In-Text Citation



Selections from Books


Online Sources


Citing Internet Sources in MLA Style

Remember that entries in the Works Cited list are listed alphabetically by author.  

This page covers web pages and articles in periodical databases such as Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, FirstSearch, Proquest Direct, JSTOR, Science Direct, etc. 

Do not just copy the "citation" given by the databases.  While this part provides important information, it often leaves out the far more important information of the access date and the database name.  It may also not be in MLA style.  

The citation for an electronic source includes citation for any print counterpart of the source, followed by information about the electronic resource.  It is crucial that this information be included, because the electronic resource may be an updated version of the print counterpart.  The date the electronic resource was accessed is important because the resource may be changed before someone looking at your sources checks it.  

When citing a web page, cite the specific page from which you obtained information, not the site's home page.  Remember that a citation is supposed to make it so your reader can find your original source; including the home page of a large site will do little good.  

The information on this page is based on the MLA Style FAQ: Documenting Sources from the World Wide Web and details from the pages for print sources.  

The components of a Works Cited list entry for articles from an online source, listed in the proper order:  


Formatting Details

Author, Editor, Compiler, or Translator
  • For the first (or only) author, first include the author's last name, followed by a comma, followed by the author's first name.

  • If the author's name has already been listed on the Works Cited page, do not list it again.  Instead, use "---" for all works other than the first.  List all the works by an author alphabetically by title.

  • For two or three authors, list the authors in the order in which they appear on the title page.  Do not reverse the names of authors other than the first.  Follow each author's name with a comma and precede the last author with "and."

  • For four or more authors, either list all the authors as with two or three authors, or cite only the first author listed on the title page, followed by ", et. al."

  • If there is no author, but an editor or editors instead, list the editor(s), followed by a comma and "ed." or "eds."
  • If there is no author, but a translator instead, include the translator, followed by a comma and "trans."
  • If there is no author, but a compiler instead, include the compiler, followed by a comma and "comp."
  • If the work is anonymous, start the citation with the title (and alphabetize it based on the title.)
  Period (.)
Title of a Short Work
  • If you're citing an article, short story, poem, etc., enclose the title of the article or the headline within quotation marks.
  • If you're citing a web page, enclose the title of the page within quotation marks.  Use either the header of the page or the title that displays in the Netscape title bar.  (If the page has frames, it's best to right click and choose "Open Frame in New Window" to get the frame title.)
  • If you're citing an e-mail, 
    • First enclose the subject line within quotation marks as the title.  Put a period within the quotation marks.  Use standard capitalization for the subject line. 
    • Then follow the subject line with "E-mail to" and the first and last name of the recipient. 
  • If you're citing a posting to a discussion list or forum, 
    • Enclose the subject line within quotation marks as the title.  Put a period within the quotation marks. Use standard capitalization for the subject line. 
    • Follow the subject line with "Online posting."  
  • If there is a title within the title, use single quotation marks (like apostrophes) for the shorter title.  
  • The period goes inside the quotation marks. 
  Period (.)
Title of a Book
  • If the work is from a book, encyclopedia, dictionary, or report, include its title, italicized or underlined.  
  • If there is a title within the title, do not italicize or underline the shorter title.  If the shorter title is usually within quotation marks, retain the quotation marks.
  • Click here for notes on capitalization.
  Period (.)
Text Editor, Compiler, or Translator
  • Note that this section deals with the editor of the article text.  The editor of the site comes later.  
  • If the article has both author(s) and editor(s), include the name of the editor(s), preceded by "Ed." or "Eds."
  • If the article is a translation, write "Trans." followed by the name of the translator. 
  • If there is an author and a compiler of the article, write "Comp." followed by the name of the compiler. 
  Period (.)
Print Publication Information   Period (.)
Site or Database Title
  • If the main site on which this page is located has a title, (i.e. a scholarly project, database, or professional or personal site), include the title of the main page, italicized or underlined.  
  • If the article is part of a professional or personal site with no title, substitute "Home page" here in plain text. 
  Period (.)
  • If the site is a scholarly project or database and the editor is available, include the name of the editor(s), preceded by "Ed." or "Eds."
  Period (.)
  • If there is a version number for the source and it is not part of the title, include it here.  
  Period (.)
Publication Date
  • Give the date the article or page was last updated or posted.  Include as much of the day, month (abbreviated), and year (four digits) as is given, e.g. "4 July 2000" or "July 2000" or "2000."
  • The last update date of a web page is usually given at the bottom or top of a page.  A posting date may also be given on the page one level higher (such as a page that is an index of articles).   
  Period (.)
Subscription Service Information
  • If the article is from a subscription service, include the name of the service (in plain text).
  • If the library is a subscriber to the service, place a period after the service name, and then include the following, separated by commas:
    • The name of the library.
    • The city (and state, if the city is not well-known) of the library.
  Period (.)
  • If you are citing a posting to a discussion list or forum, give its name here (in plain text).
  Period (.)
  • If they are numbered, give the number range or total number of pages, paragraphs, or other sections.
  • If you include the number of paragraphs, use the abbreviation "pars."
  Period (.)
Institution or Sponsor
  • Include the name of any institution or organization sponsoring or associated with the web site. 
  • Use "U" to abbreviate "University."
  Period (.)
Access Date
  • Include the date you accessed the source.  Use the following order: day (digits), month (abbreviated), and year (four digits), e.g. "4 July 2000."
  • This date is different from the update date, which gives the date the page was last updated.  It is when you looked at it, and it is important because the site may have changed since then.
  None (a single space before next element)
URL or Keyword
  • If the source is a web page, enclose the URL (or web address) of the page within angle brackets (< >).  
    • If the source page has frames, it is best to use the URL of the frame you're citing.  In Netscape, you can locate that URL by right clicking the frame and selecting "Open Frame in New Window."
  • If the article is from a subscription service, give the URL of the service's main page in angle brackets (< >).
  • In a printed essay, the URL should not be a link, although Word's AutoCorrect feature will convert text it thinks is a web address to a link.  To convert this URL back to plain text, type Ctrl+Z (Undo) immediately.  You can also turn off this feature permanently.
  • If you have to split the URL onto multiple lines, split it only after a slash. 
  • If the article is from a subscription service and has a keyword assigned to it (as in America Online), type "Keyword:" followed by the keyword.
  Period (.)

