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Citation Styles

Help with different citation styles including how to format citations.

Guidelines for Works Cited List

The following discusses general aspects of a works cited list, including formatting.

Title: On a new page after your paper, enter the words "Works Cited." Do not bold, italicize, underline or put quotation marks.

Order: In a Works Cited list, citations are listed alphabetically by author's last name. Sources without authors are inserted alphabetically by title within the list. When citing more than one work by an author, order the entries by author, then alphabetically by title.

Indention: The first line of each citation is flush with the left margin. Indent subsequent lines of citations by half an inch to create a hanging indent.

Spacing: Citations should be double-spaced in the works cited list. Insert 1 space after commas, colons, semicolons, periods that separate parts of the citation, and periods of the initials in a name.

Punctuation: All entries in the Works Cited list end with a period. Except for the author and title of a source (which usually end in periods), elements of the citations are separated by commas.

Authors: When a source has 3 or more authors, only the first author is listed in reverse order followed by "et al." A source with 2 authors lists the first author in reverse name order separated by a comma and the word and, the second author is listed in normal name order. When an organization is both the author and the publisher the publisher author is only listed as the publisher and the entry follows the no author format listing the title first.

Capitalization: Capitalize each word in the titles and subtitles of articles, books, etc. Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), prepositions or conjunctions unless it is the first word of the title or subtitle.

Italics and Underlining: Italics is used for the title of the source. If the source doesn't have a container (like a book), that title is in italics. If the source is part of the a larger entity (like an article in a journal or a chapter in a book), then that title is encased in quotation marks and the title of the container (journal name, book, etc.) is in italics. Underlining is not used in citations, including for DOIs or URLs.

Quotation Marks:  Enclose the title of articles, book chapters, presentations etc. in quotation marks. Use a period inside the closing quotation mark.

Abbreviations: Common terms such as “editor,” “edited by,” and “translated by” are spelled out. However, they are not capitalized.

Publication Information: The location of publication is no longer required. The publisher name is spelled out, but words like “company” are dropped. For academic presses, University of X Press is listed as U of X P or X UP.

Issue Numbers for Journals: Volume and issue numbers are identified with vol. #, no. #. Do not italicize volume or issue numbers. 

Date: Books need the publication year. Journal articles may have a month and year, or a season and year if the month is not listed. Magazine articles and online pages like blogs list the date as day, month, year. If an online source has no date of publication or last update, omit that information.

Pagination: Page numbers are preceded by p. or pp. They are only used in Works Cited entries, not for in-text citations.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): A unique DOI is assigned to journal articles and always begins with a 10. DOIs provides persistent links to articles, eliminating issues with website URLs changing. However, not all articles have a DOI; additionally, DOIs are visible in some databases but "hidden" in others. If available, a DOI should be listed at the end of the citation. If there is no DOI present, omit that information.

URL: The URL is listed for an online source or website. However, https:// is no longer used. 

Database Location: When citing an article or publication found in an online database, the name of the database should be typed in italics followed by the stable URL of the article.

Chapters 1 and 5 of the MLA Handbook were consulted in preparing this guide.

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