Cover image for MLA handbook for writers of research papers
MLA handbook for writers of research papers
Gibaldi, Joseph, 1942-
Personal Author:
Fifth edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Modern Language Association of America, 1999.
Physical Description:
xviii, 332 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB2369 .G53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
LB2369 .G53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
LB2369 .G53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
LB2369 .G53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



The fifth edition of the MLA Handbook is revamped for the Internet age. A complete toolbox for online research, this edition offers guidance in-- finding research materials online-- judging the quality of information on the Internet-- using expanded and updated MLA formats to documents a wide variety of online sources-- preparing text in electronic form

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This fourth edition of a publication based on the "MLA Style Sheet," begun more than 40 years ago, includes a great deal of information about using and citing electronic sources. Designed as a "comprehensive picture of how research papers are created," the handbook was last published in 1988. It will be used by researchers from high school and up. It is aimed at students; The MLA Style Manual (1985) is aimed at scholars. The handbook takes readers through the research paper process step by step, and includes information on narrowing the topic, outlining, note taking, etc. Before dealing with such mechanics of writing as spelling, punctuation, and format, the manual covers the use of catalogs (online and paper), indexes, and databases in the library and offers a list of some standard print and electronic reference works. The sections on documentation in text and citations seem to include every type of source and possible variable. The work concludes with abbreviations for terms used in research, reference sources by subject, and some examples of other styles of documentation. Examples within each section are printed in a font different from the explanatory text, a feature that allows the user to easily find the appropriate format. Chapters are divided by subtopics with numeric denotation; an index makes topics easy to find. Public and academic libraries should update their style manuals with this edition because of the inclusion of electronic sources, portable and online. High schools that use the MLA style should also include it in their library collections. (Reviewed July 1995)

Library Journal Review

Now a standard for students throughout the U.S., the original style sheet was published in 1951 and the first edition in book form appeared in 1977. This newest edition has been expanded to cover electronic searching methods, using computers to write research papers, and citing electronic publications. An excellent section on library use clearly explains paper and online catalogs. While there is no comparison of different word-processing programs, computers are touted as making the research writer's job much easier by combining steps and allowing movement between outlines and drafts. The new section on citing electronic formats is done well and with common sense; more than once, the reader is told that if complete information cannot be found, cite what is available. This new edition of a standard style handbook should be in every library.¬ĎLisa J. Cochenet-Cihlar, Winfield P.L., Ill. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Pity the knight-errant editor of a style manual: each time a new publication type is slain (the blog, the vlog, Twitter), a new format raises its hydra-like head. Six years in the making, this new edition of the MLA Handbook (4th ed., CH, Oct'95, 33-0646) dispatches several newfangled dragons successfully, in the clear and highly readable prose that has graced editions since the release of a simple style sheet in 1951. Several significant changes in documentation style were originally announced in last year's third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (CH, Nov'08, 46-1235). These changes include the abandonment of print as the "default" medium (each citation now must indicate the format of the work being cited), the addition of a requirement for issue number and volume, and the decision to allow URLs for online sources to be optional in citations. New formats such as graphic narratives (toons and strips) and digital files also make a first appearance. Chapters 1-4, covering, respectively, research and writing, plagiarism, the writing process, and paper formatting, have been updated with more emphasis on and examples of electronic resources. The citation examples are explained in some detail, and multiple examples are given for each publication type; particularly helpful are illustrations showing where elements of a citation appear in print and electronic sources. The editors wisely have dropped somewhat extraneous sections on selected reference sources by subject area and on alternate citation formats.What this new version has lost in pages it has gained in bytes. Each print copy comes with a unique code that unlocks a companion Web site . The site offers the full, searchable text of the Handbook, as well as three case studies showing the research and writing process and citation styles appropriate to each project. The MLA does not currently offer site licenses for this content; instead, the site suggests that librarians or instructors can use their personal codes to unlock the content in teaching situations. This textbook model of an individual login tied to a paper copy is a bit awkward for libraries and writing centers to manage, though the MLA is to be lauded for offering very low-cost access to the online format. At any cost, the Handbook is an indispensible, well-crafted update of an indispensable reference source. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers. B. Juhl University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Table of Contents

Phyllis Franklin
Forewordp. xiii
Chapter 1 Research and Writing
1.1. The Research Paper as a Form of Explorationp. 2
1.2. The Research Paper as a Form of Writingp. 4
1.3. Selecting a Topicp. 4
1.4. Conducting Researchp. 5
1.4.1. The Modern Academic Libraryp. 5
1.4.2. The Central Information Systemp. 6
1.4.3. Reference Worksp. 6
1.4.4. The Online Catalog of Library Holdingsp. 14
1.4.5. Other Library Resources and Servicesp. 19
1.4.6. Internet Sourcesp. 20
1.5. Compiling a Working Bibliographyp. 22
1.6. Evaluating Sourcesp. 25
1.6.1. Authorship and Authorityp. 27
1.6.2. Accuracy and Verifiabilityp. 28
1.6.3. Currencyp. 28
1.7. Taking Notesp. 28
1.8. Plagiarismp. 30
1.9. Outliningp. 34
1.9.1. Working Outlinep. 34
1.9.2. Thesis Statementp. 35
1.9.3. Final Outlinep. 36
1.10. Writing Draftsp. 40
1.11. Language and Stylep. 42
1.12. Guides to Writingp. 43
Chapter 2 The Mechanics of Writing
2.1. Spellingp. 49
2.1.1. Consistencyp. 49
2.1.2. Word Divisionp. 49
2.1.3. Pluralsp. 50
2.1.4. Foreign Wordsp. 50
2.2. Punctuationp. 50
2.2.1. The Purpose of Punctuationp. 50
2.2.2. Commasp. 51
2.2.3. Semicolonsp. 56
2.2.4. Colonsp. 56
2.2.5. Dashes and Parenthesesp. 58
2.2.6. Hyphensp. 59
2.2.7. Apostrophesp. 61
2.2.8. Quotation Marksp. 63
2.2.9. Square Bracketsp. 63
2.2.10. Slashesp. 64
2.2.11. Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Pointsp. 64
2.3. Italics (Underlining)p. 65
2.3.1. Words and Letters Referred to as Words and Lettersp. 65
