• 3-minute read
  • 13th October 2019

How to Cite a Conference Paper in MLA Referencing

All the hot new research gets debuted at conferences. In fact, on the academic scene, anyone who’s anyone goes to conferences. But even if you’re not ready to attend in person, you may need to cite a conference paper in your work. Here’s how to do it using MLA referencing.

In-Text Citations for a Conference Paper

As with all MLA citations, when citing a conference paper, you should give the surname of the author and page numbers for the section you’re citing:

The image included a rabbit, a bat and a reindeer (Lewis 212).

The citation above, for example, points to page 212 in a paper by “Lewis.” If you have mentioned the author’s name in the main text, however, you do not need to repeat it. Just cite the page number instead:

Lewis calls these overlooked books “library ghosts” (214).

You will then give the full publication details in the Works Cited list.

Works Cited: Published Paper

If you’re citing a paper from published conference proceedings, the format to use is as follows:

Surname, First Name. “Paper Title.” Proceedings Title, Conference Location and Date, edited by Editor Name(s), Publisher, Date of Publication.

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In practice, this would look something like this:

Lewis, Jack. “Lost Literature: The Social Consequences of Stock Loss.” Proceedings of the International Library Conference, Amsterdam, 13–14 June, edited by W. Oldham, LCP Publications, 2015.

Works Cited: Unpublished Paper

You can also cite an unpublished conference paper. This could be something you saw presented at a conference, but it could also be a paper you found on a conference or university website. The format for citing an unpublished paper is based on MLA rules for citing a public speech:

Surname, First Name. “Paper Title.” Conference Name, Location and Date. Conference Presentation.

You’ll notice that the conference details are not italicized here, unlike the published proceedings. If you found the unpublished paper online, moreover, you should include a URL. For instance, an unpublished version of the Lewis paper cited above could be listed like this:

Lewis, Jack. “Lost Literature: The Social Consequences of Stock Loss.” International Library Conference, Amsterdam, 13–14 June 2015. Conference Presentation. www.internet-librarian.com/2015/papers-presented/lewis-stock-loss.pdf

If you have downloaded a paper from a specific database, you should include the database name before the URL as well. The key thing is making sure your reader can find the paper you’ve cited. And if you’d like an expert to check your references are clear and consistent, we can help.

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