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Citing Your Sources

A general guide to citations and styles commonly used at USNA.

MLA Style

The documentation style developed by the Modern Language Association (MLA) is the preferred style for most humanities fields (e.g. arts, English, foreign languages) except for history and philosophy, which tend to use Chicago Style. As always it's best to check with your professor before choosing any style.

As with most styles, there are two components for citations in MLA Style. The first component is a notation in the text that refers to a source listed on a bibliography, works cited, or references page at the end of your paper. In MLA Style, this notation is formatted as the author's last name and page number in parentheses (e.g. (Author, pp)) . The second component is is the actual citation for the source that appears at the end of you paper. Formats for common sources are below.

Which edition?

Book Author (last name, first name). Title in Title Case and Italics. City: Publisher, YYYY. Medium.

Goat, Bill T. Winning Football Strategies Against Army. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Academy Press, 1845. Print.
Journal Article Author (last name, first name). "Article Title in Title Case and Quotes." Journal Title in Title Case and Italics V.I (YYYY) or DD Month YYYY(publication date): XX. Medium.  DD Month YYYY (access date). <>.

Goat, Bill T. "Examining the Superiority of Midshipmen." Midshipman Review 23.4 (2013): 25-30. Print.
Website Author (last name, first name). "Page Title in Title Case and Quotes." Website Name in Title Case and Italics. Site publisher or sponsor, DD Month YYYY (publication date). Web. DD Month YYYY (access date). <>.

Naval Academy Varsity Athletics. "No. 21 Navy tops Army 21-17 for 14th straight win in series." Navy Sports: The Official Website of Naval Academy Varsity Athletics. Naval Academy Athletic Association, 12 Dec. 2015. Web. 1 Jan. 2016. <>.

With it's most recent, 8th edition, the MLA Handbook took a new approach to simplify citations by de-emphasizing the medium of the source (e.g. a book, a print journal, an online journal), and emphasizing the series of components (listed in the column on the right) needed to find the source you're citing. Nevertheless, the medium of the source you're using makes big changes to the look of your citation. The examples below show how the components translate into various media.


Journal Article


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MLA Style resources

Need more help with citations in MLA Style? The MLA website offers more details and a worksheet for assembling citations, and Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides a robust guide. The official source for style information is the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, and you can also refer to The Longman Hanbook for Writers and Readers which you received as plebes. Both handbooks are available in the Ready Reference section of the Nimitz Library.


Explanation of the terms and abbreviations used in the examples on the left.

Red text Replace this text with the appropriate information from your source.
Black text Do not change this text when formatting your citations.
Title Case Capitalize 1st letter of the title & the 1st letter of every principal word
City City where published
YYYY Publication year
X Page numbers
V Volume number
I Issue number