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Library in D2L: MLA Style

Welcome to the MLA-9 Citation Resource!


MLA-9 Resources

The following resources contain examples and/or information to assist in preparing a research paper in MLA Citation Style.

Video Tutorials
Paper Set-Up
Citation Examples
Citation Help

The MLA-9 Citation Style

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This resource will show you the basics of creating citations using the MLA-9 citation style. This citation style is most widely used by the humanities and english fields, and is one of the most popular on campus. 

Take a look at the information provided on this page to help you create citations, in-text citations, and for examples of how to cite different types of sources. 

Citations are tricky, and there are lots of questions you may have when creating your citations. This guide covers the basics of MLA, but for more detailed questions about specific citations, make sure to check out the resources along the left. The Excelsior OWL citation guide is especially helpful for creating citations for different sources. 

MLA creates its citations by using a combination of nine different key elements. These elements are used to describe the source and where it is located (such as in a database or a published journal). Each element can be used multiple times in a citation, or some elements might not be used at all in certain citations. 

The 9 Key Elements
  • Author. (creator of the work)
  • Title of source.
  • Title of container (for example a book, journal, or video),
  • Other contributors,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication date,
  • and Location. (This is page numbers, a video timestamp, etc.)

MLA Containers

MLA uses a unique way to build its citations by using two "containers." These containers use the nine key elements to describe the source and where it was originally located. 

The image above shows the MLA containers used to create a citation. First, you use the Key Elements to describe the article or source itself. Then, in the first container you use the Key Elements again to describe the journal or publication that source was found in. And the final container uses the Key Elements a final time to describe which database (if any) was used to access the source. 

A Complete MLA Citation 

Dolhanty, Joanne, and Leslie S. Greenberg. “Emotion-Focused Therapy in a Case of Anorexia Nervosa.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, vol. 16, no. 4, 2009, pp. 366-382. Academic Search Premier,

For more detailed information about the MLA Core Elements, make sure to take a look at the MLA 9 Handbook. The Handbook provides step-by-step guidance on what each element is, where you can find it in a source, and how to use it in a citation. There are also a plethora of examples to show you how the elements would look in a citation! 

Copies of the MLA-9 Handbook are available for use in the HCC Library & Writing Center.


MLA Works Cited Page

After you have finished writing your essay, you will need to include a list of all the sources that you cited for your research. This is called the Works Cited page and appears at the end of your paper on a separate page. The works cited page includes a citation for every source that you reference in your paper. It is very important that you cite sources in your paper because you want to show where you are getting your information from and avoid plagiarism! 

Some basic formatting tips to remember:
  • Your Works Cited Page will be listed in alphabetical order based on the author's last names. If some sources do not have any authors listed, they will be alphabetized in the list according to the first word of their title. 
  • Remember to double space your citations. This makes them easier to read. 
  • Every citation will include a hanging indent. This is when every line in a single citation except the first line are indented in a further 1/2 inch from the left margin. If you are using Microsoft Word, you can create a hanging indent by using the command CTRL + T. 
Examples of Common Citations
Use the examples shown below to help you format correct citations for the most popular types of sources.
Scholarly article from a database:

Elements: Author's last name, Author's first name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, date, page range. Title of Database, URL or DOI. 

Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no.1, Spring 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR, 


Elements: Author's last name, Author's first name. "Title of Webpage." Title of website, date published, URL. 

Hollmichel, Stephanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, 


Elements: Author's last name, Author's first name. Title of Book. Publisher, date. 

Sennett, Richard, and Jonathan Cobb. The Hidden Injuries of Class. Vintage Books, 1973. 

Online Video:

Elements: Title of video. Title of online source, uploaded by (username), date published. URL

Digoxin Nursing Pharmacology NCLEX (Cardiac Glycosides). Youtube, uploaded by RegisteredNurseRN, 9 Mar. 2019, 


In-Text Citations

In-text citations are the second way you will cite your sources in a research paper. Unlike the citations found in the Works Cited page, in-text citations are shorter and appear in the body of the text. Any time you use information from a source (whether you paraphrase it or use a direct quotation), you must include an in-text citation. So you will have multiple in-text citations for one source. 

MLA in-text citations will appear in parentheses within the paper you are writing, and will appear at the end of the sentence where the source is being cited. You will include only the author's last name, followed by the date of publication.

MLA In-Text Citation Examples
Multiple authors:

According to most experts, “the best way to increase a child’s literacy” is to read to them every night (Wolf and Munemo 220–240).

One author: 

At the end of the day Wilbur made “in excess of half a million dollars” (Marx 43).

Incorporating a signal phrase into the text (A signal phrase uses part of the citation information in the body of the paragraph):

James Wolf and Alice Munemo note that children whose parents read to them every night receive higher scores on literacy tests (220–240).


Supplemental Elements

Sometimes you will cite a source that requires more information added to the citation than the 9 Key Elements. In previous editions of MLA, these were referred to as "Optional Elements." In MLA-9, they are re-named Supplemental Elements because while they are additional, they are sometimes necessary for a citation. Supplemental Elements help to clarify information in a citation that may be necessary for accessing the original source. Some examples include adding in contributors to the author section such as a translator or interviewer, including an access date for an online work that doesn't have a publication date, or including a format type for electronic resources.

Depending on the type of Supplemental Element you are adding to the citation, they can appear in the citation in different places. Most common is including the Supplemental Element at the end of the citation if it pertains to the entire citation, or including the element after the Title of the source if it does not pertain to the entire citation, such as the Contributor which may only be specific to the source and not the database where the source came from. 

Examples of citations with Supplemental Elements included (Supplemental Element is in bold text here to show where it is placed):

Fagih, Ahmed Ibrahim al-. The Singing of the Stars. Translated by Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley. Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Interlink Books, 2003, pp. 140-57.

"Orhan Pamuk: Un écrivain turc à succès." Orhan Pamuk Site, Ileti┼čim Publishing, Accessed 25 Oct. 2015. 

Rushkoff, Douglas. "Team Human: Find the Others." 92nd Street Y, New York City, 21 May 2019. Lecture.

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