The rapid advancements in technology have revolutionized the way people do things. One of the most important breakthroughs in technology is the internet. Not only did the internet change and improve the way people communicate, shop, or entertain themselves, but also modernized the method of gathering information.
With this, the field of academic research and writing has also been affected.Traditionally,students had to go to the library and spent hours searching for scholarly books and journals related to their topic. Your mom and dad might be among those who experienced this. Anyway, nowadays it is possible to write an academic paper with just the use of a computer with an internet connection, unless your professor requires you to get actual printed sources.
The method of writing an academic paper is pretty much the same, the only difference is that today, there are more convenient and faster ways of obtaining references. One of the things that stayed the same is the need for citing sources.
There are a lot of referencing styles that you might be familiar with such as the APA, Chicago, or Harvard. However, if you are writing a paper on literature, humanities, and other fields in the liberal arts, MLA style is the most appropriate to use.
What is MLA Style?
MLA stands for Modern Language Association. This style was devised to provide a standardized way of citing references and presenting research works in the liberal arts field. The first handbook for writers, published in 1951, only contained rules on how to cite sources from printed works. But with the advent of the internet era, they have widened the scope and included rules on how to cite sources from the web. Since the use of internet sources is more relevant today, the method of citing these would be the focus of this article.
In-text Citation of Web Documents Using MLA Style
Basically, in-text citation is used in order to help readers identify the specific parts of your paper where you used a particular reference listed in the Works Cited part. If you are more familiar with the APA style, you can look at the Works Cited, as the equivalent of the References part at the end of your APA formatted paper, where all of the sources are listed.
The in-text citation style for printed and web sources are almost the same. For printed works, you need to include the author’s last name and page number in the parenthesis. Since not all documents from the web have page numbers, you can just enclose the last name of the author in a parenthesis. Don’t even think about assigning a page number on your own if it doesn’t have any.
Did you notice that some web documents also don’t have the author’s name? If you encounter a document like that, you don’t have to worry because you can just write the title of the article (with quotation marks) in the parenthesis, like this: (“MLA Formatting: Citing Sources from the Web”).
Writing the Works Cited
Now that you already know how to write in-text citations for web documents, you may be wondering, “What is the MLA Works Cited format for websites?”
As mentioned earlier, the Works Cited is similar to the References of APA. This part of the paper is equally important because your parenthetical citations will be useless without this list. Please refer to the picture below for a general MLA Works Cited format for websites.
The picture pretty much shows everything that you need to write in the Works Cited. Even the indentation is the same. Just to clarify certain points, you have to write the following information in the same order:
- Author’s last name, comma, first name (for multiple authors, write down all their names)
- Title of the article in quotation marks
- Name of the website in italics
- Name of organization, publisher, or sponsor
- Date the article was published (if not available, write n.d which stands for “no date”)
The format should be like this:
Date Month Year
17 Oct. 2013
- Medium of publication, in this case, the Web.
- Date you accessed the web document (same format as number 5)
Some examples on how to write the Works Cited part with references from the web:
Allingham, Philip V. “Theatres in Victorian London.” Victorian Web. National University of Singapore. 9 May 2007. Web. 24 Sept. 2010.
“How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow. Demand Media. n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2011.
Final Thoughts and Additional Tips
You must not forget to take note of all your sources and make sure that the number of parenthetical citations tallies with the number of entries in the Works Cited part of the paper. So for instance, you have 15 DIFFERENT (similar parenthetical citations count as just one) in-text citations, you must also have 15 entries in the Works Cited. Also, do the proper indentation and present them in alphabetical order. If your professor requires you to include the URL, just write the exact URL in angular brackets, and put a period like this: <URL>.
Citing sources from the web using MLA Style is not as complicated as it seems. The rules may look technical, but don’t get too intimidated by these. Besides, you can always use this article as your reference for citing internet sources.