Section 3. Citing Sources in MLA Style

What is a Works Cited Page?
The Works Cited page is located at the end of your paper and contains all the works that you have cited in your paper. The list simplifies documentation by permitting you to make only brief references to these works in the text.

Formatting a Works Cited Page
The sources in the Works Cited are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. Citations are double-spaced and a hanging indentation is used. View and print formatting directions for Setting up the Works Cited Page In Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007.

Example of a Works Cited page

Some general rules for citations:
  • Titles of books and journals appear in italics.
  • Article titles and titles of book chapters, essays, and short stories appear in "quotes."
  • If an author isn't given, begin with the title.
  • If more than one author is given, the first author is Last Name, First Name but second and third authors should be listed First Name Last Name.
    Example: Gillespie, Paula and John Smith.
  • When listing a web site, the site's URL is only required if the citation will not easily lead back to your source.
  • If an article is from a library's subscription database (i.e. EBSCOhost), include the database title, the date accessed and identify the medium as "Web."
  • Due to the many types of publications that may now be accessed online, citations for online sources may require a publisher, publication date and even page numbers. If there is no publisher for an online source use the abbreviation N.p. If there is no date use the abbreviation n.d. If there are no page numbers then use the abbreviation n. pag.
For more rules and examples of citations, visit USM Libraries' MLA Style Guide or view a copy of MLA Handbook, 7th ed. at the Information Services desk.


The element that is usually listed first in a Works Cited entry is:

Title of the book or article

Author's last name (if an author is given)