No. As the MLA Handbook notes, “A Web site not involved in producing the works it makes available” lacks a publisher (42). Examples include sites like JSTOR and YouTube that aggregate works from other sources.
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When should the name of the library from which I have retrieved my source be included in a works-cited-list entry?Answer
Include the name of the library in the publisher slot on the MLA template of core elements if the library is the publisher of the work or in the location slot if you are citing a unique work available only at the library, like a manuscript in an archive:
Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Circa 1400-10, British Library, London, Harley MS 7334.
As noted on page 42 of the MLA Handbook, if the book is published by its author or editor, omit the publisher’s name from the works-cited-list entry:
Hocking, Amanda. Fate. 2010.
If the publisher is unknown—as in the example below—follow the guidelines on page 20 of the handbook: “An element should be omitted from the entry if it’s not relevant to the work being documented.”
Cummings, E. E. The Enormous Room. 2017.
Keep in mind, though, that a source whose publisher is unknown may not be reliable. Established publishers generally ensure that the texts they publish are accurate versions of the author’s work. A source from an unknown publisher could be missing text or contain inaccurate text, so if a version of the source is available from an established publisher, consider using that version instead.
Editorial Board. “How to Tell Truth from Fiction in the Age of Fake News.” Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2016, www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-fake-news-facebook-edit-1120-md-20161118-story.html.If the editorial is either unsigned or signed by an individual and you want your reader to know that the piece is an editorial rather than a news article, you can refer to the work as an editorial in your discussion, or you can include the word “Editorial” as an optional element at the end of the entry:
Gergen, David. “A Question of Values.” US News and World Report, 11 Feb. 2001, p. 72. Editorial.
“It’s Subpoena Time.” The New York Times, late ed., 8 June 2007, p. A28. Editorial.
No. The library from which you retrieved an e-book should not be specified in your works-cited-list entry.
For guidelines on citing an e-book in MLA style, see our earlier post.
If you need to specify the section of a newspaper, include it as part of the location element according to the MLA template of core elements:
Soloski, Alexis. “The Time Has Come to Play Othello.” The New York Times, 20 Nov. 2016, Arts and Leisure sec., p. 5.
In almost all cases you should transcribe a quotation exactly as it appears in the source. However, you may occasionally want to italicize words in a quotation to call special attention to them. If you add italics for emphasis, indicate that you’ve altered the quotation by using the phrase emphasis added (or my emphasis), like this:
Lincoln specifically advocated a government “for the people” (emphasis added).
To include an in-text citation with a quotation you’ve altered, put the citation first, followed by a semicolon, and then the words emphasis added:
Lincoln specifically advocated a government “for the people” (Brown 512; emphasis added).
For more on permissible alterations to quotations, see the MLA Handbook, eighth edition, section 1.3.6.
When translating from a language that does not use roman characters, like Chinese, do I include the original characters or a transliteration? And how do I alphabetize titles of nonroman works?Answer
In its publications, the MLA prefers to give the original characters (script) and a translation for titles and quotations; it also includes transliteration in some of its publications, especially those geared for nonspecialists. Nowadays all three elements can be useful to readers searching for a source on the Internet. Aside from this practical reason, we feel that using the original characters shows a respect for the foreign language that once was generally not shown in academic work.
In the text of your essay, include the elements in whatever order makes sense in your discussion. For example, there is more than one way to present an Arabic term:
matn (متن; “substance”)
متن (matn; “substance”)
substance (متن; matn)
In the list of works cited, titles of works in languages that do not use roman characters should appear in this order: original characters, then transliteration (if included), then translation. If all the entries under an author’s name are in the foreign language, alphabetize according to the rules of the language (list 1). If some of the entries are in the foreign language and some in English, provide transliterations and alphabetize by transliteration (list 2).
Works-Cited List 1: All Russian Entries
Šklovskij, Viktor. Воскрешение слова. Teorija literatury, philolog.petrsu.ru/filolog/shklov.htm.
