Below are standard formats and examples for basic bibliographic information recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA). For more information on the MLA format, see http://www.mla.org/style_faq.
Your list of works cited should begin at the end of the paper on a new page with the centered title, Works Cited. Alphabetize the entries in your list by the author's last name, using the letter-by-letter system (ignore spaces and other punctuation.) If the author's name is unknown, alphabetize by the title, ignoring any A, An, or The.
For dates, spell out the names of months in the text of your paper, but abbreviate them in the list of works cited, except for May, June, and July. Use either the day-month-year style (22 July 1999) or the month-day-year style (July 22, 1999) and be consistent. With the month-day-year style, be sure to add a comma after the year unless another punctuation mark goes there.
Underlining or Italics?
When reports were written on typewriters, the names of publications were underlined because most typewriters had no way to print italics. If you write a bibliography by hand, you should still underline the names of publications. But, if you use a computer, then publication names should be in italics as they are below. Always check with your instructor regarding their preference of using italics or underlining. Our examples use italics.
All MLA citations should use hanging indents, that is, the first line of an entry should be flush left, and the second and subsequent lines should be indented 1/2".
Capitalization, Abbreviation, and Punctuation
The MLA guidelines specify using title case capitalization - capitalize the first words, the last words, and all principal words, including those that follow hyphens in compound terms. Use lowercase abbreviations to identify the parts of a work (e.g., vol. for volume, ed. for editor) except when these designations follow a period. Whenever possible, use the appropriate abbreviated forms for the publisher's name (Random instead of Random House).
Separate author, title, and publication information with a period followed by one space. Use a colon and a space to separate a title from a subtitle. Include other kinds of punctuation only if it is part of the title. Use quotation marks to indicate the titles of short works appearing within larger works (e.g., "Memories of Childhood." American Short Stories). Also use quotation marks for titles of unpublished works and songs.
Author's last name, first name. Book title. Additional information. City of publication: Publishing company, publication date.
Allen, Thomas B. Vanishing Wildlife of North America. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1974.
Boorstin, Daniel J. The Creators: A History of the Heroes of the Imagination. New York: Random, 1992.
Hall, Donald, ed. The Oxford Book of American Literacy Anecdotes. New York: Oxford UP, 1981.
Searles, Baird, and Martin Last. A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1979.
Toomer, Jean. Cane. Ed. Darwin T. Turner. New York: Norton, 1988.
Encyclopedia & DictionaryFormat:
Author's last name, first name. "Title of Article." Title of Encyclopedia. Date.
Note: If the dictionary or encyclopedia arranges articles alphabetically, you may omit volume and page numbers.
"Azimuthal Equidistant Projection." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. 1993.
Pettingill, Olin Sewall, Jr. "Falcon and Falconry." World Book Encyclopedia. 1980.
Tobias, Richard. "Thurber, James." Encyclopedia Americana. 1991 ed.
Levinson, David, and Melvin M. Ember, eds. Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology. 4 vols. New York: Henry Holt, 1996. Print.
Magazine & Newspaper ArticlesFormat:
Author's last name, first name. "Article title." Periodical title Volume # Date: inclusive pages.
Note: If an edition is named on the masthead, add a comma after the date and specify the edition.
Hall, Trish. "IQ Scores Are Up, and Psychologists Wonder Why." New York Times 24 Feb. 1998, late ed.: F1+.
Kalette, Denise. "California Town Counts Down to Big Quake." USA Today 9 21 July 1986: sec. A: 1.
Kanfer, Stefan. "Heard Any Good Books Lately?" Time 113 21 July 1986: 71-72.
Trillin, Calvin. "Culture Shopping." New Yorker 15 Feb. 1993: 48-51.
Website or WebpageFormat:
Author's last name, first name (if available). "Title of work within a project or database." Title of site, project, or database. Editor (if available). Electronic publication information (Date of publication or of the latest update, and name of any sponsoring institution or organization). Date of access and <full URL>.
Note: If you cannot find some of this information, cite what is available.
Devitt, Terry. "Lightning injures four at music festival." The Why? Files. 2 Aug. 2001. 23 Jan. 2002 <http://whyfiles.org /137lightning/index.html>.
