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Citing Sources

Book sources: General guidelines

For a complete list of changes from the seventh to the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, see "What's New in the 8th Edition?"

Selected changes in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook:

  • Spell out roles such as editor, translator, and review
  • If an organization is the author and the publisher, start the citation with the title of the work and use the organization’s name as publisher
  • Use p. or pp. before page numbers in the Works Cited list (but not the in-text citation)
  • Don’t list place of publication
  • Don’t abbreviate publisher’s names. Don’t use common business terms like Company
  • For university presses, continue to abbreviate “press” as P
  • For eBooks from a database, URLs (not including http:// or https:// and without brackets) are now included i
  • End the entire citation with a period (.) even when the citation ends with an URL

Use the examples below as guides ONLY. For complex citations, consult a copy of the MLA Handbook. 

There have been no major guideline changes noted in the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook.


One Author - Entire Print Book

Westhoff, Patrick. The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices.

     FT Press, 2010.

Two Authors - Entire Print Book

List the authors’ names in the same order as they appear on the title page. Do not re-alphabetize the order. Reverse the first and last name of the first author (Last name, First name). List the second author in their normal form (First name Last name). Separate authors by a comma. Include “and” before the name of the last author in the list.

Anderson, Curtis D., and Judy Anderson. Electric and Hybrid Cars: A History. 2nd ed., McFarland, 2010.

Three or More Authors - Entire Print Book

Always use et al. (meaning “and others”) when referencing three or more authors    

 Smith, Karen A., et al. The Freshman Experience. Boston UP, 2017.

Edited or Translated Book - Entire Print Book

If the person listed on the title page is an editor, translator, or compiler, place a comma after the name and add the label describing the person’s role.

Tally, Justine, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Toni Morrison. Cambridge UP, 2007.

Use this same format for two editors, reversing the first name and adding the second name such as:

Kindness, Kathy, and Sally P. Jones, editors.

Edited or Translated Book - Three or More Editors - Entire Print Book

If there are three or more names listed on the title page as editors, translators, or compilers, list the first editor and use et al. Then add the label describing their role.

Yarbro, Connie Henke, et al., editors. Cancer Symptom Management. 4th ed., Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2014.

Corporate Author - Entire Print Book

A corporate author may be a group (commission, association, or committee) responsible for the creation of the work. Provide the group as corporate author when no individuals are listed on the title page. Do not include articles such as A, An, or The, and it is best to not abbreviate the group’s name. 

Educational Testing Service. The Praxis Series: Official Guide. McGraw, 2008. 

Corporate Author is Also Publisher - Entire Print Book

Sometimes a group is both the author and publisher; if so, start the entry with the title and only list the corporate author as the publisher.

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association, 2016. 

No Author - Entire Print Book

Start the reference with the title:

Webster's New Biographical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, 1998. 

Chapter in a Book - Print Book

Often you will use a portion of a book, not the entire source, in your research. In academic  writing, chapters are often written by different authors and included in a book edited by others; therefore it is important to cite the exact chapter(s) that you use:


Schofield, Janet W. “Promoting Positive Intergroup Relations in School Settings.” Toward a

     Common Destiny: Improving Race and Ethnic Relations in America, edited by Willis D.

     Hawley and Anthony W. Jackson, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995, pp. 257-289.


Entry in a Reference Book (Encyclopedia or Dictionary for Example) - Print Book

  • Start with the author’s name or the entry title if no author
  • According to OWLyou don’t need to include the publisher or volume
  • Page numbers are not necessary if the reference work entries are listed alphabetically

“Phobia.” APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2007.

Work in an Anthology - Print Book

Begin citation with the author and title of the individual work you are citing. Next, include the title of the book that the work appears in.  List the editor or translator of the entire book and provide the publication information. Include the page numbers of the individual cited work. Check with your faculty member’s preferences for including the original year. β€‹

Weinbaum, Stanley G. “A Martian Odyssey.” 1934. The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories,

     edited by Tom Shippey, Oxford UP, 1992, pp. 70-79.

Book As Part of a Series - Print Book

If the title page indicates that the book is part of a series, include the series name and series number (if available) at the end of the citation. The book in the example below is a part of the series: The Reference Shelf.

Kan, Kat, editor. Graphic Novels and Comic Books. H.W. Wilson Company, 2010. The

     Reference Shelf 82.5.

Multivolume Print Reference Book

Entry in a Multi-Volume Reference Book

Begin citation with the author (if available) and title of the entry that you are citing. Next, include the title of the reference book where you found the entry. Include the editors and edition.

If using one volume, include the volume number that you used.


"Hughes, (James) Langston 1902-1967.” Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by

     Carolyn Riley and Phyllis Carmel Mendelson, vol. 5, Gale, 1976. 

Multivolume Print Reference Book - Using Several Volumes

If using two or more volumes, include the total number of volumes in the set.


Laderman, Gary, and Luis Leon, editors. Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia

      of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions. ABC-CLIO, 2003. 3 vols. 

eBooks from Holy Family's Research Databases

When citing eBooks retrieved from Holy Family Research Databases include the following:

  • Database name in italics (Ebook Collection (Ebscohost), or PsycBOOKS for example)
  • Permalink - URL (without http:// or https)
  • Date of access can be helpful for items without a date, if your faculty suggests it​

Sneddon, Andrew. Like-Minded: Externalism and Moral Psychology. EBook Collection (EBSCOhost), MIT Press, 2011, 


eBook Downloaded From a Service (Kindle, Nook, etc.)

When citing eBooks downloaded or purchased through a service (not retrieved from Holy Family research databases) list the device or service you used.


Mortenson, Greg, and David Oliver Relin. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote

      Peace. . . One School at a Time. Kindle ed., Penguin, 2006​

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