Skip to main content

How Do I Cite Electronic Resources - MLA Format: Getting Started

This guide will assist you in citing many electronic resources, including emails, Tweets, Blogs, websites, YouTube videos, podcasts, Facebook and more

Blogs, Listservs

"Blog" is short for web log which is a list of journal-type articles posted on a Web page.

"Listserv" is short for list server, which is a  program that automatically sends messages to multiple e-mail addresses on a mailing list. People usually need to subscribe to a listserv.

Formatting--
Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial. “Posting Title.” Website Name. Publisher, Day Month Year Posted (if available). Web. Day Month Year Accessed.

Use the screen name as the author name when the author name is not known. If both names are known, begin the entry with the screen name and place the author’s name in brackets (ex. Funnyman123 [John Smith]).

EXAMPLES:

Blog

Bartholomew, Anne. “Omni Daily Crush: What We Eat When We Eat Alone.” Omnivoracious. Amazon.com, 14 Aug. 2009. Web.17 Aug. 2009.

Listserv

Smith, Joan. "Re: Updates Made to Factiva." Yammer. Columbus State Community College, 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2012.

 

 

Digital File - PDF, Word Doc, JPEG, etc.

Digital files can exist independently from the Web or a published disc. Examples are:

A PDF file stored on your computer

A document created by a peer using a word processor,

A scanned image you received in an email (as an attachment)

A sound recording formatted for playing on a digital audio player

Determine the kind of work you are citing and follow guidelines set forth here for formatting the entry. In the place reserved for the medium of publication - record the digital format, followed by the word file.

FORMATTING

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial.  Title of Source. Publisher Location:  Publisher, Publication Date. Digital file.

To cite a digital file, first determine what kind of source you are citing (pdf, photograph, sound recording) and follow the relevant guidelines for formatting that type of source. In the place reserved for "Medium of Publication", record the digital file format and follow with the word file. If you can't identify what kind of file it is, use digital file.

Example---

Ex. 2 - PDF File

Eastern University. Library Quick Guide: Evaluating Web Sites. St. Davids, PA.  File last modified on Feb. 2013. PDF file.

 

E-Mails

Items posted on the web usually have no page numbers or reference markers so it is acceptable to cite them by author, screenname, or title.

Basic Format

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial. “Subject Line.” Message to First Name Last Name. Day Month Year the message was sent. E-mail.

Example: 

Doe, Jane. "Re: Online Databases." Message to John Smith. 12 Apr. 2012. E-mail.

Webcast / Podcast

A "webcast" is a delivery of media over the Internet using streaming technology.

A "podcast" is a digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a web site to a media player or computer.

Basic Format - Webcast

“Episode or Segment Title.” Other pertinent information. Program or Series Title. Podcast Publisher or Sponsor, Day Month Year Posted. Medium of Publication. Day Month Year of Access.

Example of viewed online streaming:

"Who Made the First Cell Phone Call?" Narr. Jake Tapper. The Lead. CNN. Cable News Network, 3 Mar. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.

 Unless you are featuring an individual (director, performer, narrator, etc.), the episode or segment title begins the citation, in quotation marks. If you are featuring an individual, that person's name is listed first, followed by his/her contribution (ex. Tapper, Jake, narr.)

 

Example of downloaded podcast to another device:

“Episode or Segment Title.” Other pertinent information. Program or Series Title. Podcast Publisher or Sponsor, Day Month Year of Release. Type of file.

 "Team of Rivals." Narr. Doris Kearns Goodwin. U. S. Presidents Podcast. LearnOutLoud.com, 22 Jan. 2011. MP3 file.

 If the podcast is downloaded to another device, cite it as you would a digital file. The "medium of publication" becomes the type of file that is downloaded and there is no need for the "date accessed" field.

 

Citing Electronic Resources in Today's Academic Environment

Today, electronic resources are the primary source used by students when researching for scholarly journals, blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter,  websites, You Tube videos, emails and personal interviews, the Internet, streaming videos, and radio sources.

This guide will attempt to make clear how to cite many of these resources in MLA format.

