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How to Cite an Online Article in MLA Format


Many publications, including newspapers, scholarly journals and consumer magazines are publishing their articles on the Internet. If you are writing a research paper for a literature, language or humanities course and want to cite a web-based article, you need to understand Modern Language Association (MLA) style. To format a proper MLA reference, you must gather specific data about the online article to create both a work-cited entry and an in-text citation.

List the author's name and the title of the article. A typical works-cited entry begins with the author's name, last name then first name, followed by a period. Next, give the title of the article, enclosed in quotation marks. The article title is followed by a period that appears inside the last quotation mark.

Give the name of the periodical and any identifying numbers. List the name of the online magazine in which the article appears. In MLA style, a magazine title can be underlined or italicized depending on the preference of your instructor. Follow the periodical title with the volume number, issue number, or any other identifying number if this information is available. Place a period after this number.

Record the date of publication. On the website, find the date when the online article was first published. List that date in the following order: numerical day, abbreviated month and year. End with a period.

Give the page numbers for the article. If the information is available, list the range of page numbers for the article, followed by a period. However, many online articles are not paginated. If you do not have this information, continue to the next step.

Provide the date of access and the URL. Supply the date on which you accessed the article. Put this information in the same format as in step three. Complete your works-cited entry with the URL for the article. End the citation with a period.

Create an in-text citation. When referencing an article in the body of your essay, the most important information is the author's name. When you begin to discuss an online article, you can give the author's name before talking about the piece, or you can include it at the end of your discussion, enclosed in parentheses: (Booth). If the Internet article is paginated, include the page number in the parenthetical citation: (Booth 46)

Tip
  • When creating citations for online material, you might discover that you cannot find all of the information needed. If that happens, complete as many formatting steps as you can. The rule for creating a successful works-cited entry is to give enough information that someone else would be able to easily find the exact article you reference in your paper.
References
  • "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers"; Joseph Gibaldi; 2003
About the Author

Shelia Odak has over 10 years writing and editing experience for consumer and trade publications including "Radio/TV Interview Report." She has worked for over nine years in education and holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living.

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