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The Complete Guide to MLA & Citations

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

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This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. MLA Modern Language Association style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities.

This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook 8 th ed. It is always a good idea to maintain personal copies of electronic information, when possible. It is good practice to print or save web pages or, better, use a program like Adobe Acrobat to keep your own copies for future reference. Also, you might use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to return to documents more easily. It is not required to do so but especially encouraged when there is no copyright date listed on a website.

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static i. However, MLA only requires the www. Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI digital object identifier. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL. If page numbers are not available, use par.

Use these in place of the p. Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every Web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible both for your citations and for your research notes:. Title of container self contained if book , Other contributors translators or editors , Version edition , Number vol. It is a good idea to list your date of access because web postings are often updated, and information available on one date may no longer be available later.

When using the URL, be sure to include the complete address for the site except for the https: Editor, author, or compiler name if available. Date of access if applicable. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. Accessed 10 May Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course or the school catalog designation for the course in italics.

Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title. Survey of the Literature of England. Accessed 31 May Purdue U, 20 Apr. For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced.

Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once. Accessed 6 July Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed.

Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access. The Family of Charles IV. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

Museo Nacional del Prado , www. Accessed 22 May Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www. If the work is cited on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author. Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Accessed 4 May For all online scholarly journals, provide the author s name s , the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. A citation shows the reader or viewer of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote into your project.

These citations that are found in the body of a research paper are called in-text, or parenthetical citations. These citations are found directly after the information that was borrowed and are very brief in order to avoid becoming distracted while reading a project.

Included in these brief citations is usually just the last name of the author and a page number or the year published. Scroll down below for an in-depth explanation and examples of in-text and parenthetical citations. In-text and parenthetical citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, it doesn't include the title and other components.

Look on the last page or part of a research project, where complete citations can be found in their entirety. Complete citations are found on what is called an MLA Works Cited page, which is sometimes called a bibliography.

All sources that were used to develop your research project are found on the Works Cited page. Complete citations are created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text, but also any sources that helped you develop your research project. Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Click here to see more across the site. Also, check out this article to see MLA citation in the news.

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It also shows that you were able to locate appropriate and reputable sources that helped back up your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work! The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related.

They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism.

Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. Liberal arts is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social science such as geography, economics, history, and others.

The humanities specifically focuses on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics. Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format. These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations was developed for numerous reasons.

When scholars and researchers in the literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and recognize and understand the different components of a source. From looking at a citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. Currently in its 8th edition, the 8th version is a citation style that is much different than the previous formatting style.

In the 7th version, which is the format, or structure, that was previously used, researchers and scholars found it grueling to put their citations together. Each source used a different citation structure.

Researchers and scholars were required to look up the citation format that matched the type of source they used. So, if a person used a book, a website, a journal article, a newspaper article, and an e-book, all in one research project, they were required to look up how to cite each one of those sources because each was structured differently.

Now, with the new version of MLA formatting, which is version 8, all source types use the same citation structure. The Modern Language Association enacted this new format due to the many new and innovative ways of obtaining information. We are no longer receiving information through traditional means, such as books, websites, and articles. We can now obtain information through apps, advertisements, Tweets, other social media posts, and many other creative ways.

To make the process of creating citations easier for researchers and scholars, the Modern Language Association decided to have one MLA citing format, which works for all source types. There are two types of citations.

There are regular or complete citations, which are found at the end of research projects. Regular citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:. Last name of the author, First name of the author. Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? See the next section to find out how to create in text citations. As stated above, in text citations, also called parenthetical citations, are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source.

We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information. These in text citations are found immediately after the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular citation.

The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project. Too much fire and you have a bad temper We want them to focus on our work and research, not necessarily our sources. If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a paragraph number use the abbreviation par. And I saw you and Mommy.

Footnotes and endnotes are not used in this style. Use in-text, or parenthetical citations, in the body of your work. In addition, create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project on the Works Cited list. If you need help with in text and parenthetical citations, Citation Machine can help.

A period closes this information. When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:. There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This happens often with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks. The other authors are accounted for by using et al. In Latin, et al.

Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed. Is there no author listed on your source? Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? We want to share the libraryofcongress collection. While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. Directed by James Cameron.

In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer. This is often done with edited books, too. Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

The titles are written as they are found on the source, and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital. Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks?

It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics.

If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it sits in, in italics. When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics. However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. It is important to account for all containers, so that readers are able to locate the exact source themselves. When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix.

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation. If the source has more than two containers, add on another full other section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found on a database. This source has two containers, the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other. Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris. Project Muse , muse. Many sources have people, besides the author, who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word by, and then their name in standard order. If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual.

If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation. When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral.

Also, abbreviate the word edition to ed. Dodd and Bruce I. Google Books , books. Many sources have numbers associated with them. In MLA format citing, it is important to include the name of the publisher the organization that created or published the source , so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except for periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations.

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Now available: the MLA International Bibliography with Full Text on EBSCOhost. For more information, please visit the EBSCO Web site. The MLA International Bibliography is an essential tool for research in all aspects of modern languages and literature. Available as a searchable online database of.

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The Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more across the site. Also, check out this article to see MLA citation in the news. Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases) Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every Web page will provide all of the following information.

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When you cite an online source, the MLA Handbook recommends including a date of access on which you accessed the material, since an online work may change or move at any time. Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." Creating in-text citations using the eighth edition. A bibliography, by definition, is the detailed listing of the books, journals, magazines, or online sources that an author has used in researching and writing their work.