Research Guides by Subject

MLA Style Sheet


MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is a system of documentation that is used for both scholarly manuscripts and research papers. The style sheet (as it is often called) will provide you with specific instructions on all matters in regard to citing information retrieved from books, magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals, and electronic resources. This information will appear in your bibliography, which is a list of the works cited in your paper, and in the body of your paper (this is referred to as a parenthetical or in-text citation.) You must follow specific instructions when citing information from a book, a periodical (meaning a magazine, newspaper, or academic journal), a Web site, or a subscription database. NOTE: The examples listed below follow the seventh edition of MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009.


Examples of Citations for Books and Periodicals

Book (from a series):

Peretti, Burton W. Jazz in American Culture. American Ways Series. Chicago: Ivan R Dee, 1997. Print.

In-text citation: (Peretti 31)


Article from a magazine:

Taylor, Chris "Microsoft's Future" Time 17 April 2000: 55. Print.

In-text citation: (Taylor 55)

Documenting information from the Internet

When citing information from the Internet , it is important that you properly cite WHO created the information (if that information is available), WHERE it was retrieved from (in most cases this will be the Web site address), WHEN you accessed the information, and the TITLE of the site or page (this will be on the top left-hand corner of the screen.) You must also note when the page or site was created if that information is available. Here are two examples of how to cite Web sites, both accessed on September 1, 2009:

From an academic Web site:

Epstein, Joan F., and Joseph C. Gfroerer. "Heroin Abuse in the United States." OAS Working Paper August 1997. Web. 01 Sept. 2009

In-text citation: (Epstein and Gfroerer)


From a personal Web site:

"John Gotti and the Gambino Family.” Web. 01 Sept. 2009.

In-text citation: ("John Gotti")


Documenting information from the Library’s subscription databases

When citing information retrieved from library databases like ProQuest Direct, Issues and Controversies and Biography Resource Center, you need to note the publication in which the information originally appeared, the name of the database from which you retrieved the information, and the date that you accessed the database. Examples:

Watson, Russell “Sending in the troops.” Newsweek 31 May 1999: 36. ProQuest Direct. Web. 01 Sept. 2009.

In-text citation: (Watson)


“Norma Jean Baker.” International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses. St. James Press, 1996. Biography Resource Center. Web. 01 Sept. 2009.

In-text citation: ("Norma Jean Baker")


Documenting information from interviews and broadcasts. Examples:

Spears, Brittany. Personal interview. 01 Sept. 2009.

In-text citation: (Spears)


Gotti, John. Telephone interview. 01 Sept. 2000.

In-text citation: (Gotti)


Finding more information about documenting sources using MLA

Print resources

Since there will be many instances where the above examples do not apply, you are encouraged to ask for assistance from a librarian or request to see the MLA handbook for writers of research papers , which is kept at the Reserves Desk on the first floor of the library.


Internet resources

OWL at Purdue University:Using Modern Languages Association (MLA) Format Extremely useful guide created by the Purdue University Writing Lab. Contains links to sample papers and additional learning guides.

U-W Madison Writing Center's Writers Handbook The U-W Madison Writing Center has created a clear, well-balanced view of MLA style including examples of in-text and works-cited citations from both print and electronic sources.