How to Cite No Authors or an Organization in MLA

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A citation on an MLA works cited page usually begins with the last name of the source’s author. However, there are times when an author isn’t stated. There are also times when instead of an individual, an organization or company is stated as the author.

The guidelines below follow rules from the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook.


No Author in MLA

When no author is given, omit the author section and start the citation with the title. MLA also discourages the use of “Anonymous” as a replacement for the author’s name (“How”).

Examples:

The Epic of Gilgamesh. Translated by N. K. Sandars, Penguin Books, 1964.

The Eye of the Moon. Michael O’ Mara Books, 2009.

In-text examples:

In-text citations also use a source’s title instead of the author name. If the title is long, it can be shortened to the first noun or noun phrase.

(Epic 10)

(Eye 23)

The Modern Language Association urges students to scrutinize the source carefully before deciding there is no author (“How”). In some cases, the work may be created by an organization or company. If that is the case, you’d cite that organization as the author (see below for more details).


Organization or Company Author in MLA

If an organization, government agency, company, or other type of association is the author of the text, include its full name in the citation (MLA Handbook 119).


SCENARIO 1: If the organization is both the author AND publisher

  • Omit the author section.
  • Start your citation with the source title. (This maybe italicized or in quotations, depending on your source type.)
  • Include the organization as the publisher.

Examples:

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

“Curbing the COVID-19 Comeback in Europe.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper Limited, 1 Aug. 2020, www.economist.com/europe/2020/08/01/curbing-the-covid-19-comeback-in-europe.

In-text examples:

In-text citations also use a source’s title. If the title is long, it can be shortened to the first noun or noun phrase.

(MLA Handbook 119)

(“Curbing”)


SCENARIO 2: One company is the author, a different company is the publisher

Begin the citation with the name of company author (Handbook 119).

Example book structure:

Name of Company Author. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year published.

Example of website article structure:

For URLs, do NOT include http:// or https://.

Name of Company Author. “Article Title.” Website Name, Publisher, Day Month Year published, URL.

Example in-text structure:

In-text citations would include the name of the company author.

(Company Author page #)


Related guides:


Overview


Notes on Titles and Suffixes

Some authors will also have additional information tied to their names. It could either be a title (e.g., Sir, Saint, President, etc.), a degree (e.g., MLIS, PhD, etc.), or a suffix (e.g., Jr., III, etc.).

According to the official Handbook, leave out titles and degrees the works cited list (49).

Full Name (in Source) Name in Works Cited List
Dame Naomi James James, Naomi
Sister Joan D. Chittister Chittister, Joan D.
Benjamin Hardy, PhD Hardy, Benjamin

For suffixes, include them. Add a comma after the full author’s name, then add the suffix. No comma is needed before the suffix if it is numerical.

  • King, Martin Luther, Jr.
  • Eaton, Maxwell III

Works Cited:

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021. 

“How Do I Cite A Source That Has No Author?”. The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association, 2017, style.mla.org/source-with-no-author/.


Published April 14, 2016. Updated June 19, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

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