Following the general MLA formatting guidelines, when you cite media sources other than traditional print media (such as music, video, physical art, speeches, and so forth) in your Works Cited page, include as much information as you have available, going in order of the standard MLA format citation component sequence, as seen here:
Some Guidelines and Rules for Citing Media Sources Such as Music, Film, Sculptures, Interviews, and Digital Files
- Not all components are needed. While the Component Sequence above shows the general order of components you’ll want to look for, note that every media source is a little different and you may or may not need every source listed above.
- Be conscious of sources that are smaller parts of a bigger whole. For example, an episode of a TV show (Compont 3, “Title of Source”) is a smaller part of a TV Series (Component 4, “Title of Container), so if you were citing an episode, you would cite both the title and the container. You would do the same thing for a song (Component 3) that is part of an album (Component 4). However, a stand-alone film like a documentary or movie does not include a container, so you would just cite the source (in italics).
- Some sources will have physical locations. While you normally cite page or paragraph numbers in the “Location” component (Component 10), with some media like paintings or sculptures you will actually have a physical location, like a museum, park, or display.
What to Look for When Referencing and Citing Websites and Online Sources in MLA
Traditional media like books, magazines, journals, and so forth have fairly standard publication rules and, as such, you can typically find all citation information you need in similar areas of each media type. Other media sources, however, tend to be less prescriptive and you may have to search for some citation information. In general, look for the information noted in the MLA Format Component Sequence noted in the graphic above, paying particular attention to Component 10, “Location” as that may vary widely between media types.
Quick List of Citation Components to Look for When Citing Online Sources
- Author, director, or artist name
- Title of media piece (placed in quotation marks if smaller media, in italics if it has no container)
- Title of container (placed in italics)
- Other contributors
- Version numbers, editions, volumes, or issue numbers, when applicable (mostly for digital versions of journals and magazines)
- Publisher or distributor name
- Publication date
- Location (which may be a physical location, city, URL, or something else)
- Access date (if applicable)
Assuming the medium you are citing includes all available components, it would look something like this:
Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher/Distributor, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs, URL or DOI, or physical location). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).
Visit the MLA Format Works Cited page for information on how to format all your citations at the end of your document.
Digital Files (JPGs, MP3s, PDFs, PNGs, DOCXs, etc.)
Cite digital files as you would any other media that corresponds to the file, only include the file format at the end. For example, your digital file may be an article, photograph, pamphlet, or something else. Cite it is you would any of those sources, but finish by saying something like “MS Word File.”
IN-TEXT FORMAT: (Author Name) WORKS CITED FORMAT: First Name, Last Name. Title of Container. "Title of Media." Title of company or publisher, date, file type. WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: Newbold. "Color CRAYON TIP: The 50 Most Important Rules of Document Design." The Visual Communication Guy, 2014, JPG file. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: (Newbold)
Film or Movie
Cite movies by their title first, followed by the director, key actors, distributor, and release year.
IN-TEXT FORMAT: (Film Name) WORKS CITED FORMAT: Name of Film. Directed by Name, performances by name(s), Film Studio or distributor, release year. WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: Helvetica. Directed by Gary Hustwit, performances by David Carson and Erik Spiekermann, distributed by Swiss Dots Production, 2010. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: (Helvetica)
When citing an interview you conducted, cite the name of the person you interviewed as the author, followed by a description of interview, the date, and the words “personal interview” to indicate that you conducted the interview.
IN-TEXT FORMAT: (Interviewee Name) WORKS CITED FORMAT: Last Name of Person Who Was Interviewed, First Name. Description of Interview, Personal Interview, Day Month Year of interview. WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: McCallister, Stefani. The impact of honey bees on our economy, personal interview, 12 June 2016. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: (McCallister)
Put the name of the interviewee first, followed by the title of the published interview (in quotation marks), the interviewer, and the container, if any, in italics. If the interview itself is the container, put it in italics. Include the volume and issue number, if any, and include the publication date.