 

E-Books of various types

SINGLE AUTHOR

SINGLE EDITION - EXAMPLE:

If you are citing an entire edited book, place editors bane in the author position followed by "ed."

E-BOOK BY MULTIPLE AUTHORS OR EDITORS

Two authors---

List the authors in the order they appear on the title page. List the first author with the last name first; additional authors' names are listed with the first name followed by the last name.

Example

Three authors---

List the authors in the order they appear on the title page. List the first author with the last name first; additional authors' names are listed with the first name followed by the last name.

Four or more authors---

You may list each author as in the examples above, or list the first author followed by "et al." (meaning "and others").

E-Book BY A CORPORATE AUTHOR OR ORGANIZATION

List the name of the organization in place of the author.

WORK IN AN ANTHOLOGY

Begin the citation with the author of the work, not the editor of the eBook.

CHAPTER, SECTION OR ESSAY IN AN EDITED E-BOOK

Begin the citation with the author of the specific work, not the editor of the eBook.

ENTRY OR ARTICLE IN A REFERENCE E-BOOK

Signed Entry:

Begin the citation with the author of the article, not the author or editor of the eBook. Page numbers are not necessary if the entries are arranged alphabetically.

Unsigned Entry:

MULTI-VOLUME WORK

Include the volume number after the editor's name. (If there is no editor, the volume number will appear after the title.)

EDITION OTHER THAN FIRST

Include the volume number after the editor. (If there is no editor, the volume number will appear after the title.)

  • Only include edition information if it is NOT the first edition.
  • Write edition as it appears in the book. (3rd, Revised, Expanded, etc.)

 

E-Book from a Reader

Electronic books are cited exactly as their print counterparts with the addition of a media marker at the end of the citation: Kindle edition, PDF e-book, Microsoft Reader e-book, Palm e-book, CD-ROM, etc. Books consulted online are also cited exactly as their print counterparts with the addition of a DOI (or URL) at the end of the citation.

Example:

Lemon, Rebecca, Emma Mason, Johnathan Roberts, and Christopher Rowland, ed. The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English

            Literature. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. PDF e-book.

Citing Websites

MLA suggests two definitions of a "website".
1. All pages affiliated with a particular domain name (ex. www.mla.org).
2. All pages organized by a particular editor or project, even if the project is housed under a larger body's domain name (ex. Victorian Women Writers Project which is housed under the University of Indiana's website (www.indiana.edu).

  • According to the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, URLs are not required when citing materials from the web.
     
  • If you must provide a URL (because the reader wouldn't be able to find it any other way), give it immediately following the date of access, a period, and a space. Enclose the URL in angle brackets, and end with a period. (Ex. 14 June 2012. <http://www.website.org>.)
     
  • If the entire URL doesn't fit on one line, break URLs only after slashes.
  • In addition to the standard citation elements (author, title, and publication information), citing a web site also requires the title of the web site, the website sponsor, medium of publication (Web), and the date of access (important because content on the web is fluid and changes from day to day.)
     
  • In order to find the name of the web site and/or the name of the web site sponsor or publisher, it is sometimes necessary to go to the home page of the site. Sometimes the information is in the banner (top) of the page and sometimes at the very bottom of the page or both places.

EXAMPLES ARE BELOW---

PAGE ON A WEBSITE

In the example below, the title of the Web page ("Whitman the Fiction Writer") is enclosed in quotations, while the overall website (The Walt Whitman Archive) is italicized.

 

WEB PAGE, NO STATED AUTHOR

Begin your citation with the title of the page or article if no author is available.

Example:

"English Civil Wars." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009. Web. 31 Aug. 2009.

 

ENTIRE WEBSITE

Include as much information as you can find in your citation.

  • If no publisher is available, use the abbreviation "N.p."
  • If no publication date is available, use the abbreviation "n.d."

Example:

American Memory Project. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2009.

 

 

 

Scholarly Journal (Database)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial. “Article Title.” Periodical Title Volume.Issue (Year Published): Page Numbers. Electronic Database Title. Web. Day Month Year of Access.

