What is MLA Referencing?

An inherent part of modern literature – Modern Language Associations

What is MLA referencing?

This is a style that is used to write papers and cite sources within liberal arts and humanities in the present day. All fields of literature agree on the need to document scholarly borrowings but documentation conventions vary because of the different needs for scholarly disciplines. MLA referencing is one such style or discipline, which is widely used, as it is generally simpler and more concise than other styles. It features parenthetical citations in the text keyed to an alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of the work. This citation style has undergone significant changes with the every new edition.

This style has been widely adopted by schools, academic departments and instructors all over the world. Their guidelines are used by over 1,100 journals, newsletter, magazines, university and commercial press. They are mainly followed throughout North America, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Taiwan and such other places. The MLA association publishes two authoritative explanations of MLA style : the MLA Handbook for writers of Research papers and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. It describes how easy is it to use and interpret this style even for users unfamiliar with nuances of scholarly discourse. When no style is specified, it becomes a good general style to use. The style has two meanings expression and presentation.

The types and styles of MLA references –

There are three basic styles of references that is author date, bibliography and note, in the form of endnotes and footnotes. It uses the bibliography style with text citations in the author-page format. The references and citations must also correspond that is everything cited in the text must be referenced, and the only works cited are included in the reference list. MLA style places the reference list under the heading Works Cited to offer a reminder to this correspondence. The references are composed of elements like –

Authors – the Works Cited are organized according to the authors. Therefore the lead author’s name goes last name first and the other author’s names follow the order with the conventional usage of conjunctions and punctuations.

Titles (as parts) – articles and chapters are parts of works and volumes and its titles are capitalized and placed in quotes.

Tiles (as volumes) – the titles or the names of books or journals are underlined or placed in italics other than being capitalized.

Publication information (for books) – MLA style introduces the publisher of the volume, by giving the name of the publisher and the place of the publication, followed by the year.

Publication information (for periodicals) – no publisher is given for journals or periodicals, just the name of the journal is sufficient, this however is followed by the volume (date): page.

Internet access – the dates the sources are accessed are followed by URL in brackets.

Example : Watts, Alan. “The Art of Contemplation.” Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal. New York: Vintage Books, 1974. 179-96. Print.

All this together assist in the coursework writing service to any institution.

The MLA style includes certain rules these are –

Using the international format (day month year) that is full dates by abbreviating the month.

Every word in a title is capitalized except for articles, conjunctions and prepositions. The capitalization is generally used for headings and subheadings.

Punctuation is important.

The names and titles are underlined or written in italics.

Journals are published in volumes thus the references to these journals note the number in the volume form : volume: number.

The general points for using references –

Points for in-text references are –

  • if the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence it is enough to cite just the page number.
  • Font and capitalization must match the reference list.
  • Long quotations should be indented
  • If one is searching for more than one reference within the same point in a document the references should be separated with a semicolon.
  • The works with no author must be referred by the title.
  • If one is citing for two works by the same author, a comma must be added after the author’s name with the title words to distinguish between them in the in-text citation.
  • Two authors with the same surname must be referred by the initials.

The general points to be listed for reference listing –

  • The heading for reference list is Work Cited which should be focused on.
  • The reference should be formatted with double spacing and a hanging indent
  •  All significant words of the title and subtitles should be capitalized
  • The author’s names should be listed with forenames if known
  • The name of the first author is inverted to the list of the family name; additional authors are not inverted to the list.
  • If one cites for more than one author, the names must be given in the first entry only. Thereafter hyphens are used instead of the names.
  • If a reference does not have an author, it is cited by the title.

How are the references and pages composed?

The references to various sources are composed in block formats. As for the book the format that is used is –

Author, First Middle. The Title of the Book or Volume. Xth ed. Trans. First M. Last. City:Publisher, 2006. Print.

The MLA style also uses abbreviations in references, even devotes a chapter to the topic.

This style also includes the name of the medium of publication in every reference, that is the source of the Print document or web page, PDF file, audiocassette, videocassette, tweet etc

There are three basic differences in the page format of the MLA handbooks – it does not allow the use of headings and sub headings in papers, it requires everything to be double spaced when block paragraph spacing for block quotes, headings and references, block quotes require a double intent, intended a full inch instead half from the left margin.

These are few of the features of the MLA references used by an academic writing.