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ENC 1101 - College Composition I, Prof. Baker: Documenting Sources

Why Cite?

Why do we "Document" or "Cite" sources?

A properly formatted works cited or references page will show readers the sources you consulted, giving credit to those authors for their ideas. 

Whenever you base your ideas on another person's work or quote someone, you must document the source you utilized. Even when you do not quote directly from someone elses' work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must credit the author to avoid plagiarizing them. Whether you paraphrase or directly quote, always give credit to the source(s) you consulted.

Plagiarism is the act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization or representing another's work as one's own.

Image of Goblin Threat Plagiarism Game Homepage from Lycoming CollegeThink you are a plagiarism prevention expert?

You can test your knowledge about plagiarism by finding and destroying the plagiarism goblins in the Goblin (Threat) Game created by Mary Broussard at Lycoming College:

Tips for Citing

Basic Rules for citing in MLA

Alphabetize citation list. Do not consider A, An or The at the beginning of a title.

Double space work cited page & set margins to 1 inch.

Italicize titles, including any subtitle(s).

Capitalize words First, Last and all Principal words in titles.

Article or books without an author or editor, begin the entry with the title.

Create hanging indents for records longer than one line. (keyboard shortcut: Control + T)

Online sources: Citations should include publication date(s) for sources. The date you accessed the online source is optional, but highly encouraged when no other date is listed (see p53 of the MLA handbook).

Image of tablet with Works Cited Examples - ebook, 

Option: When citing database articles with long URLs, you may omit the extended portion of the link and replace it with "..." for Professor Baker.

  • Example URL for source #3:
  • Example URL for source #4 :

In-Text Citations

Add in-text citations so the reader will know which source was used as well as the particular portion (page number).

An in-text citation will follow the sentence, but come before the ending punctuation (like in these parenthesis). In MLA, a basic in-text citation will consist of the author's last name followed by the page number where the information came from. The in-text citation for our first example source could look like this (Edson and Beck 72). While a nod to our second example source may look like this (Isaacson 72).

Not all in-text citations will be as simple as those above. What if you are citing a video, a play, or a website with no author? The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) summarizes and provides examples of different varieties of in-text citations here: 

BTW- Every source listed on your MLA Works Cited page should have one or more corresponding in-text citation(s) within your paper.

Need More?

For more MLA & APA tools, consult our Library Guide on Documenting Resources (Citations)

Works Cited - MLA 8 Format Tutorial

This 7 minute video tutorial will walk you through formatting a Works Cited page that already includes database generated citations.

Note: Adding a running head is not covered in this tutorial. It was omitted to save time as this video was created to be one in a series made by various librarians. The running head on a works cited page, in MLA's 8th edition, should consist of your last name and page number, aligned to the right corner in the header.

MLA Handouts


Use the MLA website by Purdue University OWL to help answer tricky formatting questions

  1. Choose from the selections on the left.
  2. After the page refreshes, scroll through the text on the right to find the specific type of source.
  3. Then use the sample citations as a guide or template to format citations for similar types of sources.

FREE MLA Citation Creation Tools on the Web

Writing & Citing Tutors

FREE Tutoring is still available online! Enroll in the Canvas tutoring course (this is a service NOT a graded class) by going to

Writing tutors are available to work with students on the writing process for Polk State College course assignments. During the interactive session, the tutors can assist with specific questions about the writing process, including brainstorming and planning, revising rough drafts, preparing citations, and formatting a document.

Tutoring is available to currently enrolled Polk State College students at no cost.

On Campus Tutoring Schedules:

To view Online Tutoring Schedules, sign into the TLCC in Canvas.


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