MLA 7th ed cover

Honolulu Community College
Library Guide


The Modern Language Association (MLA) Style is widely used for identifying research sources. It identifies each source you consulted in preparing your paper, the specific information you used, and where in the source that the information was found. The following examples are based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (Ref LB2369 .G53 2009) The numbers in [ ] refer to the appropriate chapters in the handbook.


[6.2, 6.3, 6.4] In MLA style you briefly credit sources with parenthetical citations in the text of your paper. Generally, a parenthetical citation includes the author's last name and the page number(s) of the information used: (Smith 127)

For example,
There is a significant amount of dating violence among teens in Hawaii (Gordon D1).

Or, place the author's name within the sentence
Limbaugh concluded that most large concentrations of reef fish are cleaning stations (110).

Then, provide the complete description of each source in your Works Cited list. The Works Cited list, or Bibliography, is a list of the sources cited or consulted in preparing your research paper, arranged alphabetically by author's last name, or when there is no author, by the first word of the title (except A, An, The).

For example,

Gordon, Mike. "Teen Dating Violence." Honolulu Advertiser 14 Apr. 2009, home final ed.: D1+. Print.

Limbaugh, Conrad. "Cleaning Symbiosis." Life in the Sea. Comp. Andrew Todd Newberry. San Francisco: Freeman, 1982. 104-11. Print.


Keep track of the sources you use as you do your research and draft your paper. Make sure that you have all of the publication information for each source. It can be helpful to have a working bibliography as you go, with a backup of the computer file and/or a print-out. Although it is not needed for the Works Cited, it may also be helpful to keep a record of how you located each source, such as the call numbers of books and URLs of web sites.

BOOKS [5.5]

Books [5.5.1]

Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Type of Material.

This is the basic format for a Works Cited entry.


  • Take the title from the title page, not the cover.
  • The book title should be italicized.
  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word, last word, and all major words of the title and subtitle, including words that follow hyphens, e.g., English-Speaking.
  • The following terms should not be capitalized when they are in the middle of a title: articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet), prepositions (e.g., in, of, to, between, against), and the "to" in infinitives, e.g., How to Solve It. [3.6.1]

Publisher [7.5]

  • Give the city of publication and the publisher's name, generally taken from the title page. The state or country is not necessary.
  • Shorten the publisher's name when possible, by omitting business abbreviations such as Corp. and words such as Books and Publishers.
  • For publisher's names that are personal names, use the surname only, e.g., for John Wiley, use Wiley.
  • For university presses, use U for University and P for Press, e.g., Princeton UP.

One Author [5.5.2]

  • Write the author's name as Last Name, First Name.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1999. Print.

Two or More Authors [5.5.4]

  • List the names in the order they appear on the title page, with commas between authors, and a period after the last author's name.
  • Only the name of the first author should be reversed (Last Name, First Name); the other name(s) should be written in regular order.
  • For more than three authors, either give only the first author and add et al., or give all the names.

King, Samuel P., and Randall W. Roth. Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement, and Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust. Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 2006. Print.

Laverty, Melina F., Eleanor J. Sterling, Amelia Chiles, and Georgina Cullman. Biodiversity 101. Westport: Greenwood, 2008. Print.

Editors, Compilers, Translators [5.5.4]

If the persons named on the title page are editors, compilers, or translators, add a comma and a descriptive label, e.g., eds., comps., trans.

Lucas, John S., and Paul C. Southgate, eds. Aquaculture: Farming Aquatic Animals and Plants. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. Print.

Corporate Author [5.5.5]

Cite a book by corporate author when a group -- such as an organization, committee, or association -- rather than individual persons, is the author. Cite the corporate author even if this group is also the publisher.

American Welding Society Committee on High-Energy Beam Welding and Cutting. Process Specification and Operator Qualification for Laser Beam Welding. Miami: American Welding Society, 2008. Print.

Government Publications [5.5.20]

Generally, give the name of the government first, then the name of the agency.

State of Hawaii. Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Visitors Research Report. Honolulu: DBEDT, 2007. Print.

Edition [5.5.13]

If a book is identified as being other than the first edition (e.g., 2nd edition, Revised edition), give the edition just before the publication information.

Gralla, Preston. How Wireless Works. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Que, 2006. Print.

Work in an Anthology [5.5.6]

When citing an essay, short story, or other work that is contained in an anthology or other book collection, provide information about both the piece and the complete book. Provide the name of the editor or compiler of the book, preceded by Ed. or Comp., after the title of the book. Give the page numbers of the piece, writing only the last two digits of the second number unless more are needed, e.g., 125-29, but 185-202.

Author of Story. "Title of Story." Title of Book. Editor. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page(s). Type of Material.

Humphries, LaJean. "How to Evaluate a Web Site." Web of Deception: Misinformation on the Internet. Ed. Anne P. Mintz. Medford: CyberAge, 2002. 165-73. Print.

Book in a Series [5.5.15]

If the title page or other introductory pages indicate that the book is part of a series, give the series name and the series number, if any, at the end of the entry. Abbreviations may be used, including Ser. for series.

