MLA Style
Citing Electronic Sources

Important Note: Be sure to check with your instructor about which electronic sources he or she considers legitimate for the purposes of your research. In general, it is your responsibility to evaluate electronic sources carefully before you use them. Remember that anyone from your little sister to a rocket scientist can "publish" on the internet.


Basic Elements

References within
your paper

Page Numbers

Examples of Electronic Citations in "Works Cited"
Online Projects and Databases  Online Books  Online Posting
 Online Professional and Personal Sites  Online Articles  E-Mail Communication

Sources for this page | MLA on the Web


MLA / Basic Elements of Electronic Citation

Electronic citations should follow the same basic format as their print counterparts, with the same goal in mind -- that is, to provide readers with a way to locate the information themselves. Often, extra information may be necessary (e.g., access date, electronic address) and some standard information may be unavailable (e.g., page numbers). Different types of sources as well as different media may have different requirements. Examples for some of the most frequent types of electronic citations are listed below. Pay particular attention to the handling of the following two elements:

Dates: Whereas in the case of print citations, only the publication date is usually listed, many electronic resources are updated regularly. Thus, when citing electronic sources you should include both the date of original publication (if available) and the date on which the material was accessed.

Electronic Address: The MLA Style Manual recommends including the online address of electronic materials, where available. You should include the access-mode identifier (e.g., http, ftp, gopher, telnet, news) as well as the path and file names. The address should be given inside angle brackets: <../index.html/Handbook>.

MLA / About Page Numbers

Many electronic sources don't provide standard page numbers. The MLA Style Manual recommends that writers include the number range or total number of pages or paragraphs if they are numbered. In cases where page numbers are unavailable, the MLA Handbook requires that "n. pag." (no pagination) be included in the "Works Cited" entry (see Handbook, pp. 136-37, 165).

MLA / Parenthetical Reference within Your Paper to an Electronic Source

When documenting a work within your paper, use a parenthetical reference (see Handbook, pp. 104, 184-205). The reference should:

  1. point to the source in your Works Cited section by the author's last name, or, if the author isn't given, by a portion of the title; and
  2. identify the location of the information by page number if possible. Omit if not, but include "n. pag." in the "Works Cited" entry.


From a very young age, children can provide surprisingly accurate descriptions of how they were injured (Peterson).

Examples of Works Cited Electronic References

Online Projects and Databases

Suffragists Oral History Project.  1998.  Library, 

     U of California, Berkeley. 20 Jan. 1999



Victorian Web. Ed. George Landow. 1994. Brown

     University. 6 Sept. 1998 <


Victorian Women Writers Project. Ed. Perry Willett.

     Apr. 1997. Indiana U. 26 Apr. 1997 <http://>.

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Professional Website

Simons, Mark. Thomas Hardy Resource Library.

     6 Sept. 1998 <


University of Newcastle Drama Department. Michael

     R. Booth Theatre Collection. 6 Sept. 1998



Personal Website

Duncan, Donna. Home page. 6 Sept. 1998 <http://>.

Klein-Smith, Sarah. Home page. 6 Sept. 1998


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Online Book

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. London, 1861.

     Project Guttenberg. 6 Sept. 1998 <ftp://


Eliot, George. Middlemarch. London, 1871-72. 6 Sept. 1998


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Online Articles

Online Article in Scholarly Journal

Moran, Charles. "From a High-Tech to a Low-Tech

     Writing Classroom: 'You Can't Go Home Again'." 

     Computers and Writing 15.1 (April 1998). 

     6 Sept. 1998 <


Baird, Ellen. "Ain't Gotta Do Nothing but Be Brown

     and Die." Computer-Mediated Communication

     Magazine 5.7 (July 1998). 6 Sept. 1998


Online Article in a Newspaper

Harmon, Amy. "Have Laptop, Will Track Each Blip

     in the Market." New York Times on the Web

     6 Sept. 1998. 6 Sept. 1998 <


"Government Orders Peanut-Free Zones on Airlines."

     Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 4 Sept. 1998. 

     7 Sept. 1998 <


Online Article in a Magazine

Jaquet, Janine. "Taking Back the People's Air."

     The Nation Digital Edition.8 June 1998. 

     7 Sept. 1998 <>.

Taggart, Stewart. "DNA Testing for the Dogs." 

     Wired. 4 Sept. 1998. 6 Sept. 1998 <http://>.

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E-Mail Communication

Doe, Jane. "Re: Gaskell's Mary Barton." E-mail to

     John Smith. 14 July 1998.

Anderson, Sheila. "Gaskell's earlier letters."

     E-mail to author. 16 July 1998.

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Online Posting

Galloway, Patricia. "Spamming." Online posting. 

     14 May 1997. Humanist Discussion Group. 

     6 Sept. 1998 <


Jordan, Ellen. "Re: Tess's Trial." Online posting. 

     10 August 1997. Victoria. 6 Sept. 1998 



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CD-ROM (Nonperiodical)

The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. CD-ROM.

     Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1992.

CD-ROM (Periodically Published Database)

Sexton, Joe.  "Career in Bodegas Ends in Death of Man and

     Son." New York Times 29 July 1995, late ed.: A21.

     CD-ROM. Lexis-Nexis. 29 Apr. 2000.

Van Voorhis, Julie A.  "The Sculptor's Workshop at Aphrodisias

     (Turkey)."  DAI 60 (1999): 5A.  New York U, 1999.

     Dissertation Abstracts Ondisc.  CD-ROM. UMI-ProQuest.

     Jul. 1999.

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Sources for this page

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers,

	 5th Ed. New York: Modern Language Association. 1999.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly

	 Publishing, 2nd Ed. New York: Modern Language Association.


MLA on the Web. 1997. Modern Language Association. 6 Sept. 1998




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The information included in these handouts is, of necessity, generic. Keep in mind that the specific assignment from your course instructor should be your guide, and that you should seek clarification from your instructor if you have any questions.