Carroll University
Students chatting outside Lowry Hall
Library Catalog
About the Library
  Citation Help
  Course Guides
  Database List A-Z
  Digital Collections
  Getting Started
  Off Campus Access
  Online Journals
  Online Research
Career Services
Learning Commons
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style Guide- 7th Edition

The MLA publication style is recommended for many humanities assignments.  Check your course syllabus or ask your professor to make sure you are using the correct citation style.

Citation information is from MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition, three copies of which can be found in the library- LB2369 .G53 2009.

In Text Citation
You will be citing your references in two ways while writing your papers- the in text citation (direct references to sources within your writing) and in your bibliography or works cited page at the end of your paper. MLA uses parenthetical citation (6.1) to show readers where exactly you got a quote or piece of information.

For example:
Medieval Europe was a place both of "raids, pillages, slavery, and extortion" and of "traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities, and active markets in grain" (Townsend 10).

The parenthetical reference (Townsend 10) indicates that those quotes came from page 10 of a work by Townsend. In trying to keep references brief, you can also include the author's name in your paragraph and use only the page number in the parenthesis.

For example:
Townsend stated that Medieval Europe was a place of both "raids, pillages, slavery, and extortion" (10).


  Book (5.5.2, 5.5.4, and 6.3)

In text:
Okuda's comparison between early space flight and the U.S.S. Enterprise are revealing (14-16).

Okuda, Michael. Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future. New York: Pocket,
      1993. Print.

  Work in an Anthology (5.5.3)
In text:
Blakemore wrote that "audience enjoys melodrama because it makes for vigorous and immediate storytelling…" (457).

Blakemore, Michael. "Is He Alive?" The Mark Twain Anthology. Ed. Shelly Fisher Fishkin. New York:       Random House, 2010. 454-457. Print.

  Journal Article in Print (5.4.2)
In text:
Seven of Nine's character can be analyzed with the theories Wilcox put forward in her thesis (54).

Wilcox, Rhonda V. "Shifting Roles and Synthetic Women in Star Trek: The Next
      Generation." Studies in Popular Culture 13 (1991): 53-65. Print.
  Journal Article in an Online Database (5.6.4)
In text:
By 1521 the wealthy in Spain felt a sense of discontent and missed opportunities regarding the New World (Valencia-Suraez 278).

Valencia-Suarez, Maria F. "Tenochititlan and the Aztecs in the English Atlantic World, 1500-1603."
      Atlantic Studies 6.3 (2009): 277-301. Humanities International Complete. Web. 27 July 2011.
Back to top
  Print Newspaper or Magazine Article (5.4.5 & 5.4.6)
In text:
Herzog reports that "…some school districts are scurrying to reach agreements with employee unions…" (1A)

Herzog, Karen. "School Districts Press to Reach Agreements." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 31
      May 2011: 1A+. Print.

Magazine- weekly or biweekly:
Weintraub, Arlene, and Laura Cohen. "A Thousand Year Plan for Nuclear Waste."
      Business Week 6 May 2002: 94-96. Print.

Magazine- monthly or bimonthly:
Kates, Robert W. "Population and Consumption: What We Know, What We Need to Know."
      Environment Apr. 2000: 10-19. Print.

  Newspaper or Magazine Article on the Internet (5.6.2b & 6.4.4)
In text:
In the news article stated that lawmakers are not agreeing on key issues ("Debt Impasse").

"Debt Impasse Fuels Sharp Fall in Stocks." New York Times. New York Times, 7 July
       2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011.
Tyre, Peg. "Standardized Tests in College?" Newsweek. Newsweek, 16 Nov. 2007
      Web. 15 May 2008.

  Article in a Reference Book (Dictionary, Encyclopedia, etc) (5.5.7)
In text:
The word "Doppelt" in german could mean double or dual (as in dual nationalities) ("Doppelt," def. 1a).

"Doppelt." Entry 1. Oxford Duden German Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1999. Print.
Back to top
  Websites (5.6.1 and 5.6.2)
**Please note URLs are no longer required in citations by MLA (See FAQ #4)
In text:
The editors of the Wililam Blake Archive, Eaves, Essick, and Viscomi, state the site is unique because "The dominant tradition of Blake editing has been overwhelmingly literary".

Eaves, Morris, Robert Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, eds. The William Blake Archive. Lib.
        of Cong., 28 Sept. 2007. Web. 20 Nov. 2007. <>.
Briggs, Asa. Victorian Cities. Berkley: University of California Press, 1993. Google Book Search.
      Web. 28 July 2011.
"de Kooning, Willem."  Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 15
      May 2011.
"Maplewood, New Jersey." Map. Google Maps. Google, 15 May 2011. Web. 15 May 2011.
  Sound Recording (5.7.2)
In text:
Brown's 1991 CD release of Star Time features the hit "I feel good (I knew that I would)" where the listener can hear the song's heavy brass and twelve bar blues format.

