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MLA Style Manual


References should appear at the end of a sentence unless several sources are referenced and that needs to be clarified.

Turner notes that ..... [1].
Authors such as Turner [1], Smith [2], and Robert [3] note that....

Reference should be made to the version, electronic or print, that was actually referenced. If authors used a print version and are aware that an electronic format exists and wish to direct readers to it, the reference should include in parentheses: “Available from:,” the full uniform resource locator (URL) in angle brackets, and the date cited in square brackets.

Task Force on Vital Pathways for Hospital Librarians. Vital pathways: the hospital libraries project: final report and recommendations, December 31, 2008. Chicago, IL: Medical Library Association; 2008. (Available from: <>. [cited 1 Sep 2009].)

MLANET carries the same integrity of an MLA print publication and may be referenced with confidence.

Titles of books and journals should be given in italics. Titles of book chapters, journal articles, and electronic documents should be in plain type, enclosed in quotation marks. Web page titles and sections of chapters are capitalized but do not use italics or quotation marks. See “capitalizing titles of works” in the “Names and Terms” section for capitalization guidelines.

In the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA), formerly the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, if an author mentions a website in the text but has not cited specific content that would warrant a reference, the uniform resource locator (URL) for the website is placed in angle brackets following the relevant text.

In the MLA News, single web addresses may be placed in parenthesis following the text that mentions the website.

Links from MLANET to non-MLA web pages is under study.

MLA reference style is based on the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” (which describe what is often referred to as “Vancouver style”), of which MLA is a signatory. The purpose of a reference is to enable a reader to find the same original material; therefore, the information should be complete and in detail.

Include the names of all authors. Follow Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers for abbreviations of journals. Delete “Ltd.,” “Co.,” and corporate indications from names of publishers. Use two-letter postal abbreviations for states.

Repeat a reference number in the text that has already been used. If an author repeatedly cites a work, usually a monograph, but cites specific pages of it, rather than give the full Vancouver reference version of the work, section 14.24 of CMS16 can be followed for such references by using a new reference number with the primary author’s last name and a shortened title of the work followed by the specific page numbers.

For unpublished materials, theses, and audiovisual materials, include enough information for the reader to obtain a copy, if desired.

The styles described below show the information to be included and the punctuation. Sample references are listed after each explanation. Set all in plain type.

See Appendix A for other resources on reference requirements.

reference styles, books

  • Author’s last name and initials (no periods after initials).
  • Editor’s last name and initials (no periods after initials), ed.
  • Title (capitalize only first word, proper names).
  • Edition number.
  • Volume number.
  • Place of publication (city, state, postal abbreviation without a period):
  • Publisher;
  • Year.
  • Number of pages (optional).
  • Miscellaneous.

Breeding M. Cloud computing for libraries. Chicago, IL: ALA TechSource; 2012. (The Tech Set #11).
Huber JT, Boorkman JA, Blackwell J, eds. Introduction to reference sources in the health sciences. 5th ed. New York, NY: Medical Library Association and Neal-Schuman; 2008.
Knox E. Document delivery and interlibrary loan on a shoestring. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers; 2010.

  • Author’s last name and initials (no periods after initials).
  • Title (capitalize only first word, proper names)
  • [Internet].
  • Edition or version statement.
  • Place of publication (if available):
  • Publisher;
  • Date of original publication (if available)
  • [Date of last revision; date of citation].
  • Internet protocol <http://web.address>, <ftp://document.address>, or <availability information>.
  • If there is insufficient information about the document cited, but it is part of a larger work (e.g., a web page that is part of a larger site), provide the following information:
    • Last names and initials of the authors of the document (if available).
    • Document title.
    • “In,” (complete reference information for the larger work).

Medical Library Association. MLANET [Internet]. Chicago, IL: The Association [rev. 1 Jan 2008; cited 24 Jan 2008]. <>.
Guedon JC. Beyond core journals and licenses: the paths to reform scientific publishing. ARL Bimonthly Report [Internet]. 2001 Oct(218) [cited 20 Nov 2002]. <>.
Jones WR. Culture technique. Email message to: James Larson. 2005 Nov 15, 7:50 p.m. [32 lines].<>.

Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Wilczynski NL, Walter SD, Werre SR; Hedges Team. Optimal search strategies for retrieving scientifically strong studies of treatment from Medline: an analytic survey. BMJ. 2005 May 21;330(7501):1179.
Smith R. Adapting a new technology to the academic medical library: personal digital assistants. J Med Libr Assoc. 2002 Jan;90(1):93–4.
De Groote SL. Citation patterns of online and print journals in the digital age. J Med Libr Assoc. 2008 Oct;96(4):362–9. DOI:

  • Authors (last name, first name, period). (Set “and” between authors in small caps.)
  • Title with initial capitals on principal words and set in boldface.
  • Edition.
  • Editor (“Edited by...” capitals/lowercase).
  • City, State (use standard abbreviations, no periods):
  • Publisher;
  • Year.
  • (Series information.)
  • Number of pages (preface pages in lowercase Roman numerals; number of text pages in Arabic numerals):
  • Price.
  • ISBN:
  • Acid-free paper symbol (if applicable)

Burke, John J. Makerspaces: A Practical Guide for Librarians. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield; 2014. (Practical Guide for Librarians no. 8.) 183 p. illus. $65.00. ISBN: 978-1-4422-2967-9.
Collaborative Caring: Stories and Reflections on Teamwork in Health Care. Edited by Suzanne Gordon, David Feldman, and Michael Leonard. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; 2014. 286 p. $27.95. ISBN: 978-0-8014-5339-7.

NOTE: Names are set as follows:

One author: Smith, John A.
Two authors: Smith, John A., and Jones, Casey Q.
Three authors: Smith, John A., Jones, Casey Q., and Johnson, Lyndon B.

  • Title (use boldface type).
  • Subtitle (use plain type),
  • City, State (standard abbreviation, no periods):
  • Publisher;
  • Year.
  • Volume,
  • Number,
  • Year.
  • Frequency of publication.
  • Price.

Journals may be cited as monographs (special issues of currently established journals) or as new publications; for example: Monograph:

Clinical Therapeutics. International Journal of Drug Therapy, 1982. v.5 (special issue). $5/issue, $29 (subscription).

New publication

Survey of Immunologic Research. Basel, Switzerland: Karger; 1982. v.1, no.1, 1982. ISBN: 978-3-8044-2971-6; ISSN: 0252-9564.

  • Title (use boldface type).
  • Subtitle (use plain type),
  • Producer,
  • Address, City, State (standard abbreviation, no periods);
  • Uniform resource locator;
  • Other contact information;
  • Price.

Macprofessionals Public Library iPad Checkout Solution. Macprofessionals, 30275 Hudson Drive, Novi, MI 48377; Contact vendor for pricing.

Evernote. Evernote Corporation, 305 Walnut Street, Redwood City, CA 94063;; basic version: free; premium version: $5 permonthor$45 per year.