MLA Referencing Guide

MLA (Modern Language Association) referencing is a style often used within liberal arts and humanities disciplines.

MLA referencing Overview

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  1. Books
  2. Articles
  3. Online sources
  4. Images/visual mediums
  5. Other source types

Key things to remember

There are two types of citation in MLA referencing: in-text citations, which are found in the main body of the work and contain a fraction of the full bibliographical information, and reference lists, which are located at the end of the main work and list full information for all sources mentioned within the work. In text citations in MLA do not cite the year like many other referencing styles; instead, you would cite the page number: for example, 'Jones (87)' or '(Jones, 87)'. Reference lists are sometimes called 'List of works cited' in MLA, although this is not compulsory.

1. Books

Citations for books with one author:

Last name, first name. Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

Davis, Bryan. A History of Chocolate. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2011.

Davis, Bryan. A History of Chocolate. 3rd ed. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2013.

Citations for books with two or three authors:

Last name, first name and Last name, first name. Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

Jones, Felicity and Hughes, Sam. Eating Out: A Definitive Restaurant Handbook. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2006.

Evans, Drew, McDonald, Fenella and Jackson, Trig. Getting the best service. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2008.

Citations for books with four or more authors:

If a book has four or more authors, only the first author's name should be listed in-text followed by 'et al.', meaning 'and others'. In the reference list, you can either list all authors or just the first author's name followed by 'et al.'.

Last name, first name, Last name, first name, Last name, first name, and Last name, first name. Title. City of publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

James, Patrick, Croft, David, Levin, Susan and Doe, Andrew. How to Succeed in the Restaurant Industry. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 1998.

James, Patrick et al. How to Succeed in the Restaurant Industry. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 1998.

Citations for a chapter in an edited book:

When citing a single chapter in a larger book, it is important to ensure that you add the page range (pp.) that the chapter spans.

Last name, first name. "Chapter name." Book title. Ed. Editor/s name/s. City of publication: Publisher, Year. Page/s.

For example:

King, Sandra. "The best wines and where to find them". Fine Wine: A Guide. Ed. Edward Loftus. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2010. pp. 28-46.

Citations for multiple books by the same author:

In text, the author's texts can usually be differentiated by year. They should be listed in chronological order of publication. Where you are citing two works by the same author which were published in the same year, these should be labelled with 'a', 'b', 'c' and so on directly after the year.

Last name, first name. Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

Brown, Graham. Mexican Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2011.

Brown, Graham. Japanese Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2014.

Brown, Graham. Chinese Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2015a.

Brown, Graham. Italian Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2015b.


2. Articles

Citations for Print Journals

Last name, First initial. "Article Title." Journal name, Volume.Issue (Year): Page/s.

For example:

Jenkins, Oliver. "Unusual Recipes and Cantonese Cuisine". Culinary Research, Volume 5.8 (1996): pp. 47-59.

Citations for Journal Articles accessed on a website or database

Last name, First initial. "Article Title." Journal name, Volume.Issue (Year): Page/s. Web. Date of access. <URL>

For example:

Jenkins, Oliver. "Unusual Recipes and Cantonese Cuisine". Culinary Research, Volume 5.8 (1996): pp. 47-59. Web. 12 June 2016 < http://j.culinaryresearch.2010.10.009>

Citations for Newspaper or magazine Articles – Print or Online:

Newspaper or magazine citations are rendered similarly to journal articles; the same differences in formatting occur, as the example below illustrates.

Last name, First name. "Article title." Newspaper name. Date published.

Last name, First name. "Article Title." Newspaper name [City of publication if not obvious in title], Page/s. Web. Date accessed <URL>

For example:

Bell, Yvette. "Man with unusual tastes eats chalk for breakfast." The Weekly Herald. April 23 2016: p. 4.

Lees, Peter. "Freaky eaters." The Weekly Herald [Manchester]. 14 December 2013. Web. 21 June 2016. <www.theweeklyheraldonline.com/freakyeaters2015>


3. Online sources

Citations for websites:

When citing a website, it is important to ascertain authorship of the website – if it's an article on website which is not a newspaper/magazine site or online journal, there may be an individual author; if not, the organisation or website name would be credited with authorship.