Example:

Rosenberg, Jared. "Polygynous Marriage Linked to Higher Child Mortality." International Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health 35.2  

           (2009): 56-57. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 May 2010.

When citing a scholarly journal in an online database, cite it as you would cite a print journal. Add the name of the database (italicized) after the publication information. Change the medium of publication from "Print" to "Web" and add the date you accessed the database.

Scholarly Journal (Internet)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial. "ArticleTitle." Journal Title Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page Numbers. Web. Day Month Year of Access.

Example:

Fike, David S., et al. “Improving Community College Student Learning Outcomes in Biology.” Electronic Journal of Science Education 15.1 (2011): 46-49. Web. 15 Jan. 2012.

 When citing a scholarly journal on the web, cite it as you would cite a print journal. Change the medium of publication from "Print" to "Web" and add the date you accessed the journal.

Article on a Website

Basic Format

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial. “Article Title.” Website Name. Website Publisher/Sponsor, Day Month Year of Publication. Web. Day Month Year of Access.

Example with an Author:

Andrews, Evan. "History Lists: 11 Things You May Not Know About Ancient Egypt." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 04 Sept. 2013.

Example with No Author:

"Summary Report for: 25-4021.00 - Librarians." O*NET OnLine. O*NET Resource Center, 2010. Web. 4 Mar. 2013.

Sometimes it's hard to find an author's name or other bibliographic elements on internet sites. Use the abbreviations n.p. (no publisher/sponsor), n.d (no date), or n. pag. (no page number) if applicable. If there is no author name available, start your citation with the next element, usually the title of the article.

In order to find the name of the web site and/or the name of the web site sponsor or publisher, it is sometimes necessary to go to the home page of the site.

Newspapers in Variouis Formats

Print Newspaper Article

Because newspaper articles often don’t appear on consecutive pages, cite the section and page number where the article begins. If the article continues onto additional pages, note this by placing a + sign after the page number.

Signed Article example:

Unsigned Article

If the article is unsigned, begin with the title of the article. Omit "A," " An," or "The" if the title begins this way.

Example:

 "Retirement Expert Urges Diversity in 401(k) Options." USA Today 19 Jan. 2010: 4B. Print.

News Article Accessed Through a Database

Cite the article as you would a print article, followed by the database in which you accessed the article, the medium of publication (Web), and the date of access.

Example:

News Article on a Website (Not in a Database)

If you are citing an article published online which you have not accessed through a database, treat it as you would any other website.

Example:

 

 

 

 

Abstract of a Journal Article

Basic Format

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial. “Article Title.” Descriptive Label. Periodical Title. Volume.Issue (Year Published): Page Numbers. Electronic Database Title. Web. Day Month Year of Access.

Works Cited Page

Example

Rosenberg, Jared. "Polygynous Marriage Linked to Higher Child Mortality." Abstract. International Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health 
                  35.2 (2009): 56-57. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 May 2010.

When citing an abstract from a journal, include the word Abstract (neither italicized nor in quotation marks) after the title of the article.

Your Librarian

Joy Dlugosz's picture
Joy Dlugosz
Contact:
Reference/Research Librarian

Bucks County Community College

Phone: 215-258-7721

MLA Style Formatting Information

The Modern Language Association provides guidelines for writing research papers in MLA style. MLA style is primarily used by researchers in the fields of language and literature and is known for its simplicity and flexibility.

Tips on basic MLA formatting (print or electronic sources)

  • Capitalization: Capitalize each word in the title, but don't capitalize short words like articles or prepositions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle (The Art of War, Gone with the Wind).
     
  • Italicize: Italicize titles of books, films, CDs, periodicals, databases and web pages.
  • Abbreviations: Use the following abbreviations as appropriate:
    • n. pag. (no page number)
    • n.p. (no publisher or site sponsor indicated)
    • n.d. (no date of publication)
    • ed. (editor, edition)
    • et al. (and others)
  • Publication Data:
    • In general, provide the city of publication, the publisher's name, and the year of publication.
    • If several cities are listed in the book, give only the first city listed.
    • It is not necessary to identify a state, province or country after the city's name.
    • If the city of publication is not a well-known city, abbreviate the name of the state where the item was published using the official U.S. Postal Service abbreviation (i.e. OH, NY, CT)
    • Provide the name of the publisher as briefly as possible, omitting unnecessary words such as Publishers, Co., or Inc. Retain the words Books and Press.
       
