Skip to Main Content

MLA Style

Core elements of works cited

An MLA work cited entry consists of three core elements:

  • the author,
  • the title,
  • the location.

There are variations in the presentation of these elements depending on the type of source you are citing.


Click on the options below to see the core elements variations.


The person(s) or corporate entity responsible for producing a work. The term is used in its broader sense to include editor, compiler, composer, creator, etc. In citations, the author is included to give credit to those to whom the work belongs and to help the audience check the author's credentials.

The table that follows presents author variations. The information applies to all kinds of sources including books, articles, websites, films, videos, etc.

A word, phrase, sentence, single character, or sequence of characters appearing on an item, naming the work(s) contained in it. In citations, titles are included for purposes of identification and reference. Titles often indicate how relevant the information is.

The table that follows presents title variations depending on the type of source you want to cite in your works cited list.

Publisher information, database names, page numbers, and URLs are elements that provide locational information for sources. In citations, these elements are included to lead the audience to the actual source and check the publisher's credibility.

The table that follows presents the publication information variations depending on the source you want to cite in your works cited list.

A note about URLs

There are three types of URLs that you can use in your citations:

  • URLs including a DOI e.g.

  • permalinks or stable URLs including the EZ proxy prefix e.g. and

  • browser URLs e.g. el&source=gbs_ ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

URL including DOI Stable URL Browser URL
cite always the URL including a DOI when this is available cite the stable URL including the EZ proxy prefix when a URL including a DOI is not available cite the browser URL when either a URL including a DOI or a stable URL including the EZ proxy prefix are available
never changes never changes subject to changes
assigned by the publisher assigned by the database assigned by the
website owner
may appear hyperlinked may appear hyperlinked may be shorten and appear hyperlinked

A note about publisher information

The organization which is primarily responsible for producing the source is the publisher. Check the table below to clarify details about how to cite publisher information properly.

Citing Publishers Skipping Publishers
Copublishers: cite two publishers that equally share the responsibility of a work. Separate each publisher's name with a slash (/) e.g. ACPA College Student Educators International / Stylus. Database vendors: do not cite as the publisher, database vendors like Ebsco, that are not involved in producing the works that they make available. Provide the database name instead.
Publisher's division: cite only the division, when you have the names, of the parent company and the division of it. Publisher not available: do not cite the publisher when it is not available.
Publisher's imprint: cite the publisher's name instead of the imprint (brant name) when they are both available. Website publisher: do not cite the publisher of a website when its name is essentially the same as the name of the website.
Organization as publisher & author: cite the organization in the publisher's position when it appears as author and publisher. Person as publisher & author: do not cite the person in the publisher's position in publications that have been published by their author or editor.
Publisher as part of an organizational unit: cite all the names of the units from the largest entity to the smallest for publishers like a government agency which is part of an organizational unit e.g. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Periodical publisher: do not cite the publisher for publications such as journals, magazines, newspapers. Provide the periodical's information including the periodical's name, volume, issue, date, and page numbers.
Abbreviations in publisher name: When a university publishes independently e.g., University of Chicago Press, replace the words University Press with UP and cite it as U of Chicago P. Business entity in publisher name: do not cite business entities like Co., Inc., Ltd., Corp., included in the publisher name e.g. cite Westburn Publishers Ltd as Westburn Publishers.