Module 10

Citing Sources with MLA

This module covers how to cite sources using MLA (Modern Language Association) style.

When you complete this module, you will be able to:

- identify when to use MLA.
- construct basic MLA citations.
- use in-text citations for MLA.
- format a paper using MLA.

 

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used most often to cite sources in the humanities (e.g. literature).

Your professor may tell you what citation style to use. If not and you are uncertain which to use, ask your professor.

This module uses the 8th edition of the MLA handbook.

The Library has two copies of the handbook that you may use in the library. You may also find online guides such as Purdue Online Writing Lab.

MLA citations have specific formatting rules for names, titles, publishers, order, and indenting.

For first name, use full name as listed with last name first followed by a comma and then first name (e.g. Doyle, Arthur Conan.).

For two authors, list first name in reverse but other author in normal form with first name followed by last name (e.g. Holmes, Sherlock, and John Watson.).

For works with three or more authors, list first name in reverse followed by et al., which means and others, (e.g. Holmes, Sherlock, et al.).

See page 21 in the handbook for more information.

Capitalize each word of titles except articles (i.e. the, a, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless first word in title or subtitle (e.g. Zombie Myths of Australian Military History: The 10 Myths That Will Not Die.)

Italicize titles of large works such as books, journals, websites.

Put quotes ("") around titles of articles, essays, chapters, and other short works.

See pages 67-75 in the handbook for more information.

Give the publisher's name and year of publication (e.g. Dodd, 1958.)

Omit business words if in the publisher's name.

For university presses, use U for university and P for press (e.g. U of Nebraska P).

See section 1.6.3 on page 97 in the handbook for more information.

If no publication date is given (e.g. webpages), simply omit it. However, give an accessed date so your reader knows what version you used.

You may also want to give an accessed date for other online works since they can be edited or deleted at any time.

See page 53 in the handbook for more information.

On your Works Cited page, list citations in alphabetical order. If more than one source has the same author, list alphabetically by author and then by title and substitute three hyphens for the name.

Example:
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Book of Sherlock Holmes. World Publisher, 1950.

- - -. Famous Tales of Sherlock Holmes. Dodd, 1958.

First line flush left with margin. Indent half-inch from left margin all additional lines of a citation.

Note: Because of formatting restrictions, all examples in this module won’t have this requirement.

 

In the 8th edition, MLA designates core elements in a citation. The information about the source determines if a particular element will be used or not.

Order of elements with required punctuation is as follows:

1. Author.
2. Title of Source.
3. Title of Container,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version,
6. Number,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date,
9. Location.

Now we can build our citations. Let's start with books.

First, we'll pull the information from the source for the relevant elements.

1. Author. Drezner, Daniel.
2. Title of Source. Theories of International Politics and Zombies.
3. Title of Container,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version,
6. Number,
7. Publisher, Princeton UP,
8. Publication date, 2011.
9. Location.

Then, we'll take those elements and build the citation.

Drezner, Daniel. Theories of International Politics and Zombies. Princeton UP, 2011.

1. Author. Preiss, Byron, and John Betancourt.
2. Title of Source. The Ultimate Zombie.
3. Title of Container,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version,
6. Number,
7. Publisher, Dell Publishing,
8. Publication date, 1993.
9. Location.

Preiss, Byron, and John Betancourt. The Ultimate Zombie. Dell Publishing, 1993.

1. Author. Reece, Jane B., et al.
2. Title of Source. Campbell Biology.
3. Title of Container,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 9th ed.,
6. Number,
7. Publisher, Benjamin Cummings,
8. Publication date, 2011.
9. Location.

Reece, Jane B., et al. Campbell Biology. 9th ed., Benjamin Cummings, 2011.

1. Author (or Editors). Boyle, Kirk, and Daniel Mrozowski, editors.
2. Title of Source. The Great Recession in Fiction, Film and Television: Twenty-first-century Bust Culture.
3. Title of Container,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 
6. Number,
7. Publisher, Lexington Books,
8. Publication date, 2013.
9. Location.

Boyle, Kirk, and Daniel Mrozowski, editors. The Great Recession in Fiction, Film and Television: Twenty-first-century Bust Culture. Lexington Books, 2013.

