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How to Cite Work of Unknown Authors

by Forest Time, Demand Media

    By the time you reach college, you are probably aware of the basic format for the citation of sources. But you may not be aware of how to properly cite works of unknown authors. Luckily, both the American Psychological Association, or APA, and the Modern Language Association, or MLA, offer guidelines for the citation of works by unknown authors. The exact format your citation should take will depend on whether you are adhering to APA or MLA citation guidelines.

    Unknown Authors in APA Format

    Step 1

    List the title of the work in italics, followed by a period. Only the first letter of the title should be capitalized, along with any proper nouns. For example: Complete works of unknown Chinese poets. If this is a specific edition, note that in parentheses before the period. For example: The complete works of unknown Chinese poets (5th ed.).

    Step 2

    List the date of publication, followed by a period: 1995.

    Step 3

    List the city and state of publication, followed by a colon: Boston, MA:

    Step 4

    List the publisher, followed by a period, like so: Spring Grass Press.

    Step 5

    Ensure that the final citation appears in the following format: Complete works of unknown Chinese poets. 1995. Boston, MA: Spring Grass Press.

    Unknown Authors in MLA Format

    Step 1

    List the title of the work in italics, followed by a period: Complete Works of Unknown Chinese Authors.

    Step 2

    List the city of publication, followed by a colon, like this: Boston:

    Step 3

    List the name of the publisher, followed by a comma: Spring Grass Press,

    Step 4

    List the year of publication, followed by a period, such as, 1995.

    Step 5

    List the medium of publication, followed by a period: Print.

    Step 6

    Ensure that the finished citation appears in the following format: Complete Works of Unknown Chinese Authors. Boston: Spring Grass Press, 1995. Print.

    Style Your World With Color

    Tip

    • Alphabetize references with no known author by their titles. For instance, on your reference page, the entry "Complete works of unknown Chinese poets" might appear between references for works written by Leonard Cohen and Simon Cowell.

    About the Author

    Forest Time has been writing for over a decade. During this time, he founded and edited a short-lived literary magazine, received several prizes for his poetry and published a master's thesis on Cambodian history. He received his Master of Arts in Asian history from the University of Maine at Orono in 2007.

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