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Citing & Referencing: Citing with MLA 9


 MLA 9     The Modern Language Association released the ninth edition of its handbook.

The ninth edition of The Modern Language Association citing handbook is meant to be easier to use and more adaptable to your needs as a writer. 

One of the major changes from the last edition is the shift toward one single format to accommodate all types of sources you may encounter during your research. It will be the same elements whether you cite a film, a video, a book, or an article, for instance.

. The website address (or URL) of an online source is now required information in your reference.
. For books, you don’t need to write the place of publication, only the publisher’s name.
. You don’t indicate the medium anymore (print, web, DVD, etc.).
. Pseudonyms such as @twittername are now allowed as authors.

There are core elements that are common to all the sources, and to keep your references simple yet informative you’ll have to make decisions. Click on the image below to see examples of the use of containers.



The concept of containers is new in MLA 9. A container is the format that holds the source you consulted. For example, if you cite a short story taken from an anthology, the short story is your source and the anthology is the container. Same as for a book (source) taken from a multivolume edition (container), an article (source) from a database (container) and a TV episode (source) from the series (container)… It is possible to have 2 containers in your reference.

1. Ask your teacher for help or contact Mr. Chioini. The library has a copy of the MLA 9 handbook.
You can also visit the online MLA Style Center where you’ll find simple explanations and several examples. You may want to start with the section called Works Cited: A Quick Guide.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab is, as always, one of the top references for your citing needs. 

You need to cite all your sources

Author. Title of the source. Title of the container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date.

De Grand, Alexander. Italian Fascism: It’s Origin & Development. 3rd

      Edition, University of Nebraska Press, 2000. 


Note: No place of publication. No medium.

Author. Title of the source. Title of the container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, access date for websites (optional but useful).

1. From a magazine
Blodget, Henry. “Why Wall Street Always Blows It.” Atlantic,
December 2008, pp. 

2. For a scholarly journal article

Piper, Andrew. “Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of

     Everything.” PMLA, vol. 121, no. 1, 2006, pp. 124-38.

3. From a database

Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading

     Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR,

NOTE: While most databases will generate the reference in the format you require, not all of them have updated to MLA 8.

Author. Title of the source. Title of the container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, address and access date for websites (optional but useful).

Deresiewicz, William. "The Death of the Artist-and the Birth of the
      Creative Entrepreneur." The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2014,


"Under the Gun." Pretty Little Liars, season 4, episode 6, ABC Family,
      16 July 2013, Accessed 23 July 2013.


Most, if not all databases will provide a citation link and provide for the full reference. However, take the time to look over the information to avoid possible mistakes. Not all of them have updated their databases to MLA 8 yet.

Citing links


Most, if not all, databases provide a link to the full reference of the article you are using in the format of your choice be it MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. Look for icons or words like: "Cite", "Citing", "How to cite this article", etc. Other digital services and libraries such as JSTOR, Hathi Trust, eNotes also provide citation links. 

After pasting the reference in your works cited page, make sure you:

1. Check and edit the reference if necessary. Some tools create erroneous or incomplete citations.

2. Put all the references in alphabetical order to help the reader find them.

3. Except for the first line of the reference, indent all subsequent lines underneath.


An Inconvenient Truth. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, performances by Al Gore
     and Billy West, Paramount, 2006.

Dean, Cornelia. "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet." The New York Times,
     22 May 2007,
     Accessed 12 May 2016.

Ebert, Roger. Review of An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim., 1 June 2006,
     2006. Accessed 15 June 2016.

Gowdy, John. "Avoiding Self-organized Extinction: Toward a Co-evolutionary Economics
     of Sustainability." International Journal of Sustainable Development and World
vol. 14, no. 1, 2007, pp. 27-36.

Leroux, Marcel. Global Warming: Myth or Reality?: The Erring Ways of Climatology.
     Springer, 2005.



This is an example of using in-text citations and the MLA citing format.

