- Organize bibliographies alphabetically, by author. Write the author's name: Last name, First name.
- If no author is given, the entry is alphabetized by title. When alphabetizing titles, ignore the articles ‘a,’ ‘an,’ and ‘the.’ The second word of the title is used for purposes of alphabetization. (e.g., The Midwife's Apprentice is alphabetized using the letter M.)
- If the citation runs to a second line, indent five spaces, or one half inch.
- Most often (and unless indicated below), the title of a publication should be italicized. If it is not possible to use italics, it is acceptable to underline the title.
To cite information from a book, follow this style:
Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year.
Reef, Catherine. Walt Whitman. New York: Clarion, 1995.
- Always take the title from the title page, not the cover.
If, instead of an author, the person named on the title page is the editor or compiler, cite name as above but add“ed.”
Becker, Patricia C., ed. A Statistical Portrait of the United States: Social
Conditions and Trends. Lahnam, MD: Berhan, 2002.
Two or More Authors
- Cite the authors' names in the same order they are listed on the cover.
- Use the Last name, First name format for the first author; for all other authors use First name Last name.
- Use a comma between the authors' names. Place a period after the last author's name.
- If there are more than three authors, either name only the first and add et al., or give all the names.
Barkin, Carol, Elizabeth James. The New Complete Babysitters' Handbook.
New York: Clarion, 1995.
Two or More Works by the Same Author(s)
Use the name in the first entry only. For following entries, use the following to stand for the author's name: three hyphens, a period, and a space (---. ) and then the title. For works by the same author(s), alphabetize by title.
Wisniewski, David. Golem. New York: Clarion, 1996.
--- . Sundiata: Lion King of Mali. New York: Clarion, 1992.
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Encyclopedias and Reference Books
To cite information from an encyclopedia, follow this style:
Author of Article (if given).“Title of Article.” Title of Book. City of Publication:
If citing a familiar source that is frequently updated, like Encyclopedia Americana, full publication information isn't needed—just the volume number and year of publication.
”Dynamics.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Eleventh Edition. 1910.
If the work you're citing is less familiar, or if there is any doubt, include all information:
”Dynamics.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 36 vols. New York: The
Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910.
Doe, John. “Dynamics.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 36 vols. New York: The
Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910.
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Poem or Short Story in an Anthology
To cite information from a short story, follow this style:
Author of Story.“Title of Story.” Title of Book. Name of Editor.
City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page numbers of the story.
Malmude, Steve. “Perfect Front Door.” The Best American Poetry, 2002.
Ed. Robert Creeley, David Lehman. New York:
Scribner, 2002. 82-84.
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To cite information from an a magazine, follow this style:
Author.“Title of Article.” Title of Magazine Date: Page(s).
- Months of the year may be abbreviated (except May, June, July). For magazines issued every week or every two weeks, give complete dates, written in this order: Day Month Year, e.g. 25 Feb. 2003
- To cite page numbers:
If on consecutive pages, cite page numbers of the entire article: 7-11.
If possible cite only the last two digits of the second number: 134-45.
If not, cite all the digits of the second number: 198-203.
If not on consecutive pages, write only the first page number followed by a plus sign: 98+.
- Volume and issue numbers are not cited.
McGarvey, Robert.“Game On: Spiderdance Powers NBC's Weakest Link.”
EContent Jan. 2002: 20-29.
No Author Given
- Begin with the title of the article if no author is named.
”Applied Semantics Supports IPTC's Auto-Categorizer.” EContent
Jan. 2002: 10+.
To cite information from an a newspaper, follow this style:
Author.“Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper Date, edition: Page(s).
- Take the name of the newspaper from the masthead, but omit any introductory article: Boston Globe, not The Boston Globe.
- If the city of publication is not part of the newspaper's name, add it in square brackets: Patriot News [Harrisburg, PA]
- Specify the edition of the newspaper, if one is given on the masthead.
- If the article is not on consecutive pages, write the first page number and a plus sign: B1+.
Patrick Healy.“Mergers of some colleges, higher tuitions proposed.”
