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Citation Styles Guide: Works cited - page formatting and creating an entry

This guide is intended to help students with the different citation styles used at the College.

Works Cited: Template

Below is a template for creating Works Cited entries for MLA Citation, 8th edition. Use it to help you create Works Cited entries in MLA style.

General formatting (MLA Handbook 5.1)

  • Unless otherwise instructed by your teacher, begin a new page when starting your Works Cited list. The Works Cited List should be the last page(s) in your paper, after the essay itself and any appendices.
  • Center “Works Cited” on the first line of the page, above the list entries (not in quotation marks, not underlined, not bold, not italic).
  • Every line after the first line of an entry should be indented 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) from the left margin. This is called a "hanging indentation." You can do this manually using the Tab button on your keyboard. Many word processing programs will do this for you:
    • MS Word: Highlight the full citation. Right click on it, then select "Paragraph." In the pop-up, under "Special," select "Hanging." Make sure the size of the hanging indent is set to 0.5 inches or 1.27 cm.
    • Pages:  Highlight the full citation. Open the format menu by clicking on the paintbrush icon in the right-hand menu. Click on "Layout." Under "Indents," set the first line indent to 0 and the left indent to 0.5 inches (1.27 cm).
    • Google Docs: Highlight the full citation. Click on "Format" in the top menu, then "Align & Indent." Then click on "Indentation options." In the pop-up menu, under "Special," select "Hanging." Make sure the size of the indent is set to 0.5 inches (1.27 cm).
  • Works Cited list entries are arranged in alphabetical order by the first author’s surname. If a source has no named authors, then alphabetize it within your list of sources by title, ignoring initial articles like An, The or A. If the author is named by their Twitter handle, ignore the "@" symbol when alphabetizing.

Creating a works cited entry - Overview (MLA Handbook 5.1-2)

In MLA 9th edition, every Works Cited entry uses the same template of nine core elements:

1. Author(s).

Source Information.

2. Title of Source.
3. Title of Container,

Container information.

4. Contributor(s),
5. Version,
6. Number,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication Date,
9. Location.


1. Author(s) (MLA Handbook 5.3-22)

What is the Author?

The author is the primary creator of your source. It can, and usually is, the writer, but it can also be an artist, musician, etc. . . any type of creator.
It can be an individual, a group, an organization, or a government entity.

Author names include pseudonyms, stage names, online usernames, etc. . . especially if the person is well known by that name.

Where do you find it?

The author is most often listed near the title of the source.

In books, this will most likely be on the title page. If the author's name(s) is presented differently on a cover of a book than on the title page, use the format on the title page.

For academic journal articles, magazine articles, news articles, and articles found on websites, the author will usually be listed somewhere near the top of the page, near the title.
For other works, you may need to scan the entire work to find the author.

How do you style it?

One author: Begin with the author's surname, if the author has one. Follow this with a comma and the author's given name(s). End with a period.

example: Gaiman, Neil.

If the author's name is from a language where the surname is normally listed first, just list it in the surname given name(s) order, but do not place a comma after the surname. If the author does not have a surname (e.g. premodern names, some names of nobility, and some pseudonyms), just list the name as is. End with a period.

example: Liu Cixin.

Two authors: List the first author in surname, given name(s) order, with a comma between the surname and given name(s). Then place a comma, a space, and the word "and." Then give the second author's name in non-reversed order. End with a period.

example: Pratchett, Terry, and Neil Gaiman.

Three or more authors: List the first author in surname, given name(s) order, with a comma between the surname and given name(s). Then place a comma, a space, and "et al." (an abbreviation meaning "and others").

example: Solomons, T. W. Graham, et al.

Name changes and pseudonyms: Consider whether it's useful for your reader to know that works published under different names are all by the same person, whether it is clearer to use the more well-known form of the author's name, or appropriate to avoid a former version of an author's name (e.g.: avoiding using the dead name of an author who has transitioned). Choose which name to use accordingly.

