MLA Style on the Web

June 16th, 2008 by Danielle Becker

For many students one of the most challenging aspects of writing an academic essay is citing your sources. I, for one, would wait until the last minute, clean my bedroom, the microwave, anything else before hunkering-down and writing my list of works cited. Those were the days before the internet so the pages of my MLA Handbook were dog eared and highlighted to try force me to remember how to cite in a way that didn’t cost a grade. I’m not trying to say the MLA Handbook (or Chicago or APA) aren’t valuable resources, they are the best for citing, but if you find yourself without a handbook nearby and are in a pinch, and want to learn more about MLA Style, here is a list of decent internet sources you can use as an alternative

The Owl at Purdue:

This resource includes lengthy explanations and even includes some image files illustrating the formatting of sample pages of an essay in MLA Style. There is a linked table of contents covering everything from writing a thesis statement to literary analysis and criticism. I would suggest this resource for anyone taking a class using MLA Style. Owl also has an equally thorough section on APA formatting and style.

Ohio State University Libraries MLA Citation Guide:

This resource is great when all you need to know is a quick answer to a citation question such as, “How do I cite a Web site using MLA Style?” This guide will give you that information.

Eastern Washington University:

If you’d like an overview tutorial on MLA Style and APA Style, take a minute to go through this easy (and painless) tutorial.

To learn more about MLA Style and to purchase the book, take a look at the Modern Language Association’s Web site. Remember, Hunter Main Library has several copies of the MLA Handbook in the reference area (call number: LB2369.G53 2003) and a copy at the Information Desk for your use as well. Hunter also subscribes to EndNote and RefWorks, two tools that allow you to incorporate cite-as-you-write technology. These tools are linked-off of the main Hunter Libraries Web page. Take a minute to explore these helpful resources, it’s much more fun than making your bed.

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Posted in Events, Health Professions Library, Library Acquisitions, Library Administration, Reference, Research, School of Social Work Library, Technology News

2 Responses to “MLA Style on the Web”

  1. Manfred Kuechler Says:

    Rather than wasting much time with learning all the nitty-gritty details of MLA (or any other style) citations, students and faculty should use bibliographical software (EndNote, RefWorks) as mentioned (in passing) at the end of the post.
    Such software stores in the separate pieces (like author, title, year) of a citation and then produces a bibliography/reference section in almost any style a user wants (including MLA). So students can focus on doing substantive research and writing rather than worry where to use a comma, a period, or a colon and whether to put the year next to author name or at the end, enclosed in parentheses or not.

    In a nutshell: Don’t waste your time with MLA style details, focus on real work and let RefWorks/EndNote do the menial tasks.

  2. Clay Williams Says:

    This is exactly right, but we do run the risk of de-emphasizing the importance of a bibliography and the role it plays in critically thinking about academic research. The good students learn to see the works cited as a major avenue to further research on the topic.

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