If you are a student and have been tasked by your instructor to write a paper on the subject of literature, philosophy, or any of the fine arts, you will be required to use the MLA format to structure your paper and the MLA citation style to document your sources. These two styles were established and developed by the Modern Language Association, an organization that specializes in the study of literature and languages, and have been adopted by many educational institutions, including several high schools departments, colleges, and universities.
The purpose of MLA citations and a work cited page is to acknowledge the original source for each citation that you use in writing your work, and to give your paper credibility to avoid accusations of plagiarism. The complete and definitive rules, style conventions, and guidelines of the MLA format are fully explained in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, and it covers several aspects of research writing, including topic selection, evaluating sources, taking notes, plagiarism, mechanics of writing, and the format of the research paper as well as the technicalities of citation for every source type.
You can start preparing your MLA format works cited page by creating a new, separate page in your word processor. As with the rest of your document, you need to set 1 inch margins on all sides (left, right, top, and bottom) of the page, and to set the line spacing into double space. Remember to include your last name and the pertinent page numbers on the running head on all pages.
All titles of books, magazines, scholarly journals, newspapers, and websites are always underlined. On the other hand, all titles of individual articles, such as titles of articles taken from periodicals, essay collections, magazines, and anthologies are always enclosed within double quotation marks. Below are some examples:
Hawthorn, Jeremy. Conrad: Language and Fictional Self-Consciousness. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.
Klein, Melanie. “Mourning and Its Relation to Manic-Depressive States.” In Love, Guilt, and Reparation and Other Works, 1921-1945. New York: Dell, 1975.
When a particular source has no given author, skip it and start your MLA citation with the title instead, for example:
Thorns and Arabesques: Contexts for Conrad’s Fiction. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1980.
For the publishers, always use a shortened version, for example, instead of typing “New York: William Morrow & Company”, you can shorten it to “New York: Morrow.” In instances where the publisher has an imprint, i.e., Avon Book, published by Harper Collins, incorporate the two elements, resulting in: Avon-Harper.
The types of sources that are available for use in writing research papers are innumerable and vary in their elements, and each require a particular and appropriate MLA citation. Thus, should you require further assistance in formatting them, you can choose to use a works cited generator, which is designed to automatically structure and generate your sources in the accurate and proper MLA format.