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MLA Citation Guide (MLA 8th Edition): Government Documents

This guide will help you learn how to cite correctly in MLA style.

Tips

Access Date

For all content found on the Web, you must list the date you first viewed the resource. This comes last in a citation. The exception to this rule is that you do not list access dates for content found in library databases.

Dates

The format of dates is: Day Month (shortened) Year. E.g. 5 Sept. 2012.

Whether to give the year alone or include a month and day depends on your source: write the full date as you find it there.

If no date is listed, omit it unless you can find that information available in a reliable source.

Titles

Capitalize the first letter of every important word in the title. You do not need to capitalize words such as: in, of, or an.

If there is a colon (:) in the title, include what comes after the colon (also known as the subtitle).

Formatting

Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Government Document From a Website

Title of Document: Subtitle if Given. Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Department, Agency or Committee, Publication Date, URL. Accessed Access Date.

Works Cited List Example

 Veterans in Rural America. United States Census Bureau, 25 Jan. 2017, www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/acs/acs-36.pdf. Accessed 6 Feb. 2017.

In-Text Citation Example

 (Title of Document)

 Example: (Veterans in Rural America)

 Note: You can use a shortened form of the title by listing the first word or words of the full title.

Government Document in Print

Title of Document: Subtitle if Given. Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Department, Agency or Committee, Publication Date.

Works Cited List Example

 Congressional District Atlas. 100th ed., Bureau of the Census, 2008. 

In-Text Citation Example

 (Title)

 Example: (Congressional District Atlas 4)

 Note: You can use a shortened form of the title by listing the first word or words of the full title.