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MLA Style Center Launches with Sample Papers and a Practice Template

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 7.53.05 AMBack in April, I wrote about the publication of MLA’s 8th edition and its significant shift in focus (Shifting into 8th (On MLA’s new edition).

The simplified approach is a response to the increasing mobility of digital texts and to what Tim Parks calls “an element of fetishism” that has “perhaps crept into what was once a necessary academic practice.”

MLA 8 shifts focus from a detailed prescriptive approach to an approach that focuses writers on having conversations with their sources and developing an understanding of the core elements common to all source types.

Recently (and happily!) MLA posted a variety of very supporting resources in its new Style Center.  If your school follows MLA style, these will be seriously helpful in instruction and should be shared with classroom teachers.

This downloadable practice template illustrates the new style and models the thinking behind citation.  The template lists the order in which the core elements should appear in attribution.  If an element is not relevant to the source being documented, it should be omitted.

Another critical resource are the Sample Papers that show the new style in action.  Thought they papers are college level, they will be welcome as high school, and perhaps middle school models.

The college papers includes the followingScreen Shot 2016-05-31 at 7.25.45 AM

  • a paper on assisted reproductive technology from a first year course on expository writing includes an example of using ellipses PDF
  • a paper on Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series from a second-year course in African American studies includes figures, block quotations, and a variety of source types. PDF
  • a paper from a fourth-year course in English literature on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and the courtship novel demonstrates notes and dictionary definitions, and more. PDF 

The new MLA Style Center also features Formatting a Research Paper and a blog librarians and teachers of English and research could love, Behind the Style.

A Handout on Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty discusses the why behind attribution.

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., MLA, 2016.

Parks, Tim. “References, Please.”  NYR Daily, The New York Times Review of Books, 13 Sept. 2014,



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

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