The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook was published in April 2016. This is the standard bibliographic and style guide for many students and faculty in the humanities and social sciences. The Handbook has made a number of significant changes to the MLA bibliographic style, and these are summarized in this Research Guide.
Download a brief 2-page summary Quick Sheet of MLA 8th ed. guidelines; or download a longer 4-page version with many additional examples.
Permission is hereby granted to replicate the contents of this Research Guide. Please drop a line to Don Macnaughtan to let me know.
- Common terms in the works-cited list like editor, edited by, translator, and review of are no longer abbreviated. The eighth edition provides a shorter list of recommended abbreviations (96–97).
- When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is normally given. It is followed by et al. (22). (Previously, the omission of coauthors was limited to sources with four or more authors and was presented as an option.)
Books and Other Printed Works
- Page numbers in the works-cited list (but not in in-text citations) are now preceded by p. or pp. (46).
- For books, the city of publication is no longer given, except in special situations (51).
- Issues of scholarly journals are now identified with, for instance, “vol. 64, no. 1” rather than “64.1” (39–40).
- If an issue of a scholarly journal is dated with a month or season, the month or season is now always cited along with the year (45).
- The URL (without http:// or https://) is now normally given for a Web source. Angle brackets are not used around it (48, 110).
- The citing of DOIs (digital object identifiers) is encouraged (110).
- Citing the date when an online work was consulted is now optional (53).
- Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) are no longer used. If facts missing from a work are available in a reliable external resource, they are cited in square brackets (2.6.1). Otherwise, they are simply omitted.
- Publishers’ names are now given in full, except that business words like Company (Co.) are dropped and, for academic presses, the abbreviations U, P, and UP are still used (97).
- A forward slash (/) now separates the names of copublishers (108).
- The kinds of publications that don’t require a publisher’s name are defined (42).
- When an organization is both author and publisher of a work, the organization’s name is now given only once, usually as the publisher (25). No author is stated.
- Full publication information is now given for widely used reference works. Page-number spans are given for articles in alphabetically arranged reference books in print. In other words, reference works are treated like other works and are no longer subject to exceptions.
- The medium of publication is no longer stated, except when it is needed for clarity (52).