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Citation Tools: Websites & Social Media

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.  

MLA - Citing a Website - Guidelines

MLA strongly recommends including a date of access for online sources, even though it is not part of the core elements.  Both the content and location of online sources can change frequently, so it is important for your reader to know when you used it.  Include the date of access at the end of your citation, followed by a period. 

For a website, the location is the URL.  Some instructors prefer their students to exclude the URLs, so always remember to ask your professor for clarification.  You do not need to include https:// or http:// when listing the URL. 

MLA - Websites

Example: Citing a whole website

Dubuque Dream Center. Accessed 19 Sept. 2017.

Muslim Congress. 2017. Accessed 19 Sept. 2017. 

Example: Page or article on a website

"College Health and Safety" CDC. 9 Aug. 2016. Accessed 5 June 2017. 

In the above examples, the title of the website is essentially the same as the publisher.  When this is the case, you may list only the title; you do not need to repeat that information in the publisher's spot.

MLA - Blogs

Citing a blog entry is very similar to citing an article from an online magazine or newspaper


Howe, Amy. "But what about the 'cloud'? The Aereo argument in Plain English." SCOTUSblog, 24 April 2014.

MLA - Social Media Posts

Cite a social media post only if you are using the content of the post itself.  If your source is an article that was shared via social media, cite the source according to the article type (online magazine, newspaper, blog, etc.)

Begin the citation with the username or twitter handle instead of the author's name.  Since social media posts do not have titles, copy the entirety of the post and place it in quotation marks.  Follow this with the name of the social media platform in italics, date and time, and a link back to the post.  

Example: Tweet

@LibnOfCongress. "Hello @Twitter! I am Carla Hayden, the 14th #LibrarianOfCongress. Let's explore @LibraryCongress together." Twitter. 14 Sept. 2016, 10:29 a.m.,