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MLA 9th referencing style

A guide to using MLA 9th referencing style

Creating a reference list

  • The recommended heading of the reference list is: Works Cited
  • Your reference list should appear at the end of your document with the entries listed alphabetically by author. 
  • Author's names should be listed as they appear on the title page of the book. Either surname (family name) with full forenames or surname with initials. Example:

Mitchell, William John Thomas


Mitchell, W. J. Thomas

  • The name of the first author will be inverted to list the surname first. If there are additional authors, their names are not inverted. Example:

Bomarito, Jessica and Jeffrey W. Hunter

  • For names in languages that order the surname first (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Korean). How you reference will depend on a number of factors (MLA Handbook section 5.10, pp. 113-114), but generally if the name appears surname first on the title page, do not reverse the name in the works-cited list and no comma is required. Example:

Kimura YĆ«suke. Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge: Two Novellas of Japan's 3/11 Disaster, Translated by Doug Slaymaker, Columbia UP, 2019. https://doi-org.10.7312/kimu18942

  • For multiple works by the same author, include the author's name in the first entry only. Then in subsequent references, in place of the author's name, type three hyphens or three em dashes (the longest of the dash options, and is the length of the letter 'm').
  • Each reference should be formatted with a hanging indent (indent the second and following lines).
  • Use title style capitalisation. The first word of the title and subtitle and all other significant words are capitalised. For further information on capitalisation see MLA Handbook sections 2.90-2.98, pp. 54-58.
  • Italicise titles of independently published works, such as books, journals (i.e. the title of the whole journal), newspapers, web sites, databases, films. 
  • Enclose in quotation marks the titles of works that form part of a larger work, such as journal articles, essays, individual stories or poems, chapters of books, pages in web sites. Quotation marks are also used for titles of unpublished works, such as lectures, conference papers, dissertations and manuscripts.
  • Common terms like editor, edited by, translator, and review of should not be abbreviated.
  • For books, the city of publication is not given. Refer to the MLA Handbook section 5.67, pp. 51-52 for exceptions to this element.
  • It is recommended to cite the DOI (if available) or URL for online publications. Refer to the MLA Handbook sections 5.93-5.98, pp. 194-196. Check with your lecturer/tutor about whether they require the inclusion of the DOI or URL.