MLA stands for the Modern Language Association. This association publishes a handbook (with updates every few years) that provides the formatting standards for academic papers. You are required to understand and apply the formatting styles outlined by the MLA for your papers in this course.

This course does not provide you with tutorials or examples of every possible type of source and its corresponding citation. You are expected to be able to use the tools you have to find out how to cite these things yourself. For instance, if you interview your grandfather for a research paper on the Vietnam War, YOU must determine how to cite such a source. You will be held accountable for citing any and all of your sources, regardless of whether your instructor has covered the details of a particular kind of source.

MLA can be complicated and a bit nit-picky. However, there are many resources available to you to help with the process of learning and applying MLA:

  1. First is your handbook, Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference, and the necessary supplemental update, Documenting Sources in MLA Style: 2009 Update-A Hacker Handbooks Supplement.   A brief outline of the changes is available provided by Bedford/St. Martin's publishers, regarding the major changes made to MLA in 2009.
  2. Second, one of the most widely recognized online sources of assistance is available via Purdue Universtiy's OWL (Online Writing Lab). There is a link to this source in the sidebar of this website.
  3. Thirdly, you can learn to use Microsoft Word's Reference tool. There are a number of videos that teach you how to do this for various versions of Word. Below is a video tutorial (Part 1 of 2) on using the References tool in Word 2010.   Try searching YouTube for a tutorial on the version you are using.

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