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How to Cite a Website in MLA Style

Citing a website involves using direct quotes, paraphrases, and borrowed ideas. Proper citation credits the original authors, prevents plagiarism and boosts your work’s credibility and reliability.

Key Elements of an MLA Website Citation

An MLA citation typically includes several key components. These are:

  • Author’s name
  • Title of the webpage
  • Title of the website
  • Publication date
  • URL
  • Access date

Each element helps guide readers to the original source. The author’s name gives credit, the title and publication date provide context, and the URL and access date help locate the specific webpage.

Identifying Essential Citation Information

Author’s Name: Who Wrote the Content?

Identify the individual or organization responsible for the content. If no author is listed, start the citation with the title of the page.

Title of the Web Page: Naming the Specific Page

Use the specific title of the webpage. Enclose it in quotation marks. For example: “Climate Change Facts.”

Website Title: The Larger Source

The title of the website should be italicized. For example: National Geographic.

Publication Date: When Was It Published?

Include the day, month, and year of publication. If no publication date is available, use “n.d.” (no date).

URL: The Web Address

Provide the full URL, starting with “https://”. Omit the “http://” if the site uses “https://”.

Access Date: When You Accessed the Information

List the date you accessed the webpage, especially if the content is likely to change over time.

Formatting Your Citation

General Format for Citing a Website

The general format for an MLA citation of a website is as follows:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Publication Date, URL. Access Date.

For example:

Smith, John. “The Future of Renewable Energy.” Eco Times, Green World Publishing, 12 March 2023, https://www.ecotimes.com/future-renewable-energy. Accessed 5 June 2024.

Special Cases and Exceptions

Sometimes, websites lack standard citation elements. If there’s no author, start with the webpage title. If there’s no publication date, use “n.d.” Always include as much detail as possible.

Examples of Well-Formatted Citations

Here are a few examples to illustrate proper MLA formatting:

Single author:

Doe, Jane. “Exploring Ancient Civilizations.” History Online, 1 Jan. 2022, https://www.historyonline.com/exploring-ancient-civilizations. Accessed 4 June 2024.

No author:

“Global Warming Overview.” Climate Change Central, n.d., https://www.climatechangecentral.org/global-warming-overview. Accessed 3 June 2024.

Organization as author:

World Health Organization. “Mental Health and COVID-19.” WHO, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.who.int/mental-health-covid19. Accessed 2 June 2024.

In-Text Citations for Websites

How to Integrate Website Citations in Your Text

In-text citations should be concise and direct the reader to the full citation in the works cited list. Typically, the in-text citation includes the author’s last name and the page number, if applicable.

For example:

The research indicates a significant rise in global temperatures (Smith).

Examples of In-Text Citations

Single author:

(Doe)

No author:

(“Global Warming Overview”)

Organization as author:

(World Health Organization)

Handling Multiple Authors or No Author

Citing Websites with Multiple Authors

For two authors, list both names: (Smith and Johnson). For three or more authors, use the first author’s last name followed by et al.: (Doe et al.).

Citing Websites with No Author

If there is no author, use the title of the webpage in quotation marks:

(“Mental Health and COVID-19”).

What to Do When Author Information Is Missing

Begin the citation with the title of the webpage and follow the standard format for the rest of the information.

Dealing with Complex Web Sources

Citing Social Media Posts

Cite the author’s name, the handle in square brackets, the text of the post, the platform, the date, and the URL. For example:

@natgeo. “Stunning photo of the Milky Way over Yosemite.” Instagram, 15 Apr. 2023, https://www.instagram.com/p/ABC123. Accessed 4 June 2024.

Citing Blogs and Forum Posts

Include the author’s name, the title of the post, the title of the blog or forum, the publisher, the date, and the URL. For example:

Lee, Amy. “Top 10 Hiking Trails in Europe.” Adventure Blog, Outdoor Enthusiasts, 23 May 2023, https://www.adventureblog.com/top-hiking-trails. Accessed 3 June 2024.

Citing Online Videos and Podcasts

List the creator’s name, the title of the video or podcast, the platform, the uploader, the upload date, and the URL. For example:

Brown, Chris. “Understanding Quantum Physics.” YouTube, uploaded by Science Daily, 12 Mar. 2024, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYZ456. Accessed 2 June 2024.

Tips for Double-Checking Your Citations

Online citation generators can streamline the process. One useful tool is WriterBuddy, available at WriterBuddy, which provides accurate MLA citations.

FAQs

What should I do if there is no author listed on the webpage?

If there is no author listed, start the citation with the webpage title in quotation marks. Follow the standard MLA format for the rest of the information.

How do I cite a website with multiple authors in MLA style?

For two authors, list both names (e.g., Smith and Johnson). For three or more authors, use the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” (e.g., Doe et al.).

Is it necessary to include the access date in my MLA citation?

Including the access date is important, especially if the website content changes over time. It gives readers context about when you accessed the information.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when citing websites in MLA style?

Common mistakes include incorrect URL formatting, missing elements like the publication date or author, and not double-checking for accuracy. Always ensure your citations are complete and properly formatted.

Conclusion

Follow the guidelines to give proper credit and avoid plagiarism. Include as much detail as possible, even when elements are missing. Tools like WriterBuddy can help streamline the process, ensuring your work is accurate and authoritative. With these skills, you can confidently showcase your research’s integrity.

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