment, 2000. DVD.

Consult section 5.7.3 of the MLA Handbook for further information about citing films.

Online Video

"The L-Team." Williams College Libraries. YouTube. 2007. Web. 27 Aug. 2009.

Note: Basic elements are in this order: "Segment Title." Director/Creator (if available). Title of database or Website (italicized). Year of publication. Format. Date of access. For more information see sections 5.7.3 and 5.6.2d.

In the parenthetical reference, lead with the author name (if available) or title or beginning words of the title if author is not available. Put parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence in your text.

Television

"Frederick Douglass." Civil War Journal. Narr. Danny Glover. Dir. Craig Haffner. Arts and Entertainment Network. 6 April 1993. Television.

Web/Online
(MLA Handbook, sec. 5.6)

Web page

Pilgrim, David. "The Brute Caricature." Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Ferris State University. Nov. 2000. Web. 20 May 2009.

Note: If your instructor requires it, include the URL immediately following the date of access, a period, and a space. Enclose the URL in angle brackets (<>), and follow it with a period. For more details on citing works on the Web, see section 5.6 of the MLA Handbook.

Blog Posting

Kristoff, Nicholas. "How To Get Out in the Woods (and Survive the Bears!)". Nicholas D. Kristoff: On the Ground. New York Times, 9 August 2009. Web. 27 August 2009.

Note: For more information about citing works only on the Web, see section 5.6.2b of the MLA Handbook.

Online Video

"The L-Team." Williams College Libraries. YouTube. 2007. Web. 27 Aug. 2009.

Note: Basic elements are in this order: "Segment Title." Director/Creator (if available). Title of database or Website (italicized). Year of publication. Format. Date of access. For more information see sections 5.7.3 and 5.6.2d.

In the parenthetical reference, lead with the author name (if available) or title or beginning words of the title if author is not available. Put parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence in your text.

Article from a free web e-journal

Castle, Robert. "From Desperation to Salvation: Concealing and Revealing Nothing in History." Archipelago 6.3 (2003): n. pag. Web. 9 March 2009.

Note: n. pag. means that the publication does not have pagination.

Article from a full-text database

Andreatta, Filippo. "Italy at a Crossroads: The Foreign Policy of a Medium Power after the End of Bipolarity." Daedalus 130.2: 45-65. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 9 March 2009.

Article from an e-journal collection

Brooks, Gwendolyn. "Henry Dumas: Perceptiveness and Zeal." Black American Literature Forum 22.2 (1988): 177. JSTOR. Web. 9 March 2009.

Government Information

(MLA Handbook, 5.5.20)

See Citing Government Documents
[automated fill-in form from Arizona State University Library]

Unpublished
(MLA Handbook, sec. 5.7)

Interview

Payne, Harry C. Personal interview. [or "Telephone interview" or "E-Mail interview" as the case may be.] 22 May 1998.

Note: See section 5.7.7 of the MLA Handbook for interviews in print or media. See 5.6.2b for interviews on the Web.