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How to Cite Your Sources

A guide to some of the citation styles

MLA Citation Guides at Waterfield Library

Additional MLA Resources

The page is currently under revision. In the meantime use the links below for additional assistance. 

Commonly Used Phrases in MLA

Access Date: The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.
Citation: Details about one cited source.
Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
In-Text Citation: A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List.
Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.
Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.
Quoting: The copying of words of a text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
Works Cited List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.

What is MLA?

This guide contains examples of common citation formats in MLA (Modern Language Association) Style, based on the 8th edition (2016) of the MLA HandbookMLA style is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature.

The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook recommends using the following core elements in every citation. If elements are missing from the source, they should be omitted from the citation.

Title of source.
Title of container,
Other contributors,
Publication date

For online sources:

  • Include the URL (without http:// or https://). Angle brackets are not used around it.
  • Use DOIs (digital object identifiers) when possible.
  • Citing the date when an online work was consulted is optional.
  • Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) are no longer used.

Note: MLA recommends using hanging indentation for the second and subsequent lines of each entry.

Why Cite Resources?

  • To acknowledge that others have influenced your work

  • Citing a work indicates that you have read the cited work

  • To support key ideas and arguments in your work

  • To place your work in the context of the field of study

  • To avoid accusations of plagiarism.