Read the Notes on punctuation and spacing and on italicization and underlining.

Citation Examples (from The Ready Reference Handbook)

Buss, Pauline.  "Choosing a New Computer For Your Office."  E-mail to Joseph Sternberg.
     18 Jan. 1996.
Connolly, Frank W.  "Intellectual Honesty in the Era of Computing." 21 Oct. 1995. 
     Loyola U of Chicago.  9 Aug. 1998 <>.
[Article at Scholarly Site]
Denman, Kamilla.  "Emily Dickinson's Volcanic Punctuation."  Emily Dickinson
     Journal 2.1 (1993).  29 Jan. 1998.  33 pars.  U of Colorado.  9 Sept. 1998
[Article in Scholarly Journal]
Doran, Brian T.  "Re: Is Yellowstone Ever Closed to Overcrowding?"  Online posting.
     25 May 1997.  The Total Yellowstone Chat Page.  31 July 1998 
[Posting to a Discussion Group]
FairTest.  National Center for Fair and Open Testing.  1 July 1998.  30 Aug 1998
[Scholarly/Organizational Site]
Gordon, Danielle.  "The Usual Suspects."  Chicago Reporter Sept. 1998: 88 pars.  
     Digital City Chicago.  America Online.  28 Sept. 1998 <
[Source from Subscription Service]
James, Frank.  "U.S. Judges Reject Census Sampling."  Chicago Tribune 25 Aug. 1998,
     sec. 1:1.  25 Aug. 1998 <
[Newspaper Article]
"Jericho."  Encyclopedia of the Orient.  1997.  Centre d'Information Arabe Scandinave.
     4 Jan. 1998 <>.
[Article in a Reference Database]
Lawton, Millicent.  "ETS Disputes Charges of Gender Bias."  Education Week 14 May
     1997: 1+.  3 June 1998 <>.
[Article in Magazine]
Neumann, Kurt.  Home Page.  27 Aug. 1998. <>.
[Personal Site]
Reclaiming Our Heritage: What We Need to Do to Preserve America's National 
     Parks.  1997.  5 chs.  Natural Resources Defense Council.  31 July 1998
[Lengthy Online Document]
Thoreau, Henry David.  "Where I Lived and What I Lived For."  Walden.  1854.
     Project Gutenberg.  Jan. 1995.  U of Illinois.  1 Sept. 1998 
[An online book]
(Dodds 348-51)

There are also several examples on the MLA Style FAQ: Documenting Sources from the World Wide Web.

More examples can be found in ONLINE!.

Citation Examples for Databases from the JC Library

Barnett, Andy.  "A Survey of Internet Searches and their Results."  Reference
     and User Services Quarterly 39.2 (1999): 177-81.  WilsonSelect.  FirstSearch.
     L. A. Beeghly Library, Huntingdon, PA.  4 July 2000 <>.
Zuckerman, Sam.  "Bank Wins Round on ATM Fees; Judge Rules S.F. Surcharge Allowed."
     San Francisco Chronicle 4 July 2000, Final, sec. A: 1.  General News.  4 July 2000.  
     Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe. L. A. Beeghly Library, Huntingdon, PA.  4 July 2000 

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Created: 06/27/2000
Last Modified: 09/25/2002