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MLA Citations (9th ed.): Author

This guide will help you format your paper and cite resources according to MLA citation style.

Author Basics

The author of a work can be a writer, artist, or any other type of creator. The author can be an individual, a group of persons, an organization, or a government.

Always begin the entry with the author's last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name, as presented in the work. End this element with a period (unless a period that is part of the author's name already appears at the end). (pp. 107-111)

Here are some examples:

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "In History." Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, spring 2001, pp. 620-26.

Two Authors

When a source has two authors, include them in the order in which they are presented in the work. Reverse the first of the names as described above, follow it with a comma and and, and give the second name in normal order.  (pp. 111-112)

Here is an example: 

Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdrich. The Crown of Columbus. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.

Three or More Authors

When a source has three or more authors, reverse the first of the names as described above and follow it with a comma and et al. ("and others"). (p. 112)

Here is an example:

Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital_Humanities. MIT P, 2012.

Corporate Author

A corporate author is an institution, association, government agency, or other kind of organization. (p. 119)

Here is an example:

United Nations. Consequences of Rapid Population Growth in Developing Countries. Taylor and Francis, 1991.

When a work is published by an organization that is also its author, skip the author element and begin the entry with the title. List the organization only as publisher. (p. 119)

Here is an example:

Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004.

Editor as an Author

If the author did not create the work's main content, follow the name with a label that describes the role. In this case, the label would be "editor."  (p. 108)

Here is an example:

Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor. The Future of the Book. U of California P, 1996.

Two or More Editors as Author

A source with two or more editors requires making the descriptive label plural. (pp. 111-112)

Here are two examples:

 Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al, editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L.Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.

Holland, Merlin, and Rupert Hart-Davis, editors.  The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde. Henry Holt, 2000.

Translator as Author

When you discuss a source that was translated from another language and your focus is on the translation, treat the translator as the author. (p. 112).

Here are two examples:

Pevear, Richard, and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators. Crime and Punishment. By Feodor Dostoevsky, Vintage eBooks, 1993.

Sullivan, Alan, and Timothy Murphy, translators. Beowulf. Edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

If the name of the creator does not appear at the start of the entry (as in the example for Crime and Punishment, above), give that name, preceded by By, in the position of other contributors. 

Film and Television

If your discussion of a work of film or television focuses on the contribution of a particular person, begin the entry with his or her name, followed by a descriptive label. 

Here are two examples:

Gellar, Sarah Michelle, performer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.

Whedon, Joss, creator. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.

If you are writing about film or television without focusing on an individual's contribution, begin with the title. You can include information about the director and other key participants in the "other contributors" core element. 

For example:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.

Pseudonyms and Online Handles

Pseudonyms, such as online usernames, are given like regular author names under the best-known form of the name.

Another technique is to add information to entries in square brackets. For example, if an author's online handle differs from the author's account name, it may be helpful to supply the handle in square brackets after the name. 

When the handle and account name are similar, you can usually omit the handle if you include the URL in your entry. (pp. 115-118)

Here are some examples:

Fogarty, Mignon [@GrammarGirl]. "Every once in a while, that Gmail notice asking if you meant to reply to a 5-day-old message is quite helpful." Twitter, 13 Feb. 2019,

Persiankiwi. "We have report of large street battles in east & west Tehran now - #Iranelection." Twitter, 23 June 2009,11:15 a.m.,

No Author

When a work is published with no author name, skip the author element and begin the entry with the work's title. (p. 108)

For example:

Beowulf. Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.