The text below was paraphrased from notes taken from different sources. The in-text citations, in yellow, mention where the preceding part of the information comes from. We use the first word of the source used. The full reference to the source is at found in the Works cited at the end of the essay. Note that the list is alphabetised and that lines are indented except for the first one.


Mujica: Good leadership in action

José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano is considered the world’s poorest president as he gives 90% of his $12,000 salary to charities benefitting the poor and small business owners (Mujica). After subtracting all of his donations, "his salary is around that of the average Uruguayan, approximately $775 per month" (Gonzalez 25). Instead of living in the presidential palace, Mujica lives with his wife on a farm, choosing not to employ the services of the presidential staff. Mujica is a former guerilla fighter and participated in the Tupamaros movement, which stole food and money and distributed it to the poor in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital. President Mujica spent 14 years in prison after he was arrested for joining in the brief take over of Pando. During his government career, Mujica helped to establish the Movement of Popular Participation political party within the Broad Front coalition, which he later ran under during his presidential campaign. He has been awarded the Grand Collar of the National Order of Merit from Paraguay and the Peruvian Grand Collar of the Order of the Sun, both of which are the respective country’s highest awards. Under his administration, Uruguay has legalized the state-controlled sale of marijuana to weaken the drug cartels and reduce drug trafficking. He is also a supporter of legalizing abortion. During the current clash between Uruguay and Argentina on the subject of pulp mills polluting the countries’ shared river border, Mujica has been more willing to negotiate than his predecessors, which could possibly bring an end to the conflict (Hernandez).


Works Cited / Travaux cités

Gonzalez, Alfredo. "The poor reign of Mujica." Conarte, 2008.

Hernandez, Vladimir. “Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president.” BBC News
15 Nov. 2012, <>.


Mujica and Mrs. Kirchner to meet next week in Montevideo.  MercoPress, 1 Dec.
      2009, <
​      meet-next-week-in-montevideo>.


(Example inspired from an essay by graduate student Elizabeth Brewer, 2014)


pic: <>

1) The original TEXT I want to use from Obama's speech

“(…) I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves; that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity. (…) History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas.  (…) In each case, government didn't supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive.”

2) PARAPHRASING the text in my own words & CITING it
In his address, Obama states that the role of the government is to support the private industry in times of crisis, not to replace it (Obama Speech).

3) WORKS CITED page (full reference)

"Obama Speech Tonight: Video, Text." The Huffington Post.
        27 Mar. 2009. Accessed 8 Oct. 2009.


MLA 8 format (2016)



or parenthetical citations 

In-text citations allow you to indicate the provenance of your information. The details of the citation will be found in the full reference in your works cited page at the end of your document.

If the author you’re citing is well-known or an expert in his field, you can write his name in the body of the text of your essay and indicate the page number of the work in parenthesis at the end of the sentence. 

As Townsend points out, Medieval Europe was a place both of “raids, pillages, slavery, and extortion” and of “traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities, and active markets in grain” (10).

If the author is less known, you put his name in parenthesis along with the page number of the work you’re citing. 

Medieval Europe was a place both of “raids, pillages, slavery, and extortion” and of “traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities, and active markets in grain” (Townsend 10).

In both cases the reader must find the entry of the full reference in your Works Cited Page.

Townsend, Robert M. The Medieval Village Economy.
     Princeton UP, 1993.

Notes in MLA format

Version used: MLA, 8th edition (2016)

ASP has adopted MLA as its citing format. However, you may be required by your teacher or by a specific IB Subject Guide to use a different format. Formats such as APA, Chicago, etc. each have their own rules and are used in specific fields of study and research.

This document discusses how to use notes in MLA 8. For details on how to cite and reference in MLA refer to the libguide posted on the library web site.

Notes in MLA

MLA encourages writers to use in-text citations over footnotes and endnotes. 

