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College Writing: Official Guide

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

This is the usual citation style for students in College Writing.

Developed by the Modern Language Association, this style is widely used in literary studies and throughout the humanities.

If you are going to use a different citation style, please check with your College Writing Instructor.

You can also refer to the WashU Libraries Guide Citing Your Sources and Writing Styles.

MLA Handbook Plus is an online database developed to assist with citing in MLA Style.


Commons Types of Citations

  • Books
    • The basic information you need to cite a book is:
      • Author(s) - Last name (comma) First name
      • Title of the book - this should be italicized
      • Name of the publisher
      • Year that the book was published
    • The following is an example of a citation for a book. It provides information in color-coded form, so you can see the different parts of the citation.
  • Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Articles
    • The basic information you need to cite a scholarly/peer-reviewed article or a magazine article is:
      • Author(s) - Last name (comma) First name
      • Title of the article - this should be in Quotes
      • Name of the journal or magazine - this should be italicized
      • Volume and Issue of the journal or magazine
      • Year the article was published
      • Page numbers for the the article
      • Source of the citation - list the specific library database that you retrieved the article from (if you found it through the library)
      • URL for item or DOI (Digital Object Identifier)
    • The following is an example of a citation using 9th edition for a scholarly/peer-reviewed article. It provides information in color-coded form, so you can see the different parts of the citation.
  • Webpage
    • The basic information you need to cite a webpage is:
      • Author(s) - if available - Last name (comma) First name
      • Title of the article or title of the page - this should be in quotes
      • Title of the website - name of the larger website - like NASA or Forbes or CNN
      • Date of Publication of the article or the page (may have no date listed - if this is the case, you must make sure you include the date you accessed the webpage
      • URL for item
      • Date you accessed item - this is usually not necessary unless there is no date of publication or required by your instructor

Zotero - Citation Management Tool

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. 

Take a look at what you can do with Zotero:

  1. Create and manage citations of books, articles, videos, etc.
  2. Import citations from databases and the Classic Catalog
  3. Add searchable notes and tags to citations; attach pdf's if desired
  4. Quickly create a bibliography in multiple formats (MLA, Chicago, APA...)
  5. Automatically manage in-text citations in Microsoft Word or LibreOffice/OpenOffice
  6. Easily share references with others

Go to the Library's Zotero Guide to learn more: http://libguides.wustl.edu/zotero