MLA Works Cited

Core Elements to a Works Cited

Core-Elements-of-MLA-Style_MLA-small The latest edition of MLA has a format for Works Cited that applies to all sources you may have. You should have all nine elements if possible, but if the publication does not have an element or it does not apply to your source listed then simply skip it.

Most of the elements are self-explanatory, but a few are not. Element 2 (title of source) refers to the source you are using specifically. For example, the web page you are on, a chapter in a book, or the name of a video. Element 3 (title of container) is the larger source that holds element 2; the website of the web page, the book the chapter is in, the site the video is posted on. For further explanation click on “Titles of Sources and Types of Containers” below.

Sometimes you may have more than one contributor, and that is why element 4 (other contributors) exists. For instance, in an anthology there are multiple authors and there is also an editor. More information and some examples can be found under “Types of Authors” and “Other Contributors.”

Element 9 (location) depends on the medium of the source. For print, it requires the page numbers where your source is found. For electronic sources, it will be the URL.

Below you can find examples on how to cite different types of sources. These examples are pulled from the MLA Handbook Eight Edition. You can always schedule an appointment with the Center for Writing and Communication for more help from a tutor.

Types of Authors

Below are common types of authors your sources may have. Authors names are listed last name, first name in the order that they are listed in the publication unless otherwise noted.

You may have to combine some of these examples to fit your source. For example, maybe you are citing an article, but it has more than one author.

Article by One Author

Kincaid, Jamaica. “In History.” Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2001, pp. 620-26.

Book by One Author

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Work by Two Authors

Follow the first name with a comma and the word ‘and’ followed by the second author, but the second authors name listed in normal order of first name last name.

Dorris, Michael, and Lousie Erdich. The Crown of Columbus. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.

Work by Three or More Authors

After the first author simply follow it with a comma and et al (Latin for “and others”).

Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital_Humanites. MIT P, 2012.

Work by a Corporate Author

A corporate author is a group of people who have written a document as a council, committee, organization, institution, agency, or another kind of organization. If the corporation is both the author and publisher then only list them as the publisher and omit and author.

United Nations. Consequences of Rapid population Growth in Developing Countries. Taylor and Francis, 1991.

Work by an Editor

This format will most likely happen if you are citing an anthology, which is a publication that has many works by different authors. For example, a collection of essays. If you are citing a specific author you will include their name, but the example below is only citing the entire work, giving credit to the editor.

Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor. The Future of the Book. U of California P, 1996.

Two or More Editors

Use the method of having two or three or more authors for the format of this: if there are two authors list both with a comma and the word ‘and.’ If there are three or more, list the first author followed by a comma and ‘et al.’

Holland, Merline, and Ruper Hart-Davis, editors. The Complete Letters of Oscar. Henry Holt, 2000.

Titles of Sources and Types of Containers

Most often, the title of a source will be in “quotations” while the container is italicized. A good tip is to think of quotations marks as hooks. Can you pull that smaller piece out of the larger container? Than it–most likely–needs quotations marks, which means the container will be italicized.

To reiterate the explanation above, title of source refers to the source you are using specifically. For example, the web page you are on, a chapter in a book, or the name of a video. Title of container refers to the larger source that holds element 2; the website of the web page, the book the chapter is in, the site the video is posted on. Sometimes you may only have a container: if you were citing a whole book instead of the chapter, or an entire website and not a single webpage. In these instances only list the container as that is what you are citing.

An Entire Book

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Part of a Book

When you are citing a smaller piece of an entire books, such as a poem, essay, or chapter, it is the smaller work inside a larger one that contains it. So the smaller piece is in quotations and the container is in italics.

Fitzgerald, Lauren, and Melissa Ianetta. “Tutoring Practices.” The Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 47-82.

An Entire Website

Hollmichel, Stefanie. So Many Books. 2003-13,

Part of a Website

If you are only using a single page, article, or posting from a website then you will use this format. You may have a more specific date since you are using a particular source, and the location (URL) will be more specific as well as it should link to the specific part of the website you used.

Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain; Difference between Digital and Print.” So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,

Other Contributors

This section can be tricky to understand. Basically, if there is someone important to the source you are citing, but you have not had a place to include their name yet, this is where you can do that.

Editors and Translators

Editors of collections of works (anthologies) and scholarly publications normally need to be included. As well, translators play a key role so they should be documented.

Chartier, Roger. The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Standford UP, 1994.

Other Contributors

Besides editors and translators may be important and you will cite them almost the same. Simply change the phrase that introduces their work. Some examples are: adapted by, directed by, illustrated by, introduction by, narrated by, and performance by. If these do not describe someone you need to cite, just state what they do in the work. For example if you are talking about an episode of a show you use created by or performance by.

Version and Number


A source may be printed in different versions, so citing the version you used is important to a citation. Books are commonly printed in different editions. In this case it is good to be specific with the type of version you have, such as expanded ed., updated ed., or unabridged version (“ed.” simply is an abbreviation for edition).

Newcomb, Horace, editor. Television: The Critical View. 7th ed., Oxford UP, 2007.


The source you are using could also be a part of a number sequence, most likely the volume or issue number. Books and journals are often numbered. The abbreviation for volume is “vol.” and number is “no.” If you only have a volume or issue number then only use that abbreviation.

Baron, Namoi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1. Jan, 2013, pp. 193-200.


The publisher is the organization responsible for the source. For a book you can find the publisher on the first title page. For a website, the organization responsible for the website can normally be found in the copyright notice at the bottom of the home page, a page that gives information about the site. Film and television series usually have multiple organization responsible for their existence, so cite the organization that had primary responsibility.


Lessig, Lawerence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Penguin Press, 2008.

Web Site

Ellis, Karen. “How to Knit a Scarf for Beginners.” eHow, Demand Media,

Publication Date

The publication date is as obvious as it sounds: the date the source was published. Finding the date an electronic source was published, or when a print source was published online, or an online article appeared in a print source (or maybe even appeared in multiple sources and now has many dates) is not as obvious. The best thing to do is find the date that is most relevant to you and citing the source you have.

If you have a specific date and month, or even time stamp (for example, on blogs, videos, and web comments) then include it. If you only have the year, then list just the year.


Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Vintage Books, 1995.

Article on a Website

Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print.” So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,


The location of your source depends on its medium.  The source may appear in multiple medIn print sources you include the page number (p.) or the page range (pp.). For online sources you include the URL or the DOI. A DOI is a number assigned by publishers and it stays attached even if the URL changes. Since it is a more permanent and reliable way to track online sources, use a DOI over a URL if you have the option.

Print Sources

Deresiewicz, William. “Death of the Artist and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic, Jan-Feb. 2015, pp. 92-97.

Online Sources

Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print.” So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,

Chan, Evans. “Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema.” Postmodern Culture, vol. 10, no. 3, May 2000. Project Muse, doi:10.1353/pmc.2000.0021.