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MLA Style

Core elements of works cited

An MLA work cited consists of three elements. The author, the title, and the publication information of the source. There are variations in the presentation of these elements depending on the type of source you are citing.

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  Author

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.
A reference always includes the author(s) of the source. The table that follows presents author variations depending on the number of authors that have written a source. The information applies to all kinds of sources including books, articles, websites, films, videos, etc.
A work cited entry always includes the author(s) of the source. The table that follows presents author variations depending on the number of authors that have written a source. The information applies to all kinds of sources including books, articles, websites, films, videos, etc.
  • Author(s) name(s): Invert always the first authors' name. In case you want to cite two authors, do not reverse the second author's name.
  • Three or more authors: Provide only the first author's name, then add et al.
  • Group as author: For group authors provide the full name of the study group, association, government agency, and corporation.
  • No author: When the work has no author, move the title to the author's position.
  • Punctuation: Use commas to separate different authors, as well as to separate last names from first names.
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.

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

  • Quotation marks: Place in quotation marks titles of works such as chapters of books, works on websites, episodes from television series, etc. which are part of a bigger whole.
  • Capitalization: All principal words in a works cited entry should be capitalized. You should also capitalize words which appear at the beginning of a title or a subtitle.
  • Italicization: Titles of works such as books, television series and reports should appear in italics. These works often include include smaller sources like chapters, episodes, poems.
  • Other Contributors: If other people than the author(s) have contributed to the creation of the source, provide their names. Precede each name or group of names with a description of the role such as: adapted by, directed by, illustrated by, introduction by, narrated by, performance by, translated by.
  • Additional information: edition statements and volumes of multivolume works should appear immediately after the title. Episode numbers in television series or reports numbers follow the respective titles as well.
Publisher information, DOIs, 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.

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

Location

DOIs & URLs provide locational information for the sources. Check the table below and find out when you should cite each of these locational elements.

DOI Stable URL Browser URL
never changes never changes subject to changes
assigned by the publisher assigned by the database assigned by the
website owner
always cite the DOI when available cite the stable URL when DOI is not available cite the browser URL when DOI or stable URL are not available

Publisher

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.