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How to use MLA style- Resources: Encyclopedias

MLA how-to

General Information

Encyclopedias:  If multiple editions of an encyclopedia have been published for several years, you do not have to include all of the publication information. Include the edition number, publication year, and format (Print or Web). If there are multiple volumes, include the specific volume number that was used.

Abbreviating Months: When you include the month in the publication date or date of access, abbreviate to the first three letters (e.g., Dec.). May, June, & July do not need abbreviations.

For more than 3 authors: Provide only the first author, followed by et al. For example: Wingert, Peter, et al.

Capitalize the main words in the document title. If there is a colon in the title (a subtitle), capitalize the main words after the colon.

Alphabetize your Works Cited list by the first word of the citation, usually the author's last name. If there is no author, alphabetize by the first main word in the title (ignore A, An, or The).

Double space all of the citations on your Works Cited page.

Indent the second & following lines of the citation 5-7 spaces. 

Citation Shortcuts

Be sure to double check the citations once they have been renerated!



Citation Machine

Online Encyclopedia from the Internet


Last Name, First Name (if available). "Title of Encyclopedia Entry." Title of Encyclopedia.

   Year. Publisher or Sponsor of the web site. Web. Date Retrieved (Day Month Year).


"Pompeii." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Web. 12 Feb.


Book Format with Author/Editor


Last Name, First Name. "Title of Encyclopedia Entry." Title of Encyclopedia.

   Ed. (Editor) First Name Last Name. # ed. (edition) Vol. #. City, State: Publisher,

   Year. Print.


Swedberg, Richard. "Economic Sociology." Encyclopedia of Sociology. Ed. Edgar Borgatta

   and Rhonda Montgomery. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000.


Book Format with No Author/Editor


"Title of Encyclopedia Entry." Title of Encyclopedia. # ed. (Edition, if available) Vol. #

   (Volume, if available). City, State: Publisher, Year. Print.


"Montmartre." Encyclopedia Americana. International Ed. Vol. 19.  Danbury, CT: Grolier,

   2002. Print.

Online Encyclopedia from a Database


Last Name, First Name (if available). "Title of Encyclopedia Entry." Title of Encyclopedia.

   Year. Name of Database. Web. Date Retrieved (Day Month Year).


"Kahlo, Frida." The Columbia Encyclopedia. 2008. Credo Reference. Web. 25 June 2009.

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