MLA Works Cited

Jimmy Wales and two others hold aloft a Citation Needed sign Jimmy Wales and two others hold aloft a Citation Needed sign

What is MLA Works Cited?

MLA Works Cited refers to

Writers, speakers, knowledge workers provide a list of citations — aka a works cited list — at the end of their texts to acknowledge the people and idea that have informed their thinking.

According to the MLA Handbook, 9th Edition, writers have two major ways to attribute sources:

  1. in the actual text, using either
    • an in text parenthetical system
    • footnotes
  2. at the end of their text in a Works Cited.

MLA Works Cited vs. MLA In Text Citation

The bibliographical information (e.g., who is the author? publisher? and so on) that MLA requires for a Works Cited Page differs from the bibliographic information MLA requires for in text, parenthetical citation:

Works Cited Page
See the article below for a summary of MLA’s guidelines for constructing a list of references at the end of your paper

In Text Citation
See MLA citation to explore creative ways to introduce and vet sources inside the body of your paper


Scholars use a variety of terms to refer to a Works Cited page, including References, References Page, Endnotes, Proof.

Related Concepts: Annotated Bibliography; Copyright & Writing; Intellectual PropertyPage Design; Plagiarism; Rhetorical Analysis; Textual Research Methods

MLA Works Cited

Writers, speakers, knowledge workers provide a works cited page so that their readers, listeners, and users can

  1. learn more about the topic
  2. evaluate the currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose) of sources they’ve used in a text
  3. distinguish the author’s ideas and language from the ideas of others
  4. better understand the flow of a scholarly conversation for a particular topic over time (aka historiography)

In academic contexts, teachers carefully scrutinize the Works Cited Page. They look to see whether you have

  1. attributed all of the sources you cited in a text
  2. correctly followed the MLA guidelines.

Teachers may read the Abstract and Introduction of your essay and then skip to the Works Cited. Why? Teachers want to see that you understand intellectual property standards, copyright law, and other academic conventions for citing sources.

Information Literacy Perspectives & Practices

In both academic and workplace writing, writers, speakers, knowledge workers

  1. cite sources to acknowledge the author’s copyright, intellectual property, ideas
  2. cite sources to add additional backing or qualifications for claims.

MLA Works Cited Page

Required Elements of a MLA Works Cited Page

  1. Author:
    • list author’s name, last name first, followed by a period.
  2. Title of source:
    • Capitalize the first word and any major words in the title; enclose titles of articles in quotation marks and titles of larger works such as books, journals, or newspapers in italics.
  3. Title of container:
    • If the source you are citing is contained or included in a larger work, such as a journal or edited collection, provide the name of the container here, followed by a comma.
  4. Other contributors:
    • List the names of other contributors, such as translators or editors, if appropriate, followed by a comma.
  5. Version:
    • For example, the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook is the version we are following here. For journals or magazines, you may instead have a volume number. Follow this with a comma.
  6. Number:
    • Issue numbers are preceded by the abbreviation “no.” and followed by a comma.
  7. Publisher:
    • You can usually find the publisher of a book on the title or copyright page. You do not need to include a publisher’s name for periodicals. Follow the publisher’s name with a comma.
  8. Publication date:
    • Provide the year of publication for books; for periodical publications, give the month and year, or day-month-year, if applicable. Follow the publication date with a comma if you have location information.
  9. Location:
    • For most publications, the location indicates the page number or numbers of the article and is preceded by the abbreviation “p.” for a single page or “pp.” for two or more pages. For online publications, the location is commonly designated by the URL or Web address, or the DOI (Digital Object Identifier), if available. Conclude the entry with a period.
  10. Repeat 3-9 as necessary:
    • For an article in a journal accessed through an online database, list the title of the database as the container and whatever other information is available

Skip any information that is not available or applicable. For example, a book in print will not have a container, and a journal will usually not require information about a publisher. Do include other pertinent information, such as the name of a translator, for instance, if available, in the order in which it is listed above. 

MLA Format Citation

How to Cite Work in MLA Format

Source Type
Citation FormatExample
Single-Authored Book Author. Title of source. Publisher, Publication dateAgnew, Eleanor. Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s, and Why They Came Back. Ivan R. Dee, 2004. 
Book with Multiple Authors Last Name, First Name and First Name Last Name. Title of source. Publisher, Publication date. 
Sabherhagen, Fred, and James V. Hart. Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Francis Ford Coppola Film. Signet, 1992.
Multiple Sources by the Same Author  Replace the author’s first and last name with three hyphens —  —“Pronoun Showdown: Gender Neutrality and Neutral Pronouns in Language.” 11  April 2016. University of Illinois/Facebook. Pronoun_showdown_2016.pdf  
Article or Chapter in an Edited Collection Author. “Title of Source.” Title of container, Other contributors, Version, Publisher, Publication date, Location.**Include information about contribution (for example, “edited by”). 
Schwartz, Nathan. “Information Literacy Instruction and Citation Generators: The Provision of Citation and Plagiarism Instruction.” Teaching Information Literacy and Writing Studies, edited by Grace Veach, vol. 2, Purdue UP, 2019, pp. 241-54. 
Article in a Print Journal 
Author. “Title of source.” Title of container, Version, Number, Publication date, location. 
Rogers, Pat. “Crusoe’s Home.” Essays in Criticism, vol. 24, no. 4, Oct. 1974, pp. 375-90. 
Journal Article Accessed Using an Electronic Database Author. “Title of source.” Title of container, Version, Number, Publication date, location. Title of container, location. 
Jordan, Joseph P. “The Man with Two Faces: Stuttering Characters and Surprise.” Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 50, no. 4, Aug. 2017, pp. 855-70. Academic Search Complete, doi: 10.1111/jpcu.12576.
Article Accessed from an Online Journal Author. “Title of source.” Title of container, Version, Number, Publication date, location. Jamieson, Sandra, and Rebecca Moore Howard. “Rethinking the Relationship between Plagiarism and Academic Integrity.” International Journal of Technologies in Higher Education, vol. 16, no. 2, 2019, 
Article from a Webpage Author. “Title of source.” Title of container, Publication date, location.Web sites may list an organizational or corporate author. If no author is listed, begin with the source title. 
The Wizarding World Team. “New Harry Potter Mobile Puzzle Game in Development.” Wizarding World, 9 Dec. 2019, 
Entire Web Site Title of source. Publication date, location. Wizarding World. 2019,
MLA Works Cited Examples