MLA Works Cited Page: Books
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
Contributors: Tony Russell, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Russell Keck, Joshua M. Paiz, Michelle Campbell, Rodrigo Rodríguez-Fuentes, Daniel P. Kenzie, Susan Wegener, Maryam Ghafoor, Purdue OWL Staff
Last Edited: 2018-01-09 11:20:41
When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination.
The 8th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, in using this methodology, a writer will be able to source a specific item that may not be included in this list.
Remember these changes from previous editions:
- Commas are used instead of periods between Publisher, Publication Date, and Pagination.
- Medium is no longer necessary.
- Containers are now a part of the MLA process, in light of technology. Periods should be used between Containers.
- DOIs should be used instead of URLS when available.
- Use the phrase, “Accessed” instead of listing the date or the abbreviation, “n.d.”
Below is the general format for any citation:
Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).
Basic Book Format
The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:
Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.
Book with One Author
Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. Penguin, 1987.
Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.
Book with More Than One Author
When a book has multiple authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. The first given name appears in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in first name last name format.
Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).
Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Utah State UP, 2004.
Two or More Books by the Same Author
List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.
Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism. St. Martin's, 1997.
---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Southern Illinois UP, 1993.
Book by a Corporate Author or Organization
A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page.
List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.
American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. Random House, 1998.
When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.
Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.
Book with No Author
List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.
Encyclopedia of Indiana. Somerset, 1993.
Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics.
A Translated Book
If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).
Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.
If you want to focus on the translation, list the translator as the author. In place of the author’s name, the translator’s name appears. His or her name is followed by the label, “translator.” If the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, with a “By” after the title of the book and before the publisher. Note that this type of citation is less common and should only be used for papers or writing in which translation plays a central role.
Howard, Richard, translator. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. By Michel Foucault, Vintage-Random House, 1988.
Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information.
For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. 1990. Routledge, 1999.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.
An Edition of a Book
There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).
A Subsequent Edition
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.
Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.
A Work Prepared by an Editor
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title with the label, "Edited by"
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Edited by Margaret Smith, Oxford UP, 1998.
Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)
To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "editor" or, for multiple editors, "editors." This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.
Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.
Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection
Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:
Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection, edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.
Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One, edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.
Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer, edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.
Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:
Rose, Shirley K., and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher. Heinemann, 1999.
Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:
L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.
Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.
Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list.
Poem or Short Story Examples:
Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.
If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:
Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems. Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19.
Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories. Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.
Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)
For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the piece as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.
"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed., 1997.
A Multivolume Work
When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.
When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s). (See Citing Multivolume Works on the In-Text Citations – The Basics page, which you can access by following the appropriate link at the bottom of this page.)
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 4 vols.
If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.
Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution. Dodd, 1957.
An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword
When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.
Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture, by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.
If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work, then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:
Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.
Other Print/Book Sources
Certain book sources are handled in a special way by MLA style.
Book Published Before 1900
Original copies of books published before 1900 are usually defined by their place of publication rather than the publisher. Unless you are using a newer edition, cite the city of publication where you would normally cite the publisher.
Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions. Boston, 1863.
Italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics.)
The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.
The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.
The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.
A Government Publication
Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.
United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil. Government Printing Office, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 111-8.
United States, Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs. Government Printing Office, 2006.
Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)
Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.
Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs. California Department of Social Services, 2007.
Dissertations and Master's Theses
Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Cite the work as you would a book, but include the designation Dissertation (or MA/MS thesis) followed by the degree-granting school and the year the degree was awarded.
If the dissertation is published, italicize the title and include the publication date. You may also include the University Microfilms International (UMI) order number if you choose:
Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign. Dissertation, Purdue University, 2002. UMI, 2004.
Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership. Dissertation, Ohio University, 2005. UMI, 2006. AAT 3191701.
If the work is not published, put the title in quotation marks and end with the date the degree was awarded:
Graban, Tarez Samra. "Towards a Feminine Ironic: Understanding Irony in the Oppositional Discourse of Women from the Early Modern and Modern Periods." Dissertation, Purdue University, 2006.
Stolley, Karl. "Toward a Conception of Religion as a Discursive Formation: Implications for Postmodern Composition Theory." MA thesis, Purdue University, 2002.
List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry if the author and publisher are not the same.
American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. Random House, 1998.
When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.
Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.
