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MLA Guide

This guide contains information to help you cite your sources in MLA format.

Citing Part of a Book or Ebook (Print or Electronic)

When you use a book source for research, you do not always need to use the entire book. Sometimes, you will only use a certain chapter or section of a book for your research. Other times, you will find short stories and poems in a larger book, but only need to cite one short story or poem. Below are some other examples of parts of books that you might need to cite instead of the book as a whole:

  • Book chapters
  • Essays
  • Short Stories
  • Poems
  • Entries

Basic Format

Format: Author(s). "Title of Part." Title of Book in Italics, edited by Editor, edition, vol. #, Publisher, Year, page number(s). Database Name in Italics (if electronic), URL.

*Note: If citing a play or novel, italicize title instead of using quotation marks.
*Note: If piece is a single page, use: p. for page number; if article is multiple pages, use: pp.
If citation includes edition, it should be abbreviated to ed.,
*Note: If book is part of a series, you may include the series name at the end of your citation.  See MLA handbook p. 52. 

Print Book Examples:

Example 1: Sanchez, Liz. "How Zoos Help Preserve the World's Species for the Future." The Writer's Mindset, edited by Lisa Wright Hoeffner, McGraw Hill, 2022, pp. 523-24.

Example 2: Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Kelly J. Mays, shorter 14th ed., W. W. Norton, 2022, pp. 582-84.

Ebook Example:

Example: Hennessy, Michael. “Sinking the Titanic.” Critical Survey of Poetry, edited by Frank Magill, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Harvard UP, 1991, pp. 80-89. Literature Resource Center,

*Note: You can usually omit the http:// unless needed to hyperlink.

*Note: For URLs longer than 3 lines, you can shorten the URL. Always retain the host (main website) of the URL.


Multi-Volume Work (where volume have titles, etc.)

Format: Author(s). Title of WorkTitle of Book, edited by Editor of Volume, page number(s). Title of Multivolume Set, general editor, Editor's Name, edition, vol. #, Publisher, Year of Publication, number of volumes.

*Note: Title of Work is italicized for plays, novels, and other long works (like Beowulf). For short stories, poems, etc. put the title in quotation marks.

Example: Berger, André. “Climate Model Simulations of the Geological Past.” The Earth System: Physical and Chemical Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, edited by Michael C. MacCracken and John S. Perry, pp. 296-301. Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, general editor, Ted Munn, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Wiley, 2002. 5 vols.

Explanation: In the example above, The Earth System is the title of the first volume of the Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change. In this case, we are treating the volume as the first container, and the encyclopedia as the second container. This comes from the MLA Style website's entry for multi-volume works.


Example: Delgado, Tierra. "A Food Pantry Worth Admiring." The Writers Mindset, edited by Lisa Wright Hoeffner, McGraw Hill, 2022, pp. 195-98. Connect,

*Note: You can usually omit the http:// unless needed to hyperlink.

*Note: For URLs longer than 3 lines, you can shorten the URL. Always retain the host (main website) of the URL.

PDF from D2L

*Note: This citation should only be used when citing a PDF that is only found in D2L. Do not use this citation for anything in D2L that is linked out to another website or database.

*Note: If your instructor gives any original publication information for the source, include the original publication information in your citation.

Example: Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." Course Material for English 285: American Short Story Writers, compiled by Anne Smith, spring 2022, Spartanburg Community College. D2L, Accessed 14 Feb. 2022.

Helpful Resources