This guide provides a basic introduction to the MLA citation style. It is based on the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers published by the Modern Language Association in 2009. This is a new edition of the book, and there are several significant changes to MLA style.
The MLA Handbook is generally used for academic writing in the humanities. The handbook itself covers many aspects of research writing including selecting a topic, evaluating sources, taking notes, plagiarism, the mechanics of writing, the format of the research paper as well as the way to cite sources.
This guide provides basic explanations and examples for the most common types of citations used by students. For additional information and examples, refer to the MLA Handbook.
Parenthetical documentation allows you to acknowledge a source within your text by providing a reference to exactly where in that source you found the information. The reader can then follow up on the complete reference listed on the Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
In response to rapid metropolitan expansion, urban renewal projects sought "an order in which more significant kinds of conflict, more complex and intellectually stimulating kinds of disharmony, may take place" (Mumford 485).
(Winks and Kaiser 176)
(Choko, Bourassa, and Baril 258-263)
(Baldwin et al. 306)
According to Postman, broadcast news influences the decision-making process (51-63).
Voice of the Shuttle has many electronic sources.
Winston argues that "Rourke has lowered his defenses" (par. 29).
Landow admitted that there was "work to be done" (qtd. in Rogers 333).
Further examples and explanations are available in Chapter 6 of the MLA Handbook.
The alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of your paper contains more information about all of the sources you've cited allowing readers to refer to them, as needed. The main characteristics are:
Mumford, Lewis. The Culture of Cities. New York: Harcourt, 1938. Print.
Francis, R. Douglas, Richard Jones, and Donald B. Smith. Destinies: Canadian History since Confederation. Toronto: Harcourt, 2000. Print.
Baldwin, Richard et al. Economic Geography and Public Policy. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2003. Print.
Replace the author's name by three hyphens and arrange alphabetically by the book's title:
Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Viking, 1985. Print.
---. The Disappearance of Childhood. New York: Vintage, 1994. Print.
Abate, Corinne S., ed. Privacy, Domesticity, and Women in Early Modern England. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003. Print.
Naremore, James. "Hitchcock at the Margins of Noir." Alfred Hitchcock: Centenary Essays. Ed. Richard Allen and S. Ishii-Gonzalès. London: BFI, 1999. 263-77. Print.
Associations, corporations, agencies and organizations are considered authors when there is no single author.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Action against Climate Change: The Kyoto Protocol and Beyond. Paris: OECD, 1999. Print.
If the article/entry is signed, include the author's name; if unsigned, begin with the title of the entry
Guignon, Charles B. "Existentialism." Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Edward Craig. 10 vols. London: Routledge, 1998. Print.
Carlson, Eric W. “The Range of Symbolism in Poetry.” The South Atlantic Quarterly 48.3 (1949): 442-52. Rpt. in Poetry Criticism. Ed. Jane Kelly Kosek and Christine Slovey. Vol. 13. Detroit: Gale, 1995. 83-84. Literature Criticism Online. Web. 18 Oct. 2009.
Kafka, Franz. Metamorphosis. Trans. and Ed. Stanley Corngold. New York: Bantam, 1972. Print.
Canada. Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Freedom from Fear: Canada's Foreign Policy for Human Security. Ottawa: DFAIT, 2002. Print.
United Nations. Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division. Charting the Progress of Populations. New York: UN, 2000. Print.
Bloom, Harold, ed. André Malraux. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Print. Modern Critical Views.
Article retrieved in print/paper format:
Ferrer, Ada. "Cuba 1898: Rethinking Race, Nation, and Empire." Radical History Review 73 (1999): 22-49. Print.
Man, Glenn K. S. "The Third Man: Pulp Fiction and Art Film." Literature Film Quarterly 21.3 (1993): 171-178. Print.
Article retrieved on the Web:
Sehmby, Dalbir S. "Wrestling and Popular Culture." CCLWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 4.1 (2002): n. pag. Web. 29 Mar. 2009.
Article retrieved in a library database:
Provide the same information as you would for a printed journal article and add the name of the database in italics, and indicate the publication medium as Web and the date of access.
NOTE - If there are no page numbers, or if the page numbers for each article in a journal appear in a new sequence for each item rather than continuously across the entire issue, write n. pag.
Brennan, Katherine Stern. "Culture in the Cities: Provincial Academies during the Early Years of Louis XIV's Reign." Canadian Journal of History 38.1 (2003): 19-42. CBCA Complete. Web. 29 Mar. 2004.
Dussault, Marc and Bruce G. Barnett. "Peer-assisted Leadership: Reducing Educational Managers' Professional Isolation." Journal of Educational Administration 34.3 (1996): 5-14. ABI/INFORM Global. Web. 29 Mar. 2004.
Heming, Li, Paul Waley, and Phil Rees. "Reservoir Resettlement in China: Past Experience and the Three Gorges Dam." The Geographical Journal 167.3 (2001): 195-212. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Mar. 2004.
Semenak, Susan. "Feeling Right at Home: Government Residence Eschews Traditional Rules." Montreal Gazette 28 Dec. 1995, Final Ed.: A4. Print.
Driedger, Sharon Doyle. "After Divorce." Maclean's 20 Apr. 1998: 38-43. Print.
For newspaper and magazine articles retrieved online, please see examples for journal articles retrieved from a library database.
Linder, Douglas O. Famous Trials. Univ. of Missouri Kansas-City Law School, 2009. Web. 29 Apr. 2009.
An entry for a nonperiodical item found on the Web contains the following:
Last name, First name. "Document title if available." Title of the overall Web site. Version or edition if available. Publisher or N.p. to designate no publisher, publication date or n.d. to mean no date. Web. Date of access.
If you cannot find some of this information, include only what is available.
"Joyce Wieland." Celebrating Women's Achievements: Women Artists in Canada. National Library of Canada, 2000. Web. 29 Mar. 2004.
Cassidy, Penny. "You Can't Read That." NBC New York. NBC Universal, 18 Apr. 2009. Web. 29 Apr. 2009.
Kirn, Walter. "The Wages of Righteousness." Rev. of Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks. New York Times Book Review 22 Feb. 1998: 9. Print.
Kauffmann, Stanley. "A New Spielberg." Rev of Schindler's List, dir. Steven Spielberg. New Republic 13 Dec. 1993: 30. Print.
"Scandal of the Century." Narr. Linden MacIntyre. The Fifth Estate. CBC Television. 23 Jan. 2002. Television.
Ellington, Duke. "Black and Tan Fantasy." Music is My Mistress. Musicmasters, 1989. CD.
The Shining. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Perf. Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall. Warner Bros., 1980. Videocassette.
Macbeth. Dir. Roman Polanski. Perf. Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, and Nicholas Selby. 1971. Columbia, 2002. DVD.
Beethoven, Ludwig van. Symphony no. 4 in B-flat major, op. 60. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2001. Print.
Cassatt, Mary. Mother and Child. 1890. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita. American Painting: 1560-1913. By John Pearce. New York: McGraw, 1964. Slide 22.