Citing Sources in the Text of your Paper: In-Text Citation and Notes
Each time writers use an outside source, they must give credit to the original writer or creator of that source. This strategy also allows a reader to easily and efficiently make note of the source's bibliographic entry. Just as each style guide has rules for creating a citation in a bibliography at the end of a text, each guide also has certain rules for citing the use of sources within the text of the essay.
The following are basic guidelines for citing sources in the text of your paper when using the MLA, APA, Chicago, ASA, or Turabian style guides. These guidelines may not account for every citation situation. Since citing sources is not a creative enterprise, you should consult the appropriate print version of the style guide when you have questions about citation.
MLA: Parenthetical In-Text Citations
MLA citation style requires that writers cite a source within the text of their essay at the end of the sentence in which the source is used. The parenthetical reference should be inserted after the last quotation mark but before the period at the end of the sentence.
General Form: (Author Last Name Page #)
Example: (Smith 42)
If two quotations from different sources are used in the same sentence, the parenthetical reference associated with a particular quote should be placed as close to the quotation as possible without interrupting the flow of the sentence.
If a paragraph includes several quotations from a single source, a single parenthetical reference may be placed at the end of the paragraph. Page numbers should be included for each quotation organized by placement in the paragraph. In the following example, the first quotation from Smith appeared on page 43 of the text. The second quotation used in the paragraph came from page 12.
Example: (Smith 43, 12)
If the author is included more than once on the Works Cited page, the following form should be used. Note that the format of the title on the Works Cited sheet should be mirrored in the parenthetical reference (i.e., if the title is underlined on the Works Cited page, then the title fragment should be underlined in the parenthetical reference).
General Form: (Author Last, "Title Fragment" Page #) or (Author Last, Title Fragment Page #)
Examples: (Smith, "Who Moved" 42) or (Smith, Big Changes 172)
The following are examples of parenthetical citations for text with more than one author:
(Brown and Sullivan 42)
(Brown, Sullivan, and Grayson 158)
(Brown, et al. 38)
If there is no author, a title fragment should be used to make a connection between the use of the source and the citation for the source on the Works Cited page.
General Form: ("Title Fragment" Page #) or (Title Fragment Page #)
Examples: ("Library Links" 13) or (Building a Bookshelf 42)
For other considerations related to MLA parenthetical citations, see the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed. (pages 238-60).
APA: Parenthetical In-Text Citations
To cite the use of a source in the text of an essay, APA advocates two methods: parenthetical citation and attribution within the essay's content. Parenthetical references should be included immediately after the quotation marks used in direct quotations or immediately after the use of the source, even if these means including the parenthetical reference in the middle of the sentence. The following is the general form for parenthetical citations in APA style:
Parenthetical Citation: (Author Last Name, Year of Publication)
Example: (Smith, 1988)
To make the citation of the source less distracting, the APA also suggests mentioning the author in the essay's content so that only the year of publication and page number may be required in the parenthetical reference.
Attribution in text: Author Last Name (Year of Publication) has argued this point.
Example: Smith (1988) has argued this point.
Page numbers are not required in APA in-text citation. However, it is highly suggested that these be included. To include references to a specific part of the text, add the page number or chapter number after the year.
Examples: Smith (1988, p. 244) has written that... or Smith (1988, chap. 5) has written that...
When a work has two authors, both names should be cited every time the reference is required. Use an ampersand (&) to separate the names of authors. If a text has been authored by more than five individuals, the full listing of authors is not required in the first reference or any subsequent in-text references.
First mention of the reference: Johnson, Smith, and Brown (1999) agree that...
Subsequent mention: Johnson et al. (1999) agree that...
If a group or corporation is the author, the full name of the group or corporation should be included in place of an author's name. If an organization has a recognizable abbreviation, this may be used in subsequent references.
First mention of the reference: (American Medical Association, 2002)
Subsequent mention: (AMA, 2002)
If no author is given for a specific text, use the first couple of word of the title in place of the author's last name. Title fragments should be formatted using the same punctuation as titles on the References page.
Examples of attribution in the text:
The recent publication Plagiarism and You (2002) offers some explanation...
In "Five Ways to Protect Yourself" (2000) one can find...
Examples of parenthetical attribution: (Plagiarism and You, 2002) or ("Five Ways to Protect Yourself," 2000)
When no date is given for the publication of a text (as is the case with many websites), include the abbreviation "n.d." in place of the year of publication.
For other considerations related to in-text referencing using the APA format, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th ed. (pages 207-14).
