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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Citing Sources in the Performing Arts

Overview of MLA Style

MLA (Modern Language Association) format and style is most often used in the humanities and uses parenthetical in-text citations, typically supplemented by a Works Cited.

The University of Illinois has multiple copies of the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook. This guide provides links to the online version (requires login with your NetID), but the University Library also has multiple copies in their reference sections at multiple libraries and the MLA Style Center website provides even more online resources to help with your writing and citations.

Elements of MLA Style

A Works Cited is a list of works that have been cited in your paper or that you have referenced during the writing process. It is typically an alphabetized list included at the end of the paper, and is formatted with a hanging indent (the first line of the citation is not indented, while all lines following it are). Citations in the MLA style follow a general structure that is consistent for all formats:

Author’s Last name, Author’s First name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, Names of other contributors along with their specific roles, Version of the source (if it differs from the original or is unique), Any numbers associated with the source that aren’t dates (i.e. volume, journal number, or issue number), Name of the Publisher, Publication date, Location (page number, URL, or DOI).

In MLA style, a container is the larger material that contains a smaller source. For example, if you are citing a chapter in a book, the book itself is the container and the chapter you referenced is the source.

Below is an example of what a Works Cited in MLA Style might look like:


See Also: MLA Handbook 5.0 - The List of Works Cited
MLA Handbook 5.100-5.103 - The Three Most Common Types of Entries
MLA Style Guide - Works Cited: A Quick Guide

In-text citations are inserted into your text to show that you are quoting or referring to information from a source in your Works Cited list. Parenthetical citations typically include the author name and the page numbers referenced, enclosed in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Citations in prose involve referencing a source in passing within your writing.

Below is an example of what an in-text citation might look like in a paper:

Labeled diagram of an in-text citation


See Also: MLA Handbook 6.1-6.2 - In-Text Citations Overview
MLA Style Guide - In-Text Citations Overview
MLA Style Guide - In-Text Citations Archives