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Assembling a Works Cited List

For more detailed explanations of how to use the MLA format, consult one of the following:

  • The official MLA style manuals: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (REF/LB2369.G53 2003) and MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (REF PN 147 G444 1998) (Ask a librarian to show you these guide books.)
  • The official MLA webpage: Frequently Asked Questions about MLA Style

What is a Works Cited List?

  • The Works Cited list appears at the end of the paper on a separate page (or pages, if necesary).
  • It lists the citations for all of the cited sources in alphabetical order according to the last name of the author.
  • If no author is listed, alphabetize by the first word in the title (ignoring "A", "An" or "The" at the beginning of a title).
  • Do not organize the citations by type of source.
  • Put the title, "Works Cited", at the beginning of the list.
  • The first line of each citation is not indented, but each line of each citation after the first line is indented (the opposite of a typical paragraph).
  • Skip a line between each citation.

General Information

  • In all cases, the citation begins with the author's name (last name first) whenever the author's name is listed.
  • If the author's name is not given, then the citation begins with the title of the work (book, article or other document).
  • Only the first author's name should be listed last name first.
  • If there are two or three authors, the second and third authors' names are listed first name first, as shown in the book example.
  • For a work with more than 3 authors, list only the first author's name followed by a comma and the words et al.
  • Book, magazine, journal and newspaper titles are always italicized.
  • Article titles are always put in "quotations".
  • Subtitles are designated by a colon (:).
  • All words in any titles (of books, articles or other documents) are capitalized, except the following parts of speech (when they are not the first word in a title or subtitle):
    • Articles (a, an, the)
    • Prepositions (e.g., in, of , to, against, between)
    • Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet)
    • the to in infinitives (as in How to Play Chess)
  • Medium: All citations must include a word or phrase that describes the medium in which the source was accessed, read, viewed or heard. The word or phrase must be capitalized (but not italicized or in quotations.) The two most commonly cited media are Web or Print.
    • Web includes any type of source--web page, audio, video, text--that was accessed on the Internet.
    • Print includes any source that was read in the original print format, e.g. printed book, printed newspaper or magazine article.

    (Note: If you are citing a source, such as an old newspaper or magazine article, that originally appeared in print, but was accessed on the Web, the cited medium is Web, not Print.)

    For audio or video sources that were not accessed on the Web, indicate the specific medium in which you viewed or heard it, such as Radio, Television, CD, DVD, MP3, Film, Videocassette or Audiocassette.