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How do you alphabetize a works-cited-list entry that begins with a title starting with an article?

As the MLA Handbook notes, titles should be alphabetized in works-cited lists “letter by letter, ignoring any initial AAn, or The or the equivalent in other languages” (115). Note, though, that the article should be retained at the start of the title:

The Hunger Games
Les triplettes de Belleville

To learn how our practice differs in an index or sortable list of titles, read our post.
Work Cited
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Published 13 September 2019

Should an ISBN be listed in a works-cited-list entry in MLA style?

An ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is a unique numeric identifier that is used by publishers, libraries, booksellers, and other retailers in the marketing and buying of books. ISBNs are not included in works-cited-list entries for a number of reasons. First, ISBNs were developed only in the second half of the twentieth century, so older books won’t have them. Second, an ISBN doesn’t help readers directly access the book’s content. An ISBN does contain information, however, about a book’s edition. When a publisher releases a new edition of a book, a new ISBN is assigned. The edition you cite is important, . . .

Published 9 September 2019

How do I cite an early-access article, and how do I cite it when it is later published?

An early-access article—also called an article published before print or an article published ahead of print, among other names—is an article that is slated for inclusion in a journal but posted on a publisher’s Web site in final, edited form ahead of the full issue. When you cite such an article, list the publication details provided on the site for the early-access version. As always, follow the MLA format template.
In most cases, list the author or authors, title of the article, title of the journal, and the date the article was published online. In a second container, list the name of the publisher’s Web site on which the article appears and the DOI for the article.

Published 6 September 2019

How do I cite information from a scanned document on a genealogy site?

Follow the MLA format template. Say, for example, you wish to cite a marriage index on Ancestry as your source for the date of a person’s marriage. List the title of the index as the title of the source, Ancestry as the container, the copyright date of the site (since no publication date is given for the marriage index), and the URL where the index is located. As always, key your in-text citation to the first element of the entry:

Sylvia Stermer married Arthur Lachar in New York City on 25 February 1943 (New York City).

Published 5 September 2019

How do I cite a deed or other real estate record in MLA style?

To cite a real estate record, follow the MLA format template. The author is the entity that produced the document, the title is a description of the document’s contents, and the container is the place you found it, whether online or in a physical archive. For example, if you wanted to refer to a deed relating to 1 World Trade Center found in a publicly searchable database, you might produce the following citation:

NYC Department of Finance, Office of the City Register. Deed to 1 World Trade Center. Automated City Register Information System, 9 Jan. 2019,

Published 28 August 2019

How do I cite a political cartoon?

As with any image, how you cite a political cartoon depends on where you found it. Say, for example, you found it republished on a museum Web site. Using the MLA format template, include the artist’s name, the title of the work (or a description of the work if no title is given), the name of the publisher, and the work’s publication date. Then provide the name of the Web site and its publication details in a second container, as shown in the example below:

Gillray, James. The Plumb-Pudding in Danger; or, State Epicures Taking un Petit Souper.

Published 14 August 2019

If you are citing coauthors who share a last name (e.g., husband and wife or brother and sister), should you list the last name twice?

Yes. You should treat each author as an individual with a unique identity. Thus, if you are citing a work by authors who share a last name, provide the full name of each author in the entry in the works-cited list. The following sentence and the works-cited-list entry below are examples:

Beginning with the seventh volume of The Story of Civilization, Will Durant and Ariel Durant were listed as coauthors (Age of Reason).
Work Cited
Durant, Will, and Ariel Durant. The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, . . .

Published 7 August 2019

I’m citing an online article that lacks page numbers. The database containing it provides the page range for the original print version. Do I include the page numbers in my entry?

Yes. Databases house digital copies of works and supply the publication information for the version of those works that have been digitized, usually in PDF or HTML. They generally are not considered a republished version of the work, and so it is insufficient to provide information only about the database version. Thus when you cite the HTML version of a print article from a database, provide the original publication information that the database supplies—including the page range, if given—in the first container of your works-cited-list entry. Then list the name of the database and the URL in the second container.
The following example shows a quotation from an HTML version of an article by James G.

Published 22 July 2019

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