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MLA Style: Electronic Sources

A guide to writing papers and citing sources in Modern Language Association style.

Formatting

For a Works Cited page, your citations need to be double spaced and have a hanging indent. A hanging indent just means that every line after the first in your citation is indented 0.5". 

In Microsoft Word (PC or Mac), highlight your citation and right click on it. Select "Paragraph" in the menu that appears, then under "Indentation" click on the Special drop down and select "Hanging". Make sure the "By" field is set to 0.5".

On URLs

If possible, include a URL or web address to help readers locate sources. Since web addresses are not stable, MLA encourages you to cite containers, such as YouTube, JSTOR, Spotify, and Netflix. This will help readers identify, access, and verify sources when the exact URL may have changed. MLA does not require the "http://" at the beginning of your URLs, so delete this section.

Many scholarly sources will include a DOI (digital object identifier). If this is available, use the DOI instead of a URL.

If a permalink (often accessed under a "share" or "cite" button) is available, use it in your citations.

Important Elements for Citation of Electronic Sources

Try and find as many of the following as possible when you wish to cite an electronic source, especially a web page or other source that may not provide an easy citation.

  • Author and/or editor names
  • Article title
  • Website/project title
  • Version information- editions, revision dates, posting dates, volume or issue numbers
  • Publisher information- this may include a university, government agency, or research group.
  • Page or paragraph numbers
  • URL, DOI, or permalink
  • Date you accessed the material

Web Site

As web postings can and often are changed and updated, it's a good idea to always list the date you last accessed the site. If the name of the publisher and the name of the site are the same, you only need to list it once. The general format for citing a web site is: 

Editor/Author/Compiler name. Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of

resource creation (if available), URL/DOI/permalink. Date of access.

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Jul. 2019.

Page on a Web Site

Treat a page on a web site the same as you would an article in a periodical. List the author/editor if it's available, followed by the web page title in quotation marks. After this, follow the rules for citing a web site.

"Athlete's Foot- Topic Overview." WebMD, 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Tweets

Use the author's Twitter handle in place of their name. Place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period at the end of the tweet inside the quotations. Include the date and time of posting.

@tombrokaw. "SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign." Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/

status/160996868971704320.

YouTube Videos

Try to include as much information in your citation for a video as possible to help your readers in finding your source. An actual name for a creator/author, especially if different from the name of the uploading account, is used for the author's name. If this name is the same as the account, start with the name of the video and leave the account's name as the publisher.

"8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test." YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

McGonigal, Jane. "Gaming and Productivity." YouTube, uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

Podcasts

Podcasts follow a similar format to broadcasts, but include a URL.

"Best of Not My Job Musicians." Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! from NPR, 4 June 2016, www.npr.org/podcasts/344098539/wait-wait-don-t-tell-me.

Digital Images

For any work of art found on the web, follow this format:

Artist's name. Work of Art. Date of creation. Institution and city where art is housed. Website name, URL. Date of Access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado, www.museodelprado.es/en/the-

collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

If the work is a web original, and thus does not have a housing institution, then provide the name (or username) of the artist, title of the work, and then follow the rules for citing a website.

Adams, Clifton R. "People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928." Found, National Geographic Creative, 

2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

E-mail (Including Interviews)

For e-mails, the sender of the cited message is the author. In the case of an e-mail interview, this should be the response of your interviewee to your interview questions. The title is the subject line in quotes, followed by "Received by" and the recipient's name. Finish with the date the message was received.

Kunka, Andrew. "Re: Modernist Literature." Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Provide the author of the posting, the title in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the date the posting was made. If the author's name is unknown, use a screen name. If both name and screen name are available, put the screen name first and follow with the screen name in brackets.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. "Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?" BoardGameGeek, 29 Sept. 2008,

boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Comment on Website or Article

The username of the poster is the author, and include the title of the website or article preceded by the phrase "Comment on". List the date and time of the comment, not the article.

Not Omniscent Enough. Comment on "Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to 'Shut Up' After Argument Over Pasta." ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., 

abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

All examples on this page taken from Purdue Online Writing Lab (https://owl.purdue.edu)