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MLA Citation Style 9th Edition: Title of Source

Title of Source

The title of source is the second core element in the Works Cited entry and it is required for every work you cite. In general, the title of a work is taken from the title page of the publication (MLA 5.24). 

  • List the full title as it is written on the source. Exceptions to this rule are for standardization of capitalization and subtitle punctuation. 
    • Capitalize all principal words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.). Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or conjunctions when they fall in the middle of a title.
    • Separate a subtitle with a colon and a space.
  • Italicize titles if the source is self-contained and independent. Titles of books, periodicals, databases, and Web sites are italicized.
    • If citing a section of a work such as an introduction, preface, foreword, afterword, etc., do not italicize the generic section label.
  • Place titles in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work. Articles, essays, chapters, poems, Web pages, songs, and speeches are placed in quotation marks.
  • If a source (such as a letter, an untitled artwork, etc.) does not have an official title, provide a description of the source without quotation mark or italicization.(MLA 5.28)
  • Optional: use ellipses (...) to shorten very long titles in the works cited list, but include enough words in the title for identification. (MLA 5.26) For example the title of the following citation:

    Hill, Aaron. A Full and Just Account of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire in All Its Branches: With the Government, and Policy, Religion, Customs, and Way of Living of the Turks, in General. Faithfully Related from a Serious Observation, Taken in Many Years Travels Thro’ Those Countries. 2nd ed.,London, J. Mayo, 1710. 

                            can be shorten to

    Hill, Aaron. A Full and Just Account of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire in All Its Branches: With the Government, and Policy, Religion, Customs, and Way of Living of the Turks, in General...2nd ed.,London, J. Mayo, 1710. 

Books:

Danticat, Edwidge. Brother, I'm Dying. Knopf, 2007.  

Chapter title in a book or an anthology

Howard, Rebecca Moore. “Avoiding Sentence Fragments.” Writing Matters: A Handbook for Writing and Research, 2nd ed., McGraw Hill, 2014, pp. 600-10.

Section of a work (such as an introduction, preface, foreword, afterword, etc.)

Strindberg, August. Preface. A Dream Play, by Caryl Churchill and August Strindberg. Nick Hern, 2005.. 

Article title from Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers:

Houtman, Eveline. “Mind-Blowing: Fostering Self-Regulated Learning in Information Literacy Instruction.” Communications in Information Literacy, vol. 9, no. 1, 2015, pp. 6-18. ERIC, www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ1089286 .

When there is a title (such as a book title) in the "Title of Source" within quotation marks, italicize the title:

Stranske, Marilyn. "Choose Your Poison: A Review of Fast Food Nation." Social Policy, no. 3, 2002, p. 26. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.skylinecollege.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsggo&AN=edsgcl.87011348&site=eds-live.

      Song title from an album or a Compact Disc:

      Coltrane, John. "Giant Steps." The Last Giant: The John Coltrane Anthology, Rhino, 1993.  

Web page:

Meade, Rita. "It's Not Too Late to Advocate." Screwy Decimal, 1 June 2016, www.screwydecimal.com/2016/06/its-not-too-late-to-advocate.html.

Entire Website:

Meade, Rita. Screwy Decimal. 2010-16, www.screwydecimal.com/.

Untitled work:

Frank, Ann. Letter to Christiane van Maarsen. 28 Mar. 1942.

Africano, Nicolas. A woman's head wrap with bandana, 2007, De Young Museum, San Francisco, California.

 

The information above is mostly adapted from IRSC Libraries.