Modern Language Association or MLA style is used for research papers in English and the humanities. Sources used in these papers -- books, periodicals, websites, images or spoken words -- must be cited in the text and on a Works Cited page.
A citation for a book on the Works Cited page of an MLA paper will begin with the author's last name, followed by a comma, the first name and a period. Next comes the italicized title of the book and a period. This is followed by the name of the city in which the book was published, a colon, the name of the publisher, a comma, the year of publication and a period. Finally, write the medium of publication, which in the case of a book is Print, and a period. For example: Freeberg, Ernest. The Age of Edison (in italics). New York: Penguin Press, 2013. Print. Multiple authors can be listed by name, but if a book has more than three authors, the citation includes only the first name, followed by "et al."
A citation for an article found in a magazine or a newspaper begins with the name of the author and a period. Next is the title of the article, in quotation marks, and a period. That is followed by the italicized title of the periodical, the date it was published, a colon and the numbers of the pages on which the article is printed, and then the medium of publication. For example: Wilson, Willard. "High Winds Destroy Home." San Diego Tribune (italicized) 23 May 2008: 1A. Print.
In a citation for a website, the name of the site editor, if available, comes first, followed by a period. The italicized name of the site and a period is next. The version number of the site and another period follow. Then write the name of the publisher or sponsor, a comma, the date the site was created, if applicable, and a period. Finally, you will write the medium of publication as "Web," followed by a period, the date the site was accessed and a period. For example: NFL.com (italics). The National Football League. Web. 1 April 2013.
A citation for spoken words begins with the name of the speaker and a period. Then comes the title of the speech, if available, in quotation marks and then a period. Next write the name of the meeting, followed by a period, the name of the hosting organization and a period. The location the speech took place is then listed, a period, the date of the speech and another period. The citation should be completed with the type of presentation, such as Keynote Address. For example: Rayez, Miguel. "The Way to the Top." Annual Retreat. Northern Michigan Rotary. Traverse City Elks Lodge. 25 June 1989. Welcome Address. Citations for personal interviews conducted by the author begin with the name of the interviewee and a period. Next, you will write "Personal Interview," followed by a period, the date the interview took place and a final period.
When citing visual art, such as a photograph or painting, you will begin with the artist's name and a period. Next comes the title of the work, in italics, and a period. Then state the date of creation and a period. Finally, you write the name of the institution where the work is displayed, a comma, the city where the institution is located and a period. For example: LeGard, Darrick. A Winter Abroad (italicized). 1958. Zoya Museum, Chicago.
Using MLA style, in-text citations are placed in parentheses at the conclusion of the sentence that references the source material, before the final period of the sentence. Most citations will state the last name of the author or artist and the specific page number of the content being referenced. If the artist is unknown, the title of the article or image is used. The citation always correlates to the first word listed for that entry on the Works Cited page. If the artist or author is named in the sentence, the name should be left out of the citation. For example: The immigrants had a difficult time finding work in the area (Walters 38). According to Walters, immigrants had a difficult time finding work in the area (38).
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- Modern Language Association: What Is MLA Style?
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited Page: Books
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited: Periodicals
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition; Modern Language Association
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images