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Citing Sources: MLA Electronic Sources

How to cite print and electronic sources using APA or MLA style.

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MLA Electronic Sources

How to Cite Electronic Sources in MLA Style

This document provides a guideline for citing the most common types of electronic sources using MLA style, based on information available in the MLA Handbook, 8th edition. LB2369.M52 2016 .

General information: If no date is given, use n.d.; if no publication information is given, use n.p.; if no page numbers are given, use n.pag.

Website Citations for Works Cited List

Citing a non-periodical web document (5.6.1)
MLA no longer requires the use of URLs in citations because Web addresses often change and documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the Web. The MLA Handbook notes that most readers can find these online sources by doing a title or author search using a search engine, such as Google.  However, if it will be difficult to find the document again without the URL, or if your instructor requires it, place it at the end of the citation. Not all information will be available for all websites, but the general format is:

Author last name, first name. “Name of Webpage or Document.”  Name of website (if different from title of document). Version or edition, if applicable.    
        Institution or organization sponsoring site.  Date of publication, creation, or of last update. Medium of publication. Date of access. 

James, Patrick. "The History of Animation: Early Years Before Disney."  Visualization Sciences. Texas A & M University, n.d.  Web. 7 Feb. 2008.>.

Use this format for date: day month year, abbreviating the month, for example:   15 Dec 2009

Periodical Citations for Works Cites List

Journal article found on web (5.6.3)
The general format follows the format of print periodical articles, substituting “Web” for “Print” as the Publication Medium, and concluding with the date of access.  If inclusive page numbers are not given, use n. pag.  Provide URL if needed.

Author. “Name of Article.”  Title of Journal volume.issue (year): pp-pp or n.pag. Medium of Publication. Date of access. .

Sheehan, Constance L., and Amanda B. Moras.  “Deconstructing Laundry:  Gendered Technologies and the Reluctant Redesign of Household Labor.”  Michigan Family Review 11 (2006):  n.pag. Web. 8 Nov. 2009.

Journal article, one author from a library database (5.6.4)
The general format is:

Author’s last name, first name.  “Title of Article.”  Title of Journal volume number.issue (year):  pp-pp.  Name of Database. Web. Date of retrieval.

Dommenget, Dietmar. “The Ocean’s Role in Continental Climate Variability and Change.”  Journal of Climate 22.18 (2009):  4939-52.  Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Dec., 2009.

Citing a newspaper article from a library database
The general format is the same as for a print newspaper article, except for the medium of publication (web), the inclusion of the database name, and date of retrieval.  Remember to include edition information, if provided.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "Liberal Revolt on Health Care Stings White House." New York Times 18 Dec. 2009, late ed.: 26A. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 18 Dec. 2009.      

Other Non-Print Citations for Works Cited List

Citing a film or video recording (5.7.3)
The general format is to start with the title, italicized, and include the director, the distributor, the year of release, and the medium.  Other data, such as screenwriter, performers, and producer may be included, between the title and the distributor. Include original release date when relevant.

Title of Film.  Director. Distributor, date. Medium.

It’s a Wonderful Life.  Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and Thomas Mitchell. 1946. Republic, 2001.  DVD.

In-Text Citations

As in print citations, in-text citations must clearly point to the specific sources in the Works Cited list, and so must match the corresponding information in the entries there.

Author-page style (6.2)
General guidelines:

  • The author’s last name and inclusive page numbers, from which the quote or paraphrase was taken, must appear in the text.
  • The author’s name may appear either in the sentence itself, or in parentheses at the end of the sentence
  • The  page numbers must always appear in parentheses.

The following examples are all acceptable:

Tannen had argued this point (178-85)

This point had already been argued (Tannen 178-85

Some, like Tannen (178-85) had already argued this point.

This point had been argued before (Tannen 178-85).

In-text citations for sources with more than one author (6.2)
The in-text citation should include the last names of all authors listed in the Works Cited list, as well as the page numbers.  If there are more than three authors, follow the form used in the Works Cited list, either listing all authors by last name, or the first author followed by et al.

(Smith, Jones, Morgan, and White 24-25)    or     (Smith et al. 24-25)

In-text citations for sources with no author (6.4.4)
Often in Internet  sources, the author is not given, so instead use the title, or the first few words of the title, in place of the author. This should correspond to the full citation in your Works Cited list.  Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (e.g. articles) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. books) and provide a page number.

In-text citations for sources with no page number (6.4.1.)
Internet sources also often lack a page number.  In this case, it is often better to mention in the text, rather than in parentheses, the name of the person, editor, etc. that starts the Works Cited entry for that source.

In-text citation:

Chan considers the same topic in the context of Hong Kong cinema.

Full citation in Works Cited list:

Chan, Evans. “Postmodernism  and Hong Kong Cinema.” Postmodern Culture 10.3 (2000): 
        n.pag.  Project  Muse.  Web.  20 May 2002.

For More examples of how to cite electronic sources in MLA style

Consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed. (LB2369.M52 2016),
available at Bellevue University Library, or visit

MLA Formatting and Style Guide, at the OWL at Purdue website,

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