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Citing in MLA Style

General Information about Citing in MLA

  • The MLA citation style is typically used by English and other academic departments in the humanities.
  • Please note that significant changes were made to the MLA Style in 2009. Please review the changes and contact a librarian if you have any questions.
  • Current copies of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers can be found on RESERVE at LB2369. G53 2009.

When writing a citation in the MLA style, pay particular attention to italics, punctuation, indentation, and capitalization. With the MLA Style, quotations and borrowed phrases are indicated as such within the text, with the author's name and page number cited in parentheses. This variation is used instead of footnotes or endnotes.

Keep the following in mind:

  • A book citation must always include author(s), title (and subtitle), city of publication, publisher, and date of publication. Other necessary elements, if applicable, include editor, translator, edition, revision, volume number, and source type.
  • An article citation must always include author, title (and subtitle) of article, title of journal/magazine, date of publication, volume/issue number, page numbers, and soure type.
  • The author always comes first with last name followed by first name, separated with a comma. Names of subsequent authors are written naturally. For four or more authors, the abbreviation “et al.” (“and others”) is used after the name of the first author.
  • Titles of articles and essays are always put in quotation marks.
  • Titles of books and journals are always italicized.
  • Second and subsequent lines are always indented.
  • Every entry must include a medium of publication designation, such as the following: Print, Web, Radio, Television, CD, Audiocassette, Film, Videocassette, DVD, Performance, Lecture, and PDF file.
  • For an article in an online journal or an article from a database, give page numbers if they are available; if they are not, use the abbreviation “n. pag."


Many more samples of citations presented in the MLA style can be found in the Seventh Edition of The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers on Reserve in the library. Please consult this book or a librarian for help with unusual resources.

Book with Two Authors

Note: italicize the title of the book. (Note indents, order of authors' names and use of periods.)

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the
Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979. Print.

Scholarly Article:

Note: put the title of the article in quotes and italicize the title of the journal. This sample includes the volume (50) and issue (4) numbers after the title. (In a bibliography. Note indents, page numbers, and use of periods and colons.)

Albada, Kelly F. "The Public and Private Dialogue about the American Family on Television." Journal of
Communication 50.4 (2000): 79-110. PDF file.

Popular Article (with two authors):

Note: put the title of the article in quotes and italicize the title of the journal. (In a bibliography. Note the order of author's names, indents, page numbers, and use of periods and colons.)

Weintraub, Arlene, and Laura Cohen. "A Thousand-Year Plan for Nuclear Waste." Business Week 6
May 2002: 94-96. Print.

Newspaper Article:

(In a bibliography. Names of cities not part of titles of foreign newspapers are added in brackets after the title and are not italicized.)

Alaton, Salem. "So, Did They Live Happily Ever After?" Globe and Mail [Toronto] 27 Dec. 1997: D1+. Web.


MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.6

Use this format for citing information on the web, including images, streamed audio or video. Include as much information as you can find about the website.

Author. “Title of Page.” Title of Website. Version or Edition. Publisher, if none listed N.p., Date of
Publication, if not available use N.d. Medium of Publication. Date of Access. <URL>.

MLA states that you do not need to provide the URL unless you are asked to do so. URLs for the citations below are provided so you will understand how they would look with it. When including a URL try to include one that is shortened and will not change over time.

“College Receives Grant from Pa. DEP for Watershed Protection.” Dickinson College News
Releases. Dickinson College, 8 Apr. 2010. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <
Peralta, Eyder. “Crowd Gathers In New York, Ahead Of Wall Street Protest.” National Public Radio.
Natl. Public Radio, 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <
“Warhol: Headlines.” National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.

In the above examples National Public Radio and National Gallery of Art are duplicated twice because they are the title of the website and the publisher.

Blog Entries:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.6.2b

Blog entries should follow the same citation style as web pages. List author and date published if possible.

Nizza, Mike. “Go Ahead, Annoy Away, an Australian Court Says.” The Lede. New York Times, 15 July
2008. Web. 9 Dec. 2011. <>.
Doctorow, Cory. “How the Tax Code Works for Billionaires.” Boing Boing. N.p. 28 Nov. 2011. Web. 2
Dec. 2011. <>.


Cite these as you would for the resource in which the visual media is found. For specific works of art, see the section. Cite following the guidelines for the type of resource, but make a note of where the visual is included in the resource, ie page or figure number. Cite the creator of the image as the author and the title of the image instead of an article title.