Notes (foot/endnotes), however, can be used in MLA and are meant to supplement information found in the body of your main essay. MLA uses 2 types of notes, both for commentary, not for citations. They are meant:

1. To supply additional information
2. To refer readers to additional sources

1. To supply additional information: An example.


1. In this paper, I follow the definition of metonymy as a figure of contiguity. For a good
definition of the term, see Martin.


2. To refer readers to additional sources: An example


1. For strong points of view on different aspects of the issue, see Public Agenda Foundation 1-10 and Sakala 151-88.

​Endnotes and Footnotes – Differences

  • All endnotes are listed on a separate page named Notes at the end of your paper but before the works cited page.
  • All footnotes are found at the bottom of the page, 4 lines below the main text.

Endnotes and Footnotes – Similarities

Notes replace in-text citations in your essay. Endnotes is the preferred format in MLA.  

  • Start your first note with number 1 in superscript after the punctuation of the sentence and continue sequentially throughout your paper.
  • Each number in your text corresponds to the same number in your notes.

Foot/Endnotes are not formatted the same as your works cited page.

  • Put a period and a space between the note number and the reference.
  • ​Single-space within the note. Double-space between notes.
  • Indent the first line of the note 5 spaces and keep the subsequent lines flushed to the margin.
  • All first notes must be written in full (see example below). Subsequent references to the same author may be shortened to just author’s last name and page number.  Ibid and op. cit. are not favored anymore.
  • Write the author’s first name followed by his last name.
  • Write the publication information in parenthesis.
  • Indicate the exact page number(s) you used.

Example of a first foot/endnote

 2     Fred Flintstone, The Science of carving: Advanced techniques for the

 modern man (Hard Times Publishing, 2000) 245.


We sometimes hear of students who lost points for not following a certain format such as author/date in in-text citations. Make sure you understand what is required of you and get acquainted with resources we have in the library to help you learn the proper format. See below.

While contrary to what MLA prescribes, we understand some teachers may suggest you use footnotes to minimize the impact on your total word count.  

Word count

Notes are not tabulated in the final word count. IBO warns that “An essay that attempts to evade the word limit by including important material in notes or appendices risks losing marks under several criteria.” p. 19


Remember that EE examiners have no obligation to read in excess of 4000 words nor your notes, appendices and other supplementary information found outside the main body.

Citation tools and databases

The school subscribes to EasyBib School Edition which allows you to save all your work within EasyBib itself, create folders, write your essay, etc. You can create a free account via the databases page on the library web site.

While online citation tools are really helpful they don’t always provide all the information you need. As a rule of thumb double-check every reference before adding it to your works cites page.

EBSCO and other online databases give you the full reference of each article you use. Again, mistakes have been found. Use your judgment and knowledge to check each reference.


  • Clarity and consistency are the key.
  • When in doubt, cite it.

Library resources

Here are library resources that will help you with MLA.

50 Excellent Extended Essays.  International Baccalaureate Organization, 2008. CD.

         (USL call # 373.126 FIF)

MLA Handbook. Eighth Edition. The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

         (USL call #: 808 .02 MLA)

The online writing lab (OWL) at Purdue University is also an excellent online resources for citing.



A bibliography lists all the works you may have used to create your work even if you didn't cite them in your essay. As the name implies, bibliographies list print materials such as books and articles.

or annotated list of works cited

Annotations can be done for magazine or journal articles, books, films, video clips, legal documents, web sites, etc. Like in a works cited document, your references and their annotations must be alphabetized.

Cornell University explains that an annotation “summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.” (How to Prepare)

OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab has an excellent tutorial on using MLA 7, including an explanation of annotated bibliographies. <>.

 “How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography.” Cornell University Library Guides at
     Cornell University
. Cornell University. September 5, 2013. Web. 2 November
     2013. <>.


1. Not all the examples follow the structure explained above.
2. Each reference is double-spaced.
3. The second and subsequent lines of each reference and the annotations are indented. 
4. MLA states that every line should be double-spaced but I've seen different versions of this rule. 

Rule of thumb: Be consistent!