Smith, Erik L. "Fighting to Regain Custody of My Son." Adoption. Ed. David M. Haugen and Matthew J. Box. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2006. 36-40. Print. Social Issues Firsthand.

Encyclopedias and Reference Books [5.5.7]

  • Cite an article in an encyclopedia like a work in an anthology, above.
  • When citing familiar reference books, especially those that appear often in new editions, full publication information is not necessary.
  • If articles are arranged alphabetically, volume and page numbers are not necessary.
  • Give the edition (if available) and the year of publication.

Pelley, Patricia M. "Vietnam." The World Book Encyclopedia. 2008 ed. 2008. Print.

  • When citing less familiar or specialized reference books, give full publication information, omitting page numbers if articles are arranged alphabetically.

Author of Article (if given). "Article Title." Title of Reference Book. Editor. Vol. number (if any). City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page(s). Type of Material.

Butwell, Richard. "Vietnam." Lands and Peoples. Vol. 2. Danbury: Grolier, 2001. 293-302. Print.

  • Providing the number of volumes for multi-volume sets is optional. [5.5.14]

Jamieson, Neil. L. "Vietnamese." Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Ed. David Levinson and Karen Christenson. Vol. 6. New York: Scribner's, 2002. Print. 6 vols.

Two or More Works by the Same Author(s) [5.3.4]

When citing two or more sources by the same author, give the name in the first entry only. For the next entries, type three hyphens, add a period, and skip a space (---. ) then give the title. The three hyphens stand for the name(s) in the preceding entry.

Scott, Susan. Exploring Hanauma Bay. Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 1993. Print.

---. Plants and Animals of Hawaii. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1991. Print.


Magazine Articles [5.4.6]

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Date: Page(s). Type of Material.


  • Refer to the guidelines for Authors for books, above.
  • If no author's name is given for an article, begin with the title of the article.

"Tweet Liberty." Sports Illustrated 30 Mar. 2009: 18. Print.


  • For magazines issued every week or every two weeks, give the complete date in this order: Day Month Year, e.g., 21 Jan. 2009. Abbreviate the months (except May, June, July).
  • For magazines issued monthly or bi-monthly, give the month(s) and year.

Kelley, Raina. "Octomom Hypocrisy." Newsweek 16 Mar. 2009: 58. Print.

Reynolds, Kim. "Body Doubles." Motor Trend May 2009: 52-60. Print.

Volume and Issue Numbers

  • Do not give volume and issue numbers for magazine articles.
    (Volume and issue numbers, are given for scholarly journal articles, however. See below.)

Page Number(s)

  • If the article is on consecutive pages, specify the page numbers of the entire article, e.g., 16-20. Give just the last two digits of the second number, when possible, e.g. 188-89, but 196-200.
  • If the article is not on consecutive pages -- for example, it begins on page 27, then skips to page 30, and continues on page 32 -- write only the first page number, followed by a plus sign: 27+.

Estroff, Sharon Duke. "I Was an Undercover Penguin." Good Housekeeping Feb. 2009: 99+. Print.

Scholarly Journal Articles [5.4.2]

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume number.Issue number (Year): Pages. Type of Material.


Refer to the guidelines for Authors when citing books, above.

Volume and Issue Numbers

Write the volume number, a period, then the issue number, e.g. for volume 22, issue 4:   22.4

Page Numbers

Specify the page numbers of the entire article, giving only the last two digits of the second number unless more are needed, e.g., 480-95, but 480-502. If an article is not on consecutive pages, give only the first page number followed by a plus sign: 480+.

Baskin, Yvonne. "Sea Sickness: The Upsurge in Marine Diseases." Bioscience 56.6 (2006): 464-69. Print.

Davis, William D., Thomas Cleary, Michelle Donnelly, and Samuel Hellerman. "Using Sensor Signals to Analyze Fires." Fire Technology 39.4 (2003): 295-308. Print.

Newspaper Articles. [5.4.5]

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Date, edition: Page(s). Type of Material.

Title of Newspaper

  • Write the title as it appears on the masthead, omitting any introductory article: Honolulu Advertiser, not The Honolulu Advertiser.
  • If the city of publication of a local newspaper is not part of the title, give it in square brackets, e.g., News and Observer [Raleigh]. The city of publication is not necessary for nationally published newspapers, e.g., Wall Street Journal.

Date and Edition

  • Give the date in this order: Day Month Year, e.g., 31 Aug. 2008. Abbreviate the months (except May, June, July).
  • If an edition is specified on the masthead, add it after the date.

Volume, Issue, and Page Number(s)

  • If the article is not on consecutive pages, write only the first page number, followed by a plus sign: A1+.
  • Do not give volume and issue numbers for newspaper articles.

Boylan, Peter. "Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud." Honolulu Advertiser 17 Apr. 2009, home final ed.: B1+. Print.

Dreazen, Yochi J., and Loretta Chao. "U.S. Asks China to Account for Tiananmen." Wall Street Journal 4 June 2009: A8. Print.