Dove, Rita. "Lady Freedom among Us." The Electronic Text Center. Ed. David Seaman. 1998. Alderman Lib., U of Virginia. 19 June 1998 <http://etext.lib.virginia.edu /subjects/afam.html>.
Lancashire, Ian. Homepage. 28 Mar. 2002. 15 May 2002 <http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080 /~ian/>.
Levy, Steven. "Great Minds, Great Ideas." Newsweek 27 May 2002. 10 June 2002 <http://www.msnbc.com /news/754336.asp>.
SampleSample Bibliography: MLA Works Cited Format
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Writing a list of references
At the end of all pieces of academic writing, you need a list of materials that you have used or referred to. This usually has a heading: references but may be bibliography or works cited depending on the conventions of the system you use.
The object of your writing is for you to say something for yourself using the ideas of the subject, for you to present ideas you have learned in your own way. The emphasis should be on working with other people’s ideas, rather than reproducing their words. The ideas and people that you refer to need to be made explicit by a system of referencing. This consists of a list of materials that you have used at the end of the piece of writing and references to this list at various points throughout the essay. The purpose of this is to supply the information needed to allow a user to find a source.
Therefore, at the end of your assignment you need a list of the materials you have used - a bibliography or a reference list.
There are many ways of writing a list of references - check with your department for specific information.
- The most common system is called the Harvard system. There is no definitive version of the Harvard system and most universities have their own. But the one used here - the American Psychological Association style - is well known and often used (American Psychological Association, 1983, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2010).
- Click here or see Gibaldi (2003) and Modern Languages Association (1998, 2009, 2016) for another way.
- Many scientists use a numerical system, often called the Vancouver style or BS 1629. Click here or see International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (1991),, US National Library of Medicine or Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (2nd edition) for more information.
- Another common system is that defined in the Chicago Manual of Style. In fact the Chicago Manual of Style presents two basic systems: (1) a numerical system and (2) an author-date system. Choosing between the two depends on your subject and institution. See here or University of Chicago Press (2010) or Chicago Manual of Style.
A good, but idiocyncratic, overview can be found in Pears & Shields (2008).
ReferencesAbercrombie, D. (1968). Paralanguage. British Journal of Disorders ofCommunication, 3, 55-59.Barr, P., Clegg, J. & Wallace, C. (1981). Advanced reading skills. London: Longman.Chomsky, N. (1973). Linguistic theory. In J. W. Oller & J. C. Richards (Eds.), Focus on the learner (pp. 29-35). Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.Fromkin, V. & Rodman, R. (1983). An introduction to language. London: Holt-Saunders.Guiora, A. Z., Paluszny, M., Beit-Hallahmi, B., Catford, J. C., Cooley, R. E. & Dull, C. Y. (1975). Language and person: Studies in language behaviour. Language Learning, 25, 43-61.GVU's 8th WWW user survey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/usersurveys/survey1997-10/Kinsella, V. (Ed.). (1978). Language teaching and linguistics: Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Lipinsky, E. & Bender, R. (1980). Critical voices on the economy. Survey, 25, 38-42.Oller, J. W. & Richards, J. C. (Eds.). (1973). Focus on the learner. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.Longman dictionary of contemporary English. (1978). London: Longman.Smith, F. (1978). Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Stern, H. H. & Weinrib, A. (1978). Foreign languages for younger children: Trends and assessment. In V. Kinsella (Ed.), Language teaching and linguistics: Surveys (pp. 152-172). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Use heading: References.
Page numbers should be included for all articles in journals and in collections.
Use italics (or underlining in handwriting) for titles of books, periodicals, newspapers etc.
Use alphabetical order. Alphabetise works with no author by the first significant word in the title.
All co-authors should be listed.
Indent second etc. lines
Use (n.d.) if no date is given.
