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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

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).

*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 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:

Example: Fallows, James. “Throwing Like a Girl.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings and Handbook, 5th ed., W. W. Norton, 2019, pp. 137-41.

Print Book:

Example: Hemingway, Ernest. "Hills Like White Elephants." The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Kelly J. Mays, shorter 13th ed., W. W. Norton, 2019, pp. 114-18.


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: Include URL for database at end if instructor requires it.

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

Format: Author(s). Title of Work. Title 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.

Helpful Resources