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Citation Guide (MLA 8th Edition): Author

How to cite sources according to MLA

Author (Works Cited)

Author is the first core element of the Works Cited entry. 

The term "author" is used loosely to mean the person or group primarily responsible for producing the source.

Editors, translators, performers, and corporate authors may fill the author core element, but a descriptive label should be included.

  • List author names as they appear in the document or text - meaning do not abbreviate the names.
  • Reverse only the name of the first author followed by a comma. "Sam Jones" becomes "Jones, Sam."
  • Give the other names in normal form (as they appear).
  • Use the word "and", not an ampersand (&), before the last author's name.
  • For three or more authors, list the first author with the name reversed followed by a comma and "et al."
  • If a work has no personal or organizational author, but has an editor, begin the citation with the name(s) of the editor(s).
  • If a work has no identifiable author (personal, organization, or editor), begin the citation with the title.
  • If a corporate author is both author and publisher, add the name as the publisher.
  • For corporate authors omit any initial articles in the name, like "the".
  • For editors, follow the same rules as authors but include a comma followed by "editor" or "editors" then a period.
  • This element ends with a period.

One author:

Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People. 7th ed, McGraw Hill, 2014, p. 525.

Two authors:

McKee, Timothy, and James A. McKee. Business Ethics: The Political Basis of Commerce. Oxford UP, 2009.‚Äč

Three or more authors:

Tucker, Virginia M., et al. “Learning Portals: Analyzing Threshold Concept Theory for LIS Education.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, vol. 55, no. 2, Apr. 2014, pp. 150-65. Academic OneFile.

 Note: While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, they can be left out when citing a work found in a library database. Accessed date is also optional.

One editor:

DiYanni, Robert, editor. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2007.

Two editors: 

Zeigler-Hill, Virgil, and David K. Marcus, editors. The Dark Side of Personality: Science and Practice in Social, Personality, and Clinical Psychology. American Psychological Association, 2016.

Three or more editors:

Damrosch, David, et al., editors. The Longman Anthology of World Literature, 2nd ed., vol. A, Pearson Education, 2009.

Organization, corporation, or group as author:

Planned Parenthood. "Body Image." Learn, 2016,

Organization, corporation, or group is both author and publisher:

Bait and Switch Selling. Competition Bureau of Canada, 2014. Pamphlet.

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