Boston Globe 27 Feb. 2003: A1
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Video or Film
To cite information from a film, video, or DVD, follow this style:
Title. Director's name. Distributor, year.
Walking with Dinosaurs. Dir. Tim Haines, Jasper James. BBC Video, 2000.
To cite information from a CD-ROM encyclopedia, follow this style:
Author's Name (if available). “Title of Article.” Title of CD-ROM.
Edition. CD-ROM. City of Publication:
”Czech Republic.” Compton's Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Cambridge: The
Learning Company, 1999.
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The Internet is a terrific resource that your children can use for their research projects and homework assignments. When conducting research, students must learn to cite all the sources they use in their assignments. These sources include all the books, magazines, newspapers, and Web sites or other online resources they have used.
While there are several variations on acceptable formats for citing Internet resources, your children can use the following guidelines to cite their online resources in their bibliographies. They will want to follow these styles so that their teachers and other readers can return to the sites and check the information.
It's also wise to have your children print the online material they cite in their bibliographies in case their teachers or readers cannot link to the sites where the original material is located. This will provide printed proof of the original information they've cited.
Worldwide Web Sites
To cite files available for viewing on the Worldwide Web via Netscape, Explorer, and other Web browsers, follow this style:
Author's Name. Full title of work (in quotation marks). Document date (if known), Full http address, Date of visit.
Pikulski, Jack.“The Role of Phonics in the Teaching of Reading.” Feb. 5, 1997,
http://www.eduplace.com/lds/article/phonics.htm, Oct. 6, 1997.
Since Internet sites can change or move over time, students might also want to cite the publisher of the material or Web site as verification.
E-mail, Listserv, and Newslist Citations
To cite information received via the Internet from e-mail, listservs or newslists, follow this style:
Author's Name (or alias, if known), Subject Line from e-mail or posting (in quotation marks), Date of message, Address of to mailing lists or newsgroups, Date of access (in parentheses).
For personal e-mail listing, do not include the e-mail address.
- Jones, John J. “History Project Proposal.” email@example.com (Nov. 15, 1997). [mailing list]
- Wright, Bonnie. “Writing a Narrative Essay.” Personal e-mail (Jan. 18, 1999). [personal e-mail]
Adapted from Modern Language Association of America Citation Guide.
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Level: Elementary school, Middle school
Notes: Citations are in MLA 8th edition
Looking for more? Click here to see all of our video lessons and infographics.
Plagiarism: It’s a tough word for young students to read and understand, but it also comes with some scary consequences. Consequences can include teacher, parent, and/or administrator intervention, a failed grade, and in some cases, even school expulsion. The best way to prevent it? Teach your students, while they’re at a young age, to be responsible researchers. Teaching your students to include citations in their research projects is an essential, lifelong skill that will prevent plagiarism, provide self-confidence in the creation and submission of a research project, and also keep those scary consequences for them at bay.
Citations for Beginners was developed to help young researchers understand:
- what plagiarism is
- why citations are created (to acknowledge or give credit to the original author, to allow others to find the source themselves, and to demonstrate to your instructor that you’re capable of locating high quality resources)
- the format and components of a citation in MLA format
- the purpose of using citation generator websites, such as EasyBib, to develop citations
Use this video in a whole group setting to serve as an introduction to the citation process, assign students to watch it at home for homework as a “flipped classroom” activity, or collaborate with your school librarian to develop extension activities. The possibilities are endless and learning about citations is vital to becoming a responsible and ethical researcher.
Believe it or not, elementary students aren’t too young to use citation generator websites, such as EasyBib.com. Its simple design allows for young students to quickly and easily cite their sources. Students are capable of creating citations for books, websites, magazine articles, videos, and many other sources they may use while researching. Students can copy and paste the citations into their research project or export them to their Google Docs or Microsoft Word template.
Looking for more videos to help with the research process? Be on the lookout for more coming your way! We’re planning on rolling out videos related to the research process and plagiarism in the months to come! Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to receive our new and exciting resources for educators.