Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MLA 9 Style Guide: Works Cited List Quick Guide

Updated for the 2021 9th edition

Works Cited List Explained

The Works Cited is a comprehensive listing of all the source referenced in your paper. You used in text citations to plant a flag for your reader, who follows it to the linked entry on the Works Cited. This entry provides the reader with a standard set of information about each source, which would allow them to put their eyes on the very same source you used. Following a writer's sources is standard when conducting academic research.

golden flag marking "in-text citation" connected by a red line to smaller golden flag on map marked "works cited entry"

MLA Core Elements

MLA works cited entry core elements template simplified viewIn MLA style, Works Cited entries are formatted using a template of "core elements" -- elements that most sources have which correspond to WHO? WHAT? WHEN? and WHERE? 

  • WHO is the author or creator of the source?
  • WHAT is the name or title of the source?
  • WHEN was the source published or uploaded?
  • WHERE can the reader go to find the source? This might be a specific issue of a journal, certain page numbers, or a link.

These core elements have standard names are always placed in the same order in MLA style.

MLA refers to this as the Core Elements Template. They have an online interactive template to help you. 

See the overview below or explore each Core Element and see where to find it on actual sources on other tabs in this guide.


Brought to you by MLA Style Center


  • Burns Hall 1304
    1 College Drive, Bentonville, AR 72712
  • Call: 479-619-4244 | Text: 479-802-0570
  • About Us
  • Check us out on Facebook Watch us on YouTubeEmail Us