MLA Works Cited Page – Basic Formatting
A few broad points – that are often overlooked:
- It’s a “Works Cited” page, not a bibliography. A bibliography might include sources that don’t appear in your work. “Works Cited” and “References” mean the same thing.
- The purpose of a Works Cited page is to make it easy for your reader to check your sources. Since you use only the author’s last name in the text, your reader might want to jump to the Works Cited page to see where the information came from (some weird website, or The Wall Street Journal?).
- There are some great resources out there to help you put together a Works Cited page – including EasyBib (free), and software your library might license, such as RefWorks.
- Do not number your entries, or organize them into groups. They should be arranged alphabetically by author last name.
- Double-space all the text in the Works Cited.
- Start the Works Cited on a new page.
- Start every entry flush left and keep typing until you get to the end of the first line.Indent 5 spaces for the second and subsequent lines for the same entry. Double-space all lines!
A Works Cited page is all about syntax – making sure you put information in the right order and right format.There are an infinite number of situations that might require a citation: an interview conducted on the back of an elephant and translated by a guide, for instance. But like most things in life, 20% of the situations will account for 80% of the items requiring citations – so we’ve focused on standard examples here. You can find quirkier examples on the Internet or (certainly) in the 28lb MLA Handbook.