MLA Gets With the Times

By Maeve Maddox

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Probably the biggest change in the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers has to do with the Works Cited section.

No more underlining
I abandoned underlining for italicizing as soon as I got my hands on my first computer. That was in the 1980s. MLA has finally come round and recommends italicizing titles of books, periodicals, films, etc.

No more continuous pagination
All you have to do now is enter the volume and issue number for a scholarly publication.

New Abbreviations
Didn’t you just hate it when your web source didn’t include a publisher or date of publication? Well, there are abbreviations for those now:

N.p. no publisher
n.d. no date
n. pag. no pagination (ex. online journals)

NOTE to web publishers: if your site contains useful, accurate information, give researchers a break and provide a date and publisher.

URL not compulsory
A works cited entry for a website will include author, article title, and name of the website, but the URL is not mandatory. (It’s probably still a good idea to include the URL for an obscure site.)

Multi-media Markers
A “medium of publication marker” goes at the end of every entry. For example: PRINT, WEB, DVD, TV. If the source is from the web, the marker is followed by the date of access.

You can see some examples of entries typed according to the new guidelines a the Purdue OWL site.

Annotated sample research paper that follows the new guidelines.

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2 Responses to “MLA Gets With the Times”

  • Kyan Blue

    Excellent. It always bothered me to leave out stuff like the publisher & date (it makes you look lazy), and URLs can be pretty messy and long sometimes.

    I never thought I’d be happy about bibliography news…

  • Brandon Mendelson

    I know it’s geeky, but I am very excited to hear about underlining becoming unnecessary.

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