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CIS Secondary Library: MLA - Citations

Below is a quick guide for MLA questions.

Need more in depth answers? Consult the official MLA Handbook, available without login using school WIFI. 

MLA Basics

Times New Roman or Arial font
12 point font
1 inch margins on all sides
Double spaced text
Text remains the same throughout with no variation other than italicizing.
Use the “Tab” key Indent the first line of each paragraph 
Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
Do not use footnotes.

Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks

MLA recommends that when dividing an essay into sections you number those sections with an Arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name
You may italicize, bold, or underline your headings. 

1. Early Writings
2. The London Years
3. Traveling the Continent
4. Final Years

See sample paper with headings here. 

Do not use footnotes. 

For a quotation that runs more than four lines in your prose see block quotation tab. 

How do I create an in-text citation?  Move through the following questions.

1. Do I have an author name? If you say yes, place within brackets.

Source with author:
(Authors last name) → (Smith)

2. Do I have page numbers? Add the page numbers after the author name
Source with author and page numbers:
(Authors last name page number) → (Smith 59)

3. If you do not have an author, use the title in brackets. 

Source with no author:

4. Do you have a title AND page numbers? Add the page numbers after the title. 

(“Title” page number)

Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse.

5. Are you working with a film or moving image? 

(last name 00:00:00) or (last name 00:00:00-00:00:00)

(“title” 00:00:00) or (“title” 00:00:00-00:00:00)

Click here for more information on in-text citations.

Where does the in text citation go? "Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the example below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence..."

Example: Lightenor has argued that computers are not useful tools for small children ("Too Soon" 38), though he has acknowledged elsewhere that early exposure to computer games does lead to better small motor skill development in a child's second and third year ("Hand-Eye Development" 17).


A quotation that runs more than four lines in your prose should be set off from the text as a block indented half an inch from the left margin. 

Your prose introducing a quotation should end with a colon, except when the grammatical connection between your introductory wording and the quotation requires a different mark of punctuation or none at all.

The punctuation mark concluding the quotation comes before the parenthetical citation; no punctuation follows the citation.

See examples: 

Whenever you can, take material from the original and not a secondhand source. But if you quote an author’s quotation of a source you did not personally consult, put the abbreviation qtd. in (for quoted in) before the indirect source you cite in your parenthetical citation. (Otherwise, you can clarify the relation between the original and secondhand sources in a note.)


Quoted in your work

Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an “extraordinary man” (qtd. in Boswell 289).


Work cited

Boswell, James. Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Edited by Augustine Birrell, vol. 3, Times Book Club, 1912. HathiTrust Digital Library,
The abbreviation qtd. in is not needed if your prose makes it clear that the source is secondhand.


Quoted in your work

In a speech urging listeners to reject physical destruction and to seek mutual understanding, Robert F. Kennedy quoted Aeschylus: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

Work cited

Kennedy, Robert F. “Statement on Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4, 1968.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum,

Works Cited begins on a separate page, immediately following the final page of the essay
Works Cited title is centered at the top of the page (it is not labeled "Bibliography" or "References").
Alphabetical order for all entries (do not divide sources by type or genre).
The first line of each citation is at the left margin, second and third lines are indented 1/2" (thus a "hanging" indent).

Same font and formatting as the essay (size 12 font, Times/Times-New Roman, double-spaced).

Examples of Work Cited Entries

Click here for more information on Works Cited.

CIS Student Questions

"...authors should cite their own work the same way they would cite any other source." Link


Fig. 1. Ardea Smith. “Books that make me laugh”; Chinese International School, 20 September 2022.

If full citation information is provided in the caption, use the same formatting as you would for your Works Cited page. However, names should be listed in first name last name format. If you provide source information with all of your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.

FOR THE IB: Your name should not appear on any IB documents. Therefore, omit your name and begin with the title of the image and then the program used to create the work (if applicable). 


"Books that make me laugh"; Google Sheets, 20 September 2022. 

Short answer: No. 

Long answer: No, and...

Neither the MLA nor IB discuss the use of trademark symbols within in-text or Works Cited explicitly. 

In academic papers written by scholars and researchers they are also not mandated to use trademark symbols. 

See here: "Because the fair and consistent use of these symbols (or of footnotes denoting the trademark owners) requires exhaustive verification and vigilance on the part of the editor and because the use of these symbols (or footnotes) is not required by law, do not add trademark symbols, registered-trademark symbols, or trademark-denoting footnotes to trade names in MLA publications. In the interest of consistency, editors should also delete such references when inserted by authors." 

This was from a medical organization that deals with researchers and scholars journal submissions.

Short answer: Not advised.