If you want to include both the author's name and pseudonym you can add their more popular name in square brackets for a work under a pseudonym.

example: Bachman, Richard [Stephen King].

DO NOT provide alternate name information or use the published form of a name if the author's name has changed and you know that they no longer use their former name (e.g. a trans author's dead name). List all works under the name they now use. Do not supply information about the name-change or use the former name.

example: Anders, Charlie Jane.

For online handles, supply the author's real name, if possible, with the handle in square brackets.

example: Lawson, Jenny [@TheBloggess].

Organizations, and groups: Include the full name, but omit the initial articles (A, An, The). Omit the name if the organization is also the publisher and start the entry with the Title of Source instead. If the author is a division or committee of the publishing organization, list the division or committee as the author. 

example: United Nations.

Government authors: Standardize the names of government entities, listing them by Government, the agency, etc. . . If the work is a government document with named individual author(s), use the author(s) name(s) instead.

example: Canada, House of Commons.

2. Title of Source (MLA Handbook 5.23-30)

What is the Title of Source?

This is the title of the direct work you are citing (e.g. the book, short story, article, etc. . .). If a work doesn't have a title, provide a concise and informative description of the work (e.g. Letter to, Program for, Review of). It is also possible to identify a work using text from the work itself, such as the first line of an untitled poem, or digital messages with no formal titles.

Where do you find it?

Usually above or near the author's name. In a book, use the title as listed on the title page, not the cover. Some works will also have subtitles. They are usually displayed less prominently, just after the title. Include them after a colon.

If you're citing a website and the title of the source is not clear, check the URL for hints.

How do you style it?

Style titles exactly as you find them in the source, with the following exceptions:

  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word in the title, and the first letters of all other major words in the title (e.g. not articles, etc. . .).
  • Include a colon ":" between titles and subtitles.
  • Italicize titles of works that are self-contained. Titles of works that have a container should be placed in quotation marks instead.
  • Place a period at the end of the title. If the title is in quotation marks, place the period inside the quotation marks.

Shortened Titles: You can shorten very long titles. Include enough to make it unambiguous to your reader. Use ellipses (. . . ) to indicate that a title has been shortened. Use this sparingly, though. If you are not sure if a title should be shortened, consult your professor or a librarian.

Sections of work labeled generically: For example: Introductions, prefaces, forwards, afterwords, etc. . . You can use the generic label as a title, but you do not put it in quotation marks or italicize. If there is a unique title, use the unique title instead.

Descriptions in place of a title: If you do not have a title, create a short description. Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the description. Do not capitalize the rest of the description, and do not place it in quotation marks or italicize. Place a period at the end.

Quoted text in place of a title: Use the first line of the text, or the full text if the source is very short (e.g. a single, short Tweet). Transcribe the text exactly. Place a period at the end, unless it ends with an exclamation mark or question mark. In which case, use those instead. Enclose it in quotation marks.

If the title of the work is not in English: Do not provide a translation, unless the audience includes readers that are unlikely to know the language. In that case, place the translations in square brackets after the title, with the same formatting as the title. For works with titles in non-Latin text, you can provide a transliteration in square brackets after the title. Note that title in non-latin text are not italicized.

3. Title of Container (MLA Handbook 5.31-37)

What is the Title of Container?

A container is a work that contains another work. It can be the book that a short story is in, the journal where an article was published, a website that hosts an article, the series for a television episode, the podcast title for an episode, etc. . . 

Self-contained works: These are works that they are their own container. For example: a print novel, or the theatrical release of a film. In these cases, just omit the title of container.

Works with more than one container: Some containers are, in turn, contained in another container. For example, an essay may appear in a print book that is then digitized on a website, or an article in a journal that's on a database. In these cases, you list a second container after the location information listed for the first container. Technically, you can include a third container as well, or a fourth, etc., but it is rare that a source will have more than two containers.