———. Жизнь художника Федотова [The Life of the Artist Fedotov]. Izdatelʹstvo detskoy literatury, 1936.
———. За и против: Заметки о Достоевском [For and Against: Remarks about Dostoevsky]. Bookmate, bookmate.com/reader/heQXMFr9.
———. О теории прозы [On the Theory of Prose]. Ardis Publishers, 1929.
———. Ход коня: Сборник статей [The Knight’s Move: A Collection of Articles]. Gelikon, 1923.
Works-Cited List 2: Mix of Russian and English Entries
Shklovsky, Victor. Ход коня: Сборник статей [Khod konja; Sbornik statej]. Gelikon, 1923.
———. Mayakovsky and His Circle. Translated by L. Feilier, Pluto Press, 1974.
———. О теории прозы [O teorii prozy]. Ardis Publishers, 1929.
———. Theory of Prose. Translated by Benjamin Sher, Dalkey Archive Press, 1998.
———. Воскрешение слова [Voskreshenie slova]. Teorija literatury, philolog.petrsu.ru/filolog/shklov.htm.
———. За и против: Заметки о Достоевском [Za i protiv: Zametki o Dostoevskom]. Bookmate, bookmate.com/reader/heQXMFr9.
———. Жизнь художника Федотова [Zhiznʹ khudozhnika Fedotova]. Izdatelʹstvo detskoy literatury, 1936.
———. Zoo; or, Letters Not about Love. Translated by Richard Sheldon, Cornell UP, 1971.
Note that we provide not the original script but only a transliteration for the name of a person or publisher.
Sometimes, a source needs to be cited in a piece of prose that doesn’t lend itself to the kind of documentation appropriate for research papers. In a short, informal, or nonacademic piece of writing—such as a letter to the editor or an informational brochure like the one shown in the examples below, from an art school’s one-page tip sheet for new graduates looking for ad agency jobs—the MLA’s guidelines for formatting a works-cited-list entry can easily be adapted to a parenthetical citation.
When bibliographic facts are stated in parentheses, follow the same pattern as in the works-cited list, with two exceptions: the name of the author is given in normal order (not reversed), and periods after elements are converted into semicolons.
Tip 5: Your resume should stick to the facts—“Don’t do a cute resume” (Luke Sullivan; Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads; 4th ed., Wiley, 2012, p. 325).
If the name of the author and the title of the work are given in the running text, they do not need to be repeated in parentheses. The parenthetical information begins with the element that follows the title of the source.
Tip 5: Your resume should stick to the facts. As Luke Sullivan advises in Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads: “Don’t do a cute resume” (4th ed., Wiley, 2012, p. 325).
Captions, too, may need to document a source. Sources are documented the same way in captions that they are in parentheses.
Fig. 1. Charles Rennie Mackintosh; chair of stained oak; 1897–1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
To cite an image found through Google using the image-search function, you must identify the Web site—that is, the container—where the image was posted. For example, let’s say you found this image of The Muleteer by searching “Pompeii” and then “Bodies.”
Viewing the image thumbnail in the search-results list is not sufficient. You must click through to view the image on the site where it was posted: Decoded Past.
Since the artwork is contained in a blog post on a Web site, the works-cited-list entry would be composed of two containers:
Sheldon, Natasha. Photo of The Muleteer. “Human Remains in Pompeii: The Body Casts,” by Sheldon, 23 Mar. 2014. Decoded Past, decodedpast.com/human-remains-pompeii-body-casts/7532.
A second option would be to refer to the title of the image and its author in the body of your paper and then key your in-text citation to an entry for the blog post in the works-cited-list entry:
Sheldon, Natasha. “Human Remains in Pompeii: The Body Casts.” Decoded Past, 23 Mar. 2014, decodedpast.com/human-remains-pompeii-body-casts/7532.