  • Dates: In MLA format, dates should follow the day, month, year format (ex. 10 June 2012)

Facebook

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial, if known (Screen Name, if known). “Title of Posted Work or Generic Label Such as Comment." "Title of the Entire Facebook Page, if Known and not Previously Given." Author or Editor of the Page, if Known and not Previously Given. Facebook. Facebook, Day Month Year of Posted Work. Web. Day Month Year Accessed.

 

Example (from MLA):

Jane Doe posted her poem called "Summer Days" on a Facebook page called "Shakespeare Insights" which is edited by James Lewis.

Doe, Jane. "Summer Days." "Shakespeare Insights." Ed. James Lewis. Facebook. Facebook, 1 May 2011. Web. 15 June 2011.

 

Example of citing a group:

Heart of Ohio myTeam Triumph. "Cerebral Palsy: What I Want You to Know." Facebook. Facebook, 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

 

Example of citing a user name:

Hannah, Kristin. "Tour." Facebook. Facebook, 9 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

 

Example of citing User Name (screen Name):

DogWalkHappy [Miranda Howes]. "It is refreshing to hear this coming from a vet." Facebook. Facebook, 20 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.

Tweets

Basic Format

Author Real Last Name, First Name Middle Initial (user name, if both are known). “Entire Text of the Tweet without changing the capitalization.” Day Month Year the message was sent, Time message was sent reflecting reader's time zone. Tweet.

Begin the entry with the author's real name and, in parentheses, user's name if both are known and they differ. If only the user's name is known, give it alone (ex. 123smith.)

Example:

Dessen, Sarah. "Our weeping cherry tree is so gorgeous right now. Must share a picture, as public service." 9 Apr. 2013, 3:02 p.m. Tweet.

If the full text of the Tweet is too long to put in the citation, truncate the text by using just a few words at the beginning of the text to identify it. (Ex. above: "Our weeping cherry tree."

Film Accessed Online

Film access includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.

Cite details as you would any film (include the title, director, distributor, year of release. Add the name of the online service (in italics), medium of publication (Web), and day month, year of access.

You may include other data that seems important such as the names of performers, producer or screenwriter between the title and the distributor.

If you are citing the contribution of a particular individual, begin with that person's name and contribution.

Basic Format

Film Title.  Director name.  Distributor, Year of Release. Name of Service Provider. Medium of Publication. Day Month Year of Access.

Example of a film title beginning the citation:

American President. Dir. Rob Reiner. Perf. Michael Douglas and Annette Benning. Warner Home Video, 1999. Netflix. Web. 15 May 2013.

Example of director at the beginning of the citation:

Reiner, Rob, dir. American President. Perf. Michael Douglas and Annette Benning. Warner Home Video, 1999. Netflix. Web. 15 May, 2013.

YouTube

YouTube could be an Online Video Clip / Podcast (MLA 5.6.2d)

A "video clip" is a short piece of video, sometimes part of a longer program.

A "podcast" is a digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a Web site to a media player or computer.

Basic Format

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Initial. (or Screen Name or Corporate Author). “Segment Title.” Media Type. Website Title. Website Publisher/Sponsor, Day Month Year Posted. Medium of Publication. Day Month Year of Access.

Use the screen name as the author name when the author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets (ex. Funnyman123 [John Smith]).

Example of online video clip:

TheKheinz. “JK Wedding Entrance Dance.” Online video clip.  YouTube. YouTube, 19 July 2009. Web. 02 Sep. 2009.

Example of a podcast from YouTube:
SpanglishBaby. "Bilingual Education and Dual Immersion Programs 101." Podcast. SpanglishBaby.com. YouTube, 28 Mar. 2013. 
        Web. 11 Nov. 2013.