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MLA Style Manual


Reference call outs should appear at the end of sentences unless there is a need to distinguish different sources within a single sentence. References are to appear in list form in the “References” section at the end of the manuscript before the author affiliation block.

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.

Leisey M. The Journey Project: a case study in providing health information to mitigate health disparities. J Med Libr Assoc. 2009 Jan;97(1):30–3. (Available from: <>. [cited 1 Sep 2009].)

Medical Library Association. 2018–2019 MLA group annual executive summaries [Internet]. The Association; 2019 [cited 22 Jul 2019]. <>.

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 MLAConnect, single web addresses should be linked to the text that mentions the website.

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 14.29 of CMS17 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 2018]. <>.
Marill JL. Journal selection at the National Library of Medicine: a new process for challenging times. Technicalities [Internet]. 2016 Jul/Aug;36(4):1–5 [cited 26 Oct 2018]. <>.
Jones WR. Culture technique. Email message to: James Larson. 2019 Nov 15, 7:50 p.m. [32 lines].<>.

  • Author’s or editor’s last name and initials (no periods).
  • Title of article (capitalize only first word and proper names).
  • Journal title (see “List of Title Word Abbreviations (LTWA)” for abbreviations of common English words).
  • Year and month (or season) of publication(s);
  • Volume number
  • Issue number (in parentheses):
  • Inclusive page numbers using an en dash.
  • Digital object identifier (DOI): URL, if available

Brownson RC, Eyler AA, Harris JK, Moore JB, Tabak RG. Getting the word out: new approaches for disseminating public health science. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2018 Mar;24(2):102–11. DOI:
Dahlhamer JM, Galinsky AM, Joestl SS, Ward BW. Sexual orientation and health information technology use: a nationally representative study of U.S. adults. LGBT Health. 2017 Apr;4(2):121–9.
Gutzman KE, Bales ME, Belter CW, Chambers T, Chan L, Holmes KL, Lu YL, Palmer LA, Reznik-Zellen RC, Sarli CC, Suiter AM, Wheeler TR. Research evaluation support services in biomedicl libraries. J Med Libr Assoc. 2018 Jan;106(1):1–14. 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 per month or $45 per year.