1. Author. Fernandes, Clinton.
2. Title of Source. “Two Tales of Timor.”
3. Title of Container,  Zombie Myths of Australian Military History: The 10 Myths That Will Not Die,
4. Other contributors, edited by Craig Stockings,
5. Version, 
6. Number,
7. Publisher UNSW P,
8. Publication date, 2011,
9. Location. pp. 213-33.

Fernandes, Clinton. “Two Tales of Timor.” Zombie Myths of Australian Military History: The 10 Myths That Will Not Die, edited by Craig Stockings, UNSW P, 2011, pp. 213-33.

 

eBooks from a library database or a website (e.g. Google Books, Project Gutenberg) will have a second container noting its online location.

1. Author. Austin, John.
2. Title of Source. So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead.
3. Title of Container, 
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 
6. Number,
7. Publisher Chicago Review P,
8. Publication date, 2010.
9. Location.
10. Title of Container 2, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost),
11. Other contributors, 
12. Version, 
13. Number,
14. Publisher,
15. Publication date,
16. Location. peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=342210&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Austin, John. So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead. Chicago Review P, 2010. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=342210&site=eds-live&scope=site.

eBooks on an e-reader uses the Version element to indicate the e-reader edition used.

1. Author. Walker, Ruth, et al.
2. Title of Source. Zombies in the Academy.
3. Title of Container, 
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, Kindle ed.,
6. Number,
7. Publisher, Intellect,
8. Publication date, 2013.
9. Location.

Walker, Ruth, et al. Zombies in the Academy. Kindle ed., Intellect, 2013.

 

1. Which is the correct formatting for authors?

A. Holmes, Sherlock, & John Watson.

B. Holmes, S., and J. Watson.

C. Holmes, Sherlock, and John Watson.

a is correct
b is correct
c is correct

2. Citations listed on the Reference page should be in ...

alphabetical order
chronological order

 

For electronic articles, we add a 2nd container elements to indicate the online location.

1. Author. Nasiruddin, M., et al.
2. Title of Source. "Zombies: A Pop Culture Resource for Public Health Awareness."
3. Title of Container,  Emerging Infectious Diseases,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 
6. Number, vol. 19, no. 5,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date, May 2013,
9. Location. pp. 809-13.
10. Title of Container 2, MEDLINE,
11. Other contributors, 
12. Version,
13. Number,
14. Publisher,
15. Publication date,
16. Location. doi:10.3201/eid1905.AD1905.

Nasiruddin, M., et al. "Zombies: A Pop Culture Resource for Public Health Awareness." Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 19, no. 5, May 2013, pp. 809-13. MEDLINE, doi:10.3201/eid1905.AD1905.

1. Author. Chodorow, Adam.
2. Title of Source. “Death and Taxes and Zombies.”
3. Title of Container,  Iowa Law Review,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 
6. Number, vol. 98, no. 3,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date, March 2013,
9. Location. pp. 1207-31.
10. Title of Container 2, Business Insights: Essentials,
11. Other contributors, 
12. Version, 
13. Number,
14. Publisher,
15. Publication date,
16. Location. peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgbe&AN=edsgcl.322329701&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Chodorow, Adam. “Death and Taxes and Zombies.” Iowa Law Review, vol. 98, no. 3, March 2013, pp. 1207-31. Business Insights: Essentials, peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgbe&AN=edsgcl.322329701&site=eds-live&scope=site.

1. Author. Robert, Kirk.
2. Title of Source. “The Inconceivability of Zombies.”
3. Title of Container,  Philosophical Studies,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version,
6. Number, vol. 139, no. 1,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date, May 2008,
9. Location. pp. 73-89.

Robert, Kirk. “The Inconceivability of Zombies.” Philosophical Studies, vol. 139, no. 1, May 2008, pp. 73-89.

1. Author. Grossman, Lev.
2. Title of Source. “Zombies Are the New Vampires.”
3. Title of Container,  Time,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 
6. Number, vol. 173, no. 15,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date, 20 Apr. 2009,
9. Location. p. 61.
10. Title of Container 2, Academic Search Complete,
11. Other contributors, 
12. Version, 
13. Number,
14. Publisher,
15. Publication date,
16. Location. peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=37567875&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Grossman, Lev. “Zombies Are the New Vampires.” Time, vol. 173, no. 15, 20 Apr. 2009, p. 61. Academic Search Complete, peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=37567875&site=eds-live&scope=site.

