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My First MLA Citation

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GUIDE TO BIBLIOGRAPHIC RESOURCES

LEVEL OF RESEARCH
PRIMARY RESEARCH
SECONDARY RESEARCH UNPUBLISHED
SECONDARY RESEARCH PUBLISHED
TERTIARY RESEARCH
REFERENCE ACTIVITIES
 TYPE OF SOURCE
  PRIMARY SOURCES INTERVIEWS PRIMARY SOURCES WORKS IN PRINT SECONDARY SOURCES TERTIARY SOURCES
 SCHOLARLY NECESSITY
somewhat necessary when appropriate required when appropriate required
permitted, when primary source is unavailable not permitted
PUT IT IN THE WORKS CITED?
NO YES YES YES NO
USE CONTEXTUAL CITATIONS?
NO NO YES YES NO
 
INCLUDES...
• personal experience• personally conducted experiments• personally conducted surveys• original graphs or charts created from personally gathered data• firsthand observations• original illustrations• previously written research essays or dissertations  • relevant professionals• scholarly authorities• government officials and representatives • books and periodical literature (newspapers, magazines, monthlies, bi-monthlies, quarterlies, semi-annuals, bi-annuals)• lectures, PhD dissertations, Master's theses• pamphlets and broadsides• documentaries (film, video and/or radio)• scholarly internet websites• fact books • electronic data bases• anthologies• digests• encyclopedias• reprints• microforms• transcripts of news programs, documentaries and lectures• specialized topic series (e.g., CQ Researcher, or Controversial Issues)   • dictionaries*• abstracts• indexes• selected bibliographies• annotated bibliographies• subject heading indexes• tables of contents• dust jackets and book covers• electronic catalog data (e.g., Call Numbers and Summary) 

An M.L.A. (Modern Language Association) citation breaks down into units of information that are ranked in order of important.  This order of importance becomes the order in which this information is delivered in the bibliographic citation.  However, there are two major kinds of sources:  those that are published once (or in editions) and those that are published periodically (with a regular periodicity).The categories defining the units of information in a citation are as follows:

    1. primary authorship

    2. titles:
      1. primary title;
      2. secondary title
    3. editorship: 
      1. edition;
      2. editors
    4. publishing information:   
      1. primary (publishing houses or volume, issue and pages of periodicals);
      2. secondary (anthologies and data bases; web addresses; etc.) 

 

STEP 1: AUTHORSHIP

Is the source's authorship indicated?  If yes, proceed with the following steps.  If no, proceed to Step 2.

Write down the primary author's last name, first name, and middle initial and title (if provided); an author's title refers to her authority as an author (e.g., Dr.), her role as an author (e.g., ed. [editor]), or any addendum to a male author's last name (e.g., Jr., or III).  This is how your citation will be alphabetized in your Works Cited, and how your contextual citation will be reduced to last names:

last name

 

first name (in full; no initials only)

M.I.

 

titles

punctuation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

e.g.

Smith

,

Marshal

K.

,

Jr.

 

 

Are there more than one author?

If not, put a period in the column above marked "punctuation" and compose all of the information into a single sentence, punctuated by a single period (e.g. Smith, Marshal K., Jr.), then continue to the next page.

If so, put a comma in the column above marked "punctuation" and fill out the information below:

first name (in full; no initials only)

M.I.

last name

 

titles

punctuation

 

 

 

 

 

 

e.g.

Julia

E.

Carmichael

,

eds.

 

 

Are there still more authors?

If not, put a period in the column above marked "punctuation" and compose all of the information into a single sentence, punctuated by a single period (e.g. Smith, Marshal K., Jr., and Julia E. Carmichael, eds.), then continue to the next page.

If so, put a comma in the column marked "punctuation" and fill out the information below for each additional author, exactly in the order they appear in the original source:

first name (in full; no initials only)

M.I.

last name

 

titles

punctuation

 

 

 

,

 

,

 

 

 

,

 

, and

e.g.