If the author of a document is not given, begin the reference with the title of the document.
a. One author:Smith, F. (1978). Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
b. Two authors:Fromkin, V. & Rodman, R. (1983). An introduction to language. London: Holt-Saunders.
c. More than two authors:Barr, P., Clegg, J. & Wallace, C. (1981). Advanced reading skills. London: Longman.
d. Edited collections:Kinsella, V. (Ed.). (1978). Language teaching and linguistics: Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Oller, J. W. & Richards, J. C. (Eds.). (1973). Focus on the learner. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.
e. Book, corporate author:British Council Teaching Information Centre. (1978). Pre-sessional courses for overseas students. London: British Council.
f. Book, no author, or editor:Longman dictionary of contemporary English. (1978). London: Longman.The Times atlas of the world (5th ed.). (1975). New York: New York Times.
g. Book, third edition:Fromkin, V. & Rodman, R. (1983). An introduction to language (3rd ed.). London: Holt-Saunders.
h. Book, revised edition:Cohen, J. (1977). Statistical power analysis for the behavioural sciences (rev. ed.). New York: Plenum Press.
i. Non-English book:Piaget, J. & Inhelder, B. (1951). La genése de l’idée de hasard chez l’enfant [The origin of the idea of danger in the child]. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
j. English translation of a book:Luria, A. R. (1969). The mind of a mnemonist (L. Solotaroff, Trans.). New York: Avon Books. (Original work published 1965)
k. Books or articles, two or more by the same author in the same year:Lyons, J. (1981a). Language and linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Lyons, J. (1981b). Language, meaning and context. London: Fontana.
3. Periodical articles
a. One author:Abercrombie, D. (1968). Paralanguage. British Journal of Disorders ofCommunication, 3, 55-59.
b. Two authors:Lipinsky, E. & Bender, R. (1980). Critical voices on the economy. Survey, 25, 38-42.
c. More than two authors:Guiora, A. Z., Paluszny, M., Beit-Hallahmi, B., Catford, J. C., Cooley, R. E. & Dull, C. Y. (1975). Language and person: Studies in language behaviour. Language Learning, 25, 43-61.
d. Review of a book:Carmody, T. P. (1982). A new look at medicine from a social perspective [Review of the book Social contexts of health, illness and patient care, by E. G. Mishler, L. R. Amarasingham, S. D. Osherson, S. T. Hauser, N. E. Waxler & R. Liem]. Contemporary Psychology, 27, 208-209.
e. Review of a book, no title:Maley, A. (1994). [Review of the book Critical language awareness, by N. Fairclough]. Applied Linguistics, 15, 348-350.
f. Magazine article:Gardner, H. (1981, December). Do babies sing a universal song? Psychology Today, 70-76.
g. Newspaper article:James, R. (1991, December 15). Obesity affects economic social status. The Guardian, p. 18
h. Newspaper/Magazine article, no author:Acid attack ‘scarred girl for life’. (1986, October 21). The Guardian, p. 4.(In the essay use a short form of the title for citation: ("Acid Attack." 1986))
i. Newspaper article, letter to the editor:Hain, P. (1986, October 21). The police protection that women want [Letter to the editor]. The Guardian, p. 4.
j. Journal article, in press:
Johns, A. M. (in press) Written argumentation for real audiences. TESOL Quarterly.
k. An on-line journal article:
Jacobson, J. W., Mulick, J. A. Schwartz, A. A. (1995). A history of facilitated communication: Science, pseudoscience, and antiscience: Science working group on facilitated communication. American Psychologist, 50, 750-765. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/journals/jacobson.html
l. Journal article, with DOI:Gillett, A. J. & Hammond, A. C. (2009). Mapping the maze of assessment: An investigation into practice. Active Learning in Higher Education, 10, 120-137. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787409104786
4. Selections from edited collections
a. One author:Chomsky, N. (1973). Linguistic theory. In J. W. Oller & J. C. Richards (Eds.), Focus on the learner (pp. 29-35). Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.
b. Two authors:Stern, H. H. & Weinrib, A. (1978). Foreign languages for younger children: Trends and assessment. In V. Kinsella (Ed.), Language teaching and linguistics: Surveys (pp. 152-172). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
c. One author, second edition:Wadeson, H. (2001). An eclectic approach to art therapy. In J. A. Rubin (Ed.), Approaches to art therapy: Theory and technique (2nd ed., pp. 306-318). New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.
