The MLA Handbook and Some Free Resources for MLA Style

Resources for Using Modern Language Association Style
The Modern Language Association Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is frequently used as a guide to style and formatting for papers in the liberal arts and humanities, particularly those focussing on language, literature and cultural studies. The 7th edition (which received a Choice Award for an Outstanding Academic Title in 2009) can be purchased for the relatively low price of $22.00US, and comes with a code for accessing the accompanying web site.
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The web site at is searchable and provides not only the full text of the print Handbook, but additional examples of practices and a group of research project narratives. The narratives relate the procedures used by undergraduate students when writing research papers and come with sample papers, making them an excellent teaching tool. There is an informational video on the Handbook, and a list of chapters/sections can be viewed without purchasing the book, but, unfortunately, the web site does not provide an open-access guide to Modern Language Association (MLA) documentation style. You can gain instant access to the site, however, by purchasing the Handbook online and setting up a temporary account until your print version arrives.

If you are not interested in purchasing a copy of the MLA Handbook, but you need to use MLA-style references in a paper, there are several open-access resources available elsewhere online. For instance, helpful advice and examples for using MLA style when recording in-text citations and compiling a list of works cited can be found at (St Catherine University Library), (Cornell University Library) and (Trinity College Library). Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) is particularly excellent, providing many pages of detailed information (starting here: on every aspect of formatting papers and citing sources in MLA style.
Finally, you may also be interested in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publication (available for $32.50US at Although there is no complementary web site for this Manual, it deals with aspects of the publication process not covered in the Handbook, such as reviews, copyright and contracts.

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