Mary

 

Sullivan-Downs

,

eds.

 

 

If you have not already done so, compile all the information on this page into a single sentence that ends in a period, and using the same order and punctuation (e.g. Smith, Marshal K., Jr., Julia E. Carmichael, and Mary Sullivan-Downs, eds.), then continue to the next page.



STEP 2: TITLE(S)

Is the primary title of the work different from the title of the source in which it is contained? Yes or No?

            If Yes, proceed to Step 2 A
            If No, proceed to Step 2 C

Step 2A: periodicals, web pages (.htm)
If the source is a collection of essays or an anthology, proceed to Step 2C.
Otherwise, following the rules for markers and titles, divide up the title information into the following table:

"Primary Title

."

Secondary Title (you may substitute underlines for italics)

.

 

 

 

.

e.g.

"Tribal Norms in Modern Societies

 

Modern Anthropology Monthly

,

 

Rewrite this information into two discreet sentences, each ending with a period (e.g., "Tribal Norms in Modern Societies." Modern Anthropology.), then continue to Step 3.


 

Step 2b:  anthologies and collections
Using the rules for markers and titles, divide up the title information into the following table:

"Primary Title

."

in

Secondary Title (you may substitute underlines for italics)

.

 

 

 

 

.

e.g.

"Tribal Norms in Modern Societies

."

in

Modern Anthropology:  A Text and Reader

,

Rewrite this information into two discreet sentences, each ending with a period (e.g., "Tribal Norms in Modern Societies." Modern Anthropology.), then continue to Step 3.


 

Step 2c:  books, pamphlets, web sites (.org; .gov; .edu)
Using italics (or underlines), write down the full title information into the following table:

Primary Title

.

 

.

e.g.

Modern Anthropology

,

 

Rewrite this information as a discreet sentence ending with a period (e.g., "Tribal Norms in Modern Societies." Modern Anthropology.). then continue to Step 3.



STEP 3: EDITING

Based upon how you completed Step 2, follow directions:

  • If 2a, and it is a periodical, continue on to Step 5.
  • If 2b or 2c, continue with Step 3

Step 3A:  Is the edition of this source greater than the 1st edition?

  • If not, then proceed to Step 3B.
  • If so, then provide the following information.

Edition (ordinal numeral)

ed

.

 

ed

.

e.g., 7th

ed

.

 

Step 3B:  Are the editors names different from the names of the primary author?

If not, proceed to Step 4.
If so, are there more than one editor?

  • If not, proceed to Step 3b.1.
  • If so, proceed to Step 3b.2.

Step 3b.1:  Provide the following information:

Ed.

,

Editor's full name (first name, m.i., last name

.

Ed.

,

 

.

Ed.

,

e.g., William Burto

.

 

Step 3b.2:  Provide the following information, separating each name with a comma:

Eds.

,

Editor's full name (first name, m.i., last name

.

Eds.

,

 

.

Eds.

,

e.g., William Burto, Elaine Comodromos, and Julian Mather

.

 

Editor # 1 (first name, m.i., last name

Editor # 2 (first name, m.i., last name

,

and

Editor # 3 (first name, m.i., last name

,

eds.

 

 

 

 

 

,

eds.

e.g., William Burto

 

 

 

 

,

eds.

Rewrite this information as discreet sentences ending with a period (e.g., 7th ed.  Eds., William Burto, Elaine Comodromos, and Julian Mather.) then continue to Step 4.


STEP 4: PUBLISHING (BOOKS)

Provide the following publishing information:

City

,

ST (or country)

:

Publishing House

,

copyright year

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

e.g., New York

,

NY

:

Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich

,

1997

.

 

Is the source from an electronic data base, a collection, or an anthology?

  • If so, proceed to Step 6.
  • If not, rewrite the above information as a single, discreet sentence that ends with a period (e.g., New York, NY:  Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich, 1997.) and proceed to the last page.

