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MLA Style: Using Source Material: The Works Cited List

An introduction to MLA style for academic papers, based on the MLA Handbook, 8th Edition.

MLA Style

MLA Style is the format used by the Modern Language Association. Most papers written for classes in the arts and humanities use MLA style; instructors in other disciplines may also prefer MLA format.

MLA Style Resources

For additional information on MLA Style, consult

Using Source Material: The Works Cited List

Center the title Works Cited at the top of the page. Use double spacing and a hanging indent for entries; list sources in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names; alphabetize unsigned articles by the first word of the title (except for A, An, and The).

Each entry should contain as many of the following elements as are available:

Author's Name

  • One Author: Write the name in inverted order, last name first:  Macdonald, Helen.
  • Two Authors: Use inverted order for the first author and normal order for the second:  Stevenson, Robert Louis, and Lloyd Osbourne.
  • Three or More Authors: Follow the first author's name with the abbreviation et al.:  Dunne, Peter, et al.

Title of Source and Container

Capitalize the first letter of the first word of a title, and every important word thereafter.

Titles of self-contained works should be written in italics; titles of shorter works contained in a longer work should be placed in quotation marks.

Other Contributors

Editors and translators should be named, as well as other significant contributors.

Version and Number

For sources released in more than one edition, include the version; for sources that are part of sequential series, include the volume/issue number.

Publisher and Date of Publication

The publisher of a book or website, if available, should be named, omitting business words like Inc. or Company; if the name of the website is the same as the publisher, use only as the name of  the website, and leave the publisher space blank.

Include as much information as is available for the publication date. If no date is available, it is useful to add an access date to the end of the entry.

Location

The location for a book chapter or journal/magazine article is the page range. The location for a website is the URL or DOI.