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MLA Help: Reference Sources

Gateway Libraries


When citing widely used reference books, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica and World Book Encyclopedia, it is not necessary to include publication information.  If the article is signed, give the author's name first.  If the article is not signed, start with the title. 

When citing articles from a subject encyclopedia or other specialized reference book, such as Encyclopedia of Child Abuse or the Dictionary of Art, include the publication information.  If the articles are in alphabetical order, it is not necessary to include the volume or page numbers.  If they are not in alphabetical order, include the page numbers and, if there is more than one volume, include the volume number.


Entry in a multi-volume work, in alphabetical order

Author of entry, last name, first name. "Title of entry." Title of encyclopedia. Editor's name (first, last). Publisher city: Publisher name, Year. Format.

Warner, Michelle. "Rwanda: Genocide, Aftermath of." Encyclopedia of African History. Ed. Kevin Shillington. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005. Print.

Entry in a multi-volume work, not in alphabetical order

Howard, Maurice. "Renaissance Style." Encyclopedia of Visual Art. Vol. 4. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1989. 641-658. 10 vols. Print.

Entry in a single-volume work, in alphabetical order  

Bynoe, Yvonne. "QueenLatifah." Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture. Westport: Greenwood Press. 2006. Print.

Article in a single volume work, not in alphabetical order:

Malin, David. "Cave Photography." Focal Encyclopedia of Photography. Ed. Michael R. Peres. 4th ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007. 523. Print.


 Doumato, Eleanor Abdella. "Saudi Arabia." World Book Encyclopedia. 2004. Print.


Articles cited from online reference databases, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica Online or History Resource Center, should include the same information as printed material.   You also include the name of the database in italics, publisher, the medium (Web) and the date the article is accessed.  the web address (URL) is no longer required.

Encyclopedia entry with no author:

"Khoikhoin." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 2004. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Web. 24 Nov. 2008.

“Haiti.” Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. 12th ed. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007. History Resource Center: The Modern World, Web. 1 Feb. 2010.

Encyclopedia entry, with author:

Kareiva, P.M. "Systems Ecology." AccessScience: McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and TechnologyOnline. McGraw-Hill Co., Web. 22 Nov. 2008.