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MLA Citation Guide (8th Edition): Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

This guide shows you how to cite using MLA 8th edition

Abbreviating Months

In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows: 

January = Jan.
February = Feb.
March = Mar.
April = Apr.
May = May
June = June
July = July
August = Aug.
September = Sept.
October = Oct.
November = Nov.
December = Dec.

Spell out months fully in the body of your paper. 

Formatting

Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Tips

Access Date

For all content found on the Web, you must list the date you first viewed the resource. This comes last in a citation with the word "Accessed" before the date. The date is given as Day Month Year and the month is abbreviated (e.g. Oct. instead of October)

Authors/Editors

An author can be a person but can also be an organization, or company. These are called group or corporate authors.

If you are citing a chapter from a book that has an editor, the author of the chapter is listed first, and is the name listed in the in-text citation.

Dates

The format of all dates is: Date Month (shortened) Year. E.g. 5 Sept. 2012.

Page Numbers

If there is more than one page put "pp." before the page numbers. If there is only one page put "p." before the page number.

If no page numbers are provided leave them out of the citation.

Place of Publication

List the city the book was publsihed. If more than one city is listed, use the first.

Titles

Capitalize the first letter of every important word in the title. You do not need to capitalize words such as: in, of, or an.

If there is a colon (:) in the title, include what comes after the colon (also known as the subtitle).

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In-Text Citation - No Author

If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first word or words in the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

Include the page number where the quote or paraphrased section appears if page numbers are provided.

Examples:

("Cat Care")

("Tattooing" 54)

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page. Name of Database. 

Works Cited Example

Lander, Jesse M. "Shakespeare, William." World Book Student, 2016. World Book.

In-Text Citation Example

 (Author's Last Name)

 Example: (Lander)

 Note: Because the specific page number can't be determined, the page number is left out of the in-text citation. Include a page number after the author's last name if one is given.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Unknown Author

 "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page. Name of Database. 

Works Cited List Example

 "Racism." Britannica Academic, 2013. Encyclopædia Britannica. 

  Note:This example had no editor's name, edition, volume or page numbers, so these elements were left out of the citation.

In-Text Citation Example

 ("One Two or Three Words From Title of Entry")

 Example: ("Racism")

 Note: This entry has no page numbers, so this information is left out of the citation. 

 Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words from title of the entry. The words from the title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

 Note: While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, we recommend that URLs be left out when citing a work found in a library database. Because library databases require a login most URLs will stop working after the session ends.

If you do not have information such as an editor's name, a volume or page numbers leave those sections out of your citation.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, Publication or Update Date, Name of Website. URL. Accessed Day Month Year of Access. 

Works Cited List Example

 McLean, Steve. "The Tragically Hip." The Canadian Encyclopedia, 26 Mar. 2015, Historica Canada. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/the-tragically-hip-emc. Accessed 27 Jun. 2016.

 Note: In this example the date of last edit is listed as publication or update date. List the full date if given in Day,  Month, Year format, abbreviating the month. Date of access is the day the website was visited.

In-Text Citation Example

 (Author's Last Name and Author's Last Name)

 Example: (McLean)

 Note: This entry has no page numbers so that detail is left out of the citation.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Unknown Author

"Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, Publication or Update DateName of Website. URL. Accessed Day Month Year of Access. 

Works Cited List Example

 "Filibuster." Merriam-Webster's Learners Dictionary, Merriam-Webster. www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filibuster. Accessed 27 June 2016.

 Note: No publication or update date was given so this information was left out of the citation.

In-Text Citation Example

 ("Title of Entry")

 Example: ("Filibuster")

 Note: This entry has no page numbers so this is left out of the citation.

 Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words from title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

Wikipedia

"Title of Entry." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Day Month Year entry was last modified, Time entry was last modified, URL of entry. Accessed Day Month Year Wikipedia entry was last viewed.

 Note: The date and time the article was last modified appears at the bottom of each Wikipedia article.

Wikipedia may not be considered an acceptable source for a college or university assignment. Be sure to evaluate the content carefully and check your assignment.

Works Cited List Example

"Body Image." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 June 2016, 7:41 pm, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_image. Accessed 28 June 2016.

Citation Example

("Title of Entry")

("Body Image")

Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry In Print - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page.

Works Cited List Example

 Barber, Russell J. "Anthropological Ethics." Ethics, edited by John K. Roth, Rev. ed., vol. 1, Salem Press, 2005, pp. 67-69. 

In-Text Citation Example

 (Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Barber 67)

Encyclopedia or Dictionary In Print - Unknown Author

 "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page.

Works Cited List Example

 "Guyana" Oxford Encyclopedia of World History, compiled by Market House Books, Oxford UP, 1998, p. 283

  Note:This encyclopedia has a compiler listed instead of an editor, the compiler is a company instead of a individual. As no edition or volume were given this information was omitted. UP is used as an abbreviation for University Press. If there is only one page use p. instead of pp. before the page number.

In-Text Citation Example

 ("Title of Entry")

 Example: ("Guyana 283")

 Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words of the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.