Skip to Main Content

Citation Help: Reference - Print & Online

General Overview

This page covers some basic examples of MLA citations for reference books.  

To the right, is a list of commonly cited items.  Click on the links to view what the item looks like, how to evaluate it, and how to find the citation information.  Below that is a list of the core elements needed create a citation in MLA.

Below is the formatting 'recipe' demonstrating how to put the elements in the proper format.  Last, are examples of reference book citations in MLA format.

Citations in your "Works Cited" should be double spaced with a hanging indentation.

Formatting Recipe

Author, First A., & Second Author. "Title of Work." Title of Container One Italicized, other contributors, version, number, Publisher, publication date, location. Title of Container Two Italicized, other contributors, version, number, Publisher, publication date, location.

Examples for Reference Materials

Entry from an Edited Encyclopedia with 3+ Authors, 3+ Editors, accessed Online through a Database* - 

Rizzo, Alexandra Elaine, et al. "Ecology." Grizmek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, edited by Michael Hutchins, et al., vol. 1,  Gale, 2004, pp. 24-30. Gale Virtual Reference Library,

*MLA 8th edition recommends the inclusion of the URL (if no DOI); especially when it is the only way to locate the item.  We have included it here; however, since we have also included a database name here, and database URL's are notoriously long and complex (as you can see), some may prefer to have it omitted.  We recommend checking with your professor for their preference.

MLA Style Center Quick Guides

The MLA Style Center Quick Guides provide access to many examples of citations and include an excellent online interactive practice template. 

Click on some of the most commonly cited sources below to view information on what they look like, where to find their citation information, and how to cite in MLA format.

Core Elements


  • Author.
  • "Title" (italics if self-contained source or quotes if part of a larger container; title case caps).

Container One

  • Title of Container One,
  • Other Contributors,
  • Version,
  • Number, 
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date,
  • Location.

Container Two

  • Title of Container Two,
  • Other Contributors,
  • Version,
  • Number, 
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date,
  • Location.