The MLA Works Cited Page – General Format

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Under the MLA format, you are required to provide a list of every source you cite within your research paper, and this document is called the Works Cited page. The in-text citations you use throughout your paper refer to sources listed on this page. Furthermore, every source cited in your paper must have a corresponding entry.

This list of sources provides a way for your readers to further examine a source if they wish and also gives credit to the ideas, thoughts and information that you reference from an original author. Guidelines for creating the Works Cited page include a number of general formatting specifics and ways to present certain information that focus on the following aspects.

  • General guidelines
  • Titles
  • Author names

General guidelines for the Works Cited page

  • Location – Keep the Works Cited page on its own page at the end of your paper. (If you have an Endnotes page, the Works Cited follows it.)
  • Margins – Use a one-inch margin (same as the remainder of your paper).
  • Header information – Use the same header for the Works Cited page with your last name and the page number that appears throughout your MLA paper.
  • Title – Place the title of “Works Cited” at the top of the page. Center it. Do not any additional formatting to the text.
  • Spacing – Maintain double spacing between lines, but avoid putting extra lines between sources.
  • Indentation – Use a hanging indent for everything after the first line for all sources.
  • Page numbers – Minimize page numbers when possible. For example, use 187-98 instead of 187-198).

Recent formatting changes in the 7th Edition of the MLA Handbook

  • List the medium of publication (Print, Web, Film, Email, etc.).
  • Omit URLs for web sources unless you are otherwise instructed to include them.
  • Include the database name when a print article is obtained from an online database in electronic form.

How to present titles on the Works Cited page

Titles require capitalization of most words within them, and punctuation changes depending on the type of title being cited on the Works Cited page.

Every word in titles are capitalized with the exception of articles (a, an, the), conjunctions and prepositions when they are not the first word of the title or subtitle.

  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Notes from a Small Island

Longer works, such as books or magazines, are put in italics (7th Edition MLA Handbook)

  • The Audacity of Hope
  • Time Magazine

Shorter works, such as articles or poems, are put in quotation marks (7th Edition MLA Handbook)

“Blocking Parts of Arizona Law: Justices Allow Its Centerpiece” (article)

“The Road Not Taken” (poem)

How to list sources by author names on the Works Cited page

All sources are listed in alphabetical order by author or editor last names on the Works Cited page. Author names take the following format:

  • Last name followed by a comma, first name and middle initial or middle name (if applicable).
  • Titles and degrees, , such as Dr., Sir, PhD, MA and others, are not listed with names on the Works Cited page.
  • Suffixes are included after the first name when there is no middle name and after the middle name or initial when one is provided. Use a comma to precede the suffix.

Author name examples

  • Canterbury, John
  • Canterbury, John M.
  • Canterbury, John Michael
  • Canterbury, John Michael, Jr.

When there is no author listed, use the title of a work while keeping the formatting for the specific title type. If the author is listed as anonymous, use the word “anonymous” as the author name.

A Quick Guide to Writing for the Web. …

If you use multiple works by the same author, use the title to alphabetize each work after the first in the Works Cited entry. However, use three hyphens in place of the author’s name after the first entry to indicate the works are from the same author. Keep the period in place that normally follows an author’s name.

Places to Visit in Michigan. …

—. Places to Visit in Wisconsin. …

If a source has an author/collection editor who authored or edited alone but also co-authored an article within a work, list the sole author information first in the Works Cited entry.

Bengles, Rachel, ed. Performing Well Under Pressure. Bengles,
Rachel and Nancy Opala. Learning to Meet Approaching Deadlines.

These are the basic guidelines for formatting the Works Cited page in MLA format. The formatting for each complete entry varies depending on the type of source.