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Accessing Resources: Where Do I Start?: MLA Citation

This guide will teach students how to access information using various library resources and how to insert the information into their research papers.

MLA Citations

MLA (8th edition) citations are built on the idea of containers (or units) using the following format:

Author. Title of source.  Title of Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

Here are some notes to keep in mind:

In-Text Citations

In-text citations should be integrated into the research paper, not left as stand-alone sentences.

  • Include the author's last name and page number with every quote, generally in parentheses after the quote. (Miglio 4)

                        -If there are two authors, use both last names and the page number.  (Du Bois and Washington 179)

                        -If there are three or more authors, use the last name of the first author et al.,

                            and the page number.  (Garcia et al. 28), 

                        -If there is no author, use a shortened form of the title  ("Virginia Woolf")

                        -If there is no page number, leave it out of the in-text citation.

                        -Use paragraph numbers only if they explicitly appear in the work.  (par. 4)

                         -If something is being paraphrased, quotations are not necessary.  However, an in-text citation is still required.


Works Cited

The Works Cited page is an alphabetical list of all the sources you cite in your paper. Every source you want to use in your paper must be listed on the works cited page.

Here are some basic rules to follow when creating your Works Cited page:

  • The Works Cited page should be placed at the end of your paper.
  • The Works Cited page should begin on a new page.
  • The Works Cited page should be double spaced and the second line of each entry should be a hanging indent.  (To create a hanging indent, select the text you want indented.  On the ruler, drag the Left Indent [light blue inverted triangle] to the right as far as you want the text to be indented.  The First Line Indent marker [light blue rectangle] will also move and all of your selected text will move to the right.  Then drag the First Line Indent marker back to the left margin..Your hanging indent will be created). 

To see specific entry examples, click the link below.

Download a Sample Paper

View this useful sample paper provided by the OWL at Purdue.  The sample paper provides a sample text with easy to follow guidelines.

Citing Primary Sources from a Library Database


Primary resources are "windows into history."  They are first-hand accounts or artifacts from an event and they can make that event seem more real. For that reason, it is a good practice to incorporate primary resources into your paper.  Some examples of primary sources are diaries, live interviews, photographs, original texts, or  original blogs. 


Citations for primary sources, taken from a library database follow the following format:

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Primary Source Document: Subtitle." Title of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number. Name of Database, doi:DOI number if Any.