5. CD ROMs etc
a. Newspaper or magazine on CD-ROM:Gardner, H. (1981, December). Do babies sing a universal song? Psychology Today [CD-ROM], pp. 70-76.
b. Abstract on CD-ROM:Meyer, A. S. & Bock, K. (1992). The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon: Blocking or partial activation? [CD-ROM]. Memory Cognition, 20, 715-726. Abstract from: SilverPlatter File: PsycLIT Item: 80-16351
c. Article from CD-ROM Encyclopedia:Crime. (1996). In Microsoft Encarta 1996 Encyclopedia [CD-ROM]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.
d. Dictionary on CD-ROM:Oxford English dictionary computer file: On compact disc (2nd ed.) [CD-ROM]. (1992). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
6. Documents obtained from the Internet
All references begin with the same information that would be provided for a printed source (or as much of that information as possible). The WWW information is then placed at the end of the reference in the same way as publishing information is given for books. It is not necessary to give the date of retrieval unless the document on the Web may change in content - e.g. a wiki - move, or be removed from a site altogether.
The object of this is the same as all referencing - to supply the information needed to allow a user to find a source. If you do not know the author or the date and it does not have a clear title, think carefully before using it. See Evaluating Sources.
a. A journal article:Jacobson, J. W., Mulick, J. A. Schwartz, A. A. (1995). A history of facilitated communication: Science, pseudoscience, and antiscience: Science working group on facilitated communication. American Psychologist, 50, 750-765. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/journals/jacobson.html
b. Journal article, with DOI:Gillett, A. J. & Hammond, A. C. (2009). Mapping the maze of assessment: An investigation into practice. Active Learning in Higher Education, 10, 120-137. doi: 10.1177/1469787409104786
c. A newspaper article:Sleek, S. (1996, January). Psychologists build a culture of peace. The New York Times, pp. 1, 33 Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
d. WWW Document:Li, X. & Crane, N. (1996, May 20). Bibliographic formats for citing electronic information. Retrieved from http://www.uvm.edu/~xli/reference/estyles.html
e. WWW Document - corporate author:World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). (1995, May 15). About the World Wide Web. Retrieved from http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/
f. WWW Document - corporate author:American Psychological Association (1996). How to cite information from the world wide web. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/journals/webref.html
g. WWW Document - no author:A field guide to sources on, about and on the Internet: Citation formats. (1995, Dec 18). Retrieved from http://www.cc.emory.edu/WHSCL/citation.formats.html
h. WWW Document - no author, no date:WWW user survey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wast.ac.uk/usersurveys/survey2000-10/
i. An abstract:Rosenthal, R. (1995). State of New Jersey v. Margaret Kelly Michaels: An overview [Abstract]. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 1, 247–271. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/journals/ab1.html
j. Wikipedia Document - no author, no date, source material may change over time:Psychology. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 14, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology
k. Entry in online reference work, no author, editor or date:Heuristic (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/heuristic
l. Page from a website:Gillett, A. (2017). Academic writing: Writing a list of references. Retrieved from http://www.uefap.net/writing/writing-references/writing-references-introduction
m. Blog post:Gillett, A. (2015, February 23). EAP and student motivation [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.uefap.net/blog/?p=176
a. Government report:National Institute of Mental Health. (1982). Television and behaviour: Ten years of scientific progress and implications for the eighties (DHHS Publication No. ADM82-1195). Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.
b. Publication with no date given:Malachi, Z. (Ed.). (n.d.) Proceedings of the International Conference on Literary and Linguistic Copmputing. Tel Aviv: Faculty of Humanities, Tel Aviv University.
c. Unpublished dissertation or thesis:Devins, G. M. (1981). Helplessness, depression, and mood in end-stage renal disease. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, McGill University, Montreal.
d. Unpublished conference paper:Howarth, P. (1995, March). Phraseological standards in EAP. Paper presented at the meeting of the British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes, Nottingham.
e. Film or videotape:Maas, J. B. (Producer), and Gluck, D. H. (Director). (1979). Deeper into hypnosis [Film]. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.