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Research Guides

Shakespeare Studies: Citing in MLA

This guide provides selected information resources related to Elizabethan and Shakespeare studies.

MLA Style Overview

MLA Style Overview

The MLA citation style is typically used by scholars in fields such as the Classics, English, Modern Languages, and Philosophy.


MLA Style uses the same basic format for all types of sources. Core elements are listed in a particular order, and containers are used when citing a source that is part of a larger work--such as an article within a journal or a chapter within a book.

Which elements get used depends on what is available for that source. This varies by type of source (i.e. journal article vs. book chapter vs. website). The basic format for any citation as described by Purdue OWL is as follows:

If parts of this basic format are not available (such as author or page numbers), omit it and move to the next element of the citation. 

DOIs, Permalinks, and URLs

DOIs, Permalinks, and URLs are important markers to help your readers find the online materials you have accessed. Be sure to check with your instructor about the inclusion of DOIs, Permalinks, and URLs. Some instructors may prefer you add them to the end of all of your online references, while others may want to keep them out unless they are vital to locating the materials.  

DOIs and Permalinks are preferred because they are permanent links to an object's location online. URLs can be changed or broken. However, if no DOI or Permalink is available, use the URL. 

MLA does not encourage the use of URL shortening services. Instead, one should drop the protocol (https://) and, if necessary, drop the path if it is overly long, keeping only the host address so readers can evaluate the source and locate the material through their own search on the site.

If you need to break a long URL for hanging indentation, try to do so after a punctuation or symbol (e.g. ., _, /, @)

For a quick overview of core elements and containers, see the following from the MLA Style Center:



Author last name, First name. "Article Title." Periodical Title, vol. x, no. x, Day Month Year, pp. x-xx. Database Name, URL/DOI.


Journal or Magazine Article Retrieved from a Database

Cowley, Jason, and Katy Shaw. "Three Lions and a Unicorn." New Statesman, vol. 148, no. 5499, 29 Nov. 2019, pp. 20-25. EBSCOhost,

Davies, Joe. "Crackers and the Cheese Lady on the Night in Question." Queen's Quarterly, vol. 125, no. 3, Fall 2018, pp. 448-457. ProQuest,

Spary, E. C. "On the Ironic Specimen of the Unicorn Horn in Enlightened Cabinets." Journal of Social History, vol. 52, no. 4, Summer 2019, pp. 1033-1060. Project MUSE

Journal Article Retrieved from a Publisher's Website

Weitbrecht, Julia. "'Thou Hast Heard Me from the Horns of Unicorns': The Biblical Unicorn in Late Medieval Religious Interpretation." Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures, no. 5, 2018, pp. 49-64.

News Article from a Website

Mack, Eric. "Elusive Narwhals, Once Mistaken for Unicorns and Mermaids, Now Heard on Rare Recordings." Forbes, 26 May 2020, Accessed 1 June 2020.

Books & Chapters

Format: Entire Book

Author last name, First name. Book Title. E-book, Publisher, Year.

Editor last name, First name, editor. Book Title. Xth ed., Publisher, Year.

Format: Chapter in a Book

Author last name, First name. "Chapter Title." Book Title, edited by Editor First name Last Name, Xth ed., Publisher, Year, pp. x-xx.

Format: Chapter in a Book in a Multivolume Work

Author first name, Last name. "Chapter Title." Title of Volume, edited by Editor first name Last name, Publisher, Year, pp. x-xx.

Author first name, Last name. "Chapter Title." Title of Volume, edited by Editor first name Last name, pp. x-xx. Title of Series/Multivolume Work, general editor, General Editor first name Last name, Xth ed., vol. x, Publisher, Year.

Examples: Entire Book

Montanari, Massimo. Cheese, Pears, and History in Proverb. Translated by Beth Archer Brombert, E-book, Columbia University Press, 2010.

Zipes, Jack, editor. The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2015.

Example: Chapter in a Book

Samarawickrama, Sumudu. "Adora." Global Dystopias, edited by Junot Díaz, Boston Review, 2017, pp. 11-19.

Examples: Chapter in a Book in a Multivolume Work

Fox, Michael V. "Part IV: Proverbs 24:23-34 - More Words of the Wise." Proverbs 10-31. Yale University Press, 2009, pp. 770-774.

Fox, Michael V. "Part IV: Proverbs 24:23-34 - More Words of the Wise." Proverbs 10-31, 2009, pp. 770-774. The Anchor Yale Bible, general editor, John J. Collins, vol. 18B, Yale University Press, 2008-.

Websites & Online Multimedia

Format: Entire Website

Author. Website Title. Name of publisher/organization affiliated with site, date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Format: Webpage

Author. "Webpage Title." Website Title, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Example: Entire Website

National Museum of the American Indian. Smithsonian Institution, Accessed 8 June 2020.

Example: Webpage

"About the Museum." National Museum of the American Indian. Smithsonian Institution, Accessed 8 June 2020.

"Phyllis Wheatley." Poetry Foundation, Accessed 8 June 2020.

In-Text Citations

The National Museum of the American Indian has two facilities that house exhibitions, the museum in Washington, D.C., and the George Gustave Heye Center in New York City ("About the Museum").

In-Text Citations

In-Text Citations

MLA uses parenthetical citations consisting of the author's last name and the page number, where one exists. If there is no known author, use a portion of the title--which is what appears first in the full bibliography entry.


Fascinating sentence... (Cowley and Shaw 21).

Narwhals use echolocation, like bats, to find food (Mack).

Spary noted... (1052).