Image in an Article:

Talbot, David. "Saving Holland." Technology Review 110.4 (2007): 52, figure 3. Print.
Vermeer, Dura. "High and Dry Concept." Technology Review 110.4 (2007): 56. Print.
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. “An Arrowhead, Made from a Copper Nugget, Found at a Melting
Alaskan Glacier.” Miller-McCune 3.6 (2010): 23, figure 4. Print.

Online Image:

If citing an image found using Google images, cite the original source – not Google.

Estrin, James. “A Worshiper at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.” New York
Times. New York Times. 27 Nov. 2011. Web. 8 Dec. 2011. <

When citing a work of art, include the location of the piece and the owner or collection where it is housed along with the medium and size. See also captions and citing works of art below.

Dior, Christian. May. 1953. Silk. Length at CB ((a) to waist): 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm) Length at CB (b): 45
1/2 in. (115.6 cm). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. N.d. Web. 4 Jan. 2012.

Image or Photograph from a Book:

Gruen, Bob. “Madison Square Garden, July 1972.” Life. By Keith Richard with James Fox. New York:
Little, Brown and Company, 2010. Color plate 12. Print.
“Equality and Affection: Matched Costumes in ‘My One and Only Highland Fling.’” Astaire & Rogers.
By Edward Gallafent. New York: Columbia University Press. 225. Print

Work of Visual Art including Photographs in a Museum Collection:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.7.6 – see also citing a website if you are citing an image from the web.

MLA does not require you to include the dimensions, but it is safer to include it when citing for art and art history. Also see guidelines from the Art Bulletin and College Art Association.

Artist. Title of Work. Date of Composition or N.d. Medium. Dimensions. Collection. City where located.
Calder, Alexander. Untitled. 1976. Aluminum and steel. 910.3 x 2315.5 cm (358 3/8 x 911 5/8 in.).
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Heckman, Albert. Windblown Trees. N.d. Lithograph on paper. 11 3/8 x 16 1/8 in. (28.9 x 40.8 cm).
Private collection.

If you use a reproduction include the publication information of where the reproduction is found and page, figure, or plate number.

Munch, Edvard. The Scream. 1893. Oil, pastel and casein on cardboard. 91 x 73.5 cm. National
Gallery, Oslo. Edvard Munch: The Scream. Ed. Reinhold Heller. New York: Viking Press, 1973. 57.
Pollock, Jackson. Number 27. 1950. Oil on canvas. 49 x 106 in. Whitney Museum of American Art,
New York. Imagining America: Icons of 20th-Century American Art. By John Carlin and Jonathan
Fineberg. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. 106. Print.


MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.7.9

Citation should conform to the medium in which you find the cartoon or comic strip, e.g., newspaper, magazine article, book, or website. Add the descriptive label Cartoon or Comic strip between the title and name of publication.

Chast, Roz. “Scenes from a Vacation.” Cartoon. New Yorker 31 Oct. 2011: 66-67. Print.
Weiner, Zach. “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.” Comic strip. N.p., 17 Nov.
2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <>.

Map or Chart:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.7.8

Cite this as you would an article, book, or website and add the descriptive label of Map or Chart.

"Carlisle, PA." Map. Google Maps. Google, 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
"Migratory Patterns of The Black Tern (Chlidonias Niger) at the Ojo de Liebre Wetland Complex, Baja
California Sur, Mexico." Map. Southwestern Naturalist 56.2 (2011): 256. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
“Western Boundaries of Brazil, 1600, 1780, and the Present.” Map. Brazilian Narrative Traditions in
a Comparative Context. By Earl E. Fitz. New York: MLA, 2005. 43. Print.

If it is a standalone map or chart (ie not included in a book or article) treat as below:

Author. Title. Map or Chart. Publisher Location: Publisher, Date. Print.
Michigan. Map. Chicago: Rand, 2000. Print.
Japanese Fundamentals. Chart. Hauppauge: Barron, 1992. Print.


MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 4.5

Visual material should be labeled as Figure and assigned a number in increasing order starting with 1. The caption should be placed below the illustration and include a citation to the source material. It also may be appropriate to add copyright information at the end of the citation. No additional citation is needed when the source is not cited within the text of the paper. If you are creating captions for works of art also see guidelines from the Art Bulletin and College Art Association.

Fig. 1. Manticore, woodcut from Edward Topsell, The History of the Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents…(London, 1658; 344); rpt. In Konrad Gesner, Curious Woodcuts of Fanciful and Real Beasts (New York: Dover, 1971; print; 8).

