The Elements of a Citation (MLA style)
How does each piece of information help us?
from a book
from a journal / magazine / newspaper from a website from an online journal more citation tips
Citations from a book:
Coyle, Karen. Coyle's information highway handbook: a practical file on the new information order. Chicago: American Library Association, 1997. This is the basic pattern: Author last, First. Title. Place: Publisher, date.
Dickinson, Peter. "A defence of rubbish." Children and literature: views and reviews. Ed. Virginia Haviland. London: Bodley Head, 1994. 101-103. Note: this is an essay included in a book of essays. Dickinson wrote the essay - but not the book (which is edited by (and probably collected by) Virginia Haviland. The essay title is in inverted commas, the book title is in italics. The page numbers are for the pages on which the essay is printed. In the text, the citation would show the actual page used.
Sherman, Chris and Gary Price. The invisible web: uncovering information sources search engines can't see. Medford: Information Today, 2001. Note: two authors, but only the first named is last name first.
Element Example How does the element help us? The author/s Coyle, Karen.
Sherman, Chris and Gary Price.
Last name first (of the first-named author).
Listed in alphabetical order, to make it easy to find the name you are looking for.
The author gets the credit for the words or ideas you have used.
The book title. Coyle's information highway handbook: a practical file on the new information order.
Children and literature: views and reviews.
The invisible web: uncovering information sources search engines can't see.
The titles (and subtitles) are shown in italics. (Some teachers prefer that titles be underlined. Check with your teacher.)
The title is needed, because some authors have written / edited more than one book; you need to know which of their books has been used in the work.
The article title. "A defence of rubbish." A title. The inverted commas indicate that it is not the title of the full book. The editor Ed. Virginia Haviland. Ed. shows that this is the editor, not the author of the book.
She gets credit for including the essay in her book, but not as much credit as if she actually wrote the essay!
The place of publication. Chicago:
These can be important, especially when there are differences between editions published in different countries, or at different times. The language may be different (even if it's English!); there may be new or different content; mistakes in one edition might have been corrected in a later edition; page numbering might be different.
It is important to know whether our copy is the same as that used by the writer. (If two or more cities are listed in the book, name only the first.)
The date may also be important, to place the book in a historical context.
American Library Association,
The date of publication. 1997.
The page numbers 101-103. The page number/s of the paper/s, article/s, essay/s you have used can be useful in tracking them down.
from a book from a journal / magazine / newspaper from a website from an online journal more citation tips
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John Royce, BA, MLib, MCLIP
Library Director, Robert College
Arnavutköy, TR-34345 Istanbul, Turkey.
The URL of this page is http://www.read2live.com/elementsbook.html
It was last revised on 10 January 2007.