2.3.2. Foreign Words in an English Textp. 66
2.3.3. Emphasisp. 66
2.4. Names of Personsp. 66
2.4.1. First and Subsequent Uses of Namesp. 66
2.4.2. Titles of Personsp. 67
2.4.3. Names of Authors and Fictional Charactersp. 68
2.5. Numbersp. 68
2.5.1. Arabic Numeralsp. 68
2.5.2. Use of Words or Numeralsp. 68
2.5.3. Commas in Numbersp. 70
2.5.4. Percentages and Amounts of Moneyp. 70
2.5.5. Dates and Times of the Dayp. 71
2.5.6. Inclusive Numbersp. 72
2.5.7. Roman Numeralsp. 72
2.6. Titles of Works in the Research Paperp. 73
2.6.1. Capitalization and Punctuationp. 73
2.6.2. Underlined Titlesp. 75
2.6.3. Titles in Quotation Marksp. 76
2.6.4. Titles and Quotations within Titlesp. 76
2.6.5. Exceptionsp. 78
2.6.6. Shortened Titlesp. 80
2.7. Quotationsp. 80
2.7.1. Use and Accuracy of Quotationsp. 80
2.7.2. Prosep. 81
2.7.3. Poetryp. 83
2.7.4. Dramap. 84
2.7.5. Ellipsisp. 85
2.7.6. Other Alterations of Sourcesp. 89
2.7.7. Punctuation with Quotationsp. 90
2.7.8. Translations of Quotationsp. 93
2.8. Capitalization and Personal Names in Languages Other Than Englishp. 94
2.8.1. Frenchp. 94
2.8.2. Germanp. 96
2.8.3. Italianp. 97
2.8.4. Spanishp. 99
2.8.5. Latinp. 100
Chapter 3 The Format of the Research Paper
3.1. Printing or Typingp. 104
3.2. Paperp. 104
3.3. Marginsp. 104
3.4. Spacingp. 105
3.5. Heading and Titlep. 105
3.6. Page Numbersp. 106
3.7. Tables and Illustrationsp. 106
3.8. Corrections and Insertionsp. 109
3.9. Bindingp. 109
3.10. Electronic Submissionp. 110
Chapter 4 Documentation: Preparing the List of Works Cited
4.1. Documenting Sourcesp. 114
4.2. MLA Stylep. 114
4.3. The List of Works Cited and Other Source Listsp. 116
4.4. Placement of the List of Works Citedp. 117
4.5. Arrangement of Entriesp. 118
4.6. Citing Books and Other Nonperiodical Publicationsp. 119
4.6.1. The Basic Entry: A Book by a Single Authorp. 119
4.6.2. An Anthology or a Compilationp. 123
4.6.3. Two or More Books by the Same Authorp. 123
4.6.4. A Book by Two or More Authorsp. 124
4.6.5. Two or More Books by the Same Authorsp. 126
4.6.6. A Book by a Corporate Authorp. 126
4.6.7. A Work in an Anthologyp. 127
4.6.8. An Article in a Reference Bookp. 130
4.6.9. An Introduction, a Preface, a Foreword, or an Afterwordp. 131
4.6.10. Cross-Referencesp. 132
4.6.11. An Anonymous Bookp. 133
4.6.12. An Editionp. 134
4.6.13. A Translationp. 135
4.6.14. A Book Published in a Second or Subsequent Editionp. 137
4.6.15. A Multivolume Workp. 137
4.6.16. A Book in a Seriesp. 140
4.6.17. A Republished Bookp. 141
4.6.18. A Publisher's Imprintp. 141
4.6.19. A Book with Multiple Publishersp. 142
4.6.20. A Pamphletp. 142
4.6.21. A Government Publicationp. 143
4.6.22. The Published Proceedings of a Conferencep. 145
4.6.23. A Book in a Language Other Than Englishp. 146
4.6.24. A Book Published before 1900p. 146
4.6.25. A Book without Stated Publication Information or Paginationp. 147
4.6.26. An Unpublished Dissertationp. 148
4.6.27. A Published Dissertationp. 148
4.7. Citing Articles and Other Publications in Periodicalsp. 149
4.7.1. The Basic Entry: An Article in a Scholarly Journal with Continuous Paginationp. 149
4.7.2. An Article in a Scholarly Journal That Pages Each Issue Separatelyp. 152
4.7.3. An Article in a Scholarly Journal That Uses Only Issue Numbersp. 153
4.7.4. An Article in a Scholarly Journal with More Than One Seriesp. 153
4.7.5. An Article in a Newspaperp. 154
4.7.6. An Article in a Magazinep. 155
4.7.7. A Reviewp. 156
4.7.8. An Abstract in an Abstracts Journalp. 158
4.7.9. An Anonymous Articlep. 159
4.7.10. An Editorialp. 159
4.7.11. A Letter to the Editorp. 159
4.7.12. A Serialized Articlep. 160
4.7.13. A Special Issuep. 161
4.7.14. An Article in a Microform Collection of Articlesp. 162