Brown, James. Star Time. Polydor, ,1991. CD.
  DVD (5.7.3)
In text:
In the film Jurassic Park, the use of live action dinosaurs was necessary due to the limits with special effects in the early 1990s, especially noted during the first encounter with the T-Rex.

Jurassic Park
. Dir. Stephen Spielberg. Perf. Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough.
        1993. Universal, 2000. DVD.
  Work of Art (5.7.6)
In text:
In Rene Magritte's painting Time Transfixed, it is of note that the right candlestick has no reflection in the mirror.

Magritte, Rene. Time Transfixed. 1938. Painting. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago.
Kahlo, Frida. Self-Portrait with Monkey. 1938. Oil.Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New
          York. Art Museum Image Gallery. Web. 1 Oct. 2008.
  Government Document (5.5.20)

In text:
In 1970 the United States Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments of the Committee on the Judiciary published a document during the second session of the 91st Congress (1-4).

United States. Senate. Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments of the Committee on the      
      Judiciary. Hearings on the "Equal Rights" Amendment. 91st Cong. 2nd sess. S. Res.
      61.Washington: GPO. 1970. Print.
United Nations. Consequences of Rapid Population Growth in Developing Countries. New York:
      Taylor, 1991. Print.



1. How do I format a typical works cited or bibliography page (3.2)?
Arrange all of the items listed alphabetically by author.  If no author is given, interfile the rest of the entries alphabetically.  Single space subsequent lines in each entry, and indent those lines of each entry one tab in.  Pay attention to the placement of commas, periods, and italicized words.  Use the examples above to determine where the proper punctuation and style occurs.

2. What happens when there is more than one author for an item in my bibliography (5.5.4)?
Use the following format for two or three authors, placing the first author listed in front.  Below is an example of a two author item:
Last Name, First Name and First Name, Last Name.
If there are more than three authors, write the first author listed as normal, and then use the phrase "et al" to indicate that other authors were present:
Last Name, First Name, et al.

3. What happens when I cannot find an author or editor (5.5.5, 5.3.3, & 5.4.9)?
Try looking for an organization, association, or committee that is sponsoring the information.  Often you will then use this group as a "corporate author".  If you truly cannot find any indication of where this information is coming from, start by listing the item's title.

4. How do I format an in-text citation if the resource does not have an author or editor (6.4.4)?
If the resource does not have an author or editor, use the full title (if brief) or an abbreviation of the title, starting with the first relevant word of the title.  Provide enough of a unique phrase where your reader will be able to identify the resource in your bibliography.  Put this phrase in quotes if it is a short work (articles) or italicize if it is a longer work like a play, book, t.v. show, recording, work of art, or an entire website. 

5. What do I do if I cannot find date, publisher, or page information (5.6.2)?
First, gather all of the information you can.  Use the following abbreviations for information you do not have: n.p. for no place of publication or no publisher, n.d. for no date of publication given.  If no page numbers or paragraph numbers are given (especially in reference to online sources) do not include them.

6.  How do I format an in-text citation for an item that does not have page numbers (6.4.2)?
If an item does not have page numbers or paragraph notations, then you must cite the entire work.  It is preferred to include the author, editor, director, performer, etc (if available) within the text instead of including a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence where the page numbers would have gone if they had been present.  If you include the title of the work, make sure to italicize the title of work if it is a longer piece like a book, recording, website, etc or include the title in italics if it is a shorter work (like an article).

7. Is a URL required when citing online sources  (5.6.1)?
No.  MLA no longer mandates that URLs are needed in citations.  This is because URLs change often, can be unique to the user's session, and can be long and complex in recording them.  But, if your instructor still requires URLs, or if you feel providing the URL is a necessary supplement for the reader, place it after the retrieval date and in angle brackets with a period to close the entry.

8. What if the item was published in print form, but I retrieved it from an online source (5.6.2c)?
For items that were originally published in print form but retrieved online (i.e. a book scanned into Google Books or a work of Shakespeare reprinted on a website), it is recommended that the item's original publication data is also taken into consideration.  This means citing the item as you would the print source, but also including after that information the title of the database or website (in italics), the medium of the publication (Web instead of Print) and the date of access (day, month and year).  Under our Website examples, see bibliographic entry 2.

9. Are there different rules for items published before 1900 (5.5.23)?
In items published before 1900, you may leave out the name of the publisher and use a comma instead of a colon after the place of publication.

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Click on a book cover to see books you can check out about each citation style.
APA Style Guide MLA Style Guide
AMA Style Guide Chicago Style Guide


 Copyright © 2014 Carroll University, Waukesha, Wisconsin. All rights reserved. Top of Page