Cite an artifact the same way you would cite a work of art found in a museum or online. See our post about citing artwork.
Ask the MLAFAQ
Search our list of frequently asked questions.Haven't found what you're looking for? Submit a question.
When a trilogy is published in one volume with a title of its own, the course of action is clear: italicize the title of the trilogy as if it were a work. Naguib Mahfouz’s The Cairo Trilogy, containing the novels Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, and Sugar Street, is an example. So are Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Earthsea Trilogy and Pat Barker’s The Regeneration Trilogy. Margaret Atwood’s The MaddAddam Trilogy is another but different example: its three novels—Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam—are published not in one volume but as a boxed set (Anchor, 2014).
The question of how to style a trilogy or series of books or movies that has no official title is less clear. For example, would it be the Star Wars movies or the Star Wars movies? Your decision will depend on what makes sense for the particular body of work. Star Wars is the name of the first movie released in the series. Since the title is foundational, italicize the series name: Star Wars movies. If you are writing about the Nancy Drew books, style the series name roman, since “Nancy Drew” does not appear in the titles of the individual books. If you are discussing the Harry Potter books, you could style the series name either way—Harry Potter books or Harry Potter books—since the series is associated with the first title in the series (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) and also with the character’s name.
The MLA Handbook gives examples of how original publication information can be provided as an optional element in a works-cited-list entry (53). But MLA style generally avoids annotating works-cited-list entries: if information is important for the reader to know, it belongs in your discussion or in a note.
For example, let’s say that you quote from the following version of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, a novel that was originally published as a series of short stories:
Asimov, Isaac. I, Robot. 1950. www.ttu.ee/public/m/mart-murdvee/Techno-Psy/Isaac_Asimov_-_I_Robot.pdf.
In an endnote, you might explain the original publication context for the novel, if relevant to your discussion:
The stories in I, Robot were originally published separately: “Robbie” appeared as “Strange Playfellow,” in Super Science Stories 1940; the others appeared in Astounding Science Fiction—“Runaround” (1942), “Reason” (1941), “Catch That Rabbit” (1944), “Liar!” (1941), “Little Lost Robot” (1947), “Escape!” (1945), “Evidence” (1946), and “The Evitable Conflict” (1950).
You may also discuss the publication history of a work in the text of your essay or article, if it is central to your point.
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
When you cite from the same source in more than one paragraph and no other source intervenes, do you need to repeat the author’s name each time you start a new paragraph?Answer
As the MLA Handbook notes, “[W]hen an entire paragraph is based on material from a single source,” you might “define a source in the text at the start” (125). If you continue to cite the same source in subsequent paragraphs and no other source intervenes, you do not need to identify the source again unless ambiguity would result.
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
To cite conference proceedings, follow the MLA template of core elements. The example below lists the editors (as “Author”), the title, the publisher, and the date of publication:
Chang, Steve S., et al., editors. Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, February 12-15, 1999: General Session and Parasession on Loan Word Phenomena. Berkeley Linguistics Society, 2000.
If you are citing a section of the proceedings, cite the section the same way you would an essay in a collection: first list the author and title of the essay and then continue the entry with the title of the collected proceedings (now, in the “Title of container” slot):
Hualde, José Ignacio. “Patterns of Correspondence in the Adaptation of Spanish Borrowings in Basque.” Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, February 12-15, 1999: General Session and Parasession on Loan Word Phenomena, edited by Steven S. Chang et al., Berkeley Linguistics Society, 2000, pp. 348-58.
No. If you quote from a work and provide an in-text citation at first mention, you usually do not have to provide an in-text citation at subsequent mention as long as it is clear from your prose that you quoted the passage earlier in your essay. This rule applies when the subsequent mention appears directly after the first mention, as in the following example:
In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks, “What’s in a name?” (2.2.43). By “name” she means Romeo’s last name–Montague.
