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 Even when you do not quote directly from someone elses' work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must credit the author to avoid plagiarizing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.
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).
Option: When citing database articles with long URLs, you may omit the extended portion of the link and replace it with "..." for Professor Baker.
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: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
BTW- Every source listed on your MLA Works Cited page should have one or more corresponding in-text citation(s) within your paper.
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.
Use the MLA website by Purdue University OWL to help answer tricky formatting questions: http://bit.ly/P_OWLMLA
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