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MLA Format  

A guide to using the Modern Language Association's citation format.
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2014 URL: http://research.lesley.edu/mla Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

MLA Format Print Page
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MLA: Get Started

Click and print these guides (with sample citations!) to the basics of MLA format.

More MLA Links

Visit these links (to non-Lesley web sites) for handy and easy-to-access MLA guidelines.

 

MLA Style for Your Smart Phone

This handy web site is a great place to get oriented to the basics of MLA, and look up sample citations.

 

MLA in the Library

Search the FLO catalog to find more MLA-related resources at Sherrill and beyond.

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What is MLA Format?

MLA format is...

    • A citation format for citing sources in your papers
    • A style guide for formatting text, headings, title page, etc.
    • Published by the Modern Language Association (http://www.mla.org/)
    • Preferred (along with APA) by Lesley College
    • Used primarily by students and scholars of the humanities
    • Outlined in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition), written primarily for high school and undergraduate students, and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition), written primarily for graduate students, scholars, and professional writers


The current, 7th edition of the MLA Handbook contains a number of changes, many of which streamline the process of citing electronic sources.  Please make sure that your handbook is up to date!

What is exactly is different about the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook?

Copies of the 7th edition are available at the reference desk.  As always, if you have questions, please Ask a Librarian!

 

MLA Guidelines from the Lesley College Humanities Department

 The humanities program at Lesley requires students to use MLA style in their written work. Even an essay that does not consult secondary sources requires MLA citation and documentation of the literary work(s) under discussion.


The guidelines below have been adapted from the  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.);
students should consult the handbook, or other links on this page, for issues not covered here.
 

Why Do I Have to Cite?!

There is more than one way to cite your sources, and your choice of citation style will probably depend on several factors.  If you are submitting a paper for a class, your instructor is likely to ask you to use a particular style--usually the one that is standard for academic work in the field you are studying.  As noted above, the humanities department at Lesley requires students to use MLA format.  If you are taking a class in literature or another discipline in the humanities, you will want to become comfortable with MLA style!

When you cite your sources, you give credit where credit is due, to the authors whose ideas helped you shape your own.  You also enable your reader to track down and verify your sources, and show your knowledge of the scholarly literature on your topic.  You place your ideas in context with the ideas of other writers, thereby entering into a scholarly conversation. You also develop and display your personal and academic integrity, and you avoid the serious consequences that come of plagiarism.

When you use a citation style consistently and accurately--whether it is MLA, APA, Chicago, or something else--you make it easy for your reader to understand the type of source you are documenting--is it a book, a journal article, a film, a web site, a poem?--and to find the information they'll need if they want to track the source down themselves.  Learning the basics of MLA will also make it easier for you to know what you are seeing when you find a citation and want to track down the source.

Check out the resources on this Libguide for help in learning the basics of MLA, and to find answers to your questions about how to format your citations.  And if you have any questions, just ask!

 

MLA Manuals

These manuals are a available in Sherrill Library and may also be purchased online (not too expensive!)

Cover Art
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Call Number: LB2369 .G53 2003
The go-to manual for students, with guidelines on citation styles, paper formatting, plagiarism, etc.
You'll find a copy on the table right next to the reference desk, on the lower level of Sherrill Library.

Cover Art
MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
Call Number: PN147 .G444 2008
You'll find this manual on the table next to the reference desk, on the lower level in Sherrill Library. (If you don't see it, just ask!)

About the Author

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Tamar Brown
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Reference and Instruction Librarian
Sherrill Library
Lesley University
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Missing Details?

Are you missing details for a citation? The author's name or the journal volume number, etc.?

Type all the details you have into Google. You may be able to track down a complete citation this way--even if all you have to go on is an article title!

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