IN-TEXT FORMAT: (Interviewee Name) WORKS CITED FORMAT: Interviewee Last Name, First Name. "Title of Interview," by Interviewer. Title of Container, date of publication, URL (if any), and access date (if applicable). WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: Spielberg, Steven. "A Word With: Steven Spielberg," by Manohla Dargis. The New York Times, 15 May 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/17/movies/a-word-with-steven-spielberg.html. Accessed 3 November 2017. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: (Spielberg)
Painting, Photograph, or Sculpture
Include the artist or author’s name first, followed by the title of the work of art in italics, the date of the composition, the medium of the work, and the name of the institution that currently houses the work of art.
IN-TEXT FORMAT: (Author Last Name) WORKS CITED FORMAT: Last Name, First Name. Title of Artwork or Photograph, date, medium, name of institution, location. WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: Van Gogh, Vincent. The Starry Night, 1889, painting, Museum of Modern Art, New York City. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: (van Gogh)
If no clear author is noted in the podcast, start with the title of the episode in quotation marks, followed by the name of the podcast in italics. Conclude with the name of the organization or company that produces the podcast, followed by the date of publication, URL, and access date.
IN-TEXT FORMAT: ("Shortened Title") WORKS CITED FORMAT: "Title of Episode." Title of Podcast Show, name of company (if different than artist), Day Month Year of publication, URL, access date. WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: "Stores: Stop Torturing Your Employees with Christmas Music." Morning Edition, uploaded by NPR, 8 Nov. 2017, https://www.npr.org/2017/11/08/562721366/stores-stop-torturing-your-employees-with-christmas-music, accessed 8 November 2017. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: ("Scott McCloud")
Song or Album (Including Comedy or Spoken-word Albums)
Songs can be cited multiple ways, depending on the container. In a traditional format, like on a CD, the album becomes the container and the song you are citing is the title of the source. If an album is found online or on Spotify, it’s important that you include the online platform as if another container. After citing the artist name, title of song, and album, cite the producer or label comany, the year of release, the online container (if applicable, like Spotify), and the URL (if found online).
IN-TEXT FORMAT: (Artist Last Name) or (Artist Last Name "Title of Song") WORKS CITED FORMAT: Last Name, First Name. "Title of Song." Title of Album, Producing Company, release date, Online Platform (if applicable), URL (if online), access date. WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: Morris, Rae. "Skin." Cold, Atlantic Records, 2014, Spotify, open.spotify.com/track/0OPES3Tw5r86O6fudK8gxi, accessed 13 October 2016. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: (Morris) or (Morris "Skin")
Speech, Lecture, or Presentation
Speeches, lectures, and presentations can take a variety of forms, but at the very least you should be able to tell the author’s name and hopefully the name of the speech. If the presentation was at a conference or specific venue, name the conference and location. The idea is to follow the MLA citation component sequence (top of this page) as you would any other source, but including as much information as you can to be clear to your reader.
IN-TEXT FORMAT: (Author Last Name) or (Last Name "Shortened Title") WORKS CITED FORMAT: Last Name, First Name. "Title of Presentation or Speech." Title of Conference, date of presentation, Venue, City. Type of presentation (if it's specific, like for a keynote address). WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: Nichols, Randy. "Carousel of Progress: The Future Comes to the 1964 World's Fair." Popular Culture Association conference, 17 April 2014, Marriott Chicago Downtown, Chicago, IL. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: (Nichols) or (Nichols "Carousel")
Television is changing rapidly and you can access television in a variety of different ways: recorded, as on a DVD; broadcast, as on live network or cable television; or streaming, as on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. As with any source citation, the spirit of MLA is to give as much necessary information as possible so that your reader can fully understand where you got your source. In most cases, you will cite the episode first (in quotation marks), followed by the title of the entire TV series (in italics). Note important details, like the season, episode number, broadcast company, and date of publication or airing. If the show was found online, follow the citation with a URL, followed by the access date.
IN-TEXT FORMAT: ("Shortened Title of Episode") WORKS CITED FORMAT: "Title of Episode." Title of Series, Season, Episode, Publication Company, Day Month Year, URL (if online). Access Date. WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: “Grief Counseling.” The Office, Season 3, Episode 4, NBC, 12 Oct. 2006. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/798356483? Accessed 12 September 2011. IN-TEXT EXAMPLE: ("Grief Counseling")