Understanding MLA Citation Style
MLA (Modern Language Association) citation style is a widely used citation format for academic writing, particularly in the humanities. The purpose of MLA citation style is to provide a uniform and consistent way of citing sources in research papers and other written works.
In MLA style, the focus is on the author of the source and the page number(s) where the information was found, rather than the title of the work. This helps to provide a clear and concise way of referencing sources, and makes it easy for readers to find the sources that were used in the research.
When citing a website in MLA format, it’s important to follow the guidelines for citing electronic sources. This includes including the URL or DOI (Digital Object Identifier) of the source, as well as the date the source was accessed. By following the guidelines for MLA citation style, you can ensure that your work is properly documented and that you are giving credit to the sources that informed your research.
Basic Format for Citing a Website
The basic format for citing a website in MLA style is as follows:
Author. “Title of Webpage.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date Published, URL.
The author of the webpage can be an individual person or an organization. If the author is an individual, the name should be listed in the following format: Last name, First name. If the author is an organization, the name of the organization should be listed.
The title of the webpage should be in quotation marks, and the title of the website should be italicized. If the webpage is part of a larger website, the title of the larger website should be included in the citation.
The publisher of the website refers to the organization responsible for making the content available on the internet. If this information is not available, the citation can be omitted.
The date published refers to the date the webpage was posted or last updated. If this information is not available, the date of access can be used instead.
Finally, the URL of the webpage should be included in the citation. It’s important to include the full URL, beginning with “https://” or “http://”, to ensure that readers can easily access the webpage.
How to Include Author and Publication Information
When citing a website in MLA style, it’s important to include both the author and publication information, if available. This information helps readers to identify the source and evaluate its credibility.
To include author information, begin with the last name, followed by a comma and the first name. If there are multiple authors, list them in the order they appear on the source, separated by commas. If the author is unknown, begin with the title of the webpage.
To include publication information, begin with the title of the webpage in quotation marks, followed by the title of the website in italics. If the webpage is part of a larger website, include the title of the larger website first, followed by the title of the webpage.
Next, include the publisher or sponsor of the website, followed by the date of publication. If the date is unknown, use “n.d.” to indicate this.
For example, a citation for a webpage with an author, a publication date, and a sponsor might look like this:
Smith, John. “The Benefits of Exercise.” Fitness Today, Fitness Health Inc., 15 May 2019, www.fitnesstoday.com/benefits-of-exercise.
By including both author and publication information in your citations, you can provide readers with the information they need to verify and contextualize your sources.
In-Text Citations for Websites in MLA Style
In addition to including a Works Cited citation for a website in MLA style, it’s also important to include in-text citations when you use information from the website in your research paper. In-text citations help to identify the source of the information and provide readers with a quick reference for finding the corresponding Works Cited citation.
In MLA style, in-text citations for websites typically follow the author-page format. This means that you include the author’s last name and the page number(s) where the information was found in parentheses after the information you are citing.
If the website does not have page numbers, you can use paragraph numbers (abbreviated as “par.”) or section headings instead. If the author is unknown, use the title of the webpage instead.
For example, if you were citing information from the webpage cited earlier, the in-text citation might look like this:
According to Smith, “Regular exercise can help to improve cardiovascular health” (Smith).
If the webpage did not have an author listed, the citation might look like this:
“Regular exercise can help to improve cardiovascular health” (Fitness Today).
By including in-text citations for websites in your research paper, you can help to establish the credibility of your sources and give readers the information they need to find the corresponding Works Cited citation.
Tips for Citing Websites in MLA Format
Citing websites in MLA format can be tricky, especially if the information you need is not readily available. Here are some tips to help you create accurate and effective citations for websites:
Use reputable sources: When citing websites, it’s important to use sources that are reliable and trustworthy. Avoid using sources that are biased, outdated, or not credible.
Look for author and publication information: Whenever possible, include the name of the author and the date of publication in your citation. This information can help readers to verify the source and evaluate its credibility.
Check for formatting guidelines: MLA citation style has specific formatting guidelines for citing electronic sources like websites. Be sure to follow these guidelines carefully to ensure that your citation is accurate and complete.
Use online citation tools: There are many online tools available that can help you to create accurate MLA citations for websites. Some popular citation tools include EasyBib, Citation Machine, and BibMe.
Double-check your citations: Before submitting your research paper, be sure to double-check all of your citations to ensure that they are accurate and complete. This can help you to avoid plagiarism and ensure that you are giving proper credit to your sources.
By following these tips, you can create accurate and effective citations for websites in MLA format and give your research paper the credibility it deserves.