Academic, Government, and Legal Sources

Academic Sources

This section includes symposia, dissertations, theses, and archival materials.

  • Published Proceedings of a Conference
    Oct. 1989, U of Pennsylvania
    is included after the title because it is important information about the conference.  If that information is provided in the title, you do not have to list it afterwards.

Freed, Barbara F., ed. Foreign Language Acquisition Research and the Classroom. Proc. of Consortium for Lang. Teaching and Learning Conf., Oct. 1989, U of Pennsylvania. Lexington: Heath, 1991. Print.

  • An Unpublished Dissertation
    A master’s thesis is cited the same way.  MA thesis or MS thesis substitutes for Diss.

Boyle, Anthony T. "The Epistemological Evolution of Renaissance Utopian Literature, 1518-1657." Diss. New York U, 1983. Print.

  • A Published Dissertation

Valentine, Mary-Blair Truesdell. An Investigation of Gender-Based Leadership Styles of Male and Female Officers in the United States Army. Diss. George Mason U, 1993. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1993. Print.

  • A Lecture, Speech, Address, or Reading

Speaker. “Title if any.” Meeting. Sponsoring organization. Building, City. Date. Description.

Terkel, Studs. Conf. on Coll. Composition and Communication Convention. Palmer House, Chicago. 22 Mar. 1990. Address.

  • Published or Broadcast Interview

Blackmun, Harry. Interview with Ted Koppel and Nina Totenberg. Nightline. ABC. WABC, New York. 5 Apr. 1994. Television.

  • Personal Interview

de Vries, Joshua. Personal Interview. 15 May 2013.

Dye, Elizabeth. Telephone Interview. 24 Feb. 2012.

  • A Memo

Writer of memo. “Title if any.” Description of memo including recipient. Date. Medium.

Scott, S. L. Memo to English dept. TAs, Southeast Missouri State U. 15 June 2013. TS.

  • A Manuscript or Typescript
    Use MS for manuscript and TS for typescript.

Author. Title or description. Date/Year of composition. MS/TS Name of place housing collection, City of place housing collection.

Chaucer, Goeffrey. The Canterbury Tales. 1400-1410. MS Harley 7334. British Lib., London.

  • A Published Letter
    A letter published in a book or magazine is treated much like an article in an anthology, but the date of the letter and the number are included after the title.
    • If using more than one letter in a collection, cite only the collection on the works cited page and the individual letters in-text.

Woolf, Virginia. "To T.S. Eliot." 28 July 1920. Letter 1138 of The Letters of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann. Vol. 2. New York: Harcourt, 1976. 437-38. Print.

  • An Unpublished Letter
    Unpublished letters follow the same format as a manuscript or typescript, see above.

Benton, Thomas Hart. Letter to Charles Fremont. 22 June 1847. MS John Charles Fremont Papers. Southwest Museum Lib., Los Angeles.

  • A Letter Received by the Researcher

Morrison, Toni. Letter to the author. 17 May 1999. TS.

Government Documents

This includes records of congress or reports issued by a department or committee.

  • A Government Publication, Congressional Record

Cong. Rec. Date: Page numbers. Medium.

Cong. Rec. 15 May 2013: 3015-24. Print.

  • A Government Document, Not Congressional Record
    GPO stands for Government Printing Office; HMSO stands for Her/His Majesty’s Stationary Office, the British equivalent.

Name of Government. Name of Agency/Department. Title of Document. City: Publisher, Year. Medium.

United States. Dept. of Labor. Child Care: A Workforce Issue. Washington: GPO, 1988. Print.

Legal Documents

Legal material can be very complicated to cite.  The MLA Handbook suggests if you are to need a lot of legal documents cited that you should reference The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

    • Do not include any materials for laws in quotation marks or italicize.  Court cases are italicized in-text only.
    • Abbreviating document names is normal.  Common abbreviations include USC—United States Code, Pub. L.—Public Law, and Stat.—Statues at Large.
    • Do not alphabetize by the number even if it appears first, but if multiple entries begin the same, order them numerically.

  • United States Code:

21 USC. Sec. 1401a. 1988. Print.

  • Act:

Name of Act. Public Law #. Statues at Large vol #. pp-pp. Date enacted. Medium.

Pesticide Monitoring Improvements Act of 1988. Pub. L. 102.1412. Stat. 100-418. 23 Aug. 1988. Print.

  • Court Case:

First plaintiff v. First defendant. Volume Name pp-pp/reference #. Name of court that decided the case. Year of decision. Publication information for medium.

Stevens v. National Broadcasting Co. 148 USPQ 755. CA Super. Ct. 1966. Cornell U Law School, n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2007.


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