Librarian Advice: MLA 8

| By Lisa Stoll |

For those of you who have had me come to your class to give you the bad news, let’s stay strong together.  For those of you who have not heard the bad news, brace yourselves!

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Over the summer, the Modern Language Association (MLA) changed the MLA Style from MLA 7 to MLA 8.  This means that how you cite your materials in MLA style has changed.  Yes, I do know how scary this is for those of you who spent last year learning how to use MLA because the new style is just different enough to cause some pain.

I often get asked why MLA decided to change from MLA 7 to MLA 8 (keep in mind, this means that MLA has in fact changed styles 8 times now!).  According to the Modern Language Association, they updated their style to match today’s types of resources and researchers.  Because of the advent of the Internet and all the different types of resources offered through the Internet (web pages, videos, pictures, etc.), MLA wanted to make it easier to cite this information.  The example that they give on their website (www.mla.org) involves citing a song you have listened to on the Internet, but had actually been from an album that came out 20 years ago.  Rather than having to cite the original source (the album) and then the Internet site, MLA wants you to focus on just citing where you got the information (the Internet) rather than focusing on where it came from.

While the in-text part of your citation has not changed (Author’s Last Name page number), the Works Cited part has changed.  For example, when citing a book you no longer include the city of publication.  Also, the [print] identifier is no longer included.  When using online sources, you need to include the URL, but not the http://.  Like I said, just enough to be a pain.

If you are having any issues, or need help with your citations you have a number of resources, including me.  On the library’s webpage, we have an updated version of the WCCC MLA Citation Guide (Library website à MLA Citation Format tab), and Purdue OWL is up-to-date.  Be careful, though, the databases’ citation feature is NOT using MLA 8, so you cannot just copy and paste the citations found there into your paper.  As always, you can come into the library to find me for help, or email me at lstoll@warren.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Finally, in conjunction with the ISC, there are citation labs from 11am-12pm and 2pm-3pm on November 22 and December 6 and 20 in room 219.  During these labs, you can stop by with any citation questions you might have and get some help.

Do not despair, we will help you through this transition!

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