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Modern Language Association (MLA) Citation Style: Citing Books

This is a guide on how to use the Modern Language Association citation style. It provides examples of basic formats for sources using MLA Style.

Basic Book Styles


Author(s). Title. Place of publication: Publisher, Date. Publication format.


Single author:

Doe, John. Writing Styles. New York: Doe Publishers,

            1999. Print.

Two or Three authors:

Doe, John, and Thomas Smith.  Writing Techniques.

            New York:  Doe Publishers, 2001. Print.

More than three authors (use et. al. or list all authors):

Doe, John, et. al.  The Style and Technique of Writing


            New York: Doe Publishers, 2002. Print.

No author listed:

 Electronic Reference Formats in the Community

            New York:  Doe Publishers, 2002. Print.

Electronic books

eBook found in electronic format only. See sections 6.8.17 and 6.8.18
         of the MLA Style Manual and Guide... for more details. Also check out
         the MLA FAQ for specific information on citing ebooks.


Author(s). Title. Place of publication: Publisher, Date of publication.

         Medium of publication.


Plain, Gill and Susan Sellers. History of Feminist Literary Criticism.

         Cambridge, Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

         ebrary. Web. 

eBook found in print version also for resources used in BOTH formats.
         (See section 6.9 for works in more than one medium):


 Author(s). Title. Place of publication: Publisher, Date of publication. 

         Medium(s) of publication.


Frank, Lisa Tendrich. Women in the American Civil War. Santa Barbara, 

         CA: ABC-CLIO. 2008. ebrary. Print, Web.

Indirect Sources

Only cite indirect sources when you are unable to obtain the original. When you are quoting or paraphrasing information by someone who was quoted in another source (indirect), and you have not read the original, you should cite the original source within the text as "quoted in", and then cite the indirect source in the reference list.  You should attempt to find and read the original work, if possible. 

Citing original work within text: noted by Michael Wolff (qtd. in Fleishman 64)


Citing indirect source in in Works Cited list:

Fleishman, Avrom. George Eliot's Intellectual Life. Cambridge.

      Cambridge University Press, 2010. Print.

Book Chapters

Book chapters or anthologies:


Author(s). "Title of chapter." Title of Book. Editor.

         Place of publication: Publisher, date.

         Page numbers. Publication format.


Smith, Thomas.  "How to write."  Writing With Style and

          Technique. Ed. by Richard Jones.  New York: Doe

          Publishers, 2000. 110-190. Print.

Encyclopedias/Reference resources

Encyclopedia Articles:

      Print Encyclopedia:

       Hill, Charles G. "Gide, Andre." Encyclopedia of World Literature 

in the 20th Century. Ed. Steven  R. Serafin. Vol. 2. 

                 Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press, 1999. Print. 

      Online Encyclopedia:


            Author. "Title of article." Title of Work. Edition. Publisher

                     or sponsor of site (if not available, use N.p.). Date of

                     publication. Publication format. Date of access.


            Vietto, Angela. "Burnett, Frances Hodgson." Continuum

                     Encyclopedia of American Literature. Credo Reference.

                     2005. PDF file. January 20, 2012.

Dissertations and Theses

Print Dissertation:


Author. Title. Diss. Name of University, Date of publication.

         Place of publication: Publisher, Date. Print.


Threinen, Noni. Ways of Learning and Leadership: Midlife Women

         in Communities of Practice. Diss. U of St. Thomas, 2009.

         St. Paul, MN: University of St. Thomas, 2009. Print.

Online Dissertation:


Author. "Title." Diss. Name of University, Date of publication.

         Name of Database. Web. Access date.


Threinen, Noni. "Ways of Learning and Leadership: Midlife Women

         in Communities of Practice." Diss. U of St. Thomas, 2009.

         ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Web. 23 Jan. 2012.