When citing any work, no matter what type or format, use a series of “core elements”.
Omit any core elements not relevant to the work.
In MLA style, "containers” describe how your source was published or made available to readers.
Core Elements, in order of placement in citation:
Note each element ends in a comma or a period:
Title of Source.
Title of Container,
Most sources are part of a larger work. In MLA these larger works are called “containers.”
A webpage (source) is part of a website (container)
An article (source) is part of a magazine (container)
A short story (source) is part of a book (container)
A few types of works are self-contained, and so are not part of a larger work, but are themselves a large work. Examples:
A work of art seen in person
Use core elements 3 through 9 to give details about the container. Repeat these same elements (3 through 9) for works that have 2 containers. Example:
An article (the source) is published in a journal (1st container) which is available in an online database (2nd container).
The author is the first core element of any citation.
Author name(s) always end with a period.
If source has more than one author, list the authors or editors for each citation in the order given on the publication.
If source has one author:
Last/Family name, First name Middle name.
Kalish, Mildred Armstrong.
If source has two authors:
Last, First Middle, and First Middle Last.
Kauffman, James M., and Harold J. Burbach.
If source has three or more authors:
Give only first listed author, Last, First Middle, then “et al.” to indicate multiple authors.
Wolfteich, Claire E., et al.
If source has editors but no authors:
Format names as you would for authors, comma, then the word "editor" or "editors", then a period.
Smith, John, and Margaret Jolly, editors.
If source has a corporate author:
Give organization name as it appears in work, but omit any beginning A, An, or The.
Modern Language Association.
If source has a government author:
Name of country, comma, Department followed by a period.
United States, National Institutes of Health.
If source gives no author:
Skip the author and begin citation with title of source (see Element 2: Title of source).
2: Title of source
The title of the source will either have quotation marks for shorter works within a larger work (for example: a short story, an article, or a web page), or italics for self-contained works (for example: a movie or a book).
Capitalize first, last, and principal words:
Example of a shorter work: (The period goes before the closing quotation mark)
“A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”
Example of a longer work: (The text is in italics and ends with a period)
Include any subtitle after a colon:
ScreenAgers: Lessons in Chaos from Digital Kids.
If no title is given, write a generic description, using sentence capitalization and no quotation marks. End with a period:
Photograph of sunset at Rocky Mountain National Park.
3: Title of container
The container is the larger source that contains the work you are citing.
For example: a book that contains a short story or essay; a journal that contains an article, or a web site that contains a web page.
Use italics and follow with a comma.
First, last, and principal words capitalized.
Journal of Education,
Webster’s New World College Dictionary,
4: Other contributors
Use the "other contributors" element to include any additional names important to your research or to identification of the work.
You should always include the following contributors in your citation:
Editors of scholarly editions and anthologies or collections of works
You might also choose to include these contributors:
Performing groups (like a choir or similar)
Write contributor's name: First Middle Last, and precede with a descriptive phrase or noun. Common phrases include:
Use sentence capitalization. This means if the previous element ended with a comma, the first word isn't capitalized. See example.
Translated by Jay Rubin,
, performances by James Stewart and Donna Reed,
Use the Version element to indicate an edition or version.
Abbreviate edition (ed.) and revised (rev.).
Use sentence capitalization. This means if the previous element ended in a comma, the first word isn't capitalized. See example.
Use the "number" element when the source is part of a numbered sequence, such as a journal article or a television series
Abbreviate volume (vol.) and issue/number (no.)
Use sentence capitalization. Do not capitalize the first word after a comma.
vol. 42, no. 5,
season 2, episode 10,
Use the "publisher" element mostly for books, websites, and films.
Do not use in journal article citations
Abbreviate “University Press” to UP
Omit any initial article (A, An, or The) and business abbreviations (like Co. or Inc.)