Author/Source if no specific author. "Title of web document/page." Website name. Date published if available. Web. Date accessed. <URL>

For example:

HealthTips. "Superfoods and where to find them." HealthTips.com, 2015. Web. 25 June 2016. <www.healthtipsarticles.com/superfoodsandwheretofindthem>

Citations for emails:

Sender's last name, First name. "Subject Line of Email." Message to: person who received the message. Date received. Email.

For example:

James, Deidre. "New business plan for McDowells." Message to the author. 12 April 2011. Email.

Citations for Social Media:

Last name of author, First name. (Username if relevant). "Title of page/ title of post". Social media format. Date posted. Date accessed. <URL>

For example:

Proud, Frances. "Food lovers group". Facebook. 5 June 2014. 25 September 016. <www.facebook.com/foodloversgroupproudf2014>


4. Images/visual mediums

Citations for films/videos/DVDs:

Full Title of Film/Video/DVD. Dir. Name of Director. Film studio or maker, year. Format.

For example:

The World's Best Curries. Dir. Jackson Hertz. Foodie Studios, 2008. Film.

Citations for YouTube videos:

Username of contributor. "Video Title". Type of medium. Name of website, date posted. Date accessed. <URL>

For example:

Yummydishes. "Egg custard – simple recipe!". Online video clip. YouTube, 12 October 2013. 25 March 2016. <www.youtube.com/yummydisheseggcustard>

Citations for broadcasts:

"Title of episode." Name of programme. TV channel/network name, city of broadcast. Date of broadcast. Format.

For example:

"World Kitchen: Nigeria." World Kitchen. BBC1, London. 30 July 2011. Television.

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

Last name, first name. Title of image. Year. Type of medium. Site of photograph, city.

Last name, first name. Title of image. Year. Type of medium. Site of photograph, city. Website title. Medium. Date accessed. <URL>

For example:

Hewer, Drella. Women enjoying a cup of tea. 1995. Photograph. London, Food Photography Library.

Hewer, Drella. Women enjoying a cup of tea. 1995. Photograph. London, Food Photography Library. PhotoToday.com. Website. 14 April 2016. <www.phototoday/dhewerteaphoto>

Citations for podcasts:

Broadcaster/author's name. "Programme title". Broadcaster: Series Title. Date of transmission. <URL>

For example:

Yummydishes. "Innovative Baking". BBC: Innovative Food. 16 October 2015. www.foodiepodcasts.com/yummydishesinnovativebaking>


5. Other source types

Citations for reports:

Organisation/author. Full title of report. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

Marks and Spencers. A report on the sales of '2 Dine for £10'. London: M&S Publications, 2008.

Citations for dissertations:

Last name of author, first name. Title of dissertation. Level. Official name of university, year published. Web. Date accessed. <URL>

For example:

Neath, G. An examination of Mexican food in popular culture. Masters thesis. Oxford Brookes University: 1998. Web. 16 February 2016. <www.dissos.com/mexicanfoodpopcultureneathg>

Citations for Acts of Parliament:

Short title (key words capitalised), which includes the chapter number. Year.

For example:

Food Act (c. 5). 2011.

Citations for government/official publications:

Country of publication. Government agency/Last name of author, first name. Title of document. City of publication: publisher, year.

For example:

Great Britain. UK Government. Nutrition and Young People. London: Government Publications, 2013.

Citations for interviews:

Last name of interviewee, first name. Interview. "Title/description of interview." Last name of interviewer, first name. Place of publication. Date of publication. Page/s.

For example:

Ferman, Helen. Interview. "Discussing cooking". Bill, Orla. Delicious Magazine. 6 October 2011. 23-24.

Citations for presentations/lectures:

Last name of author, first name. "Presentation/lecture title." Event name if relevant. Location if relevant. Date presented/accessed. Format.

For example:

Yates, Richard. "The benefits of herbs." 3 August 2008. PowerPoint Presentation.

Citations for music:

Performer/writer's last name, first name. Recording title. City: Publisher, Year. Format.

For example:

Luce, Frankie. Delicious. Nottingham: Delectable Music, 1996. CD recording.

Citations for dictionaries:

"Entry name". Def. number. Full title of dictionary. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

"Food". Def. 1. Wordy's modern dictionary. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, 2010.

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