MLA Documentation

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For ideas and information used from other sources, you must provide both in-text citations and a Works Cited.  See the Writing Center’s “Using Sources” for a discussion of when to cite sources.
For complete information on Modern Language Association (MLA) documentation style, consult The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition or "Sources and Documentation” at the Hamilton College Writing Center Website.

In-text Citations

Following the cited material in your text, include a parenthetical reference with the author name and page number (Moss 5). You may delete the author name if you have included it in the introduction to the cited material: e.g., As Moss explains, “…”(5).  If the author is unknown, use the initial key words from the title (“Melting Sea Ice”).  Omit the page number in the case of missing page numbers, such as in Web sources.  The period follows the citation.


The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition (2009) includes two major changes in guidelines for the Works Cited section:
1) Italics are used everywhere in place of underlining (book titles, etc.)
2) Every Works Cited entry must include the medium of publication, e.g., Print, Web, Radio, Film, Television, CD, Videocassette, DVD, Performance, Lecture, and PDF file.

The standard form for a Works Cited entry for a print book:

1. Author. 2. Title. 3. City of publication. 4. Publisher, 5. Date of publication. 6. Medium.
Each item is followed by a period except for the publisher, which is followed by a comma.

Book by one author (print)

Lamott, Anne. Bird By Bird. New York: Anchor Books, 1994. Print.

Book by multiple authors (print)

Baker, Nancy and Brian Flynn. Veil of Fear: The Nuclear Threat. Boston: Basic, 2009. Print.

Article in a scholarly journal (print)

Baca, Damian. “The Chicano Codex.” College English 71.6 (2009): 564-583. Print.
(After the journal title, add the volume number, issue number, date of publication, and page numbers. End with Print.)

Entire anthology (print)

Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau, Eds. Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Boston: Bedford Books, 1993. Print.

Selection from an anthology (print)

Kysar, Leila. “A Logger’s Lament.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet   and Hugo Bedau. Boston: Bedford Books, 1993. 392-394. Print.

If the examples above do not exactly fit your source, use your good judgment to adapt the available information to the suggested form. 


Because it is likely that readers are able to locate online sources by entering identifying information in a search engine or a database, MLA guidelines do not require a URL in the Works Cited for online sources.

The form for a short work from a Web site:

1. Author, if any (last name first). 2. Title of short work (in quotation marks).
3. Title of Web site (italicized). 4. Sponsor/publisher of Web site (“N.p.” if none);
5. Date of most recent update (“n.d.” if none). 6. Medium. 7. Date you accessed the work.
A period follows each item except for the sponsor/publisher, which is followed by a comma.

You may not find all of the above information; use your good judgment and adapt available information to the form. 

Short work from a Web site, blog, wiki

(including online poems and video clips)

Case, Will. “The Candidates’ Views.” CNN.com. CNN, 3 July 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2009.

Entire Web site or blog

Peterson, Susan Lynn. The Life of Martin Luther. Susan Lynn Peterson, 2005. Web. 24 Jan. 2009.

Article from an online reference work

“Acid Rain.” Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Web. 23 Nov. 2009.

Article from an online database

Heyen, William. “Sunlight.” American Poetry Review 36.2 (207): 55-56. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 24 Mar. 2010.

Article in an online scholarly journal

Mason, John Edwin. “‘Mannenberg’: Notes on the Making of an Icon and Anthem.” African Studies Quarterly 9.4 (2007): n. pag. Web. 23 Feb. 2010.

For an article from an online journal or database:

After the title, add the volume number, issue number, date of publication, and page numbers, if available, or the abbreviation “n. pag.” (not paginated). End with Web and date of access.

E-book (electronic book)

Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Knopf, 2007. E-book

The examples of an entire Web site, article from an online database, article from an online journal, and E-book are taken from pages 143 and 146 in A Pocket Style Manual, 6th ed.

Works Cited

Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Pocket Style Manual, 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. Print

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009.Print.                                                                                                               

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Contact Information

Writing Center

Kirner-Johnson 152
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