A. First of all determine the citation format that you must use and become familiar with that format.
B. MLA documentation format has two steps: a works cited page and parenthetical citations.
1. The works cited page lists the sources used in writing the paper.
2. The parenthetical citations make specific references to the page(s) in the source which were used for the information preceding the citation.
C. The works cited list is arranged alphabetically at the end of the paper.
1. Each source in the list is referred to as an “entry.”
2. Each piece of information in an “entry” is an “item,” such as the
author’s full name, the title of the work, the copyright date, etc.
3. The page is entitled Works Cited.
D. General entry guidelines:
1. In the MLA format, the items are arranged in this order (with exceptions for specialized entries, where more or different information is required):
author (last name, first name).
“Title of Work Within Work.”
Title of Original Source
Date of original source (day, month year)
Title of Entire Work.
Ed. editor’s, translator’s, or compiler’s name.
2nd ed. (any edition except the 1st).
4 vols. (if the work takes up more than 1 volume).
Name of Series (if book is part of a series).
City of publication:
Copyright date (use the most recent; don’t confuse with
Page numbers for work within a work.
2. Follow the order exactly and use the correct punctuation to mark titles
and to separate items.
3. Use the hanging indent for each line except the first, which is flush
with the left margin.
4. Italicize the titles of books and names of newspapers and
5. Italicize according to the editor’s or instructor’s
6. Put quotation marks around titles of essays, poems, short stories, and
magazine and newspaper articles.
7. When more than one city is listed for the place of publication, give the
first city in the United States or the first city, if none are cities in the
8. Use shortened names for publishing companies: Norton for W. W.
Norton, UP for University Press, U of Nebraska P for University of
Nebraska Press, etc.
9. Capitalize key words in titles even if they are not capitalized in the
a. Not all key words are capitalized in some magazine article
titles, but capitalize them in the entries.
10. Abbreviate months when they are required in dates, as in Feb., Mar.,
11. Use the international dating format of day month year as in 26 Oct.
12. Give inclusive page numbers for works within works, such as
magazine articles, essays, short stories, etc.
a. Give full number for the ending page number, up to 99, as in
b. Omit the hundreds number for the ending page number, if it is
the same as the hundreds number for the starting page, as in 344-
c. If the article appears on discontinuous pages, use a + sign after the starting page number, as in 45+.
3. Electronic citations.
A. Remember that electronic citations are different.
B. Answer these questions in this order for electronic sources:
1. Who wrote it? Could be a group or individual.
2. What did she/he write? Either in quotation marks or italicized.
3. Does this work appear in a larger work or in a print form? Italicize that title, if applicable.
4. When was the material written? Don’t confuse this date with when it was put on the site or CD-ROM.
5. Are there page numbers for the larger source?
6. Who is the sponsor or vendor? Often given after the copyright date at the bottom of the page or often the sponsor of the homepage.
7. What is the date on which you accessed the information?
8. What is the URL? Internet only