Answer Answer Answer
How you cite a periodical that you are using over a range of dates depends on whether you are borrowing any material from it. If you quote or paraphrase passages, you must create an individual works-cited-list entry for each article you cite, as shown below:
In The Edinburgh Review, Abraham Hayward notes that Thackeray’s “effects are uniformly the effects of sound wholesome legitimate art” (50). The writer of an unsigned review from a later issue of the same journal observes that Thackeray’s “powers” include “rare observation, an acute penetration of motives, an abhorrence of sham or pretence, and an entirely new and genuine humour” (Review 102).
Hayward, Abraham. Review of Thackeray’s early writings. The Edinburgh Review, vol. 87, Jan. 1848, pp. 46-67.
Review of Thackeray’s works. The Edinburgh Review, vol. 137, Jan. 1873, pp. 95-121.
But, as the following example demonstrates, no citation is needed if you are simply mentioning the periodical in your prose:
Writers, including student writers, should quote only what is necessary to make their point. Relying on a percentage to determine what’s necessary is unlikely to be useful.
Writers preparing to publish their work should keep copyright laws in mind and consider the principles of fair use. One consideration in determining fair use (but certainly not the only one) is the amount borrowed. The MLA is updating its fair use guidelines, formerly published in the MLA Style Manual. In the meantime, we recommend the guidelines offered by the United States Copyright Office and the Association of University Presses.
Use either the first few words of the name or, if not cumbersome, the entity’s initials. For example, Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and Its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline might be shortened to Institute or Institute of Medicine, but National Institutes of Health might be shortened to NIH.
Whichever form you choose, use it consistently throughout your work.
To cite a syllabus, follow the MLA template of core elements. Start by providing the name of the instructor as the author and then a description of the syllabus in place of a title. Next list the name of the department and institution sponsoring the course, followed by the date:
If the syllabus you’re citing is published on a Web site, as in the example below, published on the CORE repository, include any relevant publication details in container 2—here, the title of the platform and the DOI:
No. You do not need to provide a separate works-cited-list entry for each hymn, chapter, or surah cited if there are several and they all come from the same general Web site, unless readers cannot easily find their way from that central place.
Let’s say you are citing Genesis and Psalms from the Web site King James Bible Online. As the MLA Handbook notes, when you cite scripture, indicate at first instance, in either your prose or a parenthetical citation, the first element of the works-cited-list entry for the source. Then indicate the division of the Bible from which you borrowed the material (122–23).
In the example below, King James Bible Online is listed after the first quotation because the title of the edition is the first element of the works-cited-list entry. “Gen. 1.22″ indicates that the quotation comes from Genesis, chapter 1, verse 22. Since the second quotation is also from Genesis, the citation lists only chapter and verse numbers—”28.3.” The third quotation is from the book of Psalms, so the citation is “Ps. 128.3.”
Many passages from the Bible encourage human reproduction, from “Be fruitful, and multiply” (King James Bible Online, Gen. 1.22) and “And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful” (28.3) to “Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house” (Ps. 128.3).
King James Bible Online, www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/.
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
Citing Data You Collected
In a report on data collected from a survey you designed and distributed, clarify the data source in the body of the report instead of creating a works-cited-list entry for the survey. Be sure to explain in detail the methodology you used—that is, how you distributed the survey and collected and sorted responses. It’s also good practice to make the survey instrument available to readers, either by including it as an appendix to your report or by providing a link to it in an endnote. Some researchers even make their data sets available to readers, often in an Excel file.
You may want to anonymize your data in the report on your findings. There are two options for anonymizing survey responses: you can use generic language to report a finding (e.g., “one respondent commented …”), or you can use pseudonyms for respondents. If you decide to use pseudonyms, place a note at the first instance that indicates that the names of survey respondents have been changed to preserve their anonymity.
Citing Data Collected by Others
When citing published data, you’ll need to point readers to the source. If the data are included in a report, use in-text citations keyed to works-cited-list entries to cite the information.
Of the 321,144 speakers of Greek in the United States in 2010, nearly a quarter (72,864) lived in New York State (MLA Language Map).
MLA Language Map Data Center. Modern Language Association, apps.mla.org/map_data.
Some research organizations make large amounts of data available for personal use. The National Center for Education Statistics, for example, allows users to run customized queries from the data in its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (nces.ed.gov/ipeds/). To cite data subsets created from such sources, identify your query terms in the text or an endnote and, if possible, give readers access to your customized data tables, ideally as figures in the text; it’s not necessary to create a works-cited-list entry.
In general, you should list your entry for a Web site under the name of the creator. The creator may be an author, an editor, or a director. Many Web sites coin terms like “project lead” or “curator” to refer to the creator. The creator can also be a group of persons, an organization, or a government entity. You may need to consult an About page or a Credits page to determine the site’s creator.
For example, on the Credits page for Voice of the Shuttle, Alain Liu is listed as the director of the site:
In your works-cited-list entry, you would list Liu in the “Author” slot.
But since Web sites are often collaborative works, you could also list the creator in the “Other contributors” slot:
If the site you are using does not provide any authorship information, start your entry with the Web site’s title.
Follow the MLA template of core elements. List the author of the letter in the “Author” slot and provide a description of the letter in the “Title of source” slot. Include the recipient’s name in the description. Then list the date of the letter, if known. In the optional-element slot at the end of the entry, indicate that the letter is in a personal collection rather than an archive:
Grant, Samuel. Letter to Theodore Grant. 10 Oct. 1946. Personal collection of Amy Grant.
To cite published song lyrics, follow the MLA template of core elements. Note that the way you cite published lyrics will depend on how you accessed them and what information is provided by the source.
For example, the Web site ST Lyrics contains an audio version of “The Story of Lucy and Jessie,” as well as printed lyrics. To cite the printed lyrics, begin the entry with the title since no author is given. Then provide the name of the Web site as the title of the container and list any relevant publication details. In the optional-element slot at the end of the entry, indicate the format so that your reader knows you are citing the text rather than the audio:
Alternatively, you may use a description in place of a title to indicate that you are citing the text of the lyrics:
Lyrics to “The Story of Lucy and Jessie.” ST Lyrics, 2018, www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/follies/thestoryoflucyandjessie.htm.
If, however, your source for the lyrics was the playscript shown below, which lists Stephen Sondheim as the author of the song’s music and lyrics, you would list Sondheim’s name in the “Author” slot, the title of the script in the “Title of container” slot, and James Goldman (the author of the script) in the “Other contributors” slot. Then list the publication details for the script:
To learn more about how to cite lyrics, see our post on citing lyrics you heard from a song in a musical.