PK6 Academic Citation & Documentation Examples (Hopkins)
Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author(s)


Questions frequently arise on citation format when there are two or more works by the same author(s). This page gives examples for both in-text citations and the Works Cited listings to which such citations refer.

Principles of In-text Citations for Two or More Works by the Same Author

The principles for in-text citations when there are two or more works by the same author [or two or more works with an unknown author but with the same title, etc.] are the same as for other citations: the format used must
  1. Explictly refer to the specific Works Cited listing in question;
  2. Be as concise as possible, while still unambiguous, to not be intrusive to the paper's readability;
  3. Highlight the most relevant detail of the particular citation. Usually this will be the same as #1 above, but there are sometimes circumstances in which it may differ (see below).
The MLA method of citing two or more works by the same author using in-text citations is to refer to the author name plus an unambiguous key word or words from the title(s) of the different works(s) by the author (cf. MLA Handbook, 5th edition, section 5.4.6., page 218). However, in certain circumstances [see the Interview citations below] the year or date of publication may also used, when it would be the equivalent of the title "key word" or better satisfy requirements #2 and #3 above than a regular word from the title.

Examples of the Citations

The following paragraphs (adapted from the Rainbow Passage) gives examples. (Note also different ways an in-text citation can be attributed in MLA-modern format; one does not always have to just put the author name and page number at the end of the paragraph!)

When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow (Able, Atmospherics 55). The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. Able further reports in Golden Expectations (97) that there is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. In Biblical Beliefs Bobby Baker expands on this by claiming that "when a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow" (137). The prominent British linguist David Crystal observed in his 1995 Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (255) that the "pot of gold" folksaying is common throughout world English.

Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods (Baker, Biblical 12). The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky (Baker, Nuances 35).

Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Two years ago, physicist Chuck Charley said that Aristotle thought the rainbow was caused by a reflection of the sun's rays by the rain (Interview, 2001). Since then, however, he has found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbows (Interview, 2002). David Crystal, in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (49), suggests that language professionals should pay particular attention to such terminological distinctions as that of "reflection" vs. "refraction."

Additional Explanation for the 'Charley' and 'Crystal' Citations

In the last paragraph above, only (2002) would also work for the reference to the second interview with Chuck Charley, since in the same paragraph there has been a previous reference to Charley, and there are only two listings for him in the Works Cited, both of which begin with Interview.

With the two sources by David Crystal, the best solution for in-text citations would probably be direct reference to the titles of each work, as shown in the example above. Otherwise, due to the length and similarity of the two titles, using 'key words' may be awkward.

Both of Crystal's works begin "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of ...," with the 1995 book then followed by "the English Language" and the 1997 book by simply "Language". But the titles are so similar that it may be confusing to take only a distinct key word from the title alone, as this would have to be "English" for the 1995 publication (e.g. "Crystal, Cambridge" vs "Crystal, English"). Thus other solutions may be more practical, if one does not want to refer repeatedly in the text to the full titles of the books. Such solutions are not covered explicitly in current MLA Citation guidelines, but follow the logic of similar cases.

For example, two key words could be used: "Crystal, Cambridge English" vs. "Crystal, Cambridge Language." Or, the year of publication could be used to distinguish between the two, if this would be felt more clear: for example (Crystal, Cambridge 1995 page#) vs (Crystal, Cambridge 1997 page#), or else, shorter yet, simply (Crystal, 1995 page#) vs (Crystal, 1997 page#).

The problem with the latter solution, however, would be confusion between the two numbers ending the in-text citation (the 'key word' year-of-publication and the page number), as one would have, for example, (Crystal, 1995 17). The year of publication is not part of the title of Crystal's work, so it cannot be put by itself in boldface. It might, however, be put in boldface if included with a key word from the title as a means of distinguishing one of Crystal's titles from the other.

In short, for special citation cases such as the two similarly-titled works by David Crystal, direct reference to the full title in the body of the paper would be the easiest solution, particularly for first references in the paper. For subsequent references, either the form (Crystal, Cambridge 17) vs (Crystal, Cambridge English 17) or else (Crystal, Cambridge 1995 17) vs (Crystal, Cambridge 1997 17), with the year of publication added to the same key word for both of his works, would be the shortest form that would also provide easiest readability.

Incorporation of the year into the in-text citation in this case would appear to be similar to APA style, but in MLA style the year would have a different function from what it would have had in APA style.

Procedure for Listing Names of Authors With Two or More Works in the Works Cited

In the Works Cited listing, when there are multiple works by the same author give the author's name only in the first listing. In subsequent listing for the same author, type three hyphens followed by a period and then the title. Works listed under the same name are alphabetized by the title of the work.

If the person named was an editor, translator or compiler rather than a "sole author," use the appropriate abbreviation (ed., trans, or comp.) before the title. If the author is unknown (mainly with web references) and the title is the same (see the Interviews below), the listing order would be determined by the date [or other unambiguous logical element].

Note that while three hyphens should be used to indicate the same author as in the previous work(s) cited, this form may only be used with human names (such as Adam Able and Bobby Baker) or with 'institutional' or 'corporate' authors (for example the Federal Reserve Board of Directors, etc.), but not with 'titles' such as the Interview with Chuck Charley. In cases of multiple references like this where there is no "author," but the title of the source begins the Works Cited entry, the title should be repeated.



Works Cited

  • Able, Adam. Atmospherics and Mythology. Paradise: Utopia Press, 2001.
  • - - - . Golden Expectations. Paradise: Utopia Press, 2000.
  • Baker, Bobby. Biblical Beliefs. Paradise: Utopia Press, 1999.
  • - - - . Numerous Nordic Nautical Nuances. Paradise: Utopia Press, 1998.
  • Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge [U.K.]: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • - - - . The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. 2nd Edition. Cambridge [U.K.]: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Interview with Chuck Charley. Rain Refractions Annual Online, 2001. Viewed 01 April 2010.
  • Interview with Chuck Charley. Rain Refractions Annual Online, 2002. Viewed 01 April 2010.
    [assume in the two Interviews that no interviewer or 'author' name was listed, and there were no page numbers]


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Last Updated 03 November 2010