MLA style was created by the Modern Language Association of America. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.
There are two parts to MLA: In-text citations and the Works Cited list.
In MLA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:
Access Date: The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.
Citation: Details about one cited source.
Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
In-Text Citation: A brief note at the point in your paper where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List.
Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.
Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.
Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
Works Cited List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.
The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, published in 2016, rethinks documentation for an era of digital publication. The MLA now recommends a universal set of guidelines that writers can apply to any source and gives writers in all fields—from the sciences to the humanities—the tools to intuitively document sources. Learn more below about the changes to MLA guidelines. Get resources for teaching, an FAQ, tips on writing, and more on The MLA Style Center (via https://www.mla.org/MLA-Style/What-s-New-in-the-Eighth-Edition, accessed 26 March 2016).
This citation guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (8th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge.
Please note: Some examples illustrate Camden-Carroll Library's recommendations and should be viewed as modifications to the official MLA guidelines.