To cite stand-alone audio files, begin with the MLA format template:
In the author-element slot, list the person or persons responsible for creating the work found on the file. If the work has no creator—for example, if the file records children at a park singing “Happy Birthday” or dogs barking—leave the author element blank.
In the “Title of source” element, list the title of the work you are citing (e.g., the song); if you do not know the title, include a description of the work or the name of the file.
In the “Publication date” element on the template, include the date the recording was created, if known; otherwise, list the date the file was created in the optional-element slot at the end of the entry.
It would also be useful to include the file type as an optional element, since knowing the medium of publication may help the reader better understand the work.
Here are a few sample entries:
MLA Jug Band. “Handbook Hootenanny.” MP3 file, created 6 Apr. 2017.
“Happy Birthday.” MP3 file, created 5 June 2014.
Recording of dogs barking. MP3 file, created 5 Feb. 2011.
Salinas, Lois. Recording of live reading of Beowulf. 10 Jan. 2017. WAV file.
Tanner, Rumeli. “FinalAlbum_toMTAudio_forMastering.” WAV file, created 3 Mar. 2016.
If your discussion focuses on work performed by someone other than the artist—say, the person who mastered the song—list that person in the other-contributor slot:
MLA Jug Band. “Ode to the Core Elements.” Mastered by Seelie Thomas, 25 May 2017. WAV file.
Yes. As the MLA Handbook explains, the title of an independent work (that is, a work that usually stands alone, such as a play, novel, or artwork) is styled in italics, even when the work is contained in another independent work (27):
The following example shows an entry for a work of art contained in a Web site:
To cite the program of a theater performance, follow the MLA format template. Begin with a description of the program as the title and include any important identifying information in the description, such as the name of the theater where the performance took place and its location. Then provide the name of the program’s publisher and the publication date.
Cite a contribution to a program, like an essay, as follows:
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.
Include the name of the library in the publisher slot on the MLA format template 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:
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:
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.”
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.
If the editorial is signed by the editorial board, it is not necessary to indicate in a works-cited-list entry that the work you are citing is an editorial:
If the editorial is unsigned 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 “Editorial” as an optional element at the end of the entry:
If it’s an op-ed—that is, an opinion piece written by someone who is not an editor of the publication—you can include “Op-ed” at the end of the entry:
If you need to specify the section of a newspaper, include it as part of the location element according to the MLA format template:
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:
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:
For more on permissible alterations to quotations, see the MLA Handbook, eighth edition, section 1.3.6.