Websites: Websites are only containers when they serve as the platform of publication for the particular version of the work you're consulting. If it is only a passive conduit providing access (e.g. linked articles on Facebook, linked items on Omnivox, and online stores like Amazon), it is not listed as a container.

Apps and databases: Apply the same criteria as websites.

Where do you find it?

In a book, the container's title is usually prominently displayed at the top of a page or on a title page.

In a journal, the container's title will be on the cover. It will frequently appear in the header or footer of each page, and will appear on the record page for an article in a database.

For television series, radio shows, or podcasts, the container is the title of the series. The source would be the title of the individual episode being referenced.

How do you style it?

Use all of the same guidelines as when styling a Title of Source. Normally, a Title of Container is italicized. It is followed by a comma.

4. Contributor(s) (MLA Handbook 5.38-47)

What is the Contributor?

Contributors includes anyone that made a major contribution to a work other than the author. This includes ensemble works that are the product of many contributors but not a single, primary creator, or works with important contributions in addition to a primary author. Always include a label describing the role of a contributor.

Usually, list only the Key Contributors. This includes:

  • Translators
  • Editors responsible for scholarly editions or collections of works by various primary authors from which you are citing an individual contribution
  • Editors for scholarly editions and anthologies of a primary author's works
  • Film directors
  • Music conductors
  • Performing groups, such as dance companies and choirs

Other contributors can be listed on a case-by-case basis, such as:

  • video uploaders on a website (e.g. YouTube)
  • creators of a television show
  • narrator of an audiobook
  • featured performers in a film or television series
  • illustrators in works where the art plays a major role

Key Contributors in the Author element: If you are discussing a work with a focus on the role of the contributor, place the contributor in the Author element, followed by a label of their role. If there is a primary author, place the author's name in the Contributor element. Precede it with the label "by".

Where do you find it?

The Contributor(s) is sometimes displayed near the name of the primary author. Other times, it will be elsewhere in the source (e.g. the end credits).

How do you style it?

Contributors' names are styled just like names in prose. They are not reversed into surname, given name order. Place a comma after the name.

Role label: Precede the name of each contributor with a label according to the role they played in the creation of the work. First list the role (Translated, Edited, Directed, Conducted, Performances), followed with "by". Labels should all be in lower case, unless they are the initial word after a period.

example: directed by Taika Waititi,

If one contributor has multiple roles (e.g. editor and translator), precede the name with labels for all the roles.

example: edited and translated by James Strachey,

Two contributors with the same role: Place the role label, then list the first contributor's name, followed by a comma, a space, and an "and." Then list the second contributor's name.

Three or more contributors with the same role: Place the role label, then list only the first contributor's name, followed by "et al."

Multiple contributors with different roles: List each contributor according to how their names appear in the source, with commas in between each contributor. If the author is being listed as a contributor, they are always listed first.

5. Version (MLA Handbook 5.48-50)

What is the Version?

The version is a notation indicating which edition of a work that you use. Use the version for a work carrying a notation that indicates it is a version of the work released in more than one form, a director's cut, a numbered version of a website, etc. . . 

You can use version to specify if you have used an eBook version of a printed book. It can also be included as a supplemental element. See the Works Cited - examples page of this guide for more details.

Where do you find it?

In books, the version will usually appear on the title page.

In other media, it may be given on an "about" page or other informational page, on a box or album cover, or in an accompanying booklet.

How do you style it?

Ordinal numbered editions: Use Arabic numerals. Do not put the "th" or "rd" or "st" in superscript (e.g. 13th, 4th, 3rd).

"Revised" and "Edition": Abbreviate as "rev." and "ed."

Descriptive terms: Some editions may not have a specific number, but are instead referred to as an "expanded edition" or "director's cut." Include these in the version. Do not capitalize, unless the descriptive term is a proper noun (e.g. Authorized King James Version).

Follow the version with a comma.

