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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Government Documents

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. 

Tips

Author

In MLA 9th ed., citations of government documents have been simplified for student papers. For student papers citing a small number of government documents, the MLA Handbook recommends treating government documents "just like any other source written by an organization" by "record[ing] the name as presented by the source" (120). For advanced projects where many government documents are cited, more detailed recommendations can be found in the MLA Handbook and in some online guides. You may see specialists follow these rules in order to provide complete information about the government, department, and agency and to standardize Works Cited entries.

Publisher

In non-specialist and student papers, the MLA Handbook recommends shortening the publisher to the name of government and the primary agency only. Providing the names of sub-agencies is optional (171).

Access Date

Works from the web can be changed or removed at any time, so it is important to include the date you accessed the material in your citation. This is optional, but is especially important when there is no date specifying when the item (web document, article, webpage) was produced. Add the access date to the end of your citation. E.g. Accessed 23 July 2019.

Dates

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

Write the full date as you find it on the source. If there is only a year listed, you will only put the year in your citation. For others, you will also include a month and day if they are given.

If there is no date listed, just leave it out unless you can find that information available in a reliable source. In that case the date is cited in square brackets to show that you found that information somewhere else. E.g. [2008]

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. Do not use all-caps (except for words like USA where each letter stands for something), even if the words appear that way on the book or article.

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

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.

Government Document from a Website - Author and Publisher are Different

Author. Title of Document: Subtitle if Given. Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Primary Agency, Publication Date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

Note: In MLA 9th ed., citations of government documents have been simplified for student papers. For student papers citing a small number of government documents, the MLA Handbook recommends treating government documents "just like any other source written by an organization" by "record[ing] the name as presented by the source" (120). For advanced projects where many government documents are cited, more detailed recommendations can be found in the MLA Handbook and in some online guides. You may see specialists follow these rules in order to provide complete information about the government, department, and agency and to standardize Works Cited entries.

Works Cited List Example

Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth. Children and Youth with Neuro-Diverse Special Needs. Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Oct. 2019, https://www.leg.bc.ca/content/CommitteeDocuments/41st-parliament/4th-session/cay/Report_SSC-CY_41-4-1_Neuro-Diverse-Special-Needs.pdf. Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author Page number)

Example: (Select Standing Committee 14)

 Note: You can shorten group authors to the first noun phrase in parenthetical citations.

Government Document from a Website - Author and Publisher are the Same

Title of Document: Subtitle if Given. Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Primary Agency, Publication Date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

Works Cited List Example

Highlights from the Competition Bureau’s Workshop on Emerging Competition Issues. Competition Bureau of Canada, 4 Mar. 2016, www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/cb-Workshop-Summary-Report-e.pdf/$FILE/cb-Workshop-Summary-Report-e.pdf. Accessed 6 July 2016.

In-Text Citation Example

(Shortened Title of Document Page number)

Example: (Highlights 4)

 Note: You can use a shortened form of the title by listing the first word or words of the full title.

Government Document in Print

Title of Document: Subtitle if Given. Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Primary Agency, Publication Date.

Works Cited List Example

Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report. 7th ed., Statistics Canada, 2015. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Shortened Title of Document)

Example: (Women in Canada 4)

 Note: You can use a shortened form of the title by listing the first word or words of the full title.