Introduction-MLA Citation Style
MLA is an abbreviation for the Modern Language Association, which is a language and literature-based organization.
There are other citation styles but the MLA format is mostly used for literature, language, liberal arts, and other humanities subjects.
Although you will mostly find MLA style in research papers, it is also comprised of other features such as in-text citations and the Works Cited page.
The MLA citation style creates a uniform format for scholars to document their sources and format their papers. This way, recognizing and understanding the types of sources used for a project becomes easier and encourages your readers to explore them, rather than just acknowledging them on the document.
An MLA citation ensures that credit has been given to the original author where information has been borrowed from a source and used in a research paper or assignment.
At the end of the research paper, there is a Works Cited list which contains all the citations placed in the project.
MLA Citation Format
The MLA citation format has been updated several times in the past, the most recent being the 8th edition released in 2016. Before this update, there were different formats for books, websites, journals, and the like, and it was up to scholars to find the right format.
The 8th edition came as a universal MLA citation format that included every existing source of information. It encourages the citation of URLs and allows the use of social media usernames and pseudonyms instead of an authors real name. A lot more updates have been included in this edition as possible to reflect the modern age of technology we all live in.
How to Cite Books in MLA Format
This is the most basic type of referencing. The items are lined up as follows:
Last name, first name. Title. Publisher, Year of Publication.
Please note that the title is in italics. All words in the title must be capitalized save for the articles.
If there are two authors, the first author’s name should be written inverted and the second author’s name should be written in order, both joined by an “and”.
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With in-text citations, you acknowledge a source by providing a brief reference to exactly where in the source you found the information. The reader can then use the complete reference listed in the Works Cited page at the end of your paper to verify what you have written.
In most cases, providing the author’s last name and a page number is sufficient. If you mention the author’s name in your text, only the page reference needs to be inserted in parentheses.
Works Cited List
This is the alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of your paper containing more information about all of the sources you’ve cited and allowing readers to refer to them, as needed.
It is very different from a bibliography. The main characteristics are:
- The list of Works Cited must be on a new page at the end of your text.
- Entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name or by the title if there is no author.
- Titles of books are italicizedand titles of articles are placed in quotation marks. All important words should be capitalized.
- Entries are double-spaced (for this page, single-spacing is used).
- For online sources, the date of access is an optional element. However, it can be helpful to include this information, especially if the source you are using does not have a date of publication.
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How do you cite a white paper in MLA?
A white paper is a report that is produced by a government agency or a research organization. These reports are very helpful sources for research papers in the specific fields covered by them. White papers are cited the same as all other government reports.
The citation should start with the name of the author, their last name, a comma, then their first name. If the author has not been credited you can use the name of the government agency or organization. A period has to be placed after the author’s name.
Next, you type the full title of the white paper and a period inside quotation marks. It is important to use the title case.
If the white paper has been released as a series or a collection of similar papers on a broad area of study, type the title in italics and put a period after it.
Next should follow the name of the publishing organization or agency followed by a comma and the date of publication followed by either a comma or a period.
It is also important to add the direct URL for the white paper without the https:// portion of the address and add a period at the very end.
Remember to include a supplementary citation at the end of a quotation or a paraphrase of the white paper.
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