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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: The medium of publication is only stated when it is needed for clarity (MLA 52).