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Citation Style Guides: Government Information

General Form

Author or Agency. Title. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Print. 


The hardest part is determining the author/ agency. 

If there is an author, follow that person's name.

If there is not a clear author, you will need to use the agency.  The name of a government precedes this information.  So start with either the name of a nation or a state government. 

You may use abbreviations for common words such as Dept. for Department and Cong. for Congress for in-text citations.  The MLA Handbook 8th edition contradicts itself regarding whether to restrict abbreviations to in-text or allowable for both in-text and works cited.  (See Sec. 3.2.1 / p. 117 and Sec. 1.6.2 / p. 96).


The University of Nevada - Reno has an excellent website for citing government documents using MLA.


MLA Handbook 8th edition

  • Allows for abbreviations; but appears to have scaled back allowable words.  If in doubt, write it out.
  • If the author (corporate) and publisher are the same, start with the title of the work and ignore the author.
  • The date of creation follows the title.  In rare cases, you may add "Accessed 10 Sept. 2017 [current date]" if there is no date of creation.


Print - Author (p. 105):

Poore, Benjamin Perley, compiler. A Descriptive Catalogue

     of the Government Publications of the United States,

     September 5, 1774-March 4, 1881. US 48th Congress,

     2nd Session. Miscellaneous Document 67. Government

     Printing Office, 1885.



Print - No author (Corporate author - Sec. 2.1.3 / p. 104):

The Adirondack Park in the Twenty-First Century.

     Commission on the Adirondacks in the

     Twenty-First Century, New York State, 1990.


United States. Dept. of Labor. Child Care: A Workforce

     Issue. Government Printing Office, 1988.



Online - No Author (pp. 104-5 / URL - p. 110):

Snyder, Howard N. Law Enforcement and

     Juvenile Crime. United States. Dept.

     of Justice. Office of Justice Programs,

     Office of Juvenile Justice and

     Delinquincy Prevention, 2001.




U.S. Legal Documents (Not found in MLA Handbook 8th ed - See University of Nevada - Reno website above):

United States Code:

17 U.S.C. Sec. 304 (2000).



Supreme Court Case: Sec. 5.7.14:


Brown v. Board of Education. 347 US 483-96 (1954).

(Adapted by from the University of Nevada - Reno website above):

Brown v. Board of Education. US Reports, vol. 347,

     pp. 483-96. Decided 17 May 1954.



Brown V. Board of Education. 347 US 483-96. Supreme

     Court of the US. 1954. Supreme Court

     Collection. Legal Information Inst., Cornell U

     Law School.





Congressional Bill - print

United States. Congress. House. To Provide for the

     Withdrawal of the United States from the North

     American Free Trade Agreement. Government

     Printing Office, 2011. 112th Congress, 1st




Congressional Hearing:

United States, Congress, Senate, Special Committee to Investigate

     Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. Investigation of

     Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. Vol. 1: Florida

     Hearing. 12 Dec. 1950. Government Printing Office, 1951.

     1950. 82nd Congress, 2nd session.



Presidential Documents

MLA does not specify how to cite presidential documents.  The following is an educated guess.


United States. President. "Interview with Richard Engel

     of NBC News in Sharm el-Sheikh." 18 May, 2008.

     Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents,

     Vol. 44. 275-230.




MLA does not specify how to cite treaties.  It is easiest to cite them as a document from the State Department. 


United States. Dept. of State. "Investment Treaty

     with Rwanda of February 9, 2008." pp.110-

     23. Government Print Office, 2010.

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