Answered By: Erin McDaniel
Last Updated: Apr 18, 2016     Views: 362

Hi Elisabeth

I'm providing an answer for both MLA and APA formats since I'm not sure which you are using.

In general, for either MLA or APA, for government documents, the "author" is the government agency.

For APA, use the following format (change the font style and size to Times New Roman 12 pt. or the font required by your instructor). If the publication or document number isn't included, don't worry about it.

Name of Agency. (Pub. Year). Title of work (Document or Pub no. if present). Retrieved from URL.


National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679) [PDF

document]. Retrieved from url/

The in-text citation format depends on whether it's a direct quote or paraphrase.

  • For a direct quote, use the Government agency's name, publication year and page number. The 1st time you use it, spell out the name and include an abbreviation after it: (National Institute of Mental Health[NIMH], 1990, p.199). The second time, use the name's abbreviation, date and page. (NIMH, 1990, p. 200).
  • For paraphrased ideas (put in your own words, use the agency's name (or abbreviation if you have already mentioned them) and the year: (NIMH, 2000)

For MLA, use the following format (also changing the font as described above. Name of agency.

Title of work, Publisher, Year of Pub, Format.


Council of Writing Program Administrators, National Council of Teachers of English, and National Writing Project. Framework for

Success in Postsecondary Writing. CWPA, NCTE, and NWP, 2011. PDF.

For the in-text citation, use the agency name (or an abbreviated version) and the page number:

Example: (Council of Writing Program Admins. 200).

I've included links below. 

For the APA example, I used the Data Sets heading as an example. Scroll down until you find it.

For the MLA example, I used the Digital Files heading at the bottom of the page as a template.

Hope this helps!


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