To cite a last will and testament, which is an unpublished legal document, follow the MLA format template. A basic entry should include a description of the will in the “Title of source” slot and the date the will was signed in the “Publication date” slot:
Last will and testament of John Smith. 12 Aug. 1967.
If it will be useful for your reader to know who notarized the document, list the notary’s name in the “Other contributors” slot:
Last will and testament of John Smith. Notarized by Jane Baker, 12 Aug. 1967.
If the will is clearly written by the individual whose estate it details—say, in the example of a handwritten will—include the writer in the “Author” slot:
Villanova, Jaime. Last will and testament. 15 Oct. 1934.
To cite a video game, follow the MLA format template to construct your entry. Provide any relevant information about the game provided by the version of it you are looking at. Of particular significance with video games is the version of the game and the platform on which the game is played.
Minecraft. Java ed. for Mac, 2017.
Pac-Man. Atari, 1982.
Pac-Man. Arcade version, Midway, 1983.
Pac-Man. Windows PC version, Namco Networks, 2009.
Pac-Man. Google, Google Doodle version, 2010.
Pac-Man. Virgin American in-flight version. Accessed 6 June 2017.
Pitfall. Atari version, Activision, 1982.
Pitfall. Intellivision version, Activision, 1982.
If you need to refer readers to particular parts of the game, in your in-text citation use the numbering system, if any, used by the game.
Few Donkey Kong players reach the blue kill screen (level 22).
It’s not uncommon for a writer to discuss two or more works with the same title. For example, a writer may compare different editions or translations of the same work or discuss a written work and its film adaptation with the same title.
When identical titles are styled identically—such as the italic titles of a novel and film of the same name—writers need to distinguish the works from one another in the context of discussing them. Pay special attention to points where your writing transitions from one work to another. To avoid confusion about identically titled works, these transitions should be clear and obvious.
Two years after Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird, the film To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, was released. Lee’s novel is narrated by Finch’s daughter, who is called Scout, while the film relies less heavily on Scout’s first-person narration.
The courtroom scenes of To Kill a Mockingbird are shortened in the film version, which also doesn’t explore the aftermath of the trial.
In-text citations can also aid in differentiating works with identical titles.
An early scene in To Kill a Mockingbird establishes Atticus’s character as well as the nature of his relationship with Scout. Atticus tells her, “You never really understand someone until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30).
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Grand Central Publishing, 2015.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Directed by Robert Mulligan, Universal Pictures, 1962.
Begin the entry as you would any other: consult the MLA format template. List the title of the video in the “Title of source” slot and the title of the Web site where you watched the video in the “Title of container” slot.
Rubier, Jeremy, director. Gui Martinez: A Short Film and Photo Essay. Vimeo, uploaded by Poweredby.tokyo, May 2017, vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks/216976160.
Keep in mind that some information may not be available, and other information may be included. In the example below, the video has no author, director, or producer, so work with what you have:
If it’s not clear that the work you’re citing is a video—for example, if a song by the same title appears on the site—include the medium of publication in the optional-element slot at the end of the entry:
To cite an audiobook, include the book’s author and title along with the publication details for the audiobook version. If noteworthy or relevant, list the narrator in the Other Contributors slot. Give the publisher of the audiobook in the Publisher slot. The medium of publication can be listed in the final optional-element slot:
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. Narrated by Claire Danes et al., Audible, 2017. Audiobook.
If you downloaded the audiobook to a device, don’t include the Web site from which you downloaded it. (In the example above, Audible is included as the publisher of the audiobook, not as its seller or distributor.)
If it’s important for your reader to know the format of the audiobook, include it in the optional-element slot at the end of the entry:
Berendt, John. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Narrated by Jeff Woodman, Random House Audio, 1997. Audiobook, 10 cassettes.
If you listened to the audiobook (or a clip from it) on the Web, include the Web site as a second container:
To cite a personal interview that occurred on more than one day, begin by following the MLA format template. In general, treat the person being interviewed as the author. Then follow the guidelines on pages 28–29 of the MLA Handbook and include the description interview as the “Title of source” element. You may list the interviewer’s name as an “Other contributor” after the description. In the “Publication date” slot, treat the dates of the interview as a range if they are consecutive:
Cohen, Allan. Interview. Conducted by Christine Stevens, 24-25 May 2016.
If the dates are not consecutive, treat them as a series:
Doe, Jane. Interview. Conducted by John Smith, 3 and 6 Aug. 2017.
Doe, John. Interview. Conducted by Jorge Menocal, 2, 3, and 7 Sept. 2016.
Yes, you can leave the heading (your name, instructor’s name, the course name, and the date) off the first page of your essay if you have a cover page. However, be sure to check with your instructor about his or her preferences.
It depends on the focus of your work. In a dissertation on a single author or title—say, Gabriel Marcel’s Being and Having: An Existentialist Diary—it would be overkill to introduce the author and full title of the work anew in each chapter. References to the author’s last name and a shortened title are sufficient.
But if your work focuses more broadly, use judgment. For example, in a book primarily discussing a few core texts—say, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India, and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—subsequent references to Woolf’s Room, Forster’s Passage, and Joyce’s Portrait are likely sufficient, even if, for clarity, the other, ancillary primary and secondary works you discuss are reintroduced in full when first mentioned in each chapter.
In a topical work—say, on the representations of funerals in dozens of works or on poets of the beat generation—you would likely want to reintroduce authors and texts in full when first mentioned in each chapter.
Clarity for readers is the ultimate goal, but so too is avoiding trying their patience.
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