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Citing Sources

Works Cited

  • Begin the Works Cited list on a new page at the end of your paper, centering the words Works Cited one inch from the top of the page. If you have only used one work, call it Work Cited.
  • Spacing: Double-space between references and within individual references.
  • Start each reference flush against the left margin. If a second or third line is necessary, use a hanging indent (indent the line one-half inch. This is equal to five spaces, or one tab.)
  • Organize the list by the first author's last name on a source. Don’t re-alphabetize the author’s names from a source.
  • If there is no author, alphabetize by the first significant title word (ignore a, the or an).
  • Capitalize the first letter of all words in a title except articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and "to" infinitives when they appear in the middle of a title. 
  • Italicize “containers” such as the titles of books, periodicals, Web sites, and online databases. 
  • Use quotation marks (“ ”) for articles, short stories, book chapters, articles/pages within a Web site, definitions, essay titles 

Want to see a sample paper? Check out a paper at the OWL at Purdue.

All citations in MLA style follow the same basic format, although the elements for each item may vary. When you locate resources, make a habit of recording all the elements needed to cite a source. Start with the most specific elements. Note what “container,” or larger source, the element is associated with. (For example, an article is an element in a journal “container.” MLA no longer requires specific notation as to whether or not a source is a print or web format, but you will include, in your citation, information for online retrieval where applicable.

                                                                        Elements of a Basic Citation


1. WHO is the author of article, chapter, web page

2. WHAT is the title of article, chapter, web page

3. WHAT is the title of container (journal name, book title, website)

4. WHO are other contributors if any (editor of book)

5. Version (edition if any)

6. Number (volume and issue of article)

7. Publisher

8. Publication date

9. Location (includes page numbers. Place

10. Online information: web address or doi

11. Date of access for web/online sources



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