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MLA 9th ed. Style Guide: Getting Started

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Additional MLA Style Resources

NEW! WFU Subscription to MLA Handbook Plus!

Check out ZSR Library's new subscription to the MLA Handbook Plus, the Modern Language Association's subscription-based digital resource. This subscription includes a link to the digital version of the MLA Handbook Ninth Edition which features a fabulous Works-Cited-List Entries by Publication Format Page

What's New in the Ninth Edition?

The following are examples of new and updated citation guidelines made in the April 2021 release of the MLA Handbook 9th edition. For a more comprehensive overview of expanded style changes, visit  MLA Handbook Plus

  • Publication Date: seasons should be lower case (for example, fall 2021, winter 2022).
  • Location: for an online source, the order of preference is: DOI (Digital Object Identifier), permalink (a stable, permanent, or persistent URL), or URL.
  • DOI Format: precede the DOI with http:// or https:// (for example, https://10.1186/s12955-021-01701-3).
  • URL Format: copy the entire URL from the browser.
    • If truncating URLs is desired, http:// or https:// may be deleted.
    • If the URL is more than three lines or longer than the rest of the entry, truncate it. Truncated URLs should include at least the host (for example, www.oxfordreference.com).
    • Avoid citing shortening service URLs (for example bit.ly).
  • URLs are Optional: URLs are not consistently reliable, therefore they are now considered optional. When deciding whether to include URLs, writers should follow the preferences of their instructors, institution, or publisher. 

Basic MLA Format

MLA 9th uses the same system of documentation established in the MLA 8th Handbook. This system includes the use of core elements and containers and can be used to cite any source. For more information and for practice using the MLA template, go to the MLA Style Center's Works Cited: A Quick Guide.

Here are the core elements of the MLA template with punctuation:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of Source.
  3. Title of Container,
  4. Contributor,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication Date,
  9. Location.

Appendix 2 of the MLA Handbook, 9th ed. includes an extensive list of MLA Works Cited entries by format. Here are a few examples available through the MLA Style Center. 

Here is a sample scholarly journal citation:

Buscail, Camille, et al. “Association between Self-Reported Vegetarian Diet and the Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the French NutriNet Cohort.” PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 8, Aug. 2017, pp. 1–16. EBSCOhost, https://doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183039.

Here are some examples of how to cite this source in text:

Camille Buscail and colleagues found an association between vegetarian diets and irritable Bowel Syndrome (12).

(Buscail et al. 12)

While specific elements will differ based on what you are citing (book, book chapter, website, blog, etc.), they all follow the same order. The tabs above provide guidelines for citing different kinds of sources.

The MLA Manual

MLA Handbook Book Cover

NEW! MLA Handbook Online

MLA Handbook, 9th ed., The Modern Language Association of America.

ISBN: 9781603293518

Publication Date: 2021

Available in Reference, Wilson 4.

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