Skip to main content

MLA Database: What It Is and How to Search It: Citing Sources

The Modern Language Association International Bibliography (MLA) is an index to journal articles, books, and more, published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, film, and linguistics.

Style Manuals

To avoid plagiarism, you must acknowledge where you got your ideas, quotes, music, or images.  There are conventional forms of acknowledging that you have used someone else’s work.  There are different forms of citation for many academic disciplines.  In other words, each discipline has its own preferred way of citing sources.  Many disciplines have published their preferred citation conventions in what is called a style manual or style guide.

In citing any source (book, journal article, government document, Web site, whatever), be sure you have the following relevant elements for your notes and bibliography or works cited page:

1.    Author.  This may be an individual person, several individual people, a government agency, a department within a larger entity (for example, the Sociology Department at a university), or a business.

2.    Title of the journal article, newspaper article, chapter from a book, government document, or Web site AND the title of the journal, newspaper, or book

3.    Name of electronic database (if the article was retrieved through a database on the Web)

4.    URL to Web site

5.    Date of publication or date last visited on the Web

6.    Volume number and issue number if the material is from a magazine, newspaper, or scholarly journal

7.    Pages of the journal article or book

If what you need to cite does not fall into any of these categories, check with your professor as to what information you will need to properly acknowledge the source.  Not all style guides require all of this information, but it is good to have a record of it just in case you need to cite it in a different format that does require this information.

 Check with your classroom professors to see what citation style they wish for you to follow.

The most common style manuals used in college papers are the following:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.  Kept at the front Information Desk: BF 76.7 .P83. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.  For information on citing electronic sources in APA style, go to or

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.  Kept at the front Information Desk: LB 2369 .G53.  New York: The Modern Language Association.  For information on using MLA style, go to  or

Turabian, Kate.  A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Kept at the front Information Desk: LB 2369 .T8. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  (usually referred to as just “Turabian”) For more information on using Turabian, go to

The Chicago Manual of Style. Kept at the front Information Desk:  Z 253 .U59. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  For information on using Chicago style, go to or




A basic characteristic of scholarly work is citing the sources used or referred to or borrowed from.  It is academic dishonesty to use ideas from (even if you put them in different words), paraphrase, or quote from someone else’s work without acknowledging the other source.

If you use someone else’s work—their words, ideas, art  work, music, Web pages, software, or some other expression—you must acknowledge the author or creator.  Failure to do so is an unethical practice called plagiarism.  Stetson has an official policy regarding plagiarism in the Student Code of Conduct.

For more information on plagiarism and how to avoid it, go to the following sites:

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Call or text 386-747-9028.