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MLA Updates 2009


Here are some of the more noteworthy changes in the new edition:  

·         No More Underlining! Underlining is no more. MLA now recommends italicizing titles of independently published works (books, journals, magazines, films, etc).

·         No More URLs! While website entries will still include authors, article names, and website names, when available, MLA no longer requires URLs. Writers are, however, encouraged to provide a URL if the citation information does not lead readers to easily find the source.

·         Continuous Pagination? Who Cares? You no longer have to worry about whether scholarly publications employ continuous pagination or not. For all such entries, both volume and issue numbers are required, regardless of pagination.

·         Publication Medium. Every entry receives a medium of publication marker. Most entries will be listed as Print or Web, but other possibilities include Performance, DVD, or TV. Most of these markers will appear at the end of entries; however, markers for Web sources are followed by the date of access.

·         New Abbreviations. Many web source entries now require a publisher name, a date of publication, and/or page numbers. When no publisher name appears on the website, write N.p. for no publisher given. When sites omit a date of publication, write n.d. for no date. For online journals that appear only online (no print version) or on databases that do not provide pagination, write n. pag. for no pagination.

MLA 2009 Sample Entries

Each entry highlights changes in the new edition.


Book citations remain largely the same except for the addition of the medium of publication, Print, at the end of the entry.

Carré, John le. The Tailor of Panama. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. Print.

Journal Article

Regardless of pagination, all scholarly publication citations include both volume and issue numbers. End citations with the medium of publication, Print.

Aldrich, Frederick A. and Margueritte L. Marks. “Wyman Reed Green, American Biologist.” Bios 23.1 (1952): 26-35. Print.

Online Periodical

Online periodicals include both the name of the website in italics and the website publisher. Note that some sites will have different names than their print formats, such as ones that include a domain name like .com or .org. If no publisher is listed, use N.p. to denote no publisher name given. Follow with date of publication, Web as medium of publication, and date of access.

Lubell, Sam. “Of the Sea and Air and Sky.” New York Times. New York Times, 26 Nov. 2008. Web. 1 Dec. 2008.

Cohen, Elizabeth. “Five ways to avoid germs while traveling.” CNN, 27 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 Nov. 2008.

Online Database Scholarly Journal Article

Cite online journal articles from an online database as you would a print one. Provide the database name in italics. Library information is no longer required. List the medium of publication as Web and end with the date of access.

Berger, James D. and Helmut J. Schmidt. “Regulation of Macronuclear DNA Content in Paramecium tetraurelia.” The Journal of Cell Biology 76.1 (1978): 116-126. JSTOR. Web. 20 Nov. 2008.

Online-Only Publication

For articles that appear in an online-only format or in databases that do not provide a page number, use the abbreviation n. pag. for no pagination. End the citation with the medium of publication, Web, and the date of access.

Kessl, Fabian and Nadia Kutsche. “Rationalities, Practices, and Resistance in Post-Welfarism. A Comment on Kevin Stenson.” Social Work & Society 6.1 (2008): n. pag. Web. 10 Oct. 2008.

Online Scholarly Project

Online scholarly projects appear italicized. Difficult-to-find projects may be listed in quotation marks with the website name and domain in italics. Publication location and date follows. Web medium of publication and date of access end the entry.

Kline, Daniel T., ed. Geoffrey Chaucer Online: The Electronic Canterbury Tales. U of Alaska Anchorage, 30 Jul. 2007. Web. 2 Dec. 2008.