Skip to main content

MLA Citation Guide (8th Edition): When Information Is Missing

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

How to Alphabetize Titles in Works Cited List

If there is no author given, your citation will start with the title of the work. You must put these citations in correct alphabetical order in your Works Cited list.

When putting works in alphabetical order, ignore initial articles such as "the", "a", or "an". For example the title The Best of Canada would be alphabetized as if it started with the word Best instead of the word The.

If the title begins with a number, alphabetize it as if the number was spelled out. For example the title 5 Ways to Succeed in Business would be alphabetized under F as if it had started with the word Five .

For example, this is how the following titles would be alphabetized:

Anthropology in Action [A]
The Best of Canada [B... ignore "The"]
Easy Plant Care [E]
5 Ways to Succeed in Business [F... 5=Five]
A Special Kind of Madness [S... ignore "A"]

No Author

If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title of the source you are citing instead. Use the first one, two, or three main words from the title, in either italics or in "quotation marks" (the same way it is written in your Works Cited list). You should provide enough words to make it clear which work you're referring to from your Works Cited list.

Example:

"How to Teach Yourself Guitar." eHow, Demand Media, www.ehow.com/how_5298173_teach-yourself-guitar.html. Accessed 24 June 2016.

In-text citation would be ("How to Teach")

 Note: An author/creator won't necessarily be a person's name. It may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada or a username on a site such a YouTube. Also, it is possible for the author's name to be written as only initials. If the author is known only by initials, treat the initials as one unit. Use the initials in your in-text citation and list the entry under the first initial in your Works Cited page. 

Anonymous

If and only if an item is signed as being created by Anonymous, use "Anonymous" where you'd normally put the author's name. Otherwise, if it is an unknown author, start your citation with the title of the work.

For more information on how to cite an author's name known only by initials, check out the MLA Style Center blog

No Date

If no date is provided, skip that information in your citation. It is recommended that you add the date you accessed the work at the end of the citation in your Works Cited list. Access date is given by putting the word "Accessed" followed by the date you viewed or accessed the work (format =  Day Month (shortened) Year).

Example: 

"Audit and Assurance." Chartered Professional Accountants Canada, www.cpacanada.ca/en/business-and-accounting-resources/audit-and-assurance. Accessed 6 Sept. 2019.

No Page Numbers

Some sources, such as online materials, won't have page numbers provided. If this is the case, leave the page numbers out of the citation. For your in-text citation, just use the author's name or the title of the work if there is no author given. For your Works Cited list, just leave the page number part out.

Example:

Williamson, Jennifer. "Canada: Business: Attire." Global Road Warrior, World Trade Press, 2018, www.globalroadwarrior/com/#mode=country&regionId=27&uri=country-content&nid=13.08&key=country-attire. Accessed 17 July 2016.

In-text citation would be (Williamson)

 Note  If there are no page, chapter, paragraph, or section numbers in the original text, then don't include any. Never count pages or paragraphs yourself.

No Database Name

If you find an article through the search bar on the main library page, you might be unsure which database the article is from, because this searches across many different databases.

You can find the name of the database a few ways:

Method 1. Click on the title of the article in the search results list. This will bring you to a page with a description of the article as well as other useful information. Scroll down to the bottom of this list of information, and you should see "Database" listed near the bottom.

Method 2. You can also find the name of the database in the summary of information just below the title of the article in the search results list. It will look something like this:

A Cross-National Study of Evolutionary Origins of Gender Shopping Styles: She Gatherer, He Hunter?

By: Dennis, Charles; Brakus, J. Joško; Ferrer, Gemma García; McIntyre, Charles; Alamanos, Eleftherios; King, Tamira. Journal of International Marketing. Dec2018, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p38-53. 16p. 1 Diagram, 3 Charts. DOI: 10.1177/1069031X18805505. , Database: Business Source Complete

Notice the name of the database is listed at the end.