Practice varies. As indicated in section 1.6 of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, MLA style does not use periods between letters for abbreviations composed of mainly capital letters, but you can use periods if you are consistent.
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If I cite from a book that has an introduction, but I do not cite the introduction, should I include the introduction’s author in my works-cited-list entry?Answer
Authors of introductions, prefaces, afterwords, and the like—collectively called front and back matter—are not usually essential to identifying a work and can be omitted from works-cited-list entries. If you do include the author of an introduction, place the author’s name in the “Other contributors” slot:
Gogol, Nikolai. Dead Souls: A Novel. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volkhonsky, introduction by Pevear, Vintage Books, 1996.
You might include the author of an introduction or related material in your entry if the information would be especially useful for readers—for example, if the name of the author indicates that the edition being cited is reliable, notable, or up-to-date or if it suggests the work has a particular viewpoint or approach.
Do you have to provide the author’s name in a parenthetical citation for a work of common literature such as The Iliad?Answer
Yes, unless you have already mentioned the author’s name in your prose. Just because a work is famous doesn’t mean you can omit the name of its author.
Basic publication facts about a movie (e.g., the title, director, year of release) should be taken from the version of the movie you watch, when possible. Other movie information published on a Web site will likely fall into two categories: common knowledge and information that requires documentation—that is, information, analysis, and wording specific to the Web site.
Details about a movie (e.g., awards received, filming locations) that can be corroborated by numerous reference works usually do not need to be documented.
If you watch a film, you should generally recount its plot in your own words. If, however, you use a specific turn of phrase about a movie’s plot from a site like IMDB, then treat the site as your source. In creating your works-cited-list entry, assess the work you are citing using the MLA template of core elements. The entry for the quotation below provides the nom de plume of the author, a description of the work in the “Title of source” slot, the title of the Web site that contains the plot summary, and the URL in the “Location” slot:
Writing of A New Leaf, one reviewer effectively explains the paradox central to the plot: “The main agent of change is a phenomenally passive and unassuming Henrietta Lowell” (Kid).
The_Kid in Bellevue. Plot summary of A New Leaf. IMDB, www.imdb.com/title/tt0067482/plotsummary?ref_=tt_stry_pl.
Reviews posted online should also be documented:
A New Leaf, directed and written by Elaine May, portrays May as Henrietta Lowell, a “deliciously inept, awkward, filthy rich botanist” (Rowanwood).
Rowanwood. “Deserves Cult Status.” 27 Dec. 2002. IMDB, www.imdb.com/title/tt0067482/reviews?ref_=tt_ov_rt .
What should I include in parentheses if the author’s name is provided in a signal phrase and the source has no page numbers or other kind of part number?Answer
As the MLA Handbook notes, “When a source has no page numbers or any other kind of part number, no number should be given in a parenthetical citation” (56). The following example illustrates this principle:
“As we read we . . . construct the terrain of a book” (Hollmichel), something that is more difficult when the text reflows on a screen.
Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print.” So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/ the-readingbrain-differences-between-digital-and-print/.
If you provide the author’s name in a signal phrase when quoting or paraphrasing a work with no page or part numbers, you should not provide a parenthetical citation at all:
Stefanie Hollmichel remarks that “[a]s we read we . . . construct the terrain of a book,” something that is more difficult when the text reflows on a screen.
In the example above, your reader has all the information needed to key the source to the works-cited list: the author’s name. Repeating the author’s name in parentheses would be redundant, and since there is no page, part, or chapter number to give, the citation is complete.
If no author’s name is given, use the title—or after the first mention of the title in full, a short title—as the signal phrase.
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
Ignore symbols when alphabetizing. Thus, to alphabetize tweets in a works-cited list, ignore the @ and start with the first letter of the username:
@humcommons. “Did you know you can now upload your CV to your Humanities Commons profile? Well, now you know. https://hcommons.org.” Twitter, 16 Oct. 2017, twitter.com/humcommons/status/920032411357974529.
@mlastyle. “Ode to Times New Roman; or, the MLA’s paper-formatting guidelines–now online for free: https://style.mla.org/formatting-papers/.” Twitter, 16 Aug. 2017, twitter.com/mlastyle/status/897851738757226496.
To learn how to alphabetize entries that begin with a numeral, read our earlier post.
To cite a patent, follow the MLA template of core elements. List the owner of the patent in the “Author” slot, the title of the patent or a description in the “Title of source” slot, the number of the patent, the name of the agency issuing the patent in the “Publisher” slot, and the date of issue in the “Publication date” slot:
Neustel, Michael S. Patent analyzing system. US 20140200880 A1, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 17 July 2014.
If you found the patent online, include the title of the Web site as the title of the second container and provide the URL as the location:
Neustel, Michael S. Patent analyzing system. US 20140200880 A1, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 17 July 2014. USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database, patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l =50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=neustel.INNM.&OS =IN/neustel&RS=IN/neustel.
When an endnote refers to a source that provides more information on a topic, should I also include the source in the works-cited-list?Answer
Yes, you should provide a works-cited-list entry if you refer the reader to a source for more information on a topic. Do not provide the full publication details in the endnote. Instead, key the endnote to the list of works cited, as you would in the body of your paper.
If you merely mention the source in passing, however, you may not need an entry. Read more about passing references.
Cite an entry in a reference work the way you would cite any source: follow the MLA template of core elements. If the entry is signed, begin with the author’s name. If it is unsigned, begin by listing the entry as the title:
Botterill, Steven N. “Angela Da Foligno, Saint.” Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia, edited by Christopher Kleinhenz et al., vol. 1, Routledge, 2004, pp. 35-36. Google Books, books.google.com/.
“Pendragon.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, 15 Dec. 2016, Wikimedia Commons, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendragon.
Even if the entries are in alphabetical order, provide the page numbers if you are citing a print work:
“Patanjali.” Benét’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, edited by Bruce Murphy, 4th ed., HarperCollins Publishers, 1996, p. 782.