Skip to main content

Citation Style: MLA 7th Edition

How to create a bibliography, create in-text citations, and format your paper according to MLA Style Format.

Important Note

Always check with your instructor on what format specifications to use for a particular class or assignment, especially when citing electronic resources including material found in library databases.

What is MLA?


The MLA Citation Style is often used for classes in the Humanities, such as English and History.

We keep a copy of the MLA Handbook at the Reference Desk.

General Guidelines


  • Italics is now used everywhere in place of underlining—for titles, for words, etc.

Medium of publication

  • Every entry has a medium of publication designation, such as the following: Print, Web, Radio, Television, CD, Audiocassette, Film, Videocassette, DVD, Performance, Lecture, and PDF file.

    Example: Wood, James. How Fiction Works. New York: Farrar, 2008. Print.

Issue numbers for journals

  • MLA no longer makes a distinction between journals paginated by volume and journals paginated by issue. All entries must have both volume and issue numbers for all journals.

    Example: Wood, Michael. “Broken Dates: Fiction and the Century.” Kenyon Review 22.3 (2000): 50-64. Print.

Online sources

  • MLA guidelines assume that readers can track down most online sources by entering the author, title, or other identifying information in a search engine or a database. Consequently, MLA does not require a URL in citations for online sources.
    • NOTE: Your professor may require you to include the url. Be sure to ask what your professor prefers.
  • MLA no longer requires the location of the database (the library name, for instance).
  • MLA style requires a sponsor or publisher for most online sources. If a source has no sponsor or publisher, use the abbreviation “N.p.” (for “No publisher”) in the sponsor position.
  • If there is no date of publication or update, use “n.d.” (for “no date”) after the sponsor.
  • For an article in an online journal or an article from a database, give page numbers if they are available; if they are not, use the abbreviation “n. pag.”


Web site

Margaret Sanger Papers Project. History Dept., New York U, 18 Oct. 2000. Web. 9 Feb. 2009.

Article on a Web site (no date)

Shiva, Vandana. “Bioethics: A Third World Issue.” NativeWeb. NativeWeb, n.d.

Web. 22 Feb. 2006.

Article from a database

Johnson, Kirk. “The Mountain Lions of Michigan.” Endangered Species Update 19.2 (2002): 27-31.

Expanded Academic Index. Web. 26 Feb. 2009.

In-text citations

  • For unpaginated online sources (mostly Web sites), don't use a paragraph or section number (with “par.” or “sec.”) unless the source itself numbers its paragraphs or sections.

MLA Handouts

You can print these handouts for easy access, if you would like.

Sample MLA Papers

If you're not sure how to format your paper according to MLA guidelines, check out these sample papers for example:


This guide is adapted with permission from the original by Montgomery College.