6. Number (MLA Handbook 5.51-53)

What is the Number?

When a source is part of a numbered sequence, like a numbered volume, issue, episode, or season, you include this information in the Number section of the entry.

Where do you find it?

In a book, the information should be on the Title page or the cover.

In a journal, the number could be on the cover, in the header and footer of the article pages, on the record page for the article in a database, or on the cover page of a PDF version of an article.

In television shows, it could be in the menu on a streaming platform, or in the DVD menu.

Podcasts, etc. . ., it can be found in the episode information in the app.

How do you style it?

Use Arabic numerals for numbers. Convert any Roman numerals to Arabic. Covert numbers that are spelled out as well.

Precede the number with a label. If a common abbreviation or term that identifies the kind of division is available (e.g. "vol." for volume, "no." for issue number), use the abbreviation. If there is no common abbreviation (e.g. "episode" or "season"), include the full word. If the label follows a comma, make it lowercase. If it follows a period, make the first letter uppercase.

If a source has more than one number (e.g. a journal with both a volume and an issue), include both, each with their own label. Separate them with a comma.

Follow the number with a comma.


7. Publisher (MLA Handbook 5.54-67)

What is the Publisher?

The publisher is the entity primarily responsible for producing the work. It can be:

  • the company or individual that published a book
  • the studio, company, distributor, or network of broadcast for a film or television episode or series
  • the institution responsible for content creation on a website.
  • the theatre company for a performance
  • the agency or department for a government publication.

Where do you find it?

In a book, the publisher will appear on the title page or on the copyright page (usually the reverse page to the title page in a print book). If there is a parent company listed with multiple divisions, consult a Library catalogue to see which division is primarily listed as the publisher for the work.

On a website, the publisher will appear in the copyright notice at the bottom of the page or on the about page.

In audio and visual media, there will likely be a screen credit near the beginning or end of the work. You can also check the landing page or navigation menu of a streaming service or website. Cite the production company that made the show, or the network that broadcast it. When there are multiple entities listed, choose the one that is most prominently displayed.

How do you style it?

Record the name of the publisher as presented in the work. Capitalize all major words in the name, except initial articles (e.g. "the," "an," and "a"). Retain any internal capitals in a name (e.g. YouTube).

If "Publishers," "Publishing," or "Pictures" are part of the name, include them. However, omit any words that denote the type of legal corporate entity of the publisher, such as "Company (Co.)," "Corporation (Corp.)," "Incorporated (Inc.)," and "Limited (Ltd.)."

Academic presses whose names contain the words "University" and "Press" , use the abbreviation "UP" (e.g. Oxford UP), or equivalent, if in another language than English (e.g. in French, "PU" for "Presse universitaires"). If the name only include "Press," do not abbreviate it.

Change Ampersands "&" and plus signs in names to "and."

If there are two co-publishers (two organizations equally responsible for the publication of the work), include each, separating the names with a forward slash "/".

For non-governmental organizations with multiple divisions, list the entities from the largest to the smallest, separating them with commas.

For government agencies with many component parts (e.g. multiple departmental levels), you can truncate the name and keep only the name of either the government (e.g. Government of Canada) or the primary agency (e.g. Health Canada).

City of Publication:

While this is normally not included, as it is not relevant for modern publishers, you can give the city of publication in place of a publisher for a work published before 1900. Note that this only applies for a copy of a work that was published before 1900. If you have a reprint of a work that was written before 1900, but the copy you have was published after 1900, you do not include the city.

You can also include the city of publication for a publisher with offices in more than one country if you are using an unexpected version of the work. For example, if you are writing your essay in Canada and use the British version of a novel when the same publisher also published a different North American version of the novel. In that case, it is important to include the city to indicate that your used the British version.

8. Publication Date (MLA Handbook 5.68-83)

What is the Publication Date?

The publication date tells your reader when the version of the work you are citing was published.

