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MLA Citation Guide (MLA 8th edition): Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Citations examples on this page:

  • Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Known Author
  • Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Unknown Author
  • Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Known Author
  • Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Unknown Author
  • Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry In Print - Known Author
  • Encyclopedia or Dictionary In Print - Unknown Author

Formatting

Note: All citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent in a Reference List.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page. Name of Database, permalink URL or DOI.

Works Cited Example

 Davidson, Tish. "Anorexia Nervosa." The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets: A Guide to Health and Nutrition, edited by Kristin Key, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2013, pp. 52-57. Gale Virtual Reference Library. copy permalink here.

In-Text Citation Example

 (Author's Last Name)

 Example: (Davidson)

 Note: Because the specific page number can't be determined, the page number is left out of the in-text citation. Include a page number after the author's last name if one is given.

 Note: While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, UWM WSH Library recommends that you make certain that you do not just copy the address from the search box, but rather use the perma-link from within the article because library databases require a login most URLs will stop working after the session ends.

If you do not have information such as an editor's name, a volume or page numbers leave those sections out of your citation.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Unknown Author

 "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page. Name of Database. permalink.

Works Cited List Example

 "Shakespeare, William." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, World Book, 2016. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Permalink 

  Note:This example had no editor's name, edition, volume or page numbers, so these elements were left out of the citation.

In-Text Citation Example

 ("One Two or Three Words From Title of Entry")

 Example: ("Shakespeare")

 Note: This entry has no page numbers, so this information is left out of the citation. 

 Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words from title of the entry. The words from the title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

Note: While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, UWM WSH Library recommends that you make certain that you do not just copy the address from the search box, but rather use the perma-link from within the article because library databases require a login most URLs will stop working after the session ends.

If you do not have information such as an editor's name, a volume or page numbers leave those sections out of your citation.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, Publication or Update Date, Name of Website. URL. Accessed Day Month Year of Access. 

Works Cited List Example

 McLean, Steve. "The Tragically Hip." The Canadian Encyclopedia, 26 Mar. 2015, Historica Canada. www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/the-tragically-hip-emc. Accessed 27 Jun. 2016.

 Note: In this example the date of last edit is listed as publication or update date. List the full date if given in Day,  Month, Year format, abbreviating the month. Date of access is the day the website was visited.

In-Text Citation Example

 (Author's Last Name and Author's Last Name)

 Example: (McLean)

 Note: This entry has no page numbers so that detail is left out of the citation.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Unknown Author

Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Unknown Author

"Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, Publication or Update DateName of Website. URL. Accessed Day Month Year of Access. 

Works Cited List Example

 "Filibuster." Merriam-Webster's Learners Dictionary, Merriam-Webster. www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filibuster. Accessed 27 Jun. 2016.

 Note: No publication or update date was given so this information was left out of the citation.

In-Text Citation Example

 ("Title of Entry")

 Example: ("Filibuster")

 Note: This entry has no page numbers so this is left out of the citation.

 Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words from title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry In Print - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page.

Works Cited List Example

 Barber, Russell J. "Anthropological Ethics." Ethics, edited by John K. Roth, Rev. ed., vol. 1, Salem Press, 2005, pp. 67-69. 

In-Text Citation Example

 (Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Barber 67)

Encyclopedia or Dictionary In Print - Unknown Author

 "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia or Dictionary, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and not first edition, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Year of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page.

Works Cited List Example

 "Guyana" Oxford Encyclopedia of World History, compiled by Market House Books, Oxford UP, 1998, p. 283

  Note:This encyclopedia has a compiler listed instead of an editor, the compiler is a company instead of a individual. As no edition or volume were given this information was omitted. UP is used as an abbreviation for University Press. If there is only one page use p. instead of pp. before the page number.

In-Text Citation Example

 ("Title of Entry")

 Example: ("Guyana 283")

 Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the first one, two or three words of the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.