Baack, Paul, and Tom Zielinski. Her Majesty’s Secret Servant: The Essential James
. Web. 2 November 2013. <>.

“Her Majesty’s Secret Servant” is an online magazine that goes above and beyond just being a fanzine about James Bond and actually provides useful analysis and criticism. In their own words they ‘strive to provide… informative and knowledgeable analysis and insight into the essence of the … James Bond character.”

Butler, Alison. Women’s cinema: the contested screen. London; New York:
     Wallflower Press, 2002. Print.

This excellent book contains a small section entitled “Women directors in the Iranian New Wave” (pp.96-100) debating the main issues surrounding their work. The way in which the “purification” of Iranian cinema through Islamic values transformed film into an acceptable industry for women to enter is considered, and Bani-Etemad’s work is used as example, in particular The MAY LADY, to show how cinematic techniques are employed to overcome censorship regulations. Also looks at the cinematography used in Marzieh Meshkini’s THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN and concludes that generally in women’s cinema in Iran there is often a “veiling of meaning” and that films are often ambiguous because of fear of repercussions, as experienced by Tahmineh Milani.

Durham, Carolyn A. Double takes: culture and gender in French films and their
     American remakes
. Hanover, NH; London: University
 Press of New England,
     1998. Print.

In the chapter, ‘Jim McBride’s “Breathless in L.A.”’ (pp 49-69), the author discusses the parallels between the two versions, and other French film influences at work. Author fiendishly mentions an interview in cineaste bible Cahiers du Cinema where McBride openly admits that remaking this New Wave classic was a career move to re-vitalise a flagging career.

Golmakani, Houshang. “New times, new perceptions.” Cinemaya no. 4. Summer 1989:
     22-29. Print.

In-depth article on censorship in Iran from the 1930’s to date, noting the difficulties Iranian filmmakers have faced over the decades and how they have attempted to overcome them. The three main areas which have traditionally come under the strictest regulations are categorised as: sex, politics, and ideology. The final page of the article, titled “Forbidden Themes”, details the changes over time to the Regulations for Cinema and Entertainment Institutions.

Macbeth. Dir. Roman Polanski. Perf. Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, and Nicholas Selby.
     1971. Columbia, 2002. DVD.

It is impossible to watch certain scenes without thinking of the Charles Manson case. Indeed, Polanski adds his own grim conclusion after Shakespeare's, with a final scene in which Malcolm, now crowned king, goes to consult the same witches who deceived Macbeth. Polanski's characters resemble Charles Manson: They are anti-intellectual, witless, and driven by deep, shameful wells of lust and violence. This is certainly one of the most pessimistic films ever made, and there seems little doubt that Polanski intended his film to be full of sound and fury and to signify nothing.

Maltby, Richard. Hollywood Cinema. 2nd Edition. Malden, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell New
     England, 2003. Print.

Although this deals mainly with the studio system of the later period, Maltby provides an original understanding of the way the business and economics of film determined the way films appeared to their audiences. Very clear, readable, and concise.

Mannoni, Laurent. The Great Art of Light and Shadow. Exeter: University of Exeter
     Press, 2000. Print.

A monumental work of research focusing mainly on France and Europe that reveals the ancestry of the film image in a variety of visual devices, especially the "Magic Lantern." Filled with facts and details from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.


The annotations above are taken from these sources:

1. The Baack (web site), Butler (book), Durham (book) and Golmakani (book) are reformatted examples from the BondIranian Cinema and Remakes Source Guides from the British Film Institute web site:

“16+ Source Guides”. BFI National Library. British Film Institute. Web. 3 November 2013.
     16+ Source Guides. <

2. The Maltby and Mannoni books come from this site:

“Annotated Bibliography.” History Matters:  The U.S. Survey Course on the Web. The American Social
     History Project / Center for Media and Learning. Web. 3 November 2013.

3. The online film review of Macbeth was taken from:

Ebert, Roger. Macbeth. Roger Ebert. 1 January 1971. Web. 2 November 2013.