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Author

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Introduction

Author Image

Most Works Cited entries begin with the name of the author or creator. Let’s first deal with the basic format for citing the author. 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.

Variants

Initials

Some authors go by their initials:

Dastardly, B. Mugging Muggles for Profit and for Fun. Hogwarts UP, 1788.

Don’t add an extra period.

Names Not Inverted

In rare cases you do not need to invert the name. A famous example is the poet Dante:

Dante Alighieri.

Pseudonyms

Even if you suspect that a name is a pseudonym, cite it like you normally would:

Warm, Luke. “How to build your own hot tub.” Youtube, uploaded Cheapass299, 5 Feb. 2017. www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoTu9Bs.

For famous pseudonyms (e.g., Mark Twain, George Orwell) you do not need to give the real name. In other cases, you may want to provide the real name in brackets:

Havank (Hans van der Kallen)
@uwhiner (Uriah Whiner)

Two Authors

For two authors, keep the same order that they are listed in the source. Invert the first only:

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, general editor, Lady De Bourgh, Dowager Press, 1820, pp. 19-153.

Single Editor

The main creator of a work doesn’t 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.

Two Editors

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.

More than Two Editors

For three or more editors, 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.

Translators

All the same rules apply for translators as for editors. However, you should list the translator(s) first in the entry only if there is no author or if in your writing you are focusing on the work of the translator. In the latter case you can list the author’s name after the title:

Lee, Amy, and Yao Chow, translators. The Sayings of Confucius: The Fortune Cookie Edition. By Confucius, Analectual Press, 2001.

Other Creators

As mentioned, the creator of a work does not strictly have to be an author. Here are a few other possibilities:

adapter
performer
creator
director

Just add the label of your choice after the creator’s name:

Amblin, Bruce, director. Saws. Nightmare Studios, 1975.

Of course, 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.

No Author

If a work has no author (and you don’t 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.

Corporate Author

If a work has been created by an organization of some sort, 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.


For more information about citing authors, see especially pp. 21-25 of the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), as well as any follow-up references.