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.

Citations: MLA Style (9th ed.)

A guide to writing and citing in MLA format.

General Notes

 

Author. "Source Title." Website (Container) Name, Publisher, date, url.

Author, FirstName.

Author1, FirstName1, and FirstName2 Author2.

Author, FirstName, et al.

Organization Name.

"Title of Article." Website Name, Publisher Name,

DD Mon. YYYY,

Mon. YYYY,

YYYY,

www.etc.etc/url.

 

It's fairly common for websites to not have specifically named authors for any given page, but double-check that there's really not one given. Sometimes they're listed at the bottom instead of the top; sometimes a page produced by a lone person and you'll find their name on an About page instead.

You can choose to list the organization/corporation as the author instead and skip using them as the site name or publisher later in the citation. Skipping author so that the citation starts with the article title can make it easier to have unique in-text citations, though.

Caution! Corporate authors do not have their names flipped around like people's names.

  • Incorrect (courtesy of EasyBib): Bureau, US Census. “Computer and Internet Use in the United States, 2018.” ...
  • Correct: US Census Bureau. “Computer and Internet Use in the United States, 2018.” ...

Not to be confused with the name of the overall site -- and this is something citation tools online get wrong a lot! Look at the page itself: what text appears closest to the article itself?

Top of an article on the Census website, with highlights over the url and flags pointing out the site name (top-left logo) and the article title.

Why do citation tools get it wrong?

They can only scrape metadata off the website, and that data isn't structured with citations in mind. Rather, it expects people to save bookmarks or send links somewhere. Warning signs to watch for:

  • Vertical lines in the article title, e.g.: "The Kuiper Belt Objects - NASA | Outer Space | Cassini."
  • The same info twice in the citation, e.g.: "The Kuiper Belt." The Kuiper Belt, 4 Apr. 2019, www.etc.etc.

Look for what's actually written on the page itself (probably in the upper left corner) rather than in the address bar for the website's name. Every website has to be Something.com or Whatever.org or RandomExamples.net; that doesn't mean the website organizers consider the domain ending (.com, .net, etc) to be part of the website's official name.

Ex, For this Census Bureau article, the website is United States Census Bureau, not Census.gov.

Top of an article on the Census website, with highlights over the url and flags pointing out the site name (top-left logo) and the article title.

 

By contrast, Space.com is actually Space.com, as we can see by the inclusion of ".com" on the site logo:

Header of Space.com website, pointing out the .com that's part of the site logo

To get an idea of who the publisher is, look towards the very bottom of the page for the copyright notice or for an About page. For example, the publisher of Space.com is Future US.

Space.com website footer with the copyright statement highlighted along with the statement of the media group it's part of.

If the name of the website is the same of the publisher, as is the case with the New York Times, just skip the publisher to avoid redundancy in the citation.

You can also exclude any business labels in the publisher name -- Inc, Ltd, LLC, and so on.

  1. A byline date is sometimes used near the top of the webpage: May 1, 2004.
  2. A date of last update may be found at the top or bottom of the page and looks something like: Updated: 8:43 a.m. MT May 10, 2009.
  3. If the website has no date associated with it, your citation will skip over where the date should be.
  4. If all you can find is the copyright date for the page, chances are this is a generic footer used across the website. Skip the date element.

For sources that are likely to be edited and don't have an officially noted date, it is recommended that you add an access date after the URL. All dates in MLA are formatted as DD Mon. YYYY, e.g. Accessed 5 Nov. 2013. 

The URL (the http://www.etc... in the address bar of your browser) gives a particular location of a webpage.

Exclude the http:// when you include the address.

Named Authors

Avirgan, Jody. "Not All Privacy Policies Are Created Equal." FiveThirtyEight, 12 Feb. 2016, fivethirtyeight.com/features/not-all-privacy-policies-are-created-equal.

Parenthetical citation: (Avirgan).

 

Irving, Ian and Kuan Xu. "Crime, Punishment and Poverty in the United States." IDEAS, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 25 Aug. 2009, ideas.repec.org/p/dal/wparch/uspov.html

Parenthetical citation: (Irving and Xu).

Organization as Author

If a nongovernmental organization is both the author of an article and the publisher, skip the author element and only list them as publisher.


"HDL (Good), LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides." American Heart Association, 6 Nov. 2020, www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/hdl-good-ldl-bad-cholesterol-and-triglycerides.

Parenthetical citation: ("Good vs Bad").

 

"Pluto: In Depth." Solar System Exploration, NASA, 19 Dec. 2019, solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/dwarf-planets/pluto/overview/.

Parenthetical citation: ("Pluto").
Parenthetical citation, if multiple sources start with Pluto: ("Pluto: In Depth").

 

UN Environment. Global Environment Outlook: GEO-6: Healthy Planet, Healthy People. Edited by Paul Ekins et al., 6th ed., Cambridge UP, 4 Mar. 2019, www.unep.org/resources/global-environment-outlook-6. PDF.

Parenthetical citation: (UN Environment). (UN Environment 207).

Blog Post

A blog post will basically be like a regular web article citation, though you might not have a person's real name to use.

Pro-Tip!

Be very cautious if you're referencing a blog or comment in your paper. These aren't generally the best sources to use outside of very specific contexts.


Ruiz, Vanessa. "Wearing your anatomy on your skin: the anatomy tattoo gallery." Street Anatomy, 8 Aug. 2007, streetanatomy.com/blog/?p=132.

Parenthetical citation: (Ruiz).

 

Bartok. "Latest Report on the Lack of Evidence for Swedish Gnomes." King Luan, 15 Sept. 2016, kingluan.com/royal-decrees/latest-report-on-the-lack-of-evidence-for-swedish-gnomes.

Parenthetical citation: (Bartok).

 

If you're referring to a comment on a blog post, include the timestamp in addition to the date:

Scooby Voodoo. Comment on "A bad case of the Mondays (in the INFINITE DARKNESS)." Comics Curmudgeon, 13 June 2016, 7:24 a.m., joshreads.com/?p=27615.

Parenthetical citation: (Scooby Voodoo).

Podcasts

"Summer Reading Program." Welcome to Night Vale, written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, narrated by Cecil Baldwin, episode 28, Night Vale Presents, 1 Aug. 2013, welcometonightvale.com/listen.

Parenthetical citation: ("Summer"). ("Summer" 00:10:13).

Images Online

Tomoo, Inagaki. Pumpkins. 1955. MOMA, www.moma.org/collection/works/60805.

Parenthetical citation: (Tomoo).

 

Wyeth, Andrew. Self-Portrait. 1945, National Academy Museum & School, New York. Google Arts & Culture, www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/self-portrait/bQGXPeyDH80c0Q.

Parenthetical citation: (Wyeth).

Social Media

Include the full text of the tweet inside quotation marks in place of a title. The publication date should also include a time stamp.


@persiankiwi. "We have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now - #Iranelection." Twitter, 23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persiankiwi/status/2298106072.

Parenthetical citation: (@persianwiki).
  • Do include hashtags that were in the original tweet.
  • You don't have to include emojis unless they're important to the meaning of the tweet.
  • Ignore the @ when alphabetizing your Works Cited list.

Entire Website

Do not list entire websites in your Works Cited page.

  • If you used multiple articles from a site, you need an individual citation for each of those pages with specific urls going to each.
  • If you just need to mention that a site exists, you do it narratively in your paper, e.g. The latest status of bills and resolutions are posted to the Congressional website (www.congress.gov).

Online Government Publication

"Librarians." Occupational Outlook Handbook, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16 Dec. 2019, www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm. 

Parenthetical citation: ("Librarians").