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Research Guides@Tufts

Citing Sources

Information on the major citation styles and on citation managers, such as EndNote and Zotero.

What is MLA Style?

Citation style from the Modern Language Association. For the study of literature and language; used in English, Foreign Languages, Linguistics, American Studies, and related fields in the Humanities.

Features: In-text parenthetical citations of author and page number: (Smith 123).  Endnotes or footnotes may be used to add supplementary bibliographic data or commentary. MLA style prefers endnotes over footnotes.

The citation examples provided below are based on the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, published in 2016. The examples are intended to get you started with the basics. For more detail and many more examples, we recommend:

The MLA Style Center

Purdue OWL MLA Formatting and Style 

MLA's New Philosophy

In the eighth edition of the Style Guide, MLA has decided to provide general guidelines to use for all sources, rather than a list of rules for how to cite individual types of sources.

The main elements are familiar: author, title, publisher, date, and pages numbers or URLs. But MLA has added the concept of a "container" to cover the common situation where what you're citing is part of another thing. Examples might include: a single poem in a collection of poems; one article from a journal; one blog post from a website. Containers can nest, and commonly do: an electronic journal article at Tufts is usually contained in a journal, and that journal is usually contained in a database. Both provide details helpful for finding what you used.

MLA provides practice templates (PDF) so you can experiment with this yourself.

Citation Examples: Books

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

Single author
Howard, Brett. Boston, a Social History. Hawthorn, 1976.

Two authors
Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: the Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. Yale UP, 1979.

Three or more authors
Robbins, Chandler S., et al. Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden, 1966.

Editor or compiler as author
Monson, Ingrid, editor. The African Diaspora: a Musical Perspective. Garland, 2000.

Article or chapter in a book
Le Patourel, John. “Normans and Normandy.” Dictionary of the Middle Ages, edited by Joseph Strayer, Scribner’s, 1987, pp. 251-73.

Citation Examples: Periodicals

Lastname, Firstname. “Title of Article.” Title of Periodical, vol., no., year, pages. IF online: add Database, url (without http://) OR doi (without listing database)

Article in a scholarly journal online
Wawrytko, Sandra. "Buddhism: Philosophy Beyond Gender." Journal of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 36, no. 2, 2009, pp. 293-312. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6253.2009.01520.x.

Article in a scholarly journal
Kokai, Jennifer.  "Molding a Heroine: Patience Wright and Transatlantic Notions of American Female Patriotism."  Journal of American Drama and Theater, vol. 21, no..2, 2009, pp. 49-66.

Article in a popular magazine
Lacayo, Richard. “Kids are Us!” Time, 23 Sept. 2002, pp. 68-70

Article in a newspaper
Hall, Christopher. “Reliving the 1200’s With Sweat, Muscle, and No-Tech Tools.” New York Times, 18 Aug. 2002, p. B27

Citation Examples: Electronic Resources


Lastname, Firstname of author or editor. Title of Page or Article. Title of containing website, Version or edition used, Publisher or sponsor, Date of publication, URL. Accessed on [date].

Doctorow, Cory. "You Do Like Reading Off A Computer Screen", Locus Magazine, 13 Mar 2007, http://www.locusmag.com/Features/2007/03/cory-doctorow-you-do-like-reading-off.html. Accessed 13 Sept 2016.


Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Containing Periodical, volume number, issue number, Date, Page Numbers. Name of Containing Database, URL, Date of access.

Lane, Philip J. "The Existential Condition of Television Crime Drama." Journal of Popular Culture. vol. 34, no. 4, 2001, pp. 137-151. Expanded Academic ASAP, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.tufts.edu/docview/195368248?accountid=14434. Accessed 13 Sept 2016.

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