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.
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.
Creating a hanging indent
In Microsoft Word, you can create a hanging indent on all entries at once.
- Highlight the whole list and right click to open the Paragraph options.
- Under Indentation > Special, choose Hanging from the drop-down menu.
- 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.
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.
|1 author||Zetter, Roger.|
|2 authors||Kovras, Iosif, and Simon Robins.|
|3 or more authors||Fox, Jon E., et al.|
|No author||Start with the title instead.|
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).
|Source part of a larger work||“The Migration Imaginary and the Politics of Personhood.”|
|Source a self-contained whole||Australia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats, and Bodies.|
|No title||A short description of the source with no formatting.|
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.
|Book chapter||Whole book|
|TV episode||TV series|
|Lecture||Course or event|
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.
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.
|Translator||Translated by Catherine Porter.|
|Editor||Edited 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.
|Journal article||vol. 21, no. 4|
|TV episode||season 1, episode 7|
When citing sources such as books and movies, you should include the name of the publisher.
|Book publisher||Palgrave Macmillan|
|Movie publisher||Warner 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.
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.
|Date||19 Oct. 2015|
|No date||Accessed 23 June 2018.|
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.
|Page range||pp. 143–168.|
If you are citing a live event (such as a lecture, presentation or performance), include the physical location where the event took place (i.e. the venue and city).
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.
‐‐‐. 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 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.”