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MLA Style Guide, 9th Edition

The Works Cited Page

The Works Cited page is an essential part of any scholarly paper or publication. Its purpose is to allow your reader to find the sources referenced in your paper.

Below are some general guidelines for formatting your Works Cited page. The bolded rules are new in the 9th edition or are most often forgotten:

  1. Start a separate page at the end of your paper, making sure to maintain the margins and spacing as the other pages of your paper. Title the page Works Cited. Center the title text horizontally.
  2. Start the first item referenced in the paper flush with the left margin and indent subsequent lines five spaces. This is known as a hanging indent (instructions to format in MS Word). 
  3. Double-space between and within entries (i.e., the entire page should be evenly double-spaced. Don't put an extra space between entries).
  4. Space once after all punctuation.
  5. Arrange entries in alphabetical order by last name of author (or first word of title for entries with no known author).
  6. Use full names of authors as stated in the original publication. If an author is better recognized by a pen/stage name, use that instead of the real name (e.g., use Mark Twain, not Samuel Clements.
  7. List the first author in reverse order (last name first) and second author in standard order (first name, last name).
    1. If there are more than two authors, name only the first author followed by et al.
  8. If there are two or more books by the same author are referenced, give the full name in the first entry on the Works Cited Page and type three hyphens followed by a period for subsequent entries.
  9. Capitalize all important words in the titles.
  10. If you refer to a single page in a resource, express as: p.307. If you cite multiple pages of a resource, express as: pp.307-21 or pp.3307-21. Note that there is no space between the period and the first digit, and that the ending page number only uses the minimum number of characters to identify the end of the article.
  11. For articles that originally appeared in print but were retrieved on a database, include the name of the database in italics. Use the DOI (digital object identifier) as the link, without the http(s):// prefix. 
  12. Apps and databases are only cited when they fit into the "container" definition. For example, YouTube.com would be considered the container for a video. However, a PDF published someplace else and saved to the DropBox app would not be "contained" by DropBox, the original site where the PDF was found would be the container.
  13. Place a period at the end of each citation.

Thanks to Purdue OWL for the examples in this section