Citing sources in a proper format can help
your papers appear to be more credible and show that you have done research. The Modern
Language Association citation format is often used to cite sources in language and other
related disciplines. Formatting a proper reference list in MLA
format is an important step for anyone writing a paper using this format. Let’s take a
look at how to format a works cited list and create some of the more common types of citations.
First, make sure that the list starts out with the words Works Cited bolded and centered
at the top. Next, let’s look at a citation for a Scholarly
Article found in an online library database. Notice that the citation starts out with the
authors last name followed by their first then a period. Next the title of the journal
article is placed in quotation marks with a period at the end all of the major words
in this title should be capitalized. The title of the journal comes next. This is in italics
and ends with a comma. Next we have the volume and issue number which are separated with
a period followed by the year the article was published in parentheses ended with a
colon. The page range for the article comes next. Since this is an online article the
database that it was found in is placed after the page range in italics. This is followed
by the format of publication which is Web for online publications and then the date
the article was accessed If you are using an article that was found
online but not in a database the only difference is that the name of the database is excluded
from the citation. Next let’s look at how to cite books. Notice
that this is very similar to how an article is cited. However, after the authors names
the title of the book is given in italics followed by a period. This is followed by
the edition if the book is anything other than the first followed by a period after
ed. After the edition the city that the book was published in is placed followed by the
name of the publisher. This is followed by the date of publication and the medium of
publication which in this case is print. Here is an eBook citation. Notice that it
is basically the same as a citation for a book except for the medium of publication
is Web and it ends with the date the book was accessed. If this book was found in a
database you would add the database name between the year and the format of publication.
Here is a Web page. In the case of this Web page you still put the author first. However,
this page has a corporate author so the name of the corporation or organization has been
placed here. This is followed by the title of the Web page in quotation marks which ends
with a period. Then the title of the website is italicized and ends with a period. This
is followed by the date of publication. If no date is present put n.d. in its place.
The format is next which in this case is web and then the date we accessed the article.
In most cases you do not need to put the URL for a website.
After the citations are created it is important to make sure that they have a hanging indent,
are double spaced and placed in alphabetical order by the authors last name.
Often when you use a citation generator such as son of citation machine or the tool built
into Microsoft Word your citation will not turn out correctly so make sure that if you
do use these tools to check your citation against a known reliable source.
There are many other types of sources that you may run into as you do research. If you
are unsure of how to cite a source use a reliable resource to check your citations such as the
MLA Handbook or Purdue’s OWL website. If you have any questions about how to cite
sources, please feel free to contact us here at the Stewart Library.