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Citing information: MLA style

Most research papers require a combination of books, periodical articles, newspaper articles, statistics, and/or government documents. Often reference sources are needed to clarify a point or provide quick information or statistics.

Given all the information available in libraries today and on the worldwide web, it is important to take a logical, organized approach to your search for information or you may find yourself WASTING a great deal of time. Be sure to record the complete citations of all sources that you use for your bibliography. Documenting and providing a citation to phrases, entire passages, a sentence, paragraph or longer excerpt, paraphrasing the work of another, etc. avoids the serious academic offense of plagiarism.

For assistance with MLA formatting, you may wish to use the Citation Machine for print and electronic formats at:

The Citation Machine helps writers by formatting bibliographic citations in APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) formats. A more complete service for using these formats, including notes, is RefWorks, also available in these database listings.

Disclaimer: The Library system has made every effort to provide appropriate and accurate information to serve the research and writing needs of the University of Detroit Mercy community. The Library system is not liable for inaccurate or incomplete information delivered by the licensing vendors' databases or summary information prepared herein from databases, more specifically:

  • for loss or damage to any research or personal work of a student, faculty member, or staff member should a citation be created improperly
  • for a researcher' use or acceptance of the completeness of information provided on developing a citation
  • for the user's violation of the U.S. Copyright Law in citing the content of any research or personal work.

Please also note the disclaimer on the introductory page for The Citation Machine.

The following shows the information to include when citing a book, periodical article, or a WEB document in a bibliography.

Sample Book Citation

Author (last name, first name). Book Title (italicized). Edition (if one). Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication.


Wrightsman, Lawrence S. Psychology and the Legal System. 2nd ed. Pacific Grove, Cal: Brooks/Cole, 1991.

Sample Periodical Article Citation

Author. (last name, first name) (Quotations mark) Title of Article (close quotation). Title of Periodical (italicized). Volume, Issue (if given), Date of issue, Pagination.


Crawford, Walt. "Talking That Talk: Notes on Personal Computing Terminology." Library Hi Tech, 10 (4), 1992, pp. 85-102.

Sample of Article in a Book:

Author. (last name, first name). (Quotations mark) Title of Article (close quotation). In Book Title (italicized). Editor(s), Edition (if one). Pagination, Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication.


Crown, Deborah and Rosse, Joseph. "Critical Issues in Drug Testing," In Applying Psychology in Business: The Handbook for Managers and Human Resource Professionals, ed. John Jones, Brian Steffy, and Douglas Bray, 260-274. Lexington, MA.: Lexington Books, 1991.

For Websites

The following information on citing information from an internet site is from the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style website. See the following URL: for more information.

  • Name of the author, editor, compiler, or translator of the source (if available and relevant), reversed for alphabetizing and followed by an abbreviation, such as ed., if appropriate 
  • Title of a poem, short story, article, or similar short work within a scholarly project, database, or periodical (in quotation marks); or title of a posting to a discussion list or forum (taken from the subject line and put in quotation marks), followed by the description Online posting 
  • Title of a book (italicized) 
  • Name of the editor, compiler, or translator of the text (if relevant and if not cited earlier), preceded by the appropriate abbreviation, such as Ed. 
  • Publication information for any print version of the source 
  • Title of the scholarly project, database, periodical, or professional or personal site (italicized); or, for a professional or personal site with no title, a description such as Home page 
  • Name of the editor of the scholarly project or database (if available) 
  • Version number of the source (if not part of the title) or, for a journal, the volume number, issue number, or other identifying number 
  • Date of electronic publication, of the latest update, or of posting 
  • For a work from a subscription service/library database, the name of the service and--if a library is the subscriber--the name and city (and state abbreviation, if necessary) of the library 
  • For a posting to a discussion list or forum, the name of the list or forum 
  • The number range or total number of pages, paragraphs, or other sections, if they are numbered 
  • Name of any institution or organization sponsoring or associated with the Web site 
  • Date when the researcher accessed the source 
  • Electronic address, or URL, of the source (in angle brackets); or, for a subscription service, the URL of the service's main page (if known) or the keyword assigned by the service

Article in a Reference Database:

"Islam." Britannica.Com. Vers. 97.1.1. Mar. 1997. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 29 Mar. 1997 .

Article in a Journal:

Smith, D.L. "Free-Associations and Honeybee Dancers: The Unconscious and its Place in Nature." The Electronic Journal of Communicative Psychoanalysis: An independent multi-lingual international publication. 1999

Article in a Magazine:

Parra, Christine. "Rethinking the Good Life." Home Power HP#73 1999 .

Work from a Subscription Service:

Rosenbaum, Steven H. "Civil Rights Issues in Juvenile Detention and Correctional Systems." Corrections Today, v. 61no6 October 1999. FirstSearch, OCLC, Ohio 15 Jan. 2000 . Keyword: Juvenile

It is important to cite your sources in order to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of using another person's words or ideas as your own. This includes copying papers from friends. To avoid plagiarism, be sure you cite direct quotes and paraphrased or indirect wording. Most professors also expect you to cite a source that you summarize in your own words. If in doubt, cite your source.

You should note that there are several different formats for citing a reference. Your professor may expect a specific style; therefore, it is your responsibility to be clear on that style.

Permalink Last updated 01/28/2018 by N. Blume

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