Creating an MLA Bibliography

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Published October 26, 2020. Updated October 4, 2021.

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If you write a research paper in MLA format, then you will need to include a Works Cited page (sometimes referred to as an MLA bibliography) according to the current edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines. Along with citing your sources within the body of your paper, you also need to include full citations of all sources at the end of your paper.

When you use the correct MLA bibliography format, it shows what sources you used, makes finding your sources easier for the reader, and gives credibility to your work as a researcher and writer.

Works cited or bibliography?

You may be wondering, what is a bibliography, and how is it different from a Works Cited page? The difference between the two is that while a bibliography refers to any source you consulted to write your research paper, a Works Cited page only includes full citations of the sources you quoted or paraphrased within your paper.

Typically, when someone says, “MLA bibliography” they really mean a Works Cited page, since the MLA format uses a Works Cited page instead of a bibliography.

A bibliography in MLA format may also refer to a Works Consulted page. If you used other sources that you did not directly quote or paraphrase within the paper, you will need to create a Works Consulted/Additional Resources page. A Works Consulted page starts on a separate page and follows the Works Cited page. It follows the same formatting guidelines as a Works Cited page, but you will use Works Consulted (or Additional Resources) as the title.

If you’re unsure of what to include in your citations list (works cited, works consulted, or both), ask your instructor. For the rest of this article, we will refer to this page as the MLA bibliography.

MLA bibliography formatting guidelines

MLA citation guidelines

These are the rules you need to follow to create citations for an MLA bibliography. This section contains information on how to correctly use author names, punctuation, capitalization, fonts, page numbers, DOIs, and URLS in the citations on your MLA bibliography.


Published October 25, 2020. Updated July 2, 2021.

Written by Grace Turney, freelance writer and artist. Grace is a former librarian and has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology. 


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What is an MLA bibliography?

An MLA bibliography is similar to the works cited list that you include at the end of your paper. The only difference between a works cited list and a bibliography is that for the former you need to include the details of only the sources you cited in the text, whereas for the latter you can also include the sources you consulted to write your paper but didn’t directly cite. MLA generally prefers works cited lists to bibliographies.

If your instructor advises you to create an MLA bibliography, follow the same guidelines you would follow for creating an MLA works cited list.

The bibliography list appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes if they are present.

All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.

Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inch from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”

The font should be clear enough to read. Use Times New Roman font of size 12 points.

Entries should be double-spaced. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines of the entry 0.5 inch from the left margin.

The title should be “Bibliography.” It should be aligned to the center of the page. Do not bold, italicize, or underline the title.

Bibliographic entries are arranged alphabetically according to the first item in each entry.

Murugan 37

Bibliography

Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman. Polity, 2013.

Brisini, Travis. “Phytomorphizing Performance: Plant Performance in an Expanded Field.” Text and Performance Quarterly, vol. 39, 2019, pp. 1–2.

Riccio, Thomas. “Reimagining Yup’ik and Inupiat Performance.” Northwest Theatre Review, vol. 12, no. 1, 1999, pp. 1–30.

How do I make an annotated bibliography in MLA format?

General rules for creating an annotated bibliography

The annotation is given after the source entry and is generally about 100-150 words in length. The annotation should be indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the hanging indent within the citation entry.

The annotation, in general, should be written as short phrases. However, you may use full sentences as well.

The annotation for each source is usually no longer than one paragraph. However, if multiple paragraphs are included, indent the second and subsequent paragraphs without any extra line space between them.

Annotation

The annotation provides basic information about the source, but does not include details about the source, quotes from the author, etc. The information can be descriptive (by generally describing what the source covers) or evaluative (by evaluating the source’s usefulness to the argument in your paper).

Example annotated bibliography

The below is an example of an annotated bibliography:

Annotated Bibliography

Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America. Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.

The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented, together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths; linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache; and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.