Skip to main content

MLA Citation Style - Color Coded Guide: Periodicals

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition

Journal Articles

[Hardcopy]

Devine, Patricia G., and Steven J. Sherman. "Intuitive Versus Rational

      Judgment and the Role of Stereotyping in the Human Condition:

      Kirk or Spock?" Psychological Inquiry 3.2 (1992): 153-59. Print.


[From a Website]

Hodges, F. M. "The Promised Planet: Alliances and Struggles of the

      Gerontocracy in American Television Science Fiction of the 1960s."

     Aging Male 6.3 (2003): 175-82. Web. 18 Feb. 2010.


[From a Database]

Roberts, Robin. "Performing Science Fiction: Television, Theater, and

      Gender in Star Trek: The Experience." Extrapolation 42.4 (2001):

     340-56. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.

Newspaper Articles

[See examples under "Journal Article" to add the information for the website and database versions of a printed article]

Di Rado, Alicia. "Trekking through College: Classes Explore Modern

      Society Using the World of Star Trek." Los Angeles Times 15 Mar.

      1995: A3+. Print.


[Specialized article: Movie review - the review information can be replaced with Editorial, Letter, etc.]

Dargis, Manohla. "Kids in Space." Rev. of Star Trek, dir. J. J. Abrams.

     New York Times 8 May 2009, sec. C: 1+. Print.


[Material available only on the website and not in the print version]

Lyall, Sarah. "To Boldly Go Where Shakespeare Calls." New York

     Times. New York Times, 27 Jan. 2008. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.

     ["New York Times" is the name of the website and the name of the publisher; see notes]

Magazine Articles

[See examples under "Journal Article" to add the information for the website and database versions of a printed article]

[See examples under "Newspaper Article" for specialized articles and web-only material]

Mershon, Donald H. "Star Trek on the Brain: Alien Minds, Human

     Minds." American Scientist Nov.-Dec. 1998: 585. Print.

Notes and Discussion

  • Set the margins for the text at one inch on all sides. Page numbers go in the top right and one-half inch down. Use 12 point Times New Roman font. Double-space all lines. Don't justify the text. The first line of each paragraph of text is indented one-half of an inch. The second and following lines of each reference are indented one-half of an inch (a hanging indenture). Blocks of quoted text are indented one inch.
  • Alphabetize the reference list letter-by-letter (ignoring the blank spaces in names like "Di Rado").

 

  • Authors:
    • Include the author's complete name if it is provided.
    • Include up to three authors. If there are more, you have a choice: you can list all of the authors, or you can list the first name followed by "et al." (Kirk, James, et al.). Whichever you choose, do the same thing in the parenthetical references (Kirk et al. 1701).
    • Corporate authors: a company, association, or government agency can also be an author (see the example beginning "United States" under the Websites tab). Use abbreviations for common words shown in section 7.4 of the handbook. In parenthetical references, well-known acronyms and abbreviations for geographic locations from section 7.3 may also be used. The divisions of a government agency's name are separated by periods in the reference list and by commas in the parenthetical references.
    • Authors of web pages may use screen names instead of their real names.
    • If there is no author, then start with the title.

 

  • Titles:
    • Capitalize the first letter of each significant word in the title.
    • Complete works, such as books, periodicals, databases, entire websites, television series, and movies, should be placed in italics.
    • Segments of larger works, such as chapters, articles, single web pages, and single episodes of series, should be placed within "quotation marks."

 

  • Titles within titles:
    • If a title of a complete work appears within the title of a segment, then italicize the title of the complete work (see examples for "Roberts" and "Di Rado" under the Periodicals tab). If it appears within the title of a complete work, then do not italicize it, but do continue to italicize the rest of the words (reverse italicization; see examples for "Okuda" and "Anijar" under the Books tab).
    • If a title of a segment appears within the title of a segment, then place that title within 'single quotation marks.' If it appears within the title of a complete work, then place it within regular "quotation marks."

 

  • Periodicals:
    • Journal, magazine, and newspaper articles may be accessed in hardcopy (include the word, Print at the end); from a website (include the word Web, and the date that you looked at it); or from a database (include the Database Name, the word Web, and the date that you looked at it).
    • Do not include an initial article at the beginning of a periodical title.
    • Include the volume and issue numbers for all journals but not for magazines and newspapers.
    • Newspaper and Magazine websites may include articles that originally appeared in the printed versions; these are cited as articles. A website may also include pages that were specifically created only for the website; these are cited as web pages. See the example for "Lyall" in the Newspaper Article box under the Periodicals tab.

 

  • Encyclopedias and reference books:
    • If an encyclopedia does not arrange its articles alphabetically, then include the page numbers in the reference list as shown under "Book Article or Chapter."
    • For "widely used general reference books," do not include the editor, volume number, place of publication, or publisher. For specialized and lesser known books, do include them.

 

  • Place of publication:
    • List only the first city mentioned.
    • Do not include the state or country.
    • If no place is given, put N.p.

