Subject Guides

Citation Help & Academic Honesty

Official MLA Guide:

For the most complete information, consult one of the following, available at the Reference Desks or in the Reference area of any of the three libraries:

  • MLA Handbook,
    LB 2369 .M52 2021 (9th ed)
  • MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing,
    PN 147 .N28 2008

MLA 9: In-Text Citations

An in-text citation includes the author’s last name and page number(s). If you use the author’s name in the text, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation. For example:

Blah blah blah (Smith 137).        OR        According to Smith, blah blah blah (137).

For a source without a known author, the in-text citation will use the first element of the works cited entry instead of the author’s last name (usually this will be the title).

MLA 9: Works Cited Lists

Unless your instructor provides other formatting guidelines, follow these rules to format your works cited list:

  • Entries arranged alphabetically by the first element in the citation
  • ½ inch hanging indent (for each entry, the first line aligns with the left margin while all subsequent lines are indented half an inch from the left margin)
  • Double-spaced

Each entry in your works cited list should include these elements in this order (separated by the punctuation marks shown here):

Author. Title of source. Title of container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, date, location.

Elements may be excluded if they are not applicable to the source, but you should make every effort to ensure that your citations are as complete as possible.


Name formatting for sources with…

1 author: Last Name, First Name (e.g., Smith, Adam)

2 authors: Last Name, First Name and First Name Last Name (e.g., Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels)

3+ authors: Last Name, First Name, et al. (e.g., Burdick, Anne, et al.)

For the purpose of MLA citations, a source’s author is the person or group primarily responsible for producing the source or the aspect of the source that your research focused on. If the role of that person or group was something other than creating the source’s main content, follow the name with a label that describes that role.

Examples of these labels include editor (when you’re citing an entire volume of essays or anthology), translator (when your focus is on the translation), performer (film or television actors, musicians), director, and screenwriter.


Title of source
If a source is part of a larger work, its title is placed in quotation marks. For example:

  • An article from a journal, newspaper, or magazine
  • An essay, story, or poem from a collection
  • An episode of a television series
  • A page from a website
  • A song from an album

If a source is self-contained and independent, its title is italicized.

Capitalize the first word, last word, and all principal words in titles and subtitles. Do NOT capitalize the following parts of speech when they fall in the middle of a title or subtitle:

  • Articles (a, an, the)
  • Prepositions (e.g., against, as between, in, of, to)
  • Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet)


Title of container
For a source that is part of a larger work, that larger work is considered to be its container. The title of a container is italicized and follows the same capitalization rules as the title of a source.


Other contributors
Names of other contributors should be included if their participation in creating the work is important to your research or to the identification of the work. Each name should be preceded by a description of the contributor’s role. Common examples include adapted by, directed by, edited by, illustrated by, introduction by, narrated by, performance by, and translated by.

For sources with containers, if the other contributors did not work on the container as a whole, they should be listed before the title of the container.


If more than one version of a source has been released, identify the version you used for your research in the citation. For example:

  • revised ed.
  • updated ed.
  • expanded ed.
  • 7th ed.
  • unabridged version
  • director’s cut

Note that “edition” is abbreviated as “ed.” in citations.


Sources may have numbers indicating their place in a larger work. These numbers may represent volumes, issues, seasons, or episodes. In citations, abbreviate “volume” as “vol.” and “issue” or “number” as “no.” Do not abbreviate “episode” or “season” in citations.


The publisher is the organization primarily responsible for producing the source or making it available to the public. Publishers may be omitted for the following types of sources: a periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper); a source published by its corporate authors; a website with a title that is the same as the name of its publisher.


This is the date that the source was published. If the source has more than one date of publication (e.g., a newspaper article available in print and online), list the date from the version of the source you used. Depending on the type of source, you may need to include the season, month, or specific day in addition to the year.


Depending on the type of source, the location may be any of the following:

  • Page number or range of page numbers (e.g., p. 37, pp. 11-24)
  • URL (e.g.,
  • DOI (digital object identifier) (e.g., doi: 10.1126/science.aab2165)
  • Physical location (e.g., New York Transit Museum)