4.7.15. An Article Reprinted in a Loose-Leaf Collection of Articlesp. 162
4.8. Citing Miscellaneous Print and nonprint Sourcesp. 162
4.8.1. A Television or Radio Programp. 162
4.8.2. A Sound Recordingp. 164
4.8.3. A Film or Video Recordingp. 167
4.8.4. A Performancep. 169
4.8.5. A Musical Compositionp. 170
4.8.6. A Painting, Sculpture, or Photographp. 171
4.8.7. An Interviewp. 172
4.8.8. A Map or Chartp. 173
4.8.9. A Cartoonp. 174
4.8.10. An Advertisementp. 174
4.8.11. A Lecture, a Speech, an Address, or a Readingp. 174
4.8.12. A Manuscript or Typescriptp. 175
4.8.13. A Letter or Memop. 175
4.8.14. A Legal Sourcep. 176
4.9. Citing Electronic Publicationsp. 178
4.9.1. Introductionp. 178
4.9.2. An Online Scholarly Project, Information Database, or Professional or Personal Sitep. 180
4.9.3. An Online Bookp. 183
4.9.4. An Article in an Online Periodicalp. 186
4.9.5. A Publication on CD-ROM, Diskette, or Magnetic Tapep. 190
4.9.6. A Work in More Than One Publication Mediump. 195
4.9.7. A Work from an Online Servicep. 195
4.9.8. A Work in an Indeterminate Mediump. 196
4.9.9. Other Electronic Sourcesp. 196
Chapter 5 Documentation: Citing Sources in the Text
5.1. Parenthetical Documentation and the List of Works Citedp. 204
5.2. Information Required in Parenthetical Documentationp. 204
5.3. Readabilityp. 206
5.4. Sample Referencesp. 208
5.4.1. Citing an Entire Print or Nonprint Workp. 208
5.4.2. Citing Part of a Workp. 211
5.4.3. Citing Volume and Page Numbers of a Multivolume Workp. 214
5.4.4. Citing a Work Listed by Titlep. 215
5.4.5. Citing a Work by a Corporate Authorp. 217
5.4.6. Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author or Authorsp. 218
5.4.7. Citing Indirect Sourcesp. 220
5.4.8. Citing Literary and Religious Worksp. 221
5.4.9. Citing More Than One Work in a Single Parenthetical Referencep. 224
5.5. Using Notes with Parenthetical Documentationp. 227
5.5.1. Content Notesp. 227
5.5.2. Bibliographic Notesp. 228
Chapter 6 Abbreviations
6.1. Introductionp. 232
6.2. Time Designationsp. 233
6.3. Geographic Namesp. 234
6.4. Common Scholarly Abbreviationsp. 237
6.5. Publishers' Namesp. 244
6.6. Symbols and Abbreviations Used in Proofreading and Correctionp. 246
6.6.1. Selected Proofreading Symbolsp. 246
6.6.2. Common Correction Symbols and Abbreviationsp. 246
6.7. Titles of Literary and Religious Worksp. 247
6.7.1. Biblep. 247
6.7.2. Shakespearep. 250
6.7.3 Chaucerp. 251
6.7.4. Other Literary Worksp. 252
Appendix A Selected Reference Works by Field
A.1. Anthropologyp. 256
A.2. Artp. 256
A.3. Biologyp. 257
A.4. Businessp. 257
A.5. Chemistryp. 258
A.6. Computer Sciencep. 258
A.7. Educationp. 259
A.8. Environmental Sciencesp. 259
A.9. Geographyp. 260
A.10. Geologyp. 260
A.11. Historyp. 260
A.12. Language and Literaturep. 261
A.13. Lawp. 262
A.14. Mathematicsp. 262
A.15. Medicinep. 263
A.16. Musicp. 263
A.17. Philosophyp. 263
A.18. Physicsp. 264
A.19. Psychologyp. 264
A.20. Religionp. 265
A.21. Science and Technologyp. 265
A.22. Sociologyp. 265
Appendix B Other Systems of Documentation
B.1. Endnotes and Footnotesp. 268
B.1.1. Documentation Notes versus the List of Works Cited and Parenthetical Referencesp. 268
B.1.2. Note Numbersp. 268
B.1.3. Note Form versus Bibliographic Formp. 269
B.1.4. Endnotes versus Footnotesp. 269
B.1.5. Sample First Note References: Books and Other Nonperiodical Publicationsp. 270
B.1.6. Sample First Note References: Articles and Other Publications in Periodicalsp. 273
B.1.7. Sample First Note References: Miscellaneous Print and Nonprint Sourcesp. 276
B.1.8. Sample First Note References: Electronic Publicationsp. 279
B.1.9. Subsequent Referencesp. 284
B.2. Author-Date Systemp. 285
B.3. Number Systemp. 287
B.4. Specialized Style Manualsp. 288
Sample Pages of a Research Paper in MLA Stylep. 291
Indexp. 295