How to Cite a Book with No Author or Editor Using MLA Style

When writing a term paper or working on a longer term research project, it is important to keep track of your sources of information so that you can credit them for contributing to your own original conclusions. While traditionally this type of credit has been given via footnote, more recent forms of citation actually occur within the text of a paper in abbreviated form and refer a reader to a more detailed reference at the end of the document. One of the most popular forms of this type of citation is MLA style, which enables a writer to use a parenthetical note in the text that directs a reader to a simple resource reference on a "Works Cited" page. MLA is especially popular in undergraduate classrooms where the process of citing references may be a new experience for students. In the course of your research, it is possible that you will encounter source material that has neither an author nor an editor. When this happens, you must take care to formulate your reference note so that someone reading your paper can still track down that book, should they wish to do so.

Things You'll Need

  • Title of the book
  • Year of publication
  • City where the book was published
  • Publisher


    • 1

      Start with the title of the book and a period. You will use the first main word of the title to alphabetize your entry. The title should be in italics if possible. If not, use an underscore to indicate that the title should be underlined.

    • 2

      Follow the title with the city where the book was published and a colon. This information can usually be found on the title page or on the flyleaf of the book, but if you cannot find this item, use a search engine to track the information down by simply entering the title as a search term.

    • 3

      Add the name of the publisher and a comma.

    • 4

      Finish your entry with the year of publication and a period.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plagiarism can end your academic career and sully your professional reputation permanently--even if you are cleared of the charges. Be very careful to cite all sources of information, even if you do not quote them directly.
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