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Modern Language Association (MLA): Introduction

MLA is one of the most common documentation styles. This documentation style is used for a variety of writing purposes, such as business reports and research essays. The main components are author(s), title of the work, date of creation, date the user accessed that resource (if online), and the electronic address or DOI (Digital Object Identifier), if available. The 8th edition is the most recent version of the official handbook. Check with your professors about which edition they prefer. View the official website for the most updated information.


MLA style requires in-text citations (i.e., acknowledgement of your source embedded in the text of your essay) AND a list of Works Cited at the end of your essay.


Always confirm with your professor what citation and referencing style is required for your paper’s documentation.

Note: This information includes both the 6th and 7th editions of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 2009. It is your responsibility to check with your professor regarding exact expectations for citations and referencing. Some professors may have an edition preference.


For more information on citation material, visit the Library website