Long answer, No and here is why: 

PhD theses are generally not peer reviewed or accepted by any journal. A thesis can be great because it may promote 'new' ideas or cutting edge advancements but the data or views presented have generally not been vetted or reviewed by other experts or scholars. A thesis should not be relied upon as a main source in your EE and should be looked at 'critically'. If you review the list of recommended sources from IB, you will note that theses and dissertations are not listed. See here.


Not advised for any year level in preparation for IB requirements. IB discourages the use of footnotes. Footnotes, if used, are calculated as part of the word count. 

If the poem includes line numbers, include the line numbers in the citation. If no line numbers are available, do not count them manually. Instead, cite page number. 

"If you do not mention the poet's name, title, or both in your" writing, include this information in your citation separated by a comma. 

You asked about citing two poems from one book - because you have to cite the poets name and title of poem plus page numbers, this helps differentiate the sources. 

Citing poems in-text: 


Citing poems in a Works Cited/Bibliography:

In-Text Citations





Works Cited


Yes. Source

Guidelines on Truncating URLs are composed of a few basic components:

  • the protocol (basically anything before //)
  • the double forward slash
  • the host (which encompasses the domain–like World Wide web, or www)
  • the path

URL diagram

In addition, sometimes file-specific information or a query string is appended:

The MLA Handbook advises writers to truncate a URL in one specific way (by omitting the protocol and //). If you need to shorten it further, retain the host, which will allow readers to evaluate the site and search for the source.


"MLA prefers to give the original characters (script) and a translation for titles and quotations...all three elements can be useful to readers searching for a source on the Internet...using the original characters shows a respect for the foreign language that once was generally not shown in academic work." Source

For citations in non-Roman scripts, MLA recommends:

The title should be written in the original script
An English translation of the title in brackets and
A transliteration of the Chinese characters in works geared to non-specialists (optional)

These three elements should be included in this order: original characters, then transliteration (if included), then translation.


Johnson, Maxime. La réalité virtuelle pour transformer le télétravail [Virtual reality to transform telelwork]. L'Actualité, 1 June 2020,


Author: 學愚

Title: 中國佛教的社會主義改造

Citation: Xue, Yu. 中國佛教的社會主義改造 Zhongguo fojiao de shehuizhuyi gaizao [The socialist transformation of Chinese Buddhism]. Hong Kong: Xianggang Zhongwen daxue chubanshe, 2015.



“Quanmian zhengque lijie shehuizhuyi xinnongcun jianshe 全面正确理解社会主义新农村建设” [Fully and correctly understand the building of a new socialist countryside]. State Council 国务院. Web. 15 March, 2006.

Journal article:

Hua, Linfu 华林甫. “Qingdai yilai Sanxia diqu shuihan zaihai de chubu yanjiu” 清代以来三峡地区水旱灾害的初步研究 [A preliminary study of floods and droughts in the Three Gorges region since the Qing dynasty]. Zhongguo shehui kexue 中国社会科学 1 (1999): 168–79. Print.

See more examples for Chinese, Korean, and Japanese language. 

Include a quotation in the original language followed immediately by your translation in parentheses and quotation marks.

In place of the citation at the end of the quotation, include the words “my trans.” with the page number.

Need more examples? See this handy PDF created by the Emily Carr Writing Center. 



What do the in-text citations look like?

(Gilbert and Gubar, The Female)

(Gilbert and Gubar, "Sexual")

Keep the last names of the author, add a comma, add the first few words of the title. This differentiates the in-text citations and indicates to the reader which source you are referring to in the Work Cited. 

Strategy 1:


Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor & F. F. Editor (Eds.), Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle (pp. pages of chapter). Publisher. DOI (if available)


The in-text citation should be the last name of the author of the chapter, NOT the book. 


Strategy 2:

Use a signal phrase to acknowledge the chapter author and title. The in-text citation and Work Cited will be for the book. The author field for the citation with be the book editor. 

Do not have the title or author in a Work Cited citation or in-text citation in all capital letters:

MLA Guidelines:

Source: Purdue Online Writing Lab


Source: MLA Handbook

Correct example:

Citing AI

Template for citing AI:

"Copy and paste prompt here" prompt. Poe, version # if it can be found, OpenAI. # Month. Year, URL. 

NoodleTools has an option to cite AI. 

Click +New Source, Click Website, Select AI Response/Output. 


You should

  • cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it 
  • acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location 
  • take care to vet the secondary sources it cites 

Important take-aways

1. "We do not recommend treating the AI tool as an author. This recommendation follows the policies developed by various publishers, including the MLA’s journal PMLA."