Publication dates may include one or more of these elements:

  • year
  • day and month
  • season
  • time stamp
  • a range of dates or years

In certain cases, instead of a standard publication date, you may include:

  • the date of composition of unpublished materials
  • the date of revision or upload of online works if it is more pertinent to your work
  • the label "forthcoming" for works that haven't yet been formally published
  • the date a source was viewed or heard firsthand if there is not publication date

Where do you find it?

In books, find the date on the title page or the copyright page. Use the most recent listed date, if more than one date is listed. Avoid using outside resources. For both print and eBooks, list the year only.

For news articles, find the date on the front page of the periodical in print, or near the name of the author for online articles.

For journal articles, find the date on the title page of the journal or in the header or footer in print. In digital editions, it is usually supplied by the website or database or will appear on a cover sheet in a PDF. If there are multiple dates, always provide the date of the version you used.

For music, find the date on the album cover or in the booklet for physical music. For digital music, it can be found in various places (in the app, website, etc. . .). There is no standardized location.

For government documents, find the date on the title page, or on the website where it was published. As with books, provide only the year.

For Television episodes, find the date on the page where you stream or download the episode for streaming or download services. If you watched the episode on live television, use the date it was watched.

How do you style it?

Use the Day Month Year style to minimize commas. Unless otherwise specified, provide the most specific date you can find in your source. Give the day in Arabic numerals. Spell out the month in letters, abbreviating any name of a month that is longer than four letters. Convert the year to Arabic numerals if it is expressed in Roman numerals or spelled out in the source (e.g. 1 June 2020 or 4 Sep. 1999). Place a comma after the date.

Season: If a season (fall, winter, spring, summer) is provided by the source instead of a month or day, include it before the year. Do not capitalize the season when part of a date.

Timestamp: If an exact time of publication is included in the source, you can include it in the date of publication. Express the time in whatever form you find it in the source. Include the time zone information when provided and pertinent. Place a comma after the date, then place the time as you found it. Place another comma after the timestamp.

Date range: If you are citing an ongoing non-periodical work (not a magazine, journal, or newspaper), enter an en dash after the beginning date, then a space. Do not use for websites, journals, television or streaming series, or other works published on an episodic basis. If you have a work with clear beginning and end dates, provide a complete date range, including days and months, if possible. Place an en dash between the beginning and ending date.

Approximate date in source: Record the date as given, but spell out phrases that are normally spelled out in prose (e.g. "fifteenth century").

Uncertain date in source: If your source, or the institution holding the source, indicates that the publication date is uncertain, enter the date as given, followed by a question mark (e.g. 1788?). Note that if a date is not given at all, do not attempt to provide one.

9. Location (MLA Handbook 5.84-99)

What is the Location?

The location depends on the format of your work.

Paginated print or similar fixed-format works: The location is the page range. If necessary, you may include the section title.

Online works: The location is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a permalink, or a URL, in that preferred order.

Unique or ephemeral works viewed or heard firsthand: The location is where the work was viewed or heard. It can include a specific location, such as a Museum, Art Gallery, or a Theatre, as well as a city.

Other physical media: The location is the numbering system provided by the source. For example, Disc numbers for DVD sets.

Do not include location page numbering if it is specific to your source (e.g. eBook page numbering that changes depending on the device you use).

Do not include location page numbering for self-contained works.

Do not include the Library or Archive as the location for rare works, or an online bookstore for an eBook.

Where do you find it?

Page numbers: Check the actual pages. Do not rely on the table on contents.

Online works:

  • DOI: Check the landing page for the article.
  • Permalink: Check the landing page for the article.
  • URL: Copy directly from the address bar.

How do you style it?

Page numbers: List the starting page for the work, followed by an en dash, followed by the last page of the work. Be inclusive in your listing so that the numbers cover the entire range. Precede a page range with "pp." and a single page with "p." Use the same symbol that your source does for page numbers. Do not change Roman numerals to Arabic numerals. Follow it with a period.

