MLA Works Cited Style 

Robert Harris
Version Date: November 22, 2010

This article covers the MLA bibliographic style for the sources you cite in your paper. The information here is based on the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (2009).

The goal of the entire in-text citation and Works Cited apparatus is to provide your reader with an easy, clear way to locate the sources you have drawn upon when writing your paper. The in-text citation serves as a key to the list of Works Cited at the end of the paper. It is therefore crucial that each key matches the appropriate reference work. The references are alphabetized to make matching the citation to the work quick and easy.


Guideline 1: Basic reference.

The Works Cited page has the following features:


Guideline 2: Typical book.

Book references feature these characteristics:

 Example 1

Last name, First name. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. City of Publication: Publisher, Date. Medium.

Doe, Jane. Understanding the Media: A Guide to Print and Broadcast Journalism. 11th ed. New York: Deerlink Press, 2003. Print.

Example 2

Smith, John, and Mary Doe. Quality Control in Aircraft Manufacture. Seattle: Aeroaviation Press, 2007. Print.

Example 3

Brown, John, Jane Doe, and James Smith, eds. Musicotherapeutics: Essays on Genre. London: Bella Arte, 2004. Print.

Example 4

Aristotle. Rhetoric. Trans. Edward Meredith Cope. 1877. Ed. John Doe. New York: Philosopher’s Attic Press, 2010. Print.


Guideline 3: Typical article.

Article references follow this format:

Example 5

Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Periodical Title Volume (Year): Start page-end page. Medium.

 Doe, John. “Filtration Breakdowns and the Cigarette Butt Problem.” Water Treatment Monthly 46 (2008): 221-227. Print.

 Example 6

Doe, Jane. “Recycling and You: From Cliché to Lifestyle.” Essays on Culture Shift. Ed. Joseph Doax. New Mexico: Greentronics Press, 2008. 344-357. Print.


Guideline 4: Typical Web page.

Web articles are cited in a way similar to print articles. Note the differences.

 Example 7

Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Web Site. Sponsoring Organization, Date of article. Web. Date you accessed article.


Doe, Jane. “Milton’s Use of the Colon.” Literary Punctuation Online. Association for the Study of Punctuation, 17 Dec. 2008. Web. 5 March 2009.

Example 8

Smith, John. “Infotainment: The Hybridization of Discourse Modes.” The Commentary Cloud, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2011.

Example 9

Doe, John. “Semantics: A New Definition.” Linguistica Abnormalis. International Research Society for Linguistic Progress, 2009. Web. 13 July 2008. <http://www.irslip.info/restricted/sand.htm>.


1. Many Web pages do not contain all of the information described above. In such cases, include whatever information is available on the page. You may be able to locate the name of the Web site or the sponsoring organization by backing up to the root URL.


Guideline 5: Typical database.

Online databases are cited with the same format as Web articles, with the addition of the name of the source database.

Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Periodical Title Volume (Year): Pages. Database. Web. Date you accessed article.

 Doe, John. “Aristotle on Friendship.” Amicus 32 (1999): 324-31. JSTOR. Web. 4 Nov. 2009.


See Also
MLA In-Text Citation Style
APA In-Text Citation Style
APA Reference Style

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Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com