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MLA Documentation 9th Edition, 2021

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When writing a research paper, if you use the exact words or original ideas of another person, you need to document, or give credit to, the sources of these words or ideas.

If you use the words from the original source verbatim, then quotation marks are necessary. If you paraphrase, or restate, the idea in your own words, quotation marks are not required, but documentation of the source is still required.

In the Modern Language Association (MLA) format, you briefly identify your sources in the text of your paper, then provide the full information in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper.

First we will briefly explain how to document quotations and paraphrasing, followed by how to create the Works Cited list.



When writing your paper in the MLA format, parenthetical documentation is used to briefly identify the sources of information you have borrowed from. Parenthetical documentation should be integrated smoothly into the text of your paper, rather than listed separately.


The general rule is to briefly cite the source directly in the text of your paper. If the reader wants more information, they can consult the Works Cited list at the end of your paper.

If the author’s name is mentioned in your writing (this is called a “signal phrase”), you only need to put the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. The reader can then consult the Works Cited list at the end of the paper to get the complete citation.

Note: Some sources, especially those on the Web, do not give page numbers. The general rule is to give a section number if it is given, which is rare; otherwise, just use the author’s name. If no author is given, use the first words of the title.

As Ta-Nehisi Coates explains, “At Howard University, one of the greatest collections of books could be found in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Moorland held archives, papers, collections, and virtually any book ever written by or about black people” (47).

According to Jamaica Kincaid in The Autobiography of My Mother, there is an alienation from an island culture that has been completely dominated by the imperialistic power of England (7).


You may decide not to mention the source of your information in the text of your paper. In these instances, enclose both the author’s last name and page referred to in parentheses at the end of the sentence. The reader can then consult the Works Cited list at the end of the paper to get the complete citation.

According to one study of climate change, the “speed of warming is more than ten times that at the end of an ice age, the fastest known natural sustained change on a global scale” (National Academy 9).

In an article on the benefits of video games and flow state, it is argued that when players work together collaboratively, they can improve their results in the game, while also completing all required learning outcomes (Vras 117-118).


For publications with no author given, you should include the first one to two keywords from the title and the page number in parentheses.

“The stabilization of relations among Comanches, immigrant tribes, and Osages also made possible a restoration of direct commercial ties between eastern Comanches and Americans” (“The Comanche Trail” 60).



One of the hardest parts of documentation is to decide how far to go in documenting your sources. If you mention that the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001, do you have to show where that information came from? No. This is considered common knowledge, even if you didn’t know on your own.

This can get tricky. When in doubt, it is probably a good idea to include the documentation. Ask a faculty librarian or your instructor for advice on specific situations. We are here to assist you!



The Works Cited page has all of the sources that contributed ideas and information to your paper. It is the same as a bibliography. This list is arranged in alphabetical order by whatever the first word is, usually the authors’ last names. If a source doesn’t list an author, alphabetize by the first word of the title (ignore “A,” “An,” and “The”).

If multiple authors' last names start with the same letter, then alphabetize by the second letter in their name. If the second letter is the same, then move on to the third and so on. See the example Works Cited page below.


The general rules for Works Cited entries are:


Last name, First name of author. Title of book. Name of publisher, Year published.

Davis, Angela Y. Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. Pantheon, 1998.


Last name, First name of author (if given). “Title of Article.” Name of magazine, Date of issue, Page numbers.

Deresiewicz, William. “The Death of the Artist - and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic, Jan.-Feb. 2015, pp.92-97.


Last name, First name of author. “Title of Article.” Name of periodical, Volume, Number, Year, Page numbers. Name of Database, URL.

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, Spring 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR,


Last name, First name of author (or name of creator organization). “Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the Website, Name of the Publisher, date of publication, URL.



When required information is not given -- In the spot where the information should be, simply leave the information out.

A second work by the same author--Instead of repeating the author's name in the Works Cited list, for the second entry put three hyphens and a period (---.) and alphabetize as if the name were spelled out.

