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Shifting into 7th: MLA Style

I successfully delayed the work since March, but with a new school year approaching, I had no choice but to update our style guide to reflect the MLA 7th edition updates and avoid confusing students and faculty with any mid-year changes.

(You may remember my earlier posts on the matter: MLA Handbook Arrived and You Know You Don’t Have a Real Life When)

The big changes include:

  • using italics, no more underlining, for larger works
  • no URLs necessary, assuming that the reader will be able to locate works by the description alone (We are going to ignore this one.)
  • including information about the publication medium of the content cited, for instance print
  • it is no longer necessary to share the sponsor of a database in a citation

Diana Hacker offers a very nice brief explanation of the changes.

Anyway, creating a new wiki version of our style sheet incorporating these changes wasn’t as difficult as I thought, largely because I made three exciting discoveries:

1. You can indent in Wikispaces. All you need to do is insert  "> space" before the line you wish to indent.
2. NoodleTools not only adjusted NoodleBib for the 7th edition changes, they allow you to update your existing source lists to 7th edition format.  And not only that, like me, they decided to continue to include URLs in Web citations.  I prepared most of my examples in NoodleTools and pasted them on the wiki. (If you are not a NoodleTools subscriber, EasyBib, also does 7th edition, and it includes databases!.)
3. I didn’t need to include every source type.  Two wonderful PDF documents will serve my students with far more examples than I could:  

Hope this helps a few of you. 

BTW, don’t look for the changes yet on the Virtual Library.  I am having trouble FTPing from home and I am working on the new interface.  (More to come on that front!)

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Margaret Lincoln says:

    At least we are all updating our citation guides for students so as to be ready for the school year 2009-2010! Some of the subscription database providers have not yet reflected MLA 7th edition formatting in their products.

    EasyBib also makes available an excellent chart highlighting changes in MLA and giving examples. See

    Margaret Lincoln, Ph.D.
    Lakeview High School Library
    Battle Creek, Michigan

  2. Floyd Pentlin says:

    I haven’t done too much with the 7th edition but I was hoping this revision would match more closely the “MLA Style Manual” — which it does, but I still couldn’t get NoodleTools to work for that version. Anyone had better luck than I have?

  3. joycevalenza says:

    Floyd, NoodleTools does a great job with it!
    And Gigi, thanks for sharing that EasyBib chart. I’ll put it in my guide and tweet it too!

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