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Citations: Deciphering and Using Them: Book Citation (MLA)

How to read a citation, and then locate the cited item.

Book Citation (MLA)

The item below is a book. Book citations will always include the place of publication, followed immediately by the name of the publisher. There are several different citation styles, which will vary in punctuation, and in the order of the components. The example here follows the MLA style.

Use the library's catalog to look up a book...


To find out if the Sawyer Library owns this book, you can look it up in the Online Public Access Catalog, (OPAC), either by
  • the book’s title, or
  • by the author [last name, first name], as shown below:

... and then use the information in the catalog record to find the book within the library:

The resulting item record displays the location, call number, and the item status.
In this case the book was recently added to the collection [Location: Sawyer New Books,]. The bulk of the Sawyer Library’s circulating collection is located on the 4th floor of the Library, designated as “Sawyer 4th Floor” in the location field.

The Library of Congress call number pinpoints the location of the book on the shelf. Books on similar topics will be shelved nearby, and will have similar call numbers. To find this call number, GC231.2 .H65 2011, look first for the G's, then the GC's, then the GC 200's, and GC 230's, then GC 231.2, etc., etc., etc...

The status of “check shelf” means the book should be in the library and is available to be checked out.

The sample book

The Catalog & Library of Congress Classification and Call Numbers

The guide below provides illustrated tutorials and videos on using the catalog, and on understanding the Library of Congress Classification and call number system.