There are many variations. Please see the following examples for print, video, and online sources:



Full-text Magazine Article from an Online Library Database

Dobbins, Thomas A. “A Mystery in Saturn’s C Ring.” Sky & Telescope, vol. 140, no. 1, July 2020, pp. 52-53. Academic Search Complete in EBSCOhost,

Scholarly Journal Article from an Online Library Database

Lyons, Lenore. “Disrupting the Centre: Interrogating an ‘Asian Feminist’ Identity.” Communal / Plural: Journal of Transnational & Crosscultural Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, Apr. 2000, pp. 66-68,

Newspaper Article from an Online Database

Soloski, Alexis. “The Time Has Come to Play Othello.” The New York Times, 20 Nov. 2016, Arts and Leisure sec., p. 5,


O’Connor, Patricia. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Riverhead Books, 2009,

Encyclopedia Entry from an Online Database

May, F. H., and V. V. Levasheff. “Boron.” AccessScience, McGraw-Hill Education, Oct. 2019,

Work Reprinted in a Collection from Online Database

Butler, Octavia E. "Going to See the Woman: A Visit with Octavia E. Butler." Short Story Criticism, edited by Catherine C. DiMercurio, vol. 266, Gale, 2019, pp. 12-22. Gale Literature Criticism, Accessed 2 Sept. 2021. Originally published in Obsidian III, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 14-39.



Print Book

Wassenich, Red. Minimum Opus: Short Stories. Smashwords, 2020.

Print Book with Two Authors or Editors

Wassenich, Red, and Karen Pavelka. Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town. Schiffer Publishing, 2007.

Print Book with More Than Two Authors

Charon, Rita, et al. The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine. Oxford UP, 2017.

Print Book with Editor(s)

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Einstein. U of Massachusetts P / Library of Congress, Center for the Book, 2007.

Milton, John. The Riverside Milton.

Book Chapter or Part of a Book

Miranda, Lin-Manuel. “Merengue: Carnaval del Barrio.” Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, edited by Ilan Stavans, et al., W.W. Norton & Co., 2011, pp. 2473-2481.

Print Magazine Article with an Author

Deresiewicz, William. “The Death of the Artist - and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic, Jan.-Feb. 2015, pp.92-97.

Print Magazine Article, No Author

“Q&A with Red Wassenich.” Library Journal, 15 Jun. 2007, vol. 132, p. 15.

Print Newspaper Article with Author

Yardley, Jim. “A Slogan Battle Keep Austin Weird.” The New York Times, 8 Dec. 2002, p. 33.

Print Scholarly Article

Borders, Max. “Keeping Austin Weird.” Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, vol. 64, no. 2, 2013, pp.16-17.



Streaming Video from a Library Database

“Male Pill.” Films On Demand, Films Media Group, 2010, Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.

Film or Video with One Publisher

Opening Night. Directed by John Cassavetes, Faces Distribution, 1977.

Film or Video Viewed Through an App or Streaming Service

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Universal Studios, 1982. Netflix app.

Online Video From a Video Sharing Website (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)

Barack Obama Podcast: On Fatherhood. 17 June 2007. YouTube. Web. 3 Sep 2021,


“Yiyun Li Reads ‘On the Street Where You Live.’” The Writer’s Voice: New Fiction from The New Yorker, hosted by Deborah Reisman, podcast ed., The New Yorker / WNYC, 3 Jan. 2017. Apple Podcasts.


Hayes, Terrence. “The Wicked Candor of Wanda Coleman.” The Paris Review, 12 June 2020, The Daily.

