Part 6: Chapter 36.3
This chapter discusses the format of the Works Cited page and the entries.
Purpose of the Works Cited Page
The purpose of the Works Cited page is twofold. First, the Works Cited pages will show readers how to find the sources listed in the in-text citations. Giving credit where credit is due enhances your own credibility.
Secondly, the Works Cited page will show your readers the breadth and diversity of your sources. Your new or up-to-date sources may offer the reader additional insight on the subject being considered. It also demonstrates that you, as the author, are up-to-date on what is happening in the field or on the subject.
Format of the Works Cited Page
Here are some guidelines for formatting the Works Cited page:
- Start the Works Cited page on a separate page. This should be the last page of your paper.
- Margins and pagination (last name and page number on the top right) remain the same as the rest of the paper.
- Title the page Works Cited.
- Center the title
- Do not italicize the title
- Only the title is centered; the rest of the page is left justified
- Entire Works Cited should be double spaced.
- Do not add an a space between citations (i.e. do not add an extra double space between citations).
- Citations should be in alphabetical order.
See an example of a Works Cited page here:
What to List in the Works Cited
List each source that you have cited in your paper with an in-text citation in the Works Cited page. Only list sources you have cited in the paper. Do not list sources that you have consulted but not cited.
Why It Is Important to Follow the Specific Format of MLA for Works Cited
Each entry (i.e, each source) follows a specific format. Formatting Works Cited entries can sometimes be confusing and possibly irritating. It can also seem like a lot of work for something so small and seemingly unimportant. However, following the form for each entry is important.
Remember that each Works Cited entry is the key for your reader to find the exact source that you used for information. Following MLA style exactly means that you will include all of the information necessary for your reader to find your original source. This way, your reader can access your original source to gather more information (or sometimes to check your interpretation of the original information!).
Following the specific format for the Works Cited page also shows your reader the quality of your sources. You can show the reader that you have a wide variety of sources and that they have up-to-date information.
It will be easy for the reader to note if you are using recent sources and if your sources are reliable. Conversely, when you read someone’s essay, you will also be able to make a judgement regarding the sources for their work.
Why MLA and Other Styles Are Sometimes Hard to Use
When citing electronic sources (such as articles from websites and databases), keep in mind that MLA, like all other style guides, was designed for books and journals (the paper versions!) Sometimes, making the entries for electronic sources feels like you are putting a square peg in a round hole. And, in some ways, you are. Many students wonder, why can’t I just link to the electronic source in the paper?
Why Not Just Use Hyperlinks to Credit Sources?
Hyperlinks are very useful for linking to information that will be read immediately. We all use hyperlinks in emails to link to videos, articles, and recipes. These are good uses of hyperlinks because, most likely, the information will still be there. And, you are probably linking to information that is free and available to the public.
However, hyperlinks are not very useful for academic papers. Here are some reasons:
- Links change: The internet changes every day. Websites add and remove articles, on-line magazines and newspapers change their links. If there is only a link to a source and if that link changes, then the reader cannot find the source.
- Inaccessible Databases: Some of the information you will use will be from CNM databases. The readers of your article may not have access to the same database; therefore, a link is not sufficient. The reader needs to know pertinent information, such as the author’s name, title, etc., to be able to find the source.
As you can see, it is important to give your readers all the information they need to find the source of your information. And, when you follow MLA format, the information will be in a standardized format.
Format of a Works Cited Entry
Each Works Cited entry has 9 components. You may not use each component in the reference; however, they all form a function to help the reader find the source you have cited. Note the punctuation after each element:
- Title of Source.
- Title of Container,
- Other Contributors,
- Publication date,
Here is the standard order for these components (keep in mind that not every source will use all of these components):
DOI means “digital object identifier.” It is a permanent URL for an article or document.
Here are some of the standard sources you will use:
Book (paper or electronic)
Paper: Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.
E-book: Add the term "Ebook" after the title. Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Ebook, Publisher, Publication Date.
Page on a Web Site
Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Web Site, Publication Date, URL. Date accessed.
If no author: “Title of Web Page.” Title of Web Site, URL. Date Accessed.
An Article in a Web Magazine
Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Web Site, URL. Date accessed.
An Article from an Online Database
There is usually a citation generator on the database site, so citing is often easy. The online database name (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) is the container. Include the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access.
A YouTube Video
When you document video and audio sources, you will follow the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title. If there is no author, begin the citation with the title.
Author Last name, First Name. “Title of Video.” YouTube, uploaded by screen name, date uploaded, URL. Date accessed.
An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)
Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Art. Date of creation. Institution housing art, city, URL. Date accessed.
Not all citation generators are accurate We suggest using the citation generator on the Purdue Owl website
You may choose to use the MS Word Reference function to generate Works Cited entries and in-text citations. Here are instructions on using the MS Word Reference function
Other Format Notes
- All Works Cited entries should be in alphabetical order.
- Use a DOI (digital object identifier) in your citation if you can; otherwise use a URL.
- Delete “http://” or “https://” from URLs.
- Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.
- All Works Cited entries end with a period.
- Capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc., but do not capitalize articles (the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle:
- Cold Comfort Farm (book title)
- In Cold Blood (book title)
- Tender Is the Night (book title)
- “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (poem title)
- Use italics (instead of underlining) for titles of larger works (books, magazines, movies, album titles) and quotation marks for titles of shorter works that are part of a larger work (poems, articles, song titles):
- Pan’s Labyrinth (movie)
- “All You Need Is Love” (song title)
- Yellow Submarine (album title)
- “Still I Rise” (poem title)
- Vogue (magazine title)
- “The Faces of Fashion” (title of article in a magazine)
- If you have cited more than one work by a particular author, order the entries alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author’s name for every entry after the first. See the example below:
Note: Information in this section adapted from MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format, Purdue Owl: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_basic_format.html
The example Works Cited is from: https://style.mla.org/app/uploads/sites/3/2020/01/Matthias_PrescriptionsofLivingHistoricalHappiness.pdf and MLS Works Cited Page: Electronic Sources https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_electronic_sources.html