The rule also applies if the subsequent mention appears farther from the first mention, as in this example from the end of an essay:
We thus come back to where our investigation of Shakespeare’s play began: “What’s in a name” depends on who is asking.
You can express a number range using words (“from . . . to”):
The party will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Or you can use an en dash:
The party will take place 6 p.m.–10 p.m.
But you cannot combine words (“from”) and an en dash to convey a range:
The party will take place from 6 p.m.–10 p.m.
The reason is that the dash does not stand in for “to”; it stands in for “from . . . to.” Thus “from” has nothing completing it.
Here’s another example:
Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four check their phones approximately seventy-four times each day.
Americans who are 18–24 years old check their phones approximately seventy-four times each day.
In your works-cited-list entry, provide the name of a foreign institution in the original language if that is how it is presented in your source. In the following example, the publisher’s name is given in the original language:
Dieulafoy, Jane. Papiers et correspondance de Marcel et Jane Dieulafoy. Manuscripts de la Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France, Paris.
Names of institutions in languages that do not use the Roman alphabet (Russian, Greek, Hebrew, etc.) are almost always presented in transliteration. In this example, the publisher’s name is given in transliteration:
Šklovskij, Viktor. Жизнь художника Федотова [The Life of the Artist Fedotov]. Izdatelʹstvo detskoy literatury, 1936.
In your prose, you do not need to provide a translation for the name of an institution given in the original language:
She gave a speech before the Fondo de Cultura Económica.
They spent twelve hours a day at the Bibliothèque Nationale.
He works for the Russian publisher Izdatelʹstvo detskoy literatury.
In the above example, note that in MLA style, names of non-English institutions are capitalized like titles of works in English, but names of Russian institutions are capitalized like a sentence.
To document a postcard, look for information printed on the card, which usually appears on the back, and determine whether any of the MLA core elements apply to it. The information given may include the name of an artist, the title or a description of the work depicted on the postcard and its date of composition, the institution holding the copyright of the image, and the copyright date of the card. In this case the institution holding the copyright is the publisher, and the copyright date is the date of publication.
Let’s say you want to create a works-cited-list entry for a postcard depicting Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Olive Trees and find, on the postcard, the original date of composition (1889), the publisher of the postcard (Museum of Modern Art), and the date the postcard was published (2001). The works-cited-list entry would look like this:
Van Gogh, Vincent. The Olive Trees. 1889. Museum of Modern Art, 2001. Postcard.
Both the original date of composition (1889) and the term Postcard appear as optional elements. Postcard is added at the end of the entry to clarify that you are citing a reproduction of the painting, not the painting itself.
If the artwork is anonymous, start the entry with the title of the work or, if it has no title, with a description of the work in roman type:
Fragmentary colossal head of a youth. 2nd century BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2016. Postcard.
If no publication information is given on the card, describe the card in your prose, including as much information about it as you can:
In one postcard, featuring the 1950 cover of The Great Gatsby and postmarked from Chicago in May 1952, Sam wrote to his wife, cryptically: “Too soon to tell.”
If the bibliographic information needs to go somewhere other than a works-cited-list entry–for instance, if you are showing the images to an audience as part of a presentation–it can go in a caption that accompanies the image on the postcard, following our guidelines for formatting captions:
Vincent van Gogh; The Olive Trees; 1889; Museum of Modern Art, 2001; postcard.
The bibliographic information appears in the same order in the caption and in the works-cited-list entry. The only changes are the order of the author’s first and last name and the punctuation separating the elements: periods in the works-cited-list entry are replaced by semicolons in the caption.
Cite an unpublished translation by following the MLA template of core elements. List the author of the work, the title of the translation in quotation marks (since it is an unpublished work), and the name of the translator. In the optional-element slot at the end of the entry, indicate the format:
Wallace, David Foster. “Ludus infinitus.” Translated by Publius Vergilius Maro. Typescript.
When you refer to the translation in your prose, indicate the original title:
In what follows, I provide a thorough analysis of “Ludus infinitus,” the Latin translation of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.