 

  • Publisher:
    • Do not include articles, first names of people, or common words like Inc., Books, Press, and Publishing. Use abbreviations like: Acad., Assn., Inst., and Soc. Abbreviate "University Press" as "UP". See sections 7.5 and 7.4 of the handbook.
    • If the acronym for a company, organization, or agency is well-known, it should be used.
    • If no publisher is given, put n.p.

 

  • Dates:
    • The parts of the date are listed as day, month, year.
    • All months should be abbreviated except for May, June, and July (Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.).
    • If no date is given, put n.d. See the example for a Wiki in the Encyclopedia box under the Books tab.
    • For a website or other online source, also include the date that you looked at it.

 

  • Page numbers:
    • Cite the page numbers for the entire article in the reference list. Cite specific page numbers in parentheses in the text.
    • If possible, include only the final two digits of the concluding page number (ex. 393-94, 393-405, 1393-94, 1393-1405).
    • If the paging of a magazine or newspaper article is continued elsewhere in the issue, include only the first page followed by a plus sign (ex. 25+).
    • If no page numbers are given, put N. pag.

 

  • Websites: include the author; the "title of the web page"; the name of the entire web site; the publisher or organization that posted it; date the page was created or last updated; the word Web.; and the date you looked at it.
    • Authors of web pages may use screen names instead of their real names. There might be a corporate author (a company, association, or government agency; see the example beginning "United States" under the Websites tab). If there is no author, then start with the title.
    • Titles of single web pages within a website should be placed within "quotation marks."
    • Titles of entire websites should be placed in italics.
    • The name of the publisher may be the same as the name of the website, so it would be listed twice (see example for "Lyall" in the Newspaper Article box under the Periodicals tab). If no publisher is given, put N.p. (see the example for "Epsicokhan" under the Websites tab).
    • If no date is given, put n.d. See the example for Wiki in the Encyclopedia box under the Books tab.
    • If any of the other information is not available, it can be left out.
    • You do not have to include page numbers or paragraph numbers unless the web page specifically provides them.
    • Do not include the URL unless your teacher specifically requires you to. The reader is expected to use a search engine to find your source. If you are required to include it, place it after the final date and period. Place it inside angle brackets, followed by a period. Line breaks should be placed only after a slash.
    • Newspaper and Magazine websites may include articles that originally appeared in the printed versions; these are cited as articles. A website may also include pages that were specifically created only for the website; these are cited as web pages. See the example for "Lyall" in the Newspaper Article box under the Periodicals tab.

 

  • Videos:
    • YouTube and videos that were created for the internet are cited as web pages. In these examples, YouTube is treated as the publisher, and the individual user channels are treated as individual websites because doing so provides more information about the video's origin. But it would be just as correct to treat YouTube as the website and to leave out the individual channel information. In this case, Google could be then be listed as the publisher because they own YouTube. See section 5.6.2.b of the handbook for details.
    • Movies and television programs that are later posted on a website are treated differently. The director's name may be listed before or after the title, depending on the emphasis that you want. Writers, narrators, and performers may also be included. See sections 5.6.2.d, 5.7.1, and 5.7.3 of the handbook for details.
    • For movies and television episodes, include the date it was originally made, not date it was posted on the web service, and the date that you looked at it.

 

  • Parenthetical References:
    • Include the first initial only if two authors have identical last names (F. Hodges 179).
    • Include up to three authors. If there are more, you have a choice: you can list all of the authors, or you can list the first name followed by "et al." (Kirk et al. 1701). Whichever you choose, do the same thing in the reference list (ex: Kirk, James, et al.).
    • Corporate authors: shorten names by using the abbreviations for common words shown in section 7.4, geographic locations in section 7.3, and well-known acronyms. The divisions of a government agency's name are separated by commas in the parenthetical references and by periods in the reference list. MLA prefers that you incorporate lengthy names into the text (without abbreviations) and place only the page numbers (if any) in parentheses.
    • For sources with no author, use the title. Longer titles should be shortened to the first word or two. Follow the rules for quotation marks and italics just as in the reference list.

 

  • Indirect sources are when you quote someone who is quoting someone else. Place "qtd. in" in the parentheses. In the following example, a quote by Zachary Smith was found in the article written by Hodges: Zachary Smith said that "We all belong to the same race, the human race" (qtd. in Hodges 180).

 

  • For documents and situations not listed here, see the printed version of the handbook. But don't panic if you can't find a specific rule. The handbook says that:
    • "MLA style is flexible, and sometimes you must improvise to record features not anticipated by this handbook." (182-183)
    Elsewhere it says:
    • "While it is tempting to think that every source has only one complete and correct format for its entry in a list of works cited, in truth there are often several options for recording key features of a work. For this reason, software programs that generate entries are not likely to be useful. You may need to improvise when the type of scholarly project or publication medium of a source is not anticipated by this handbook." (129)

 

Follow These Color Codes:

Author(s)
Date
Title of Book/Website
Title of Article/Webpage
Title of Periodical
Volume
Pages
Place of Publication
Publisher/Database
Other Information

Need Some Help?

Ask a Librarian

Online Live Chat
Text Message
Telephone
Email
Visit the Library
Book a Librarian