Bibliography How To in MLA

An MLA Style Bibliography (called a “Works Cited” List):

A bibliography is a list of sources that provides proper citations for ALL of the sources you used in a project. There are more than 3 kinds of styles for formatting those citations. (MLA, APA or Chicago are three possible styles.) Most students learn MLA style for papers in the humanities, but they might be asked to use APA style for scientific research.

How to create individual citations:

Since citation has become difficult in the age of so many different formats of sources, it’s helpful to apply technology to produce your best work.

1) It’s easy, for example, when you can copy and paste a citation that a database provides for your article.

2) Our library catalog provides a citation for each resource in our library. It’s in the details of the book record, so you can copy and paste it easily.

3) Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers get an introduction to NoodleTools across Arlington Public Schools and a free “no ads” account. Schedule a couple work sessions in the library to get started building an expert bibliography and notecards with it.

4) Students also use Citation Machine  or Easy Bib to produce citations for their bibliography although those free sites have a lot of distracting ads and Easy Bib does not give free advice on APA citation.

5) MLA developed new formatting rules for citations in its 8th edition in Spring, 2016. (See MLA.)  Many sources provide citations that apply the 7th edition of style rules, so beware or applying outdated advice. Two sources keeping pace with the change are The Owl at Purdue and NoodleTools.

Putting the citations together for your final draft:

The checklist below can be useful as you finalize a strong bibliography:

1.    __ all of your sources are listed, including the sources of your images.

2.    __ you chose your sources from reputable sources.  If the project guidelines reject Wikipedia, make sure you find a source that is professionally edited, instead.

3.    __ each source has a complete citation according to MLA guidelines, version 8.0 modeled in resources such as THE OWL AT PURDUE or in NoodleTools where you can compose your working bibliography.

4.    __ citations are listed in alphabetical order according to the first word in each citation, ignoring A, The, and An.

5.    __ Bibliography is a separate page of your project (or slide of your slide show.)  It is labeled with Works Cited (centered at the top of the page, NOT bold or any larger than the rest of the text).  The rest of the bibliography is justified on the left margin.

6.    __ font is 12 point (and Times New Roman if possible.)

7.    __ paper is double-spaced, and so are the citations of the bibliography.

8.    __ The first line of the citation is NOT indented on left side, but if the citation is longer than one line, subsequent lines are indented on the left.  (This is called a “hanging indent” which is a term you can Google.)

9.    __ Your project has 1 inch margins on left and right (although the last words of a citation might not reach all the way to the right side.)

10.    __ proper punctuation is applied to separate the parts of the citation.

11.    __ titles are capitalized properly.  Italics are used for the names of major works such as books and databases.  But titles of articles are put in “quotation marks.”

12.   __ If you use images in your project, you need to cite the source of those images.  Keep in mind that if you used Google’s Image Search Engine to locate an image on the internet,  Google is not the SOURCE PAGE of the images.  Google is a search engine.  It finds web pages published by others and takes you to that web page for the image.  Your bibliography needs to cite the web page on which the image was published.

13.  __ Page numbers are preceded by a p.

14.  __ Volume and Issue numbers are preceded by  Vol. and Issue, respectively.

13.    __ What about including the URL?  The latest version of MLA requires at LEAST a shortened form of the URL, but check with your teacher to see if he or she wants the entire long version of the article’s persistent link.  Don’t present it as an actual hyperlink (where it turns blue, is underlined and even activates.)  Instead, place the web address at the end of your citation and place it inside  these marks (math teachers call the “greater than and less than” symbols.     < URL  >

14.   __ Don’t number your list of sources down the left side.  Simply put the citations in alphabetical order. The reader can count the sources if she needs to.

 

Find more guidance about creating citations with this update from MLA.