Most Works Cited entries begin with the name of the author or creator. Alphabetize your entries by last name and provide any first names after the comma:
Chuckle, Hillary. “Ventriloquizing the Belly Laugh: An Ethnographic Perspective.” ROFL, vol. 5, no. 1, Dec., 2005, pp. 1-14.
Don’t forget to add a period after the author’s name. Now let’s review all the tricky cases.
Some authors go by their initials:
Dastardly, B. Mugging Muggles for Profit and for Fun. Hogwarts UP, 1788.
Names Not Inverted
In rare cases you do not need to invert the name. Examples include various famous poets and rulers:
This is more common for premodern authors.
Also, in some languages author names are already written in reverse order (with the last name first). In that case, copy the name as you found it:
In this example, Kim is the family name.
Even if you suspect that a name is a pseudonym, cite it in the regular order:
Warm, Luke. “How to Build Your Own Hot Tub.” Youtube, uploaded by CheapSkate299, 5 Feb. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoTu9Bs.
If you like, you can provide the real name in square brackets:
Havank [Hans van der Kallen].
Alternatively, you can provide the real name first and the pseudonym in brackets. This is especially useful for online handles:
Whiner, Uriah [@uwhiner].
You can even provide only the real name by itself in square brackets:
[Hans van der Kallen].
Finally, you might like to group all the works by the same author together, even if published under different names.
If an author has published under separate names (e.g., due to a name change), you can add the label published as:
Smith, Sarah. Snugglebugs and Hugglebugs. Sentimental Press, 1999.
—. [published as Sarah Jones]. Cuddles and Puddles. Sentimental Press, 1998.
If the author has requested that their previous name not be used, then you can omit the note.
For two authors, keep the same order as they are listed in the source. Invert only the first:
Smith, John, and Bob Jones. Living with Mediocrity: The Challenges of Being Average. Quixotica Press, 2016.
More than Two Authors
For three or more authors, provide the name of the first and add the Latin abbreviation et al. (and others):
Collins, William, et al. “Wanton Willoughby and Wily Wickham: Austen’s Worst Womanizers.” A Moral Tract in Honor of Lady Catherine De Bourgh, edited by Lady De Bourgh, Dowager Press, 1820, pp. 19-153 .
If a work has been created by an organization, you can list it as the author.
National Artillery Foundation. “Turning your Howitzer into a Lawn Ornament.” The Veteran Gardener, Spring, 2001, pp. 7-8.
If the organization is also the publisher, then don’t list it as the author:
The Best Bumper Stickers Based on the Bard’s Lines. National Shakespearean Automobile Association, 2013.
The main creator of a work does not have to be an author. It can also be an editor, translator, or performer, to mention the most likely possibilities. In such cases, provide the name and add the descriptive label afterwards.
Yawn, Esther, editor. The Causes of Boredom: A Collection of Essays. Etcetera Press, 2017.
Normally, contributors are listed after the title, but when there is no main author then they may be moved to the front of the entry.
The same rules apply as with two authors. Just add the descriptive label at the end:
Bag, Phil, and Rosemary Trundlewood, editors. Epic Tales of Lost Luggage. Random Publishing House, 2005.
Lee, Amy, and Yao Chow, translators. The Sayings of Confucius: The Fortune Cookie Edition. By Confucius, Analectual Press, 2001.
Note that in the second example the translators have been listed first and the author has been placed after the title. This can be useful when you are drawing special attention to the role of the contributors.
More than Two Contributors
For three or more contributors, provide the name of the first and add the Latin abbreviation et al. (and others):
Gadfly, Norman, et al., editors. The Phenomenology of the Unibrow: A Festschrift for Hans Glinka. Pluckwidge Press, 2007.
As mentioned, the creator of a work does not strictly have to be an author. Here are a few other possibilities:
Add the label of your choice after the creator’s name:
Amblin, Bruce, director. Saws. Nightmare Studios, 1975.
If your focus is on the work itself, then add the name of the creator or contributor afterwards:
Saws. Directed by Bruce Amblin, Nightmare Studios, 1975.
If a work has no author (and you do not want to emphasize the role of another contributor), just skip the author container:
Voulez Vous “Couchsurf” Avec Moi? Translated by Jean Valjean, Backpacker Promotions, 2012.
For more information about citing authors, see chapter 5 of the MLA Handbook (9th ed.).