MLA Works Cited

MLA Works Cited

What is a Works Cited page?

The Works Cited page is the list of sources at the end of the paper. It is called by different names such as Bibliography or List of Sources in different citation systems.

How do I format a Works Cited page?

General Rules

To get to a new page for the Works Cited, position your cursor at the end of your paper and click Insert/Page Break.  This may appear as Insert/Break/Page Break on some computers. The idea is not to use the Enter key to get to a new page.

The page setup and formatting are required parts of the MLA Works Cited page. The Works Cited page must have the same margins, font, line spacing, and header as the rest of the paper. The Works Cited does not have a heading in the upper left since it is simply the last page of the paper.

The sources must be listed with a hanging indent which is where the first line starts at the left margin and any subsequent line of the source is indented. It is like on reversed paragraph. 

You should take a look at the sample Works Cited pages in Related Pages on the right sidebar.

How to Create a Hanging Indent

The sources must be listed in a hanging indent with the first line of each source beginning at the left margin and any second and subsequent line is indented. There is a tool for creating a hanging indent in Word. Type in your sources according to the MLA format for that source explained below and alphabetize them. Just left align and hit the Enter key at the end of each source. Then, highlight the list and click Paragraph/Special and scroll to Hanging indent. Click OK.

If you are using Google docs, you may have to set the hanging indent with the pointers in the ruler to adjust the indentation.  

See links to the Sample Works Cited pages in Related Pages on the right sidebar.

How do I list a Works Cited source?

The PHSC library along with English faculty has created a list of examples of source in MLA style. See Related Pages on the right sidebar.

General Rules

The list must be alphabetical. It should not be numbered.

The general format for listing a source is:

author’s name (last name first).  title of the source. publication information

The problems arise with the details. 


If there is a person named as an author, list last name, first name:

Carlyle, James.

See how there is a comma after the last name. See that there is a period after the first name. Sections of a Works Cited listing are separated by periods.

When there two authors, the first author is listed last name, first name followed by a comma and the word and. The second author is listed first name first.

Carlyle, James, and Phillip P. Harper.

If there are more than two authors named, use the first listed last name and et al. which is the Latin abbreviation for and others: Carlyle, James, et al.

If there is no person listed author, the listing starts with the title.

More than one source by the same author

When there is more than one source from the same author, do not repeat the author’s name.  Use three dashes, a period, and two spaces in place of the author: – – – .  See Sample Works Cited List with Various Sources-8th-ed for an example.


Generally, sources are either books or articles from magazines, books, or journals. Commonly, the source may be an article or document in a website.

If the source is a book, the title is listed in italics. Titles of long, published works are put in italics. Note that there is a period following the title.

War and Peace.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. War and Peace.

If the title is an article or a document or page in a website (a smaller publication which is published in a larger publication), the rule is that the title has to be in quotation marks.

Marino, Catherine. “Implications of Piaget’s Theory in the Learning Environment.”

Important note about capitalization in titles

In MLA style, the first letter of important words in the title are capitalized even when they are not capitalized in the source itself.  Important words are all words except for articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (but, or, yet, for, and, nor, so), and one-syllable prepositions (of, at, on) unless any of these words begin the title.

See that the period at the end comes before the end (closing) quotation mark.

Marino, Catherine. “Implications of Piaget’s Theory in the in the Learning Environment.” Social Behavior. (See how the title of the journal is in italics.)

Publication Information

Publication information consists of information such as volume, issue, date and/or year, publisher, city of publication, year of copyright, name of website, creator/owner of website, name of database, name of subscription service, URL (preferably a permalink or doi when available for sources in databases), and date of access.  

Some databases are supplied through subscription services such as EBSCO and Gale.  EBSCO and Gale are not databases and should not be included as the name for a database.

The eighth edition (2016) of the MLA Handbook has a number of changes about publication information including using URLs. The problem is that not all publication information should be listed for all sources. Which information should be included and how to list that information depends upon the source.

In the handouts on the PHSC library page called MLA Documentation and Format – list of examples – 8th edition (2016), there is a table of contents at the beginning showing where the sample formats for different types of information can be found. The trick here is to determine what type of source you have in order to look up the proper format.  The table of contents listings are direct links to the examples.

A note about sources from Electronic Library Resources: 

When you click into Electronic Library Resources, you will be taken to the A-Z Databases page. From there you can look through databases alphabetically or by subject. You can also click on the Library Catalog and search for books as well as articles, films and books on CD. There are also links to various helpful LibGuides in each subject area offered by the College.

Many courses will require using the Electronic Library Resources for academic research. Many of these sources are databases of articles from scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines, and other copyrighted, reviewed, and professional prepared sources which are different from the Internet where anybody can post anything. Some sources on the Internet seem as though they have good information such as Wikipedia, but that is a wiki where people who are not necessarily professionals in the field can post information. By its own disclosure, some pages are in a state of development and have not been reviewed for accuracy or presentation of all side on a scholarly debate.

Students are subscribed to our library resources as part of their student fees. There is a direct link in Canvas on the left sidebar: Electronic Library Resources.

For research or citation and formatting assistance, please reach out to one of our librarians at any of our five campuses.