What Is an Appropriate Heading for an MLA Bibliography?

by Rebekah Richards, Demand Media

Citing sources referenced in research gives credibility to your paper, protects you from plagiarism charges and provides a record for future research. Students in liberal arts and humanities classes, such as English, history, philosophy and music, typically cite sources in Modern Language Association, or MLA, style. The bibliography of a paper in MLA format should be titled "Works Cited."

Works Cited vs. Bibliography

Some citation styles require a bibliography rather than a Works Cited page. Bibliographies typically include all sources consulted during the process of writing a paper, even sources you didn't cite. Works Cited pages, in contrast, include only the sources cited within a paper with parenthetical citations.

Works Cited Page Format

The Works Cited page should begin on a new page at the end of your paper, after your conclusion and any endnotes. The page should be titled "Works Cited"; this title should be centered but not italicized, underlined or in quotation marks, according to the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Citations should be double-spaced and have a hanging indent for all lines after the first line of each entry. Use the same font size and formatting on the Works Cited page as the rest of your paper; it should have a one-inch margin and header with your last name and the page number.

Recent Changes

In 2009, the Modern Language Association made changes to the Works Cited format guidelines. The updated guidelines require the medium of publication to be included with each entry, such as print or Web, according to the Purdue Online Writing Lab. URLs are also no longer required in website citations. Check with your instructor or the latest edition of the MLA style manual to ensure your citation format is up-to-date.

About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

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