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How do I cite a digitized, multivolume novel when each volume has a separate URL?

It is generally more useful to create a separate entry for each volume. In the following example, the writer has cited a passage from the second volume of a novel scanned and archived on the Web site Internet Archive. Since each volume has a separate URL, a works-cited-list entry has been created for each volume. Following the MLA format template, each entry provides the novel’s volume number and publication information in the first container. The second container lists the name of the Web site and the URL for the volume. The parenthetical citation indicates the volume and page number for the citation:

The narrator of George MacDonald’s David Elginbrod notes that “David was not given to boasting” . . .

Published 14 December 2018

If I am citing an online version of a sacred text and each chapter is on a separate Web page, must each Web page be listed in the works-cited list?

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).

Published 28 November 2018

If a Web site has a director rather than an author, should I organize my works-cited-list entry under the director’s name?

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, Alan Liu is listed as the director of the site:

In your works-cited-list entry, . . .

Published 26 November 2018

How do I cite published song lyrics from a musical?

To cite published song lyrics, follow the MLA format template. 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, . . .

Published 21 November 2018

How do I cite an online lesson?

To cite an online lesson, follow the MLA format template. List the name of the instructor in the “Author” slot, the title of the lesson or a description of it, the course title, the sponsor of the course, the start and end dates of the course, and a URL:

Venard, Lourdes. Lesson on nominalizations, wordy language, and passive language. Copyediting: Intermediate, Editorial Freelancers Association, 5 June-17 July 2018,

If you are citing supplementary material your instructor created for the lesson and uploaded to the lesson page, provide the the title of the supplement or a description of the material in the “Title of source” . . .

Published 8 November 2018

If the author, publisher, and name of a Web site are all the same, do I need to list the author or publisher?

As the MLA Handbook explains, in some cases, you may omit the name of a publisher from your works-cited-list entry—for example, if you are citing a source from a Web site with basically the same name as that of its publisher (42):

Burns, Shauntee. “Finding Wonder Women at the Library: Online Biographies and Encyclopedias.” New York Public Library, 2 Mar. 2016,

The handbook also notes that if a work is by a corporate author, such as a public institution, the author element is omitted from the entry, and the institution’s name is given in the “Publisher” . . .

Published 17 September 2018

When should you give a range of dates for a Web site?

If you’re documenting an entire Web site or Web project, provide a date range in your works-cited-list entry when the Web site provides one:

Centre for Editing Lives and Letters. U College London, 2003-14,


If the Web site provides more than one date, provide the date that is most useful. In the example below, where a date range and date of last update are provided, the date of update is likely to be the most useful because it tells your reader the currency of the information (an exception might be if you are using the source to make a historical point about changes to the site over time):

Piers Plowman Electronic Archive.

Published 5 July 2018

How do I style the names of functional elements of a Web site when I refer to them in my prose?

In its online and print publications, when the MLA refers in prose to the label or functional element of a Web site or other electronic device (like a phone), it usually styles the label without quotation marks and capitalizes it like a title: 

To change your institutional affiliation, go to Update Your Profile.
Select Save My Vote and Continue to move to the next screen.
To stop receiving calls from someone, hit Block This Caller.

On our Web site, a link containing a page title or header is styled the same way:

Calls can be viewed on the Calls for Papers page.

Published 21 June 2018

Can I just include a URL for a Web site in my prose instead of creating a work-cited-list entry?

You should always create works-cited-list entries for works that you quote from, paraphrase, or substantively discuss.
Thus you may need to create an entry for an entire Web site—for instance, if you are discussing its home page or if you are providing a detailed discussion of the site’s history:

Grove Music Online. Oxford UP, 2018,

Similarly, if you discuss a specific page on the site, provide an entry for that page:

Hegarty, Paul. “Noise.” Grove Music Online, Oxford UP, 25 May 2016,

However, sometimes it’s acceptable to mention a work in passing but not document it, . . .

Published 19 June 2018

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