Chicago: Notes Style
In Chicago's Documentation Style 1, also known as notes form, the use of research sources is indicated in the text with a numerical subscript that corresponds to an entry at the end of the paper. These are called endnotes. Although footnotes (or notes at the bottom of the page) are sometimes required, endnotes have become the predominant form of notes citations.
When using endnotes to indicate the use of research sources, writers must also include a bibliography at the end of the essay. The note and the bibliographic entry include almost identical information but in a different format.
As the formats for notes are contingent on the format of the source for which the note is written, examples of note formats are included with the bibliographic examples available through the Citing Sources at the End of a Paper link. The B: entry would be included in the Bibliography at the end of the paper, while the N: entry gives examples to be used in footnotes or endnotes.
For further information on note format or other issues related to citing sources using the Chicago style, see The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed.
Chicago: Author/Date Style
Documentation 2, also called the Author-Date style, requires the use of parenthetical references in the text of the essay as well as a list of References.
Parenthetical references should be placed at the end of the sentence, before the period, when a resource has been used. If the sentence is either long enough or complex enough so that the cited portion of the sentence is not obvious, the parenthetical reference may instead be inserted immediately after the use of information from the source. Page numbers should be included whenever possible.
General Form: (Author Last Name Year of Publication, Page #)
Example: (Smith 1992, 142)
The following examples illustrate parenthetical reference formats for works with more than one author.
(Smith and Johnson 1998, 14)
(Smith, Johnson, and White 2001, 42)
(Smith et al. 1998, 203)
(National Alliance for Social Consideration 1932, 11)
When organizations or corporate authors are the author of a text, the name of the organization may be shortened to its most basic title. Abbreviations for the organization are not encouraged.
In the Chicago style, daily newspapers are rarely included in a list of References. Instead, attribution may be given to information from a daily newspaper in a parenthetical reference.
General Form: (Newspaper Name, Day Month Year of Publication, Section and Page #)
Examples: (San Antonio Express-News, 2 June 2005, B2)
(New York Times, 2 June 2005, A2)
(Durant Daily Democrat, 2 June 2005, 3)
The Chicago style guide does not offer examples for creating parenthetical references when there is no given author. Standard practice has been to include the title of the work in place of the author. The title should be formatted in the same manner as the formatting in the References list entry.
(Plagiarism and You 2002, 142)
("Five Ways to Protect Yourself" 2000, 33)
Electronic sources commonly lack a date of publication, as do other sources. When there is no date of publication listed for a source, include the abbreviation "n.d." in place of the date.
(Statistics for Water Rights n.d.)
For further information on citing sources using the Chicago style, see The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed.
If the author's name is mentioned in the text, use a parenthetical reference to show the year of publication at the end of the sentence. Example:
...Welch contends that this is not the case (1991).
If the author's name is not mentioned in the text, it should be included with the year of publication within parentheses. Example:
...but it has been argued that this was not the case (Welch 1991).
Page numbers should be included within parentheses after the year of publication. These are separated by a colon and no spaces. Example:
...but it has been argued that this was not the case (Welch 1991:136).
The following forms should be used for multiple authors:
A recent study confirmed her belief (Johnson and Smith 1995:34).
This was reinforced by recent research on the topic (Johnson, Smith, and Marcus 1999)
If a text has more than three authors, the term "et al." with no additional punctuation marks may be used after the first author listed in the publication credits.
This was not accurate according to a recent study (Johnson et al. 2003).
If multiple sources are cited for the same statement, the author and publication year should be distinguished from other texts with a colon. Cited texts should be arranged by author name or by date; arrangement should be consistent throughout the paper. Example:
Some studies have refuted these arguments (Benson 1993; Nguyen 1999; Brown and Goggans 2000).
For additional information on in-text citation using the ASA style, see the American Sociological Association Style Guide, Third ed., pp. 45-47.
In the Turabian citation style, writers may use one of two forms in citing their resources: endnotes or author/date parenthetical references. Writers using the Turabian style may use the Chicago formats for both endnotes as references and for parenthetical references. Refer to Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers, 7th ed., pp. 143-145 (notes style) and pp. 217-220 (author-date style) for more information.
RefWorks is also capable of creating in-text citations. You may utilize the "Help" options available in RefWorksor visit the library's help desk to learn how to format in-text citations using RefWorks.
If you have questions about citing your use of a source within the text of your writing, please consult the print version of the citation style manuals. You may also set up a research appointment with a librarian to learn how to accurately and appropriate cite your sources.