For the detailed information on citing sources using MLA style with many more examples, please use the official MLA Handbook:
All information relating to MLA style as presented on this Web site has been based on this authoritative publication from the Modern Language Association of America.
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003.
Works Cited is sometimes referred to as References. These terms mean the same thing. Each is an alphabetical list of works cited, or works to which you have made reference. Works Cited is generally used when citing sources using MLA (Modern Language Association) style, while the title References is used when citing sources using APA (American Psychological Association) style.
MLA Works Cited and Bibliography are not the same. In Works Cited you only list items you have actually cited. In a Bibliography you list all of the material you have consulted in preparing your essay whether or not you have actually cited the work.
Entries in Works Cited, References, or Bibliography are put in alphabetical order by last names of authors, editors, translators, etc. or by first words of titles.
Special info about MLA bibliography example.
If the first word of the title is “The“, “A“, or “An“, and the word is being used as an article, e.g., in the title: The Little Book of Irish Clans, the entry is placed under “Little” and the article “The” is ignored. In the title: A Is for Apple, however, the entry is placed under A since A is used as a noun and not as an article in this case.
Sometimes the article “The” is used as part of the name of a company or magazine or journal for emphasis, e.g., The Champ, or The Sports Network. For Internet sites, use the URL as a guide. If “theyellowpages” is used in the URL, treat “The” as part of the title, and list “The Yellow Pages” alphabetically under “The“. If “edge” and not “theedge” is used in the URL, list the magazine title “The Edge” under “Edge” and treat “The” as an article and ignore it.
Where appropriate, a cross reference may be used to direct readers to the proper location, e.g. Yellow Pages, The See The Yellow Pages.
1. DO NOT number entries.
2. DO NOT list citations separately by categories. All references are placed in ONE ALPHABETICAL LIST by first words of citations, regardless of where citations come from.
3. Begin on a new page. Start on the 6th line from the top (or 1″ down from the top of the paper), center, and type one of the following titles: Works Cited, References, or Bibliography. Double space after the title. List all entries in alphabetical order by the first word, taking into consideration the rules governing titles that begin with articles.
4. Begin the first line of each entry flush at the left margin. Keep typing until you run out of room at the end of the line. Indent 5 spaces for second and subsequent lines of the same entry. Double-space all lines, both within and between entries. Remember that this is only a guideline adapted from the MLA Handbook. You are advised to follow the style preferred by your instructor.
Work Cited Vs Works Cited
There is a mistake that students often tend to make. They name their reference page the Work Cited page, which is incorrect. The proper name for it should be Works Cited, as the works by multiple authors, not one, are cited. The Works Cited page is often used in the Humanities, the MLA Style and the APA Style.
Knowing the proper term for your paper’s list of citations can be confusing. Do I call it a works cited page? Should it actually be called a bibliography? How is it different from a reference list? In this article, we explain what these three terms mean and how they are different or related to one another.
To begin, each citation style has its own way of naming the list of sources you used in your paper. Here we break down the differences in these list types, so that you can better understand which option works best for your work.
A “Works Cited” list is an alphabetical list of works cited, or sources you specifically called out while composing your paper. All works that you have quoted or paraphrased should be included. Works Cited is generally used when citing sources using MLA format (Modern Language Association) style, and sources should be listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
Example Works Cited entry:
Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution. Oxford UP, 2007.
References or “Reference List”
A “Reference List” is very similar to a Works Cited list, and is a term used when citing sources using APA format (American Psychological Association) style. The page should be titled “References,” and is arranged alphabetically by author last name.
Example References entry:
Middlekauff, R. (2007). The glorious cause: The American Revolution. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Bibliographies, on the other hand, differ greatly from Works Cited and References lists. In Works Cited and References, you only list items you have actually referred to and cited in your paper. A Bibliography, meanwhile, lists all the material you have consulted in preparing your essay, whether you have actually referred to and cited the work or not. This includes all sources that you have used in order to do any research. Bibliographies are often used in Chicago and Turabian citation styles. They usually contain a long reference that has a corresponding footnote within the body of the paper.
Example Bibliography entry:
Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007.