Fig. 2. John Singleton Copley, Mrs. Joseph Mann (Bethea Torrey), 1753, Oil on canvas, 91.44 X 71.75 cm. (36 X 28 ¼ in.). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing about Art (Boston: Pearson, 2011; print; 143).

If work is being published include copyright information, ie who owns the right to publish the image or work of art.

Musical Recording

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.7.2

When citing a commercial recording list the performer, composer, conductor, or group first depending upon the desired emphasis and what aspect of the recording you will be referencing. List the title or titles (usually italicized), performer or group, if not noted first, manufacturer, year of publication, and medium. You may also want to indicate the year of recording or performance if relevant.

Holiday, Billie. The Essence of Billie Holiday. Columbia, 1991. CD.
Beethoven, Ludwig van. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor “Choral.” Perf. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,
Elisabeth Hongen, Hans Hopf, and Otto Edelmann. Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele.
Cond. Wilhelm Furtwangler. Rec. 29 July 1951. EMI, 1998. LP. Great Recordings of the Century.


MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.7.7, see also citing a website if the interview is on the web.

Begin with the name of the person being interviewed and then include the appropriate citation information depending upon where the interview has been published. If the interview is untitled, call it Interview with no quotation marks. Include the name of the interviewer when appropriate. Make sure that the citation conforms to the medium in which the interview is published, e.g., book, article, web, mp3 file, newspaper, etc.

Baselitz, George. “An Interview with George Baselitz.” Making It New: Essays, Interviews, and
Talks. By Henry Geldzahler. New York: Turtle Point Press, 1994. 184-196. Print.
Gordimer, Nadine. Interview. New York Times. 10 Oct. 1991, late ed.:C25. Print.
Patchett, Ann. “Author Ann Patchett Opens Own Indie Bookstore.” National Public Radio. Natl.
Public Radio, 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <


MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.7.3, 5.7.7

If citing the film performance as seen in a theater or screening, use film as medium. In many cases you will be citing the DVD or VHS. When citing DVD or VHS release, note the original release date and the release date of the DVD/VHS copy.

Title. Dir. Name. Perf. Names of actors, screenwriter and producer, etc. Studio, Year. Medium.
A Star is Born. Dir. George Cukor. Prod. Sidney Lumet. Perf. Judy Garland and James Mason. 1954.
Warner Bros., 1999. DVD.

If citing a specific performance or contribution of an individual, list that individual first.

Chaplin, Charlie, dir. Modern Times. Perf. Chaplin and Paulette Goddard. 1936. Criterion Collection,
2010. DVD.

If you are citing an interview that was on a DVD or VHS tape, cite as an interview and list the format accordingly.

Digital Files (Audio files/mp3/Podcast/YouTube)

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.6.2b, 5.7.18

You should cite these as digital files, if they are downloaded and played on an iPhone, iPod, or a similar device. If streamed online, cite as a web site. Cite as you would for a book or article, but list the file type in the medium for publication.

“Patient Zero.” Radiolab. New York: WNYC, 15 Nov. 2011. MP3 file.
Glass, Ira. “419: Petty Tyrant.” This American Life. Chicago: Chicago Public Media. , 12 Nov. 2010.
MP3 file.
Glass, Ira. “419: Petty Tyrant.” This American Life. Chicago Public Media. , 12 Nov. 2010. Web. 18
Nov. 2011. <>.

You can include relevant information about performers, writers, or producers as appropriate.

TV Program

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 5.7.1, 5.7.7, 5.6.2b

If you are citing an original television broadcast follow the following format.

“Episode Title.” Program. Network. Local Station, City, Date. Medium.
“Woody Allen: A Documentary.” American Masters. PBS. WITF, Harrisburg, 20 Nov. 2011. Television.

If you are primarily citing the work of one individual place their name at the beginning of the citation, last name first.

Fellowes, Julian. “Downton Abbey, Series II (Episode I).” Masterpiece Theatre. PBS. WITF,
Harrisburg, 8 Jan. 2011. Television.

If TV program is streamed online, cite as a website. If citing an interview from a TV program, cite as an interview, but cite the medium as Television.

Online Resources

Samples of papers written using the MLA style can be found at the following websites:

MLA Style Official site from the Modern Language Association.

Research and Documentation Online Diana Hacker's online guide for all citation styles.

Slate Citation Machine Excellent tool for citing sources in MLA and APA style. Simply fill in the form for the type of source you are citing, e.g., a book, journal article, web site etc. and this tool will show you the way to cite the reference. Be careful of your capitalization and indentation.