Social Media (TikTok, Instagram, Twitter)

Lilly [@uvisaa]. “[I]f U Like Dark Academia There’s a Good Chance You’ve Seen My Tumblr #darkacademia.” TikTok, 2020,

Smithsonian [@smithsonian]. “Baby Nizhóní takes her first trip to the woods. With parents from different Native tribes, she will not qualify for membership in her father's tribes, based on the system of "blood quantum," limiting her access to services, such as financial aid for college.: © Tailyr Irvine.” Twitter, 30 Sept 2021,



Entire Website

    with author

    no author


Otero, Vanessa. “Media Bias Chart.” Ad Fontes Media, 1 Oct. 2021,

Folgerpedia. Folger Shakespeare Library, 17 July 2018,

Page of a Website

Kilroy-Ewbank, Lauren. “Introduction to the Aztecs (Mexica).” Khan Academy, 27 July 2021,

Online Magazine Article

Mundy, Liz. “The Long Battle for Women’s Suffrage.” Smithsonian, Apr. 2019,

Web Newspaper Article with an Author

Parker-Pope, Tara. “How to Age Well.” The New York Times, 2 Nov. 2017,

Article in a Scholarly Journal, Published Online

Fisek, Emine. “Palimpsests of Violence: Urban Dispossession and Political Theatre in Istanbul.” Comparative Drama, vol. 53, no. 3, 2018,

Online Source with Missing Information

Eaves, Morris, et al., editors. The William Blake Archive. 1996-2014,

Visualizing Emancipation. Directed by Scott Nesbit and Edward L. Ayers,



All sources are integrated into one list and arranged alphabetically by whatever word is listed first. Double-space the list and indent the second line (and subsequent lines) of an entry using the Hanging Indent feature on your word processing program (Word, Google Docs, etc).

Works Cited

Chan, Evans. “Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema.” Postmodern Culture, vol. 10, no. 3, May 2000, Project Muse,

Davis, Angela Y. Blues, Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. Pantheon, 1998.

Editorial Board. “How to Tell Truth from Fiction in the Age of Fake News.” Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2016,

Like Water for Chocolate [Como agua para chocolate]. Directed by Alfonso Arau, screenplay by Laura Esquivel, Miramax, 1993.

Nguyen, Viet Thanh. “Viet Thanh Nguyen: By the Book.” The New York Times, 30 Jan. 2017, Interview.

The Qu’ran. Translated by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, Oxford UP, 2015.

“Racial Stereotype Busters: Black Scientists Who Made a Difference.” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, vol. 25, 1999, pp. 133-34.

United Nations. Consequences of Rapid Population Growth in Developing Countries. Taylor and Francis, 1991.

“A Witchcraft Story.” The Hopi Way: Tales of a Vanishing Culture, compiled by Mando Sevillano, Northland, 1986, pp. 33-42.



Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun. It is 9.45 times wider than the Earth and is 95 times more massive in its overall size. Saturn takes 29.46 Earth years to complete one orbit around the sun. The planet is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium (the most abundant elements in the universe) and is circled by hundreds of rings consisting of small, ice-covered particles (Beech 3836). While the facts about Saturn are firmly established, scientists are not completely certain about its composition; astronomers assume “that Saturn is a solid under the action of gravity of the Sun and Jupiter” (Krasilnikov and Amelin 127).

Works Cited

Beech, Martin. "Saturn." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, edited by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, 5th ed., vol. 7, Gale, 2014, pp. 3836-3842. Gale eBooks, Accessed 21 July 2021.

Krasilnikov, P., and R. Amelin. “On Saturn’s Rotation Relative to a Center of Mass under the Action of the Gravitational Moments of the Sun and Jupiter.” Cosmic Research, vol. 54, no. 2, Mar. 2016, pp. 127–133. EBSCOhost,


When you create your citations, make sure to pay close attention to the punctuation outlined in the examples. Try to follow the example citations as closely as possible. With citations, even the small details matter.

If you have any questions, ask an ACC Faculty Librarian for help. We are here to assist you!
Go to for ways to contact a librarian in person, by phone, email, or chat.

Red Wassenich Memorial Edition:
A tribute to our innovative leader in Information Literacy and the founder of the Keep Austin Weird Movement.

Austin Community College Library Services, 09/10/2021, R. Wassenich, A. Speetzen, L. Clement and P. Roche.