 


STEP 5: PUBLISHING (PERIODICALS)

Unlike books, the secondary titles and publishing information of periodical literature are part and parcel of each other. 

Is the source's periodicity more frequent than monthly?

  • If so, continue to Step 5a.

  • If not, continue to Step 5b.

Fill in the following information.  Where information does not apply, leave that area blank:

Step 5a

Complete Title of the periodical (use italics or underline

Day

Month

Year

Edition

ed.

:

Section +start page#

-

end

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

:

 

 

 

.

Time Magazine

30

July

2004

 

 

:

 

 

23

 

  

Step 5b

Complete Title of the periodical (use italics or underline

vol. # an Arabic numeral

.

issue # an Arabic numeral

(

Month or Season

Year

)

:

start page #

-

end

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

American Review

8

.

1

(

Winter

1988

)

:

45

-

57

.

 

Was this source obtained from an electronic data base or an independent collection of reprinted articles?

            If so, proceed to Step 6.
            If not, rewrite the above information as a single, discreet sentence that ends with a period (e.g. American Review 8.1 (Winter 1988): 45-57.) and proceed to the last page.


 

STEP 6: SECONDARY SOURCES

If your source was found inside another source or medium, due credit must be given to that other source or medium.  Such considerations generally concern anthologies and electronic data bases (the latter being the most frequent forum for small library to offer a great wealth of information without the needed for added space).

Is the source taken from an electronic data base, such as Ebsco-Host, Info-Trac, Proquest?

  • If so, continue to Step 6a.
  • If not, continue to Step 6b.

Step 6a

pg #'s *

.

Name of the database (use italics or underline)

 

name of service

.

Name of the library, city

.

Date of access

<

URL

>

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

81-103
.
Gender Watch

.

Softline Web, Inc.

.

Grossmont College Library, El Cajon

.

27 July 2005

<

http://www.slinfo.com/

>

.

*Just as with print citations, database citations should acknowledge the range of pages in the source on which the primary work appears (e.g., 33-54.) Some databases may not provide this information, in which case you are permitted to omit page numbers altogether.

Rewrite the above information as five discreet sentences, each of which ends with a period and proceed to the last page.


Step 6b

pg #'s *

.

 

 

81-103
.

*Acknowledge the range of pages in the anthology or collection on which the primary work appears(e.g., 357-81.)

Rewrite the above information as a single discreet sentence ending in a period, proceed to the last page.


7.  CHECKOUT: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER.

Gather up the previous segments of bibliographic information and transcribe them, in the same order as the steps, into a single and whole M.L.A. citation.  (Remember to use the same periods, colons and commas.)  If your last step was

Step 4, then proceed to 7A

Step 5, then proceed to 7B

Step 6a, then proceed to 7C

Step 6b, then proceed to 7D

 

7A book

 

 

 

 

Authorship

Title

ed.

 

 

 

 

 

Eds.,

City, ST:  Publisher, (c)

 

7B periodical in print

 

 

 

 

Authorship

"Primary Source Title"

Secondary Source Title

 

 

 

 

Publishing Information (volume.issue (date/season and year): range of pages

 

7C periodical in database

 

 

 

 

Authorship

"Primary Source Title"

Secondary Source Title

 

 

 

 

Publishing Information (volume.issue (date/season and year): range of pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

Database Name

Database Service/Company

Library, and City

Date of Access (dd Month yyyy)

 

 

 

<URL>

 

 

 

 

7D anthologized source

 

 

 

 

Authorship

"Primary Source Title"

Secondary Source Title

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ed.

Eds.,

City, ST:  Publisher, (c)

range of pages

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: 01/13/2016

Contact

Karl J. Sherlock
Associate Professor, English
Email: karl.sherlock@gcccd.edu
Office Hours: 558A (inside Bldg. 52)
Phone: 619-644-7871

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