There are several ways of citing your sources. The most common are MLA, APA and Chicago. The style depends on various factors such as the subject area of your course or your teacher’s preference. Be sure to check your assignment for the correct style before you start your list of references.
Posted with permission of the McMaster University Libraries
There are 9 core elements that are to be included in a citation. When citing a source look for these elements and list them in the order given. Use the punctuation as shown unless it’s the last element, which should end with a period.
If an element is missing from your source simply leave it out of your citation.
Your full citations are listed at the end of your paper. The citations are in alphabetical order and the whole page is double-spaced. If your citation is longer than one line, indent the following lines by 1.25 cm (hanging indentation).
Downloading and using a copy of the MLA template will help you get all information needed.
* The author is followed by a period.
Last Name, First Name. Examples.
Reverse the names of the first author followed by a comma and the word “and”. Then write the second author’s name normally (i.e. Last Name 1, First Name 1, and First Name 2 Last Name 2). Example.
Three or more authors
Reverse the names of the first author followed by a comma and “et al.” (meaning “and others”). Example.
Works by individuals who are not the author
Follow the name with a label that describes the role of the person. Examples.
Corporation or organization as author
Use the name of the organization as the author. Example.
However, if the organization is both the author and the publisher, start your entry with the title of the source and include the organization’s name as the publisher.
Pseudonyms or online usernames are entered as a regular author’s name.Example
Start the entry with the title of the source.
* The title of the source is followed by a period.
Write down the title as given in the source. Include the sub-title if present and use a colon to separate the title and subtitle. Be sure to capitalize all major words.
Titles of sources that stand on their own
Books, films, plays, television series, etc. are works that are not part of a larger work. The title is written in italics. Examples.
Titles of sources that are part of a larger work (see also the “Title of container” section)
Journal articles, magazine articles, page from a website, essay in a book, and an episode of a television series are all part of a larger work. The title is placed in quotation marks. Example.
Give a short description of the source without italics or quotation marks. Capitalize the first word and any proper nouns. Example.
In a short message with no title, such as a tweet, include the full message, without any changes, in place of the title. Enclose the message in quotation marks. Example.
* The title of the container is followed by a comma.
Include the title of the container only if your source is part of a larger whole. This larger whole is considered the container that holds your source. The title of the container is italicized.
– Your source is an article within a journal: The title of the container = the title of the journal.
– Your source is a web page found on a website: The title of the container = the title of the website.
– Your source is an essay from a book: The title of the container = the title of the book.
For sources that stand on their own and therefore are self-contained (e.g. book, film, or play), the title of the container is omitted.
Your source may be in a container (container 1) that is enclosed by a larger container (container 2). In that case, include both containers.
Example of an article from a journal (container 1) that is located in a database (container 2).
“To, Teresa, et al. “Child Care Arrangement and Preschool Development.” Canadian Journal of Public Health, vol. 91, no. 6, Nov./Dec. 2000, pp. 418-422. Research Library, ezproxy.champlaincollege.qc.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/232013252?accountid=44391.”
Example of a book (a source which is self-contained) that is located in a database of eBooks (container 2).
“Decker, Peter R. Old Fences, New Neighbors. Fulcrum, 2006. Ebrary, site.ebrary.com/lib/champlainstlawrence/reader.action?ppg=1&docID=10298270&tm=1479919441520″
Example of an episode from a television series (container 1) that is located on a website (container 2).
“The Winds of Winter.” Game of Thrones, directed by Miguel Sapochnik, season 6, episode 10, HBO, 2016. HBO Canada, www.hbocanada.com/online”
* The other contributors are followed by a comma.
Other than the author there may be other people who have contributed to a work. Include them if their work is important to your assignment or to the identification of your source. You do not have to include all contributors.
Start with the description of the role they played followed by their name in the regular fashion (First Name Last Name). If there are two contributors with the same role include the word ‘and’ before the name of the last contributor. If there are 3 or more names listed, include the first name followed by “et al.” Examples.
Note that the description starts with a capital letter if it follows directly after the title of the source.
* The version is followed by a comma.
Your source may have more than one version. Books can have several editions. If your source has an edition number write the number then “ed.”. If the edition has a description include it before the “ed.” Examples.
Other media can also have several versions. Write out the description as given in the source. Examples.
Note that the description starts with a capital letter when it directly follows the title of the source.
* The number is followed by a comma.
Your source may have a volume or issue number or both. Abbreviate volume to “vol.” and issue number to “no.” Examples.
For other types of numbers such as television episodes or government reports, write out the whole word. Examples.
* The publisher is followed by a comma.
The publisher is the organization that is primarily responsible for producing the source. Shorten the publisher’s name by leaving out business words such as Company (Co.), Incorporated (Inc.), and Limited (Ltd.).
Use the abbreviation UP for a university press. Examples.
If there are two publishers named in your source separate them with a forward slash (/). Example.
Do not include a publisher for the following sources:
– a journal, magazine, or newspaper
– a work published by its author or editor
– a website whose title is the same as the name of the publisher
– a website that is not involved in the production of the material that it makes available (e.g. YouTube or WordPress).
* The publication date is followed by a comma.
If your source has more than one version or edition and lists multiple publication dates, cite the date for the version that you consulted.
Format the date by day, month, year using the abbreviation for the month. Example.
If parts of the date are missing just use what is given to you. If a time is given (you might see this on a web page), add it after the date. Example.
* The location is followed by a period.
Entire print book
No location is included in the citation.
Part of a print work
For an essay in a book, or an article in a journal, give the page numbers. Write “p.” for one page or “pp.” for multiple pages followed by the first and last page. Examples.
The location of an online source is specified by the URL. If your source was found in a database include the database title in italics followed by the URL. When possible use the permalink (or stable URL) provided by the database. When giving the URL omit the “http://”. If a DOI is available use it in place of the URL or permalink. Example.
For web pages, it is recommended that you include a date of access, after the period following the URL. Example.
Also, when available give the page numbers as you would a print source. Example.
Lecture or performance.
Include the venue and the city separated by a comma. Note that for works that are in a format different than the usual you have the option of adding a descriptor at the end of the citation.