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How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA Format

Whether you’re writing a research paper for a sociology class or presenting a literature review, you’ll likely need to use MLA format to cite your sources. When citing a YouTube video in MLA format, you must include details like the primary video creator’s real name or username, the video’s title, the location container, the date it was posted (use the abbreviated forms of months, followed by a period), and the linked video URL.

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How to cite a YouTube video in MLA format

When citing a YouTube video in MLA format, style it as follows:

Creator’s Username or Real Last name, First name. “Title.” YouTube, Day Month.,

Year, Linked URL.

Write the video title so it’s the same as the on-page headline in the YouTube video. The container, which is where the source is located, is formatted in italics and in this scenario will always be “YouTube.” Note that MLA format doesn’t require “https://” in front of the URL.

Here’s an example of how to cite a YouTube video in MLA format:

JFK Library. “Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Ernest

Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises.” YouTube, 20 Oct. 2016, 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBPPAbn2d34.

MLA parenthetical and in-text citations for YouTube videos

A YouTube video source can also be cited in MLA format in the body of your text, either as a parenthetical or an in-text citation. Both versions include the creator’s username or real name and the video time stamp that’s being referenced.

Example:

  • Parenthetical citation: (Lewis 0:35–1:11)
  • In-text citation: Lewis (0:35–1:11)

How to cite a YouTube video in MLA when the creator is unknown

Ideally, citations in MLA format on your works cited or bibliography page use the primary source creator’s name as the “author.” However, if you need to cite a source that isn’t the video’s primary creator, use the YouTube username that uploaded the video instead.

The title as it appears on the YouTube video starts the citation. It’s then followed by the source location, the words “uploaded by,” and the username that uploaded the video. Then add the upload date and linked YouTube URL to complete the citation.

Below is an example of how to cite YouTube videos in MLA format when the original video creator’s name is unknown:

“Kid Breathes on Window and Draws a Heart | Social Experiment.” YouTube,

uploaded by TreeMan, 9 Mar. 2022, www.youtube.com/watch?

v=WT3d35xLAOE.

MLA parenthetical and in-text citations when the creator is unknown

In-text and parenthetical MLA citations for a YouTube video in which the primary creator’s name is unknown follow a similar format as the standard version. The key difference is that you use the YouTube username in place of the “author” element, followed by the video time stamp being referenced.

Example:

  • Parenthetical citation: (TreeMan 0:05–0:20)
  • In-text citation: TreeMan (0:05–0:20)

Standard MLA citation for a YouTube channel

When you’re citing a YouTube channel rather than a single video, the citation follows the format of a website citation in MLA. You’ll need the name of the YouTube channel or username, source location (“YouTube”), and linked YouTube URL.

After writing the YouTube channel name in quotations, add “YouTube” and the channel page’s linked URL. Then include the word “Accessed” followed by the date of reference.

A YouTube channel citation in MLA format might look like this:

“JFK Library.” YouTube, www.youtube.com/c/JFKLF. Accessed 23 Jun. 2022. 

MLA parenthetical and in-text citations for a YouTube channel

To cite a YouTube channel in MLA format in a parenthetical or an in-text citation, use the shortened channel name or username and the year you accessed the source.

Example:

  • Parenthetical citation: (JFK 2022)
  • In-text citation: JFK (2022)
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