Kalani, Nanea. "Stimulus Money for Technology Available, Could Be Hard to Get." Pacific Business News [Honolulu] 5 June 2009: 4. Print.

Editorials [5.4.10]

Follow the format for articles, and add the term Editorial after the article title.

"Don't Block Preschool Funds." Editorial. Honolulu Star Bulletin 13 Apr. 2009: 20. Print.

WEB [5.6]

Web Sites [5.6.2]

When citing web sites, include the author, title, and publication information as for print sources (see above), and add the date of access, because web pages are often updated or moved. All components in the format below may not be identifiable for a web site; include as much as is available.

Author. "Title of the Web Page." Title of the Overall Web Site. Version or Edition. Publisher or Sponsor, Date. Web. Date of Access.


Refer to the guidelines for Authors when citing books, above.


Write the title of the web page in italics if it is independent or shares the same name as the overall web site.

Publisher or Sponsor of the Web Site

If none is indicated, use N.p.


If a complete date is given, write it in the order: Day Month Year. If no publication date is indicated, write n.d.

Altonn, Helen. "Marine Team Sounds Alarm for Reefs." Star Bulletin, 29 Aug. 2008. Web. 17 June 2009.

"Hawaii Drunk Driving Statistics." Alcohol Alert. KeRo, 2009. Web. 17 Mar. 2009.

Holahan, Catherine. "Eddie Bauer Files for Bankruptcy." MSN Money. Microsoft, 17 June 2009. Web. 17 June 2009.

Landau, Elizabeth. "CDC: Swine Flu Viruses in U.S. and Mexico Match." CNN Cable News Network, 25 Apr. 2009. Web. 17 June 2009.

Lehrman, Lewis E. Lincoln at Peoria. Lincoln Institute, n.d. Web. 17 June 2009.

The URL of the web site is optional. Provide the URL if the site is difficult to find, or if the instructor requires it. Write the URL at the end of the entry, enclosed in angle brackets. If the URL must be divided between lines, break it after a slash.

"The Norwegian Pirate Whaling Fleet." Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, 2009. Web. 17 June 2009.

Library Subscription Services [5.6.4]

Honolulu Community College (HCC) Library subscribes to services that provide full-text of publications on the Web. Works Cited entries for these publications should include information about the original print materials (using the formats above), plus information identifying the online database and the date of access. The name of the database is very important for retrieving the publication. The access date should be specified because online content changes constantly.

Articles on the web may not have page numbers; when page numbers are not given, write n.pag.

Magazine Articles

Refer to the format for Magazine Articles in print, above.

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Date: Page(s). Online Database Name. Web. Date of Access.

Britt, Phillip. "Taking the Byte Out of Cybercrime." Information Today Dec. 2008: 1+. General OneFile. Web. 8 June 2009.

Shapiro, Bruce. "The Executioner's Last Song." Nation 13 Apr. 2009: 5. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 June 2009.

Scholarly Journal Articles

Refer to the format for Scholarly Journal Articles in print, above.

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume number.Issue number (Year): Pages. Online Database Name. Web. Date of Access.

Pickett, William, Ronald J. Iannotti, Bruce Simons-Morton, and Suzanne Dostaler. "Social Environments and Physical Aggression Among 21,107 Students in the United States and Canada." Journal of School Health 79.4 (2009): 160-68. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 8 June 2009.

Newspaper Articles

Refer to the format for Newspaper Articles in print, above.

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Date, edition: Page(s). Online Database Name. Web. Date of Access.

Lowy, Joan. "High Gas Prices Drive Down Traffic Fatalities." Washington Times 25 Aug. 2008: n. pag. SIRS Researcher. Web. 8 June 2009.

Electronic Books

Refer to the format for Books in print, above.

Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Online Database Name. Web. Date of Access.

Kawamura, Yuniya. Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies. Oxford: Berg, 2005. ebrary. Web. 8 June 2009.


Television Broadcast [5.7.1]

"Title of Episode." (if available) Title of Program. Responsible Person(s). Name of Network. Call letters of local station (if any), City, Broadcast Date. Television.

"The Graying of Hawaii." Insights on PBS Hawaii. Prod. Mark Delorme and Audrey Kubota. PBS. KHET, Honolulu, 18 June 2009. Television.

"A Vow of Silence." Forensic Files. Narr. Peter Thomas. Prod. Stephanie Kovac. TruTV. 14 June 2009. Television.

Videorecording [5.7.3]

Title of Video. Director's Name. (and/or other Responsible Person(s)) Distributor, Year. Type of Media.

Mardi Gras: Made in China. Dir. David Redmon. Carnivalesque Films, 2008. DVD.

Picasso. Commentary by Waldemar Januszczak. Dir. Didier Baussy. Home Vision, 1985. Videocassette.

Interview Conducted By the Student [5.7.7]

Name of Person Interviewed. Type of interview. (Personal or Telephone) Date.

Kato, Ken. Personal interview. 11 Apr. 2009.

Other MLA Guides on the Web

Last updated 01/25/10