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MLA Style Guide, 8th Edition: Title of source

Title of source (Works Cited)

The title of the source is the second core element in the Works Cited entry. In general, the title of a work is taken from the title page of the publication.

  • List the full title as it is written in the source. Exceptions to this rule are for standardization of capitalization and subtitle punctuation. 
    • Capitalize all principal words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.). Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or conjunctions when they fall in the middle of a title.
    • Separate a subtitle with a colon and a space.
  • Italicize titles if the source is self-contained and independent. Titles of books, periodicals, databases, and Web sites are italicized.
  • Place titles in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work. Articles, essays, chapters, poems, Web pages, songs, and speeches are placed in quotation marks.
  • Sometimes titles will contain other titles. For example, a journal article about a novel, short story, play, film, etc. may mention the title of the work the article is about in the article's title.
    • If the title mentioned is usually indicated by italics, use italics for the title. Examples of these titles are films, novels, entire books, journals, and entire websites.
      • Example of a journal article title which includes the title of a book: "Unbearable Weight of Authenticity: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Theory of 'Touristic Reading.'"
    • If the title mentioned is usually indicated by double quotation marks, enclose the title in single quotations marks. Examples of these titles are poems, short stories, book chapters, and journal articles. 
      • Example of a journal article title which includes the title of a short story: "Individualism in O'Connor's 'A Good Man is Hard to Find.'"

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