Citing References in a Bibliography

The following guidelines for the construction of a bibliography are based on the 7th edition of the Modern Language Association of America's style manual, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. This style is used primarily by those in the arts and humanities disciplines. This help guide is only an outline of what is covered in chapter 5 of the MLA Handbook, which should be consulted for a further explanation of the citation styles. For in-text citations, see chapter 6 of the MLA Handbook.

Bibliography / Works Cited

The bibliography or works cited list is usually arranged alphabetically by author's last name, with anonymous works arranged by the first significant word in the title. The entire list should be double-spaced throughout each entry, and the lines after the first line of each entry should be indented 5 spaces.


The general form for any non-periodical publication is as follows:


Author's name. Title of the Book. Publication



Authors' names are listed last name first, then first name. The title of the book is always italicized with each significant word capitalized. The publication information usually consists of place of publication, publisher's name, and date of publication. Finally, the medium of the publication consulted is listed.


One author/editor

Morrison, Toni. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the

Literary Imagination. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP,

1992. Print.

Two authors / editors

ConDavis, Robert, and Ronald Schleiffer, eds.

Contemporary Literary Criticism: Literary and

Cultural Studies
. New York: Longman, 1989. Print.

More than 3 authors / editors

Bell-Scott, Patricia, et al., eds. Double Stitch: Black

Women Write about Mothers and Daughters.

Boston: Beacon, 1991. Print.

Corporate authors

American Library Association. Libraries and Information

Services Today. Chicago: American Library Association

1991. Print.

Chapter / Essay in an edited work

Faulker, William. "That Evening Sun." Major American

Short Stories. Ed. A. Walton Litz. New York: Oxford

UP, 1994. 464-78. Print.


Reference Works

Signed article

Cornell, Vincent J. "Islam." World Book. Chicago:

World Book, 2000. Print.

Unsigned article

"Holocaust." Encyclopaedia Britannica: Micropedia.

Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica,

2000. Print.


Periodical Articles

Citations for periodical articles follow roughly the same format as books, but with several slight but important differences. The author's name is still listed last name first, first name last. The title of the article is put in quotation marks and the title of the periodical is italicized. The publication information usually then includes volume and issue number (if indicated), date, and page numbers. Finally, the medium of the publication consulted is listed.


Journal articles

Lupton, Mary Jane. "Singing the Black Mother: Maya

Angelou and Autobiographical Continuity." Black

American Literature Forum
24.2 (1990): 257-75. Print.

Magazine articles

Seideman, David. "A Twist before Dying." Time 23 May

1994: 52. Print.

Newspaper articles

Achelson, Jason M. "The Lessons of the Harlem Renaissance."

Los Angeles Times 8 Nov. 1993: B 4+. Print.


Miscellaneous Print and Non-PrintSources


Davis, Angela. Interview by Walter Cronkite. CBS News Tonight.

CBS. WCBS, New York. 5 Jun. 1990.

211-216. Television.


For Films and videos, indicate the title of the film or video (italicized), the director, distributor, the year of release, and the medium consulted (e.g., Film, DVD, Videocassette). You may include other data that seem pertinent - such as names of the writer, performers and producer - between the title and the distributor.


Films / videos

Kadosh. Dir. Amos Gitai. Perf. Yael Abecassis, Yoram Hattab, Meital

Barda, and Uri Klazner. M.P. Productions, 1999. Videocassette.


Government Publications


Great Britain. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food.

National Food Survey. London: HMSO, 1993. Print.

New York State. Committee on State Prisons. Investigation of the New

York State Prisons. 1883. New York, Arno, 1974. Print.

United States. Cong. Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl

Harbor Attack. Hearings. 79th Cong., 1st and 2nd sess. 32 vols.

Washington: GPO, 1946. Print.

United States. Senate. Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments of

the Committee on the Judiciary. Hearings on the "Equal Rights"

. 91st Cong., 2nd sess. S. Res. 61. Washington: GPO,

1970. Print.


Internet and Online Sources

There are many different types of online sources you may wish to cite, all of which cannot be covered here. This is only a basic description. A detailed explanation for citing online sources can be found in chapter 5.6 of the MLA Handbook and should be consulted if you are uncertain about the format. The basic formula for citing online sources is this:

  1. Name of author or person responsible for the work (compiler, editor, etc.)
  2. Title of the work (italicized if the work is independent, or in roman type and in quotations marks if part of a larger work)
  3. Title of the Web site or database (italicized)
  4. Version or edition number
  5. Name of publisher or sponsor of the Web site (if not available, use N.p.)
  6. Date of electronic publication or the last update, or n.d.
  7. Medium of publication (Web)
  8. Date of access

If you cannot find some of this information, cite what is available. Include the URL at the end of the citation only if required by your instructor, or if the source is difficult to locate online.


