Monday, December 19, 2011

Basics for MLA Citation (for the paper)

MLA Citation: The Basics

MLA format is simply a system of citing works (giving credit to your sources) in your paper and then listing them in alphabetical order at the end of your paper in a "Works Cited" page.  The in-text citations are links to your Works Cited page, so the information below will make sure they function this way. 

I. Citing a work in your paper:

As Joel Achenbach writes, “In the 1960’s, paleoecologist Paul Martin developed what became known as the blitzkrieg hypothesis.  Modern humans, Martin said, created havoc as they spread through the Americas, wielding spears tipped with stone points to annihilate animals that had never faced a technological predator” (“Lost Giants,” 94). 

(Follow this basic format: Introductory Tag + quote + citation.  Place either the author’s name, or the article title, or the website in the parenthesis followed by the page number(s) if applicable). 

I.a. Citing an article in your Works Cited Page:

Achenbach, Joel.  “Lost Giants.”  National Geographic.  October 2010, Vol. 218, No.4.  pp. 91-109. 

(Be sure to include all the information you have, in this case the author + the article title + the journal it appears in + publication information + page numbers).

IIa. Citing a Graphic Novel in your paper:

In a pivotal scene, we see two frames of Beth reading over her husband's draft of a novel, the second frame showing a thought bubble which says "It's me."  The work then shows the handwritten note (on lined notebook paper) by Nicholas which outlines his despair at being trapped in his marriage and in the village; this allows us to see both perspectives, rather than have Beth summarize the gist of the note to us (Simmonds, Tamara Drewe).  Throughout the work, Simmonds tries to scatter clues to her characters' fears and desires so we can piece them together as we read the novel, rather than relying one one limited or omniscient author to explain it to us.

(Whenever possible, cite the page number as well...however, Tamara Drewe has no page numbers, so just cite the author and title.  Also note how I tried to describe the scene and the dialogue, and not just tell what happened.  Describe scenes so we can see them). 

IIb. Citing a Graphic Novel in your Works Cited Page:

Simmonds, Posy.  Tamara Drewe.  Boston: Marriner Books, 2007. 


  1. The information here is incorrect in multiple ways. I strongly recommend you take down this page or ask a librarian for help.

  2. Thanks for your concern; you do, however, realize that this is from 2011 and obviously things have changed since then. I always follow the Purdue OWL's recommendations and these were current in new handouts have changed since then.

  3. Here's the Purdue OWL's updated page on MLA citation for periodicals which apparently I got so wrong. It's not changed dramatically since 2011, has it?