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Citation Tools: Books

MLA Core Elements

MLA - Who is the author?

The author refers to the person or entity that created the source.  
Authors can include individual people writing books and articles, Film directors, government agencies, corporations, and many more.

List the author last name first:  Brown, Brene.  

If the person you are listing as the creator is someone other than an author, such as an editor or translator, include a label that indicates this.  

Example: Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor.

If the source was created by an organization, such as an institution, government agency, corporation, etc. list the name of the organization as the author.  

However, if the authoring organization is also the publisher, do not list it in the author spot.  Begin the entry with the source title and list the organization only in the publisher spot.  

What if there are multiple authors?

When a source has two authors, list them in the order in which their names appear in the work.  Only the first person will be listed last name first.  The second person's name should appear in normal order.  

Example:  Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdrich

When a source has three or more authors, list only the first person's name (last name, first name), followed by et al (and others).  

Example: Brown, Peter C., et al.  

What if there is no author listed?

Do not list the author as Anonymous, rather simply skip the author element and begin the citation with the source title.  


Basic Format


Author last name, First name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.  

Book chapter or section:

Author last name, First name. "Book Chapter Title." Title of Book, Publisher, Publication Date, Page range.  

Note:  In older versions of MLA style, the city of publication was listed before the publisher.  This is not necessary in the new edition.  

MLA - Books Basic Format

Print Books

Example: Book

Arendt, Hannah.  The Human Condition. 2nd ed., The University of Chicago Press, 1958.  

Example: Book chapter

Weinberger, David. "The Expertise of Clouds." Too Big to Know, Basic Books, 2011, pp.47-68. 

MLA - E-Books


If you read an E-book in an online database, such as our EBSCO E-Book Collection, make note of the database after the main citation. 

Cassidy, David C. A Short History of Physics in the American Century. Harvard UP, 2011. 

MLA - Anthologies


It is also important to note that the entity you list in the author position should be whoever was responsible for the part of the work you want to cite.  For example, if you want to cite one short story from an anthology, you use the name of the person who wrote that story.  Alternatively, if you need to cite the anthology as a whole, you would instead use the editor of the anthology.  

Examples: One work in an anthology

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. "On Monday of Last Week." The Thing Around Your Neck, Anchor Books, 2010, pp.74-94.

Borges, Jorge Luis. "The Garden of Forking Paths." Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley, Penguin Books, 1998, pp. 119-128. 

Example: Anthology as a whole

Black, Holly, and Justine Larbalestier, editors. Zombies vs. Unicorns. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010.