Online Scholarly Project

Victorian Women Writers Project. Ed. Perry Willet.

May 2000. Indiana U. Web. 23 Jul. 2003.

Professional Web Site

Department of Languages and Literatures. U of Chicago. Web. 15 Aug. 2003.

Personal Web Site

Lancashire, Ian. Home page. 28 Mar. 2003. Web. 27 Aug. 2003


Online Reference Source

"Fresco." The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2001.

Columbia U Press. Web. 27 Aug. 2003.


Online Periodical Articles

The general format for citing online periodical articles should contain the following elements. If you cannot find some of the information, cite what is available:

  1. Author’s name (if given)
  2. Title of the work or material (if any; a review or letter to the editor may be untitled), in quotation marks
  3. Title of periodical (italicized)
  4. Volume number, issue number, or other identifying number
  5. Date of publication
  6. The inclusive page numbers, or n. pag., if they are not numbered
  7. Title of database (italicized)
  8. Medium of publication (Web)
  9. Date of access

Include the URL only if required by your instructor.

Articles obtained from a database through a library:

Entries for online articles found in a database to which a library subscribes (such as EBSCOHost Academic Search Complete, Project Muse, JSTOR, Research Library [ProQuest], or LexisNexis) are the same as print articles, but they include additional important information. After the page numbers (if unavailable, use n. pag.), indicate the title of the database where you found the article (italicized), the medium of publication (Web), and the date of access. Use the URL of the database only if required by your instructor.


Christian, David. "Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in

World History." Journal of World History 11.1 (2000): 1-26.

Project Muse. Web.
19 Aug. 2002. <>.

Mann, Charles C. "The Heavenly Jukebox." Atlantic Monthly 286.3

(2000): 39-56. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Aug. 2002.

Youakim, Sami. "Work-Related Asthma." American Family

Physician 64 (2001): 1839-52. Health Reference

. Web. 19 Aug. 2003.


Online journal and magazine articles not obtained through a database

If you are citing an article from an online journal found on the World Wide Web to which no subscription is required, cite the article as you would for a typical web site by giving the date of access. Indicate page numbers or number range, paragraphs, or other sections, if they are numbered.


Demb, Ada. "The Intellectual Supermarket." Educause Review 34.4

(July/Aug 2002): n. pag. Web. 12 Aug. 2003.

Flannagan, Roy. "Reflections on Milton and Ariosto." Early Modern

Literary Studies 2.3 (1996): n. pag. Web. 23 Aug. 2003



In-Text citations

Footnote documentation has been revised into references that are cited in an abbreviated form in parentheses in the text of your paper. Besides direct quotes, references to a particular work or to someone else's ideas must be identified by a parenthetical reference. Usually the author's last name and a page number are enough for the reader to locate the source in your list of works cited. See the 6th chapter of MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (Ref LB 2369 .G53 2009) for any source not listed here.


One author / editor

Toni Morrison illustrates this point in her work (25-30).

Two authors / editors

Both ConDavis and Schleiffer agree on these traits (40-43).

More than 3 authors / editors

" she and her mother" (Bell-Scott et al. 15)

Corporate author

The American Library Association recommends... (22-23).

Chapter / Essay in an edited work

(Faulkner 467)


Reference Works

Signed article


Unsigned article



Periodical Articles


(Lupton 258)


(Seideman) Note: No page number needed for one-page sources.


(Achelson 4)


Electronic and Online Sources

Citing web pages, online articles, etc. is as easy as citing print sources as they follow the same pattern. Use the author’s last name or the title of the work, which may be abbreviated. If you use an abbreviated title, begin the shortened version with the word by which the work is alphabetized in your list of works cited. If your online source does not have fixed page numbers, omit them from the in-text citation. If it has fixed page numbers, cite the relevant numbers. Do not use page numbers from a print-out of a web document as page numbers differ with different printers.

This page is based on a web site maintained by Carol Anne Germain at the University at Albany. Updated 6-24-09