How to create an MLA Works Cited list

The Works Cited page appears at the very end of your paper. You list every source that you cited in the text, giving full publication details so that your readers can find the source for themselves.

The sources are alphabetized by the author’s last name (or, if there is no author, by the first word of the title). Each entry must correspond with at least one in-text citation.

Exactly what you need to include in each entry depends on the type of source and the information available.

Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator helps you create flawless mla format citations. Just enter the page URL, DOI or ISBN.

MLA Works Cited example

Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited list should be left aligned and double spaced with 1-inch margins. The header contains your last name and the page number in the top right corner. The title is capitalized and centred, with no other formatting.

If an entry is more than one line long, each line after the first must be indented 0.5 inches (called a hanging indent). This helps the reader see where one entry ends and the next begins.

MLA Works Cited page example

Creating a hanging indent

In Microsoft Word, you can create a hanging indent on all entries at once.

  1. Highlight the whole list and right click to open the Paragraph options.
  2. Under Indentation > Special, choose Hanging from the drop-down menu.
  3. Set the indent to 0.5 inches.

Creating Works Cited entries

Each entry on the Works Cited page must contain all the necessary information for a reader to find the exact source you consulted. In MLA (8th edition), you create this reference using nine core elements. Read the detailed guidelines below or create MLA format citations using Scribbr’s citation machine.

Author. Title. Container, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Date, Location.

Author

The first author’s name is inverted so that the entry begins with their last name. If there is more than one author, follow the order that they are named in the source.

MLA author examples
1 authorZetter, Roger.
2 authorsKovras, Iosif, and Simon Robins.
3 or more authorsFox, Jon E., et al.
No authorStart with the title instead.

Title

If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon. Use italics for self-contained works (e.g. books, websites) and quotation marks for sources contained within a larger work (e.g. book chapters, web pages).

MLA title examples
Source part of a larger work“The Migration Imaginary and the Politics of Personhood.”
Source a self-contained wholeAustralia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats, and Bodies.
No titleA short description of the source with no formatting.

Container

MLA uses “containers” to refer to the larger work of which a source is part. Containers are italicized and treated the same as titles. If the source you’re citing is a self-contained whole, you leave out this element.

MLA container examples
SourceContainer
Book chapterWhole book
Journal articleJournal
TV episodeTV series
News articleNewspaper
Web pageWebsite
YouTube videoYouTube

Sources can also have two containers. For example, when citing a journal article accessed on a database, the journal is the first container and the database is the second container.

Other contributors

If the source names any editors, translators or other important contributors to its creation, include these after the container title, together with a label describing their role.

MLA other contributor examples
TranslatorTranslated by Catherine Porter.
EditorEdited by Michi Messer et al.

If there are no other contributors named, leave out this element.

Version and number

If there is more than one edition, volume, or issue of the source, include this in the citation.

MLA version/number examples
Book3rd ed.
Moviedirector’s cut
Journal articlevol. 21, no. 4
TV episodeseason 1, episode 7

Publisher

When citing sources such as books and movies, you should include the name of the publisher.

MLA publisher examples
Book publisherPalgrave Macmillan
Movie publisherWarner Bros.

However, with sources such as websites, journals and newspapers, the publisher is usually the same as the container title. In this case, you leave out the publisher element to avoid repetition.

Date

Include the most precise and recent date given in the source. If no publication date is given (as is often the case with web pages), add the date you accessed the source instead.

MLA date examples
Year2006
MonthSept. 2002
Date19 Oct. 2015
No dateAccessed 23 June 2018.

Location

In a print or PDF source, the location is the page number or page range. In an online source, it is the URL or DOI. If the source has both page numbers and a URL (for example, a journal article in a database), include both as part of the different containers.

MLA location examples
Page rangepp. 143–168.
URLwww.refugeecouncil.org.uk/information/refugee-asylum-facts/the-truth-about-asylum/.
DOIdoi:10.1177/1367549415592898.

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See editing example

Ordering Works Cited entries

Arrange the entries in your works cited list alphabetically by the author’s last name.

Multiple sources by the same author

If your works cited list includes more than one work by a particular author, arrange the sources alphabetically by title. Instead of the author’s name, use three hyphens for each source listed after the first.

Barker, Juliet. The Brontës. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1994.
‐‐‐. The Brontës: A Life in Letters. Harry N. Abrams, 1998.
‐‐‐. Brontë Yearbook. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990.

If the same author appears again at the start of an entry by multiple authors, repeat the name in full instead of using the hyphens.

Sources with no author

If there is no author, alphabetize the source based on the title of the work. Ignore articles (the, a and an) for the purposes of alphabetizing. If a title begins with a number, alphabetize it as you would if the number was spelled out.

“The Global Appeal and Supplementary Appeals.” UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/1951-refugee-convention.html. Accessed 25 June 2018.
“The 1951 Refugee Convention.” UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/1951-refugee-convention.html. Accessed 18 June 2018.
“The Truth About Asylum.” Refugee Council, www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/­information/­refugee-­asylum-­facts/­the-­truth-­about-­asylum/. Accessed 23 June 2018.

In the example above, the second entry is alphabetized under n, as in “Nineteen fifty-one”.

Alphabetizing special characters

If a source starts with a special character such as @ (for example, when the author of a source is an online username), ignore the character and begin alphabetization with the first letter that follows it. Similarly, ignore accents and other marks. For example, a German “ö” should be treated as an “o.”

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Shona McCombes

Shona has an MLitt in English Literature and an MA in Gender Studies, so she's an expert at writing a great master's thesis. She has also been an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing.

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