As a researcher or reader, a citation is the information needed to locate the article (or book) you are interested in reading. As a writer, a citation is the information necessary to help verify your work. Your credibility as a writer and research can be seriously harmed by poor citation style.
For articles from a database, a complete citation generally includes:
· The author's name
· The title of the article
· The name of the magazine or journal in which it is located
· The volume number of the magazine or journal (and sometimes the issue number)
· The page numbers on which the article is located
· The date when the article was published
Hagen, Patricia L., and Thomas W. Zelman. "'We Were Never on the Scene of the Crime':
Eavan Boland's Repossession of History." Twentieth Century Literature, vol. 37, no. 4, 1991,
pp. 442-453, InfoTrac Student Edition, doi:10.5465/amle.2013.0337. Accessed 19 Mar. 2016.
For books, a complete citation generally includes:
· The author's name
· The title of the book
· The publication date
· The book's publisher
Pollan, Michael. Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. Penguin Press, 2013.
Thanks to Oregon State University librarians for allowing me to use and embellish on their materials.
Aside from purchasing a copy of the MLA Handbook, 8th edition, reading it, learning it, and living with it; there are a couple of other sources that could help you out when writing papers in MLA. Remember: the definitive answer to any MLA style question is in the Handbook. No website or outside help is ever as correct as the original source.
But, it can be hard to always have your own copy around, so here are a few other sources that are definitive, but quick and helpful:
During a non-pandemic semester, the Earl K. Long Library has copies on Reserve you can use in the library and check out for 3 hours at a time. But in the mean time, try
Purdue University's Online Writing Lab MLA guide
Zotero--a free browser plugin that can help you collect and store your research information and transform it into a bibliography in many styles including the MLA.
Zotero allows you to start gathering research immediately. Go to Zotero.org and use the Download button to get the latest version. You will want to register for a Zotero account and login so you can sync your account and participate in groups, if you choose. Be sure to also add the your plugin of choice for word processing--Word or LibreOffice. Whenever you update your version of Zotero, please also update your word processor plugin--they may not be compatible otherwise.
Quick Start Guide Support Guide (all topics)
Don't forget that MS Word also has a tab on the ribbon for 'References'. Right now, it has the MLA 7th edition on it. It is mostly the same as the 8th, with some changes for digital items. Check with your professor if he/she has a preference that you work with the 7th or 8th editions,
and always follow your instructor's preference for citation. Word.
Learning the basics of MLA style doesn't have to be hard, in fact, it can be as easy as playing a game...here are a few sites I recommend for learning MLA basics the easy way. As of this writing, both the 7th and 8th editions of the MLA Handbook are in common use. Remember: for any truly difficult questions, the best answers always appear in the MLA Handbook!
MLA Citation game 7th edition (drag & drop)
MLA Citation game 7th edition (clicks)
MLA Citation game, 8th edition (drag & drop 2)