1. Author. Horan, Daniel P.
2. Title of Source. “Faith, Hope and Zombies.”
3. Title of Container,  America,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version,
6. Number, vol. 209, no. 4,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date, 12 Aug. 2013,
9. Location. p. 31.

Horan, Daniel P. “Faith, Hope and Zombies.” America, vol. 209, no. 4, 12 Aug. 2013, p. 31.

1. Author. Phillips, Erica. E.
2. Title of Source. "On College Campuses, Big Brains Turn the Tables and Feast on Zombies."
3. Title of Container,  The Wall Street Journal,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 
6. Number, vol. 263, no. 51,
7. Publisher
8. Publication date, 4 Mar. 2014,
9. Location. p. A1+.
10. Title of Container 2, ProQuest US Major Dailies,
11. Other contributors, 
12. Version, 
13. Number,
14. Publisher,
15. Publication date,
16. Location. peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1503752014?accountid=28186.

Phillips, Erica. E. "On College Campuses, Big Brains Turn the Tables and Feast on Zombies." The Wall Street Journal, vol. 263, no. 51, 4 Mar. 2014, p. A1+. ProQuest US Major Dailies, peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1503752014?accountid=28186.

1. Author. Hale, Mike.
2. Title of Source. “Going Big with Zombies.”
3. Title of Container,  The New York Times,
4. Other contributors,
5. Version,
6. Number,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date, 9 Oct. 2015,
9. Location. p. C1+.

Hale, Mike. "Going Big with Zombies." The New York Times, 9 Oct. 2015, p. C1+.

 

Website Citation
If no publication date is given, simply omit it but provide a date of access so your reader knows what version you used.

1. Author. Borgerding, Jodie.
2. Title of Source. Zombie Survival Guide.
3. Title of Container, 
4. Other contributors,
5. Version, 
6. Number,
7. Publisher, Webster U,
8. Publication date,
9. Location. libguides.webster.edu/zombies.
10. Date of access. Accessed 9 Sept. 2013.

Borgerding, Jodie. Zombie Survival Guide. Webster U, libguides.webster.edu/zombies. Accessed 9 Sept. 2013.

1. Which is the correct formatting for titles?

A. The hound of the Baskervilles.

B. The hound of the Baskervilles.

C. The Hound of the Baskervilles.

a is correct
b is correct
c is correct

 

2. If no publication date is given, what should you do?

use n.d. that stands for no date

 

leave that element empty but provide an access date

In-text citations direct your reader to the source on your works cited page with the information you used so you avoid plagiarizing.

Each source you cite in your paper must be listed on your works cited page.

In-text citations include the element that comes first in your citation, which is typically the author's name, to identify the source and the page number(s) for the specific location in the source that you found the information.

The element or author's name may be used in the text or before the page number in the parenthesis.

In-text citations may include the author's name in the sentence, according to Doe, with the page number at the end of the sentence (45).

Other in-text citations will have the author's name before the page number in the parenthesis (Doe 45).

Citing by Author(s) - You follow the form of the citation in your works cited.

  • For one author, you only list the last name of the author (Holmes 310-12).
  • For 2 authors, you list each last name of the authors (Holmes and Watson 19).
  • For 3 or more authors, you list the last name of the first author followed by et al. (Holmes et al. 30-6).

Unknown Author - If no author is identified, you use the title in your parenthetical reference and in your citation for your works cited.

This is an example of a source with no author ("Zombie" 2).

Works Cited

"Zombie Aptitude Test." Cicada, vol. 17, no. 6, July/Aug. 2015, p. 2. MasterFile Complete, peru.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=103671833&site=eds-live&scope=site.

For direct quotes from the source, you still only need the first element or author's name and the page(s).

Holmes went so far as to believe “the game is afoot”, which appeared accurate (20).

"The game is afoot" (Holmes 20).

Your professor may give you other guidelines for how to format your paper. The following are the guidelines according to the MLA handbook.

Double-spaced

1 inch margins on all sides

Use a readable font such as Times New Roman set to a standard size such as 12 point.

No title page.

At the top of the first page, type your name, your professor's name, course number, and the date on separate lines flush with the left margin. Center your title on the fifth line.

In the header, type your last name followed by the page number flush to the right margin.

You have completed Module 10. You should now be able to:

green check mark identify when to use MLA.

green check mark construct basic MLA citations.

green check mark use in-text citations for MLA.

green check mark format a paper using MLA.

You are ready for Module 11 - Citing Tools.