When citing AI, your citation should start with a title/description in quotes. The name of the AI technology should go under the Title of Container field - ie think of the AI tool name more like the publisher or name of a website. See example:

2. Best practice is to use AI as a starting point. "You should also take care to vet the secondary sources cited by a generative AI tool—with the caveat that AI tools do not always cite sources or, when they do, do not always indicate precisely what a given source has contributed." If you decide to use one of the sources, cite that source and not AI - the AI technology "was merely a research conduit to the source. If you cite an AI summary that includes sources and do not go on to consult those sources yourself, we recommend that you acknowledge secondary sources in your work."

3. Take steps to provide a URL. "An outside tool like the Chrome extension ShareGPT can generate such a link. If you use that type of outside tool, include the unique URL that the tool generates instead of the general URL. DALL-E allows users to download the AI-generated images they create or generate a publicly-available URL that leads to an image. If you choose to create a shareable link for an image you generate with DALL-E (or other similar AI image generators), include that unique URL that leads to the image instead of the general URL."

Click here for more detailed information and examples

"The IB will not ban the use of AI software." Here are the parameters for use:

  • "If they [students] use the text (or any other product) produced by an AI tool—be that by copying or paraphrasing that text or modifying an image—they [students] must clearly reference the AI tool in the body of their work and add it to the bibliography.
  • The in-text citation should contain quotation marks using the referencing style already in use by the school and the citation should also contain the prompt given to the AI tool and the date the AI generated the text."

Language Acquisition

Use of AI is not allowed in language acquisition. 

  • "The exception is in language acquisition, where marks are awarded for sentence structure. In these subjects the use of such tools is not permitted.

  • The IB awards bilingual diplomas, and universities and schools look at the language subjects that are taken in for proof of being able to work in that language. Therefore students are not permitted to write essays in one language and then translate them to be submitted to the IB in another language. For subject other than language acquisition, the use of spell checkers and bilingual dictionaries is acceptable."


Citing Figures

All visuals/illustrations that are not tables or musical score examples (e.g. maps, diagrams, charts, videos, podcasts, etc.) are labeled Figure or Fig.


  1. Add in-text reference in your prose to the Figure you are discussing. 

Example: In Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, as seen in Figure 1, the stars are…

Example: In Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night (see fig. 1) the stars are…

  1. Below the image place: 

Fig X (use numbers). Description of the figure (in-text citation). The full citation can be placed in Work Cited.


Fig. 1. Painting of Starry Night (Van Gogh).

Full citation goes in Work Cited

See more examples here


Place full citation under the Figure. 

Fig X. Description of the figure; "Title"; Name of source where figure was found, date, URL.

If you provide source information with all of your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page. 

The illustration label and number should always appear in two places: the document main text (e.g. see fig. 1) and near the illustration itself (Fig. 1).

Citing Tables

  1. Add in-text reference in your prose to the Table you are discussing. 

Example: In general, survey results from “Cheese Lovers” demonstrates that all people love cheese (see table 1). 

Example: As demonstrated in table 1, survey results from “Cheese Lovers” demonstrates all people love cheese.



  1. Above the table place: Table X (use numbers) and below, a description.

  2. Below the table, place:

Source: Full citation


If you combine multiple sources of data into a table, the citation below the table can be: 

Source: Adapted from (Keeman).

The full citations will be in your Works Cited.


Source: Adapted from: full citation ; full citation ; full citation.


Where should I place the appendix in my paper?

An appendix should be placed before the works-cited list. If your paper includes a notes section, the order of the items should be appendix, notes, works-cited list. 

How do I format an appendix and style its headings?

For multiple appendices, use ABC or numbers to organize and title them. 


Appendix 1

Appendix 2

The headings in an appendix should follow the same principles as headings in your main text.

...follow a consistent format for the entries

How do I cite an appendix?

Click link. 

IB guidelines for appendices

"Students must take care in their use of appendices as examiners are not required to read them. All information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and evaluation of the essay must be contained in the main body of the essay."

"Appendices are not an essential part of the extended essay and examiners will not read them, or use any information contained within them, in the assessment of the essay. Students must take care to ensure that all information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and evaluation of their essay is contained in the main body of it. Appendices should therefore be avoided except in the following instances:

  • an exemplar of a questionnaire or interview questions
  • an exemplar of permission letters
  • group 1, category 1 essays: copies of poems or short stories (of less than three pages)
  • group 1, category 3 essays: excerpts from newspapers, advertisements and transcripts of speeches
  • language acquisition, category 1 and 2: excerpts from newspapers, advertisements, transcripts of speeches, etc
  • language acquisition, category 3: excerpts or copies of poems or short stories (less than 3 pages)
  • an external mentor letter, where one has been used
  • raw data or statistical tables for experimental sciences (this should not include any analysis or conclusions).

Students should not continually refer to material presented in an appendix as this may disrupt the continuity of the essay and examiners are not required to refer to them."