MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
Contributors:Tony Russell, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Russell Keck, Joshua M. Paiz, Purdue OWL Staff
Last Edited: 2012-12-14 10:42:06
MLA lists electronic sources as Web Publications. Thus, when including the medium of publication for electronic sources, list the medium as Web.
It is always a good idea to maintain personal copies of electronic information, when possible. It is good practice to print or save Web pages or, better, using a program like Adobe Acrobat, to keep your own copies for future reference. Most Web browsers will include URL/electronic address information when you print, which makes later reference easy. Also, you might use the Bookmark function in your Web browser in order to return to documents more easily.
Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA
MLA no longer requires the use of URLs in MLA citations. Because Web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the Web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA explains that most readers can find electronic sources via title or author searches in Internet Search Engines.
For instructors or editors who still wish to require the use of URLs, MLA suggests that the URL appear in angle brackets after the date of access. Break URLs only after slashes.
Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. S. H. Butcher. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13 Sept. 2007. Web. 4 Nov. 2008. ‹http://classics.mit.edu/›.
Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources
If publishing information is unavailable for entries that require publication information such as publisher (or sponsor) names and publishing dates, MLA requires the use of special abbreviations to indicate that this information is not available. Use n.p. to indicate that neither a publisher nor a sponsor name has been provided. Use n.d. when the Web page does not provide a publication date.
When an entry requires that you provide a page but no pages are provided in the source (as in the case of an online-only scholarly journal or a work that appears in an online-only anthology), use the abbreviation n. pag.
Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)
Here are some common features you should try and find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every Web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible both for your citations and for your research notes:
- Author and/or editor names (if available)
- Article name in quotation marks (if applicable)
- Title of the Website, project, or book in italics. (Remember that some Print publications have Web publications with slightly different names. They may, for example, include the additional information or otherwise modified information, like domain names [e.g. .com or .net].)
- Any version numbers available, including revisions, posting dates, volumes, or issue numbers.
- Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
- Take note of any page numbers (if available).
- Medium of publication.
- Date you accessed the material.
- URL (if required, or for your own personal reference; MLA does not require a URL).
Citing an Entire Web Site
It is necessary to list your date of access because web postings are often updated, and information available on one date may no longer be available later. If a URL is required or you chose to include one, be sure to include the complete address for the site. (Note: The following examples do not include a URL because MLA no longer requires a URL to be included.)
Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.
Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.
The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2008.
Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 May 2006.
Course or Department Websites
Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title. Remember to use n.d. if no publishing date is given.
Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England. Purdue U, Aug. 2006. Web. 31 May 2007.
English Department. Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 14 May 2009.
A Page on a Web Site
For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.
"How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.
An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)
Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, the medium of publication, and the date of access.
Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo National del Prado. Web. 22 May 2006.
Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine. 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive. Web. 22 May 2006.
If the work is cited on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, the medium of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.
brandychloe. "Great Horned Owl Family." Photograph. Webshots. American Greetings, 22 May 2006. Web. 5 Nov. 2009.
An Article in a Web Magazine
Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the Web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, medium of publication, and the date of access. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.
Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites. A List Apart Mag., 16 Aug. 2002. Web. 4 May 2009.
An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal
For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication.
Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal
MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, use the abbreviation n. pag. to denote that there is no pagination for the publication.
Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal 6.2 (2008): n. pag. Web. 20 May 2009.
Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print
Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article. Provide the medium of publication that you used (in this case, Web) and the date of access.
Wheelis, Mark. "Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention." Emerging Infectious Diseases 6.6 (2000): 595-600. Web. 8 Feb. 2009.
An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)
Cite articles from online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services just as you would print sources. Since these articles usually come from periodicals, be sure to consult the appropriate sections of the Works Cited: Periodicals page, which you can access via its link at the bottom of this page. In addition to this information, provide the title of the database italicized, the medium of publication, and the date of access.
Note: Previous editions of the MLA Style Manual required information about the subscribing institution (name and location). This information is no longer required by MLA.
Junge, Wolfgang, and Nathan Nelson. “Nature's Rotary Electromotors.” Science 29 Apr. 2005: 642-44. Science Online. Web. 5 Mar. 2009.
Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal 50.1 (2007): 173-96. ProQuest. Web. 27 May 2009.
E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)
Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom to message was sent, the date the message was sent, and the medium of publication.
Kunka, Andrew. "Re: Modernist Literature." Message to the author. 15 Nov. 2000. E-mail.
Neyhart, David. "Re: Online Tutoring." Message to Joe Barbato. 1 Dec. 2000. E-mail.
A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting
Cite Web postings as you would a standard Web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the Web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the medium of publication and the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets. Remember if the publisher of the site is unknown, use the abbreviation n.p.
Editor, screen name, author, or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site. Version number (if available). Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher). Medium of publication. Date of access.
Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek. BoardGameGeek, 29 Sept. 2008. Web. 5 Apr. 2009.
MLA posted guidelines on their website for how to cite a tweet on a Works Cited page. Begin with the user's name (Last Name, First Name) followed by his/her Twitter user name in parentheses. Insert a period outside the parentheses. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the word "Tweet" afterwards and end with a period.
Brokaw, Tom (tombrokaw). "SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign." 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m. Tweet.
Purdue Writing Lab (PurdueWLab). "Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week." 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m. Tweet.