Answered By: Lora Cowell
Last Updated: Nov 28, 2016     Views: 14

MLA 8 standards continue to support the overall principles related to citation and plagiarism.  However, it has removed many of the rigid rules that made it MLA 7 too inflexible to handle emerging media and methods of access. 

What has stayed the same?   

In-text citations are still formated parenthetically using the author's last name and page number (Wagner 97).  

What has changed?  

Citations have been simplified and made more flexible.  The new standards emphasize the importance of allowing our readers to find and access our sources.  

Now there is JUST ONE standard citation format, regardless of source type or medium!  Here's the basic formula:

Who is the author?  
Think of the person to whom you are giving credit for this information.  You now have the flexibility of highlighting a specific contributor if it is appropriate to your work (such as a musical performer).

Change! Pseudonyms allowed.  For  example:   a twitter ID such as @libraryremix)

What is the title of your source?  
What is the name of the actual source used. Be specific.  This may be a web page, an article within a newspaper,  etc.  NOTE: The source title is only placed in quotes if it is in a container.  (i.e. citing an entire book or movie). If the source is not in a container, it is italicized.  

What's a container?  
This new term helps us understand that we are citing resources located within larger resources. For example:  a book title (when citing a chapter within), an album title (when citing a song within), a magazine Title (when citing an article within). 

AND, there may be more than one container (i.e. you use an article located within a magazine within a database). Your citation will simply list each container and locating information like this:

Author's Lastname, Firstname.  "Title of Source." Title  of Container,  Locators.  Title of Container, Locators.

What are locators?  This includes any information that will help a reader find specific reference.  It includes version and volume information, publisher, page range, database, URL, etc. Location information should be provided in the following order:   

Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, page or URL.


When should I list other contributors? Other contributors should be listed when their work significantly impacts the source.  For example, an editor or translator may have an impact on a text.  A songwriter has significant input into the work of a performing artist.

Should I include a version or volume number?  Resources may vary from version to version. It the source has an edition number, list it.  If the source is located within a specific volume, list it.

Change!  Volume and Number format.  WAS 6.2 (2016)  NOW vol. 6, no. 2, 2016

Who is the publisher?  This helps your reader know who had over site over the publication of this information.

Change!   Listing the publisher  is optional if the Title of Container is the publisher. (i.e. periodicals, website)

Change!  City of publication is optional.  Use it only if it's needed for locating purposes.

When was it published/updated? This  helps your reader determine the currency of information you have cited.

Change!  Date format can be formatted as 27 Nov. 2016 OR Nov. 27, 2016.  Emphasis is on CONSISTENCY within the bibliography.   

What is the location where my reader can find this?  This provides more specific information to your reader.  It may be page numbers or a URL.

Change!  URLs are still optional but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED because these provide useful information!  It is okay to leave out http:// or other messy distractors.  Just include the parts that will allow your user to find the information again.  AND...make them live, whenever possible!


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