MLA Bibliography or Works Cited

The Modern Language Association (MLA) Style is the style required by many high school teachers and many college professors of the liberal arts.

The MLA style provides a standard for giving your list of sources at the end of your paper. This alphabetical list of sources is usually called a works cited list, but some instructors will call this a bibliography. (Bibliography is a broader term.)

One of the most common sources to list is the book.

  • The first few pages of a book will provide all the information you will need to write a bibliographic citation.
  • A title can be underlined or placed in italics.
  • If there are two or more authors, list them in the order they appear on the title page.
  • Use a comma between authors' names. Place a period after the last name.
  • Watch for an edition number. If the book is a second or later edition, use the following form: Author. Title. Edition. City of Publication: Publisher, Year.
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MLA Citatiations for Books, continued

MLA Citation
  • Bibliography and Works Cited entries are listed in the hanging indent style.
  • You will notice that the second and subsequent lines of the note are indented. It is best to create this form using editing tools in your word processor.If you try to do this manually, you may find that your spacing changes if you open your work on a different computer or if you email your work. This makes a jumbled mess! You can create the proper form by highlighting the bibliographic note and selecting the command "hanging" from your editing options.
  • The title page may list several cities in the publication information. If you run into this, you should use the first city listed.
  • Do not list an editor as an author. If your book has an editor, just list the name and follow with a comma and "ed."
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Scholarly Journal Article - MLA

Scholarly Journal Article
Grace Fleming

Scholarly journals are sources used sometimes in high school but most often in many college courses. They include things like regional literary journals, state historical journals, medical and scientific publications, and the like.

Use the following order, but realize that every journal is different, and some may not have all of the elements below:

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Series name. Volume number. Issue number (Year): Page(s). Medium.

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Newspaper Article

Newspaper article
Grace Fleming

Every newspaper is different, so many rules apply to newspapers as sources.

  • In the example above, Winder is the name of a town. If the town or city of publication is not part of the newspaper's name, add it to the end of the title in brackets like this: News and Advertiser [Atlanta, GA]
  • If the article starts on one page, skips several pages, and continues on a later page, list the first page and add a + sign, as in 10C+.
  • Always include date, but leave off volume and issue numbers.
  • When listing the title of a newspaper, leave off "The" or any other article.
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Magazine Article

Magazine article

Be as specific as possible about the date and issue of a magazine.

  • You will abbreviate months with five letters or more (all but May, June, July). Give complete dates for magazines issued weekly or every two weeks, written in this order: Day Month Year, as in 30 Mar 2000.
  • Follow the instructions above for page numbers. In consecutive page numbers, give just the last two digits of the second number, as in 245-57.
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Personal Interview and MLA Citations

Personal Interview MLA

For a personal interview, use the following format:

Person Interviewed. Type of Interview (personal, telephone, email). Date.

  • As tempting as it may be, don't list your relationship to the person. It might feel weird referring to your grandfather or other relatives so formally, but it's the rule!
  • List this source whether you use a direct quote or not. If you consulted with someone about your topic, use him/her as a source.
  • Personal interviews make great sources. Use them whenever you can.
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Citing an Essay, Story, or Poem in a Collection

Citing an Essay
Grace Fleming

The example above refers to a story in a collection. The book cited includes stories by Marco Polo, Captain James Cook, and many others.

Sometimes it may seem odd to list a well-known historical figure as an author, but it is proper.

The citation method is the same, whether you are citing an essay, short story, or poem in an anthology or collection.

Notice the name order in the citation above. The author is given in the last name, first name order. The editor (ed.) or compiler (comp.) is listed in the first name, last name order.

You will put the available information in the following order:

  • Short story author
  • Short story name
  • Name of book
  • Name of book compiler, editor, or translator
  • Publication information
  • Pages
  • Medium (print or web)
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Internet Articles and MLA Style Citations

Internet article MLA

Articles from the Internet may be the most difficult to cite. Always include as much information as possible, in the following order:

  • Name of author or publishing body
  • Title of work
  • Title of website or company
  • Version, edition
  • Site publisher, sponsor, or owner
  • Date of publication
  • Medium (Web)
  • Date you accessed source

You no longer need to include the URL in your citation (MLA Seventh edition). Web sources are difficult to cite, and it is possible that two people might cite the same source two different ways. The important thing is to be consistent!

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Encyclopedia Articles and MLA Style

Encyclopedia MLA
Grace Fleming

If you are using an entry from a well-known encyclopedia and the listings are alphabetical, you don't need to give volume and page numbers.

If you are using an entry from an encyclopedia that is updated frequently with new editions, you can leave out the publication information like city and publisher but include the edition and year.

Some words have many meanings. If you are citing one of many entries for the same word (mechanic), you must indicate which entry you're using.

You must also state whether the source is a printed version or an online version.​

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Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "MLA Bibliography or Works Cited." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Fleming, Grace. (2023, April 5). MLA Bibliography or Works Cited. Retrieved from Fleming, Grace. "MLA Bibliography or Works Cited." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).