Non-consecutive page numbering: If a work in a periodical is not printed on consecutive pages, include only the first page in the range, followed by a plus sign. Follow it with a period.

DOIs: Digital Object Identifiers typically begin with a 10, followed by a period, followed by a string of numbers and letters. If it is not precede by "http://" or "https://", precede the DOI with:

Permalinks: Copy the permalink directly from the source. Do not modify.

URLs: Copy the URL in full from your browser bar. You can omit "http://" or "https://" unless you want to hyperlink from your document and are working with a program that will not automatically hyperlink the protocol. If the URL runs more than three lines, or is longer than the rest of the entry, you can truncate the URL. However, you must always retain the host name. Avoid using URL shortening services (e.g., TinyURL, etc. . .). Never introduce a space or a hyphen in a URL. Accurate display of a URL is more important than line breaks.

Physical locations and events: Use only for an object or event experienced firsthand. Give the name the institution and sufficient amount of information to identify the location (City, City & State, City & Country). You can include shelf marks for archival materials.

Supplemental elements (MLA Handbook 5.105-119)

Supplemental elements are additional information that you may need to include for specific types of resources. They are inserted into a citation after the Title of Source if the information only pertains to the source and not the work in which the source is contained. Otherwise, they go at the end of the entry. If they pertain only to the first container or a work that has multiple containers, list them after the first container and before the second.

Placement after Title of Source:

Contributor: If there is a contributor that played an important role in a work contained in another work (but not in the overall containing work), you can include the after the Title of Source and before the Title of Container. All the normal formatting rules for a Contributor apply.

Section of a work labeled generically: If you are citing an introduction, preface, forward, or afterword with a unique title, include a label after the title as a supplemental element. (e.g. "It Was the Best of Times." Introduction.)

Placement at the End of an Entry:

Date of access: Include if an online work lacks a publication date or if you suspect the work has been altered or may be removed from the site. List as: Accessed Day Month Year. The formatting for dates in the Publication Date section of the entry apply.

Medium of Publication: Include as a simple, descriptive label at the end of the entry (e.g. PDF, Draft, ePub, etc. . .). Only include if:

  • More than one version of a source exists on the same online landing page where you found the source and you are using a version that is not the default version.
  • You are using a draft version of a work. However, always use the final published version, if possible.
  • You need to indicate the medium of publication of a work that would be otherwise ambiguous.
  • You are using an electronic edition of a work where the file type is important.

Dissertations and theses: Include the institution conferring the degree and the type of thesis or dissertation. Place a comma between the institution and the thesis.

Publication History: It may be of interest to your readers to know where and when a work was originally published. This, however, is usually only used for specialist audiences. If you include it, label the information as "Originally published in" followed by the publication information for the original publication source. Do not include information about later versions of the work published after the version you are using.

Book series: Include series names if they are meaningful for your audience. Usually only necessary for specialist audiences.

Columns, sections, and other recurring titled features:  Can be included at your discretion, but usually are not.

Multivolume works: If your are citing a multivolume work as a whole in your citation, include the total number of volumes as a supplemental element, followed by the label "vols." If a single volume of a multivolume work has a unique title, give the title of the work as a whole as a final supplemental element.

Government documents: Include number and session of a governing body, as well as the type and number of the publication (e.g. Bills, Resolutions, Reports, Documents).

Placement between containers

Whenever any of the above supplemental information only pertains to the first container.

Page Index

Works Cited: Template

Below is a template for creating Works Cited entries for MLA Citation, 9th edition. Use it to help you create Works Cited entries in MLA style.

The MLA Handbook, 9th Edition

The MLA Handbook, 9th Edition, published by the Modern Language Association, is the definitive guide on MLA citation style. It was last updated in 2021. Copies of the Handbook are available at the Reserve Desk in the Library.

Additional sources for MLA citation style

Additional information on MLA style may be found on the following websites:

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