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Citing sources: Citation Style Guides: MLA


This guide is intended to be a quick reference. For specific information you should refer to the MLA Handbook. The examples below are consistent with the MLA Handbook, 8th edition, 2016. Reference LB 2369 .G53 2016.

There are two things to consider when creating a citation.

  • It is very important to give credit where credit is due. To use someone else’s words or ideas without a citation is plagiarism.
  • The reader should be able to locate the source using only your citation.

The latest edition of the MLA Handbook contains some important changes regarding citations. It is no longer required to include the medium of publication, eliminating the need for new instructions when a new type of medium is created. The latest edition states that the style should be guided by three basic principles:

  • Cite simple traits shared by most works.
  • There is often more than one way to document a source.
  • Make your documentation useful to readers.


Topics in this guide

Style manual

Examples in this guide are based on the following:

Additional help

The basics

In-text citations

In addition to listing all the sources consulted during the writing of your paper on the Works Cited page, it is also necessary to identify what content was used, and where in the source it was found. MLA style uses an in-text citation or a parenthetical reference immediately following the borrowed content. If the author’s name is included in the text, do not repeat it in the citation. You must also include the page number where the information was found in the source. Below are two examples of parenthetical references.

Author’s name included in the text According to Heartney, Paine’s art is a result of observed contradictions between the interaction of nature and industrial development (18).
Author’s name included in the citation Paine’s art is a result of observed contradictions between the interaction of nature and industrial development (Heartney 18).

Works Cited

The Works Cited page should list all materials that have been cited in the text of your paper. This list should be in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, or by title if there is no author. Main titles should be italicized. The first line of each entry should be flush with the left margin, and each additional line should be indented by one-half inch. The page should be single spaced and placed at the end of the paper.

With the latest edition, the citation style is focused on core elements of the work, rather than the format of the work. The following is a list of the core elements, including the proper punctuation, that you will be using to create your citations:

Title of source.
Title of container,
Other contributors,

Publication date,

In an actual citation on your Works Cited page, it would look like this: 

Lastname, firstname. Title. Title of container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, location.



Examples of citations for sources using MLA Style

Type of resource Example from works cited page
Book or exhibition catalog – single author Heartney, Eleanor. Roxy Paine. Prestel, 2009.
Article from online database

Kemske, Bonnie. “The Beauty of Imperfection.” Ceramic Review, 225, May/June 2007, pp. 30-33. ArtFullText.

Original work of art Krasner, Lee. Celebration. 1960. Oil on canvas. Cleveland Museum of Art.
Article or essay from a book

Holmes, Wendy. “Decoding Collage: Signs and Surfaces.” Collage: Critical Views, edited by Katherine Hoffman, UMI Research Press, 1989, pp. 193-212.


For more examples, take a look at the MLA Style Citation Guide, found in the additional help box on the left.