Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citing Sources: MLA 9th Ed.

Guide of why and how to cite properly, including tools for creating citations in various formats (MLA, APA, Chicago etc).

About MLA

What Is MLA Style?

MLA style is a system for documenting sources in scholarly writing. For over half a century, it has been widely adopted for classroom instruction and used worldwide by scholars, journal publishers, and academic and commercial presses.

The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook, published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal articles in databases to song lyrics, online images, social media posts, dissertations, and more. With this focus on source evaluation as the cornerstone of citation, MLA style promotes the skills of information and digital literacy so crucial today.


Helpful resources for MLA

Helpful resources!

Further reading

Further reading: 

Why & When to Cite Sources?

What is Plagiarism?

MLA Online Workshop

In-Text Citations

In-text citation - a short note embedded in the text of your paper in which you acknowledge the source of quotations or paraphrases of someone else's words. Some common formats of MLA style parenthetical documentation are shown below:

  1. Usually, the author's last name and a page reference are enough to identify the source and the specific location from which you have borrowed material:

"The stories in the Panchatantra originated in India, many going back to the second century B.C." (Chaitanya 361).

  1. When the author or work is mentioned in the text immediately prior to the quotation, a simple page reference is sufficient:

It may be true, as Robertson maintains, that "in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance . . ." (136).

  1. When you are using several works by the same author and have mentioned the author immediately prior to the quotation, indicate the short form of the source’s title and the page number:

According to Naomi Baron, reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" ("Redefining" 194).

  1. When you are using several works by the same author, but have not mentioned the author in the text immediately prior to the quotation, indicate the author’s name, the short form of the source’s title, and the page number:

Reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron, "Redefining" 194).

  1. If you use a quotation of more than four typed lines, set it off from the text by beginning a new line, indenting one inch or ten spaces from the left margin, and typing it double-spaced, without adding quotation marks:

At the conclusion of Lord of the Flies, Ralph and the other boys realize the horror of their actions:

The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (186)

Citing Sources MLA

MLA (Modern Language Association) style for documentation is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature. MLA style features brief parenthetical citations in the text keyed to an alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of the work. 

Core Elements

Each entry in the list of works cited is composed of facts common to most works—the MLA core elements. They are assembled in a specific order.


The concept of containers is crucial to MLA style. When the source being documented forms part of a larger whole, the larger whole can be thought of as a container that holds the source. For example, a short story may be contained in an anthology. The short story is the source, and the anthology is the container.

(Source: Official MLA website)

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style 8th Edition - Citing Print Sources

(note: Work Cited should be double spaced)


Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New Press, 2010.


Barsh, Joanna, and Johanne Lavoie. Centered Leadership: A Leading with Purpose, Clarity, and Impact. Crown Business, 2014.


Beley, Ennis, et al. Picture LA: Landmarks of a New Generation. Edited by Jeffrey Levin, Getty Conservation Institute, 1994.


Daniels, Pamela, and Sara Ruddick, editors. Women Imagine Change: A Global Anthology of Women's Resistance from 600 B.C.E. to Present. Routledge, 1997.


Dworken, Harvey J. "Digestion and Digestive Systems: Organ Functions." The New Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropedia, 15th ed., vol. 17, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2005, pp. 286-93.


Foley, Barbara. "Reading Redness: Politics and Audience in Ralph Ellison's Early Short Fiction." Short Story Criticism, edited by Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 79, Gale, 2005, pp. 43-52. Originally published in Journal of Narrative Theory, vol. 29, no. 3, Fall 1999, pp. 323-39.


King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." 1963. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay, Norton, 1997, pp.1854-66.


Lowrey, Annie. "Where Did the Government Jobs Go?" New York Times Magazine, 1 May 2016, pp. 64-67.


Quammen, David. "America's Wild Idea: Yellowstone." National Geographic, May 2016, pp. 30-53


Trometter, Alyssa L. "Malcolm X and the Aboriginal Black Power Movement in Australia, 1967-1972." Journal of African American History, vol. 100, no. 2, Spring 2015, pp. 226-49.


Zavis, Alexandra, and Nabih Bulos. "Syria Road Map May Go Nowhere." Los Angeles Times, 9 Sept. 2016, p. A4.


MLA (Modern Language Association) Style 9th Edition - Citing Online Sources

Elements (with examples):

1. Author's name (last name, first name)   Moraga, Cherríe.
2. Title of article (in quotation marks) "Art in America, Con Acento."
3. Name of periodical (italicized)  Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies,

4. Volume. Issue       

Note: Journal citations include the volume and issue number while magazine/newspaper citations do not.

vol. 12, no. 3,
5. Date published 1992,
6. Page number(s) pp. 154-160.
7. Database title (italicized)  JSTOR.
8. DOI


Author(s). “Title of Article.” Name of Periodical, vol. ##, no. ##, date published, pp. ##-##. Database Name, DOI (or permalink if DOI not provided).

Examples for a Works Cited List:

Moraga, Cherríe. "Art in America, Con Acento." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, vol. 12, no. 3, 1992, pp. 154-160. JSTOR,

Lazarus, David. "Our Irrational Custom of Tipping." Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2016, pp. C1+. ProQuest,

McGibney, Megan and Chris Perez Noonan. “Smuggle Bust at Jail.” The New York Post, 20 May 2016, p. 10. LexisNexis Academic,

Morcos, Nicholas, and Roy Morcos. "Personality Disorders: A Measured Response." Journal of Family Practice, vol. 65, no. 2, Feb. 2016, pp. 90-97. Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition,

Spivack, Miranda S. "Women in Combat." CQ Researcher, 13 May 2016, pp. 433-56. CQ Press,

Twiss, Sumner B. “History, Human Rights, and Globalization.” Journal of Religious Ethics, vol. 32, no.1, Spring 2004, pp. 39-70. JSTOR, 

Online Books

If citing an online book that also appeared in print, begin the citation with the relevant facts about print publication (author, title, publisher, year published etc.), followed by the Name of the Database (italicized) and permalink or URL (omit http:// or https://).

Berk, Laura E. Awakening Children's Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference. Oxford UP, 2004. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost),

Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book. Century, 1913. The Library of Congress: Classic Books,

Web Pages


Name of the author Aydin, Scott I. 
Title of the Web page or article (in quotation marks)             “Eisenmenger Syndrome.”
Title of the Web site or online periodical (italicized )

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia,

Name of the publisher or sponsoring institution

Note: The name of the publisher can be omitted if it is essentially the same as the title of Web site

Date of publication or latest update  15 Mar. 2016,
URL (omit http:// or https://)

Date of access (day month year) Accessed 29 Sept. 2016.


Author(s). “Title of the Page.” Title of the Web Site, Name of Sponsoring Institution, date of publication/last update, URL. Accessed day month year.

Examples for a Works Cited List (use a hanging indent)

Aydin, Scott I. “Eisenmenger Syndrome.” A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, MedlinePlus, 15 Mar. 2016, Accessed 29 Sept. 2016.

Lowe, Josh. “Netflix, Amazon Could Face EU Content Quotas.” Newsweek, 14 Sept. 2016, Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.

Van Helden, Albert, et al., editors. “Copernican System.” The Galileo Project, Rice U, 1995, Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.

Wattles, Jackie. “Clean Energy Gets Dirty: Turning Sewage into Heat.” CNNMoney, 24 June 2016,
html?sr=recirc052516eneregy0930story. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.

Contact Us:
Library (323) 953-4000 ext: 2400 * Reference (323) 953-4000 ext: 2406 * Circulation/Periodicals (323) 953-4000 ext: 2395