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 MLA DOCUMENTATION STYLE

 

Punctuating Titles
What  documentation is, and why you must do it
How documentation works and where it is done
What information you'll need for citations
How to create a Works Cited (sometimes called Bibliography)
How to use parenthetical reference (instead of footnotes or end notes)
Summary of Documentation

 

PUNCTUATING TITLES

Capitals in Titles 

Capitalize these words in any title:  

$                    the first word and the last word

 In his essay AA Hanging,@ George Orwell describes his own experience.

                                 In Our Time is the book assigned for this discussion.

                                AOn His Blindness@ is the poem Milton wrote. 

$                    all other words except articles, conjunctions, and prepositions

                             Gone with the Wind is my favorite movie.

                             McCrary says, in AGetting off the Welfare Carousel,@ that welfare recipients are stereotyped.

 

Do not copy the capitalization as you find it on the title page or in a library or electronic listing.

Many times you will see that book covers and title pages do not follow these rules. They may write the title in all capital letters, or they may use no capitals at all. When you find a reference to a book in a library computer or on the web, they may capitalize only the first word.

Underlining, italics or quotation marks?

You must indicate that a group of words is a title by using special punctuation, but you must follow the rules to do so.

Underline (or italicize) long, complete works such as books, plays, and movies.  

Gone with the Wind is my favorite movie.

In Our Time is the book assigned for this discussion.

Use quotation marks for short works or parts of longer works.

McCrary says, in AGetting off the Welfare Carousel,@ that welfare recipients are stereotyped.

AOn His Blindness@ is the poem Milton wrote.

Choose the correct format and use only that; do not use both underlining and quotation marks for the same title 

In his essay AA Hanging,@ George Orwell describes his own experience.   INCORRECT  

In his essay AA Hanging,@ George Orwell describes his own experience.   CORRECT

Be consistent throughout your essay in the use of  either italics or underlining for titles of long and complete works. Do not use both.  

Gone with the Wind is my favorite movie now, and I don=t like  The Wizard of Oz         INCONSISTENT.

Gone with the Wind is my favorite movie now, and I don=t like  The Wizard of Oz.         CONSISTENT.

Gone with the Wind is my favorite movie now, and I don=t like  The Wizard of Oz         CONSISTENT.  

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 CITATIONS (BIBLIOGRAPHY ENTRIES)

A. What you must document,  and why

When you write in college, you=ll need to be sure that you let your readers know clearly when you use another writers or speaker=s ideas, information, or words.  

Identify (document) anything from another writer or speaker:

another=s exact words (quote)

another=s ideas (paraphrase or summary)

another=s facts (paraphrase, quote, or summary)

   Doing this is called documenting sources, or documentation. Sources are the places where you found your information: other writers, speakers,, library books, computer materials, etc. A citation is the specific piece of information about that source. You will need to document your sources  for several reasons:

1. To let your readers know where your information and ideas come from, so they can judge whether the source is reliable

2. To let your readers know where they can find more information on the same topic

3. To give credit to the writer or researcher who originally found the a facts or thought of the words

Knowing these purposes will help you understand why you must be so careful to make clear exactly where you found each idea or statement. Imagine your reader using your citations like maps, taking them to the library or bookstore or computer and finding the same material you found. Remember that you must document every source, not just direct quotations. If you paraphrase someone=s ideas or fact, you must document that in the same way that you do a quote

Where you must document

Basically , there are two parts to any citation: you must mark the material as it occurs in your own writing, so your reader can tell exactly which words or ideas are yours, and which are someone else=s, and you must give all the information about these sources in a list at the end.

Two parts of a citation:

Parenthetical citation (brief notes in the body of your essay identifying the material that comes from another source)

Works Cited or references (list at the end of the essay giving detailed information about where each source was found)

These two parts work together. You must first make the end list, which we will call AWorks Cited@ or AReferences.@ Then the first word or words in each entry will be used as a shorthand in your paper each time you use material from that source. Here=s an example of two paragraphs from paper using outside sources and part of the AWorks Cited@ list that follows. Notice that every quotation or paraphrase is cleared linked to the first words of one of the entries in the list that follows:        

 EXCERPT FROM SAMPLE PAPER: 

The image that most people have of welfare recipients is false.  Many people look at those on welfare as people who are too lazy to work hard.  They believe that welfare recipients are just people who want a free ride. According to Deparle, ANewt Gingrich [said that they] posed a threat to American civilization.@ This image is often promoted on television news magazines which do stories on welfare recipients who abuse the system.  We see stories about people illegally trading food stamps or making false claims to bilk the system out of money.  We also hear about people who make welfare a life style.  However, most recipients are people who want to get off welfare and make a decent living for themselves (Dodson, 12-27).  Teresa McCrary is one such person.  She has worked hard to herself the education required to get a job that will pay her enough money to support her family.  The picture that Teresa McCrary presents of welfare mothers in her essay AGetting of the Welfare Carousel@ is an accurate one. The fact is that life is very difficult for women like her, who usually have poorer working conditions than other people (Cox). She discusses the problems that welfare mothers face and argues against the image that most people have of welfare recipients.  The experiences of two friends of mine, Donna S. and Cindy R., fully support what McCrary is saying about most welfare moms.  They represent the real image of welfare mothers, women who are dedicated to their children and women who are working hard to better themselves.
    The welfare system seems to be designed to work against those who receive benefits.    McCrary explains to us how the system really works.  When a woman with children finds herself divorced, she has to clothe and feed her offsprings even though she may have no job skills (Samson 238).  Of course her first step is to apply for welfare to protect her children.  However, welfare is barely enough to survive on.  The woman
=s next step is to get a job, but because she has no work experience or job skills, AThe only jobs open to [her] are maid work, fast-food service and other low-paying drudgery with no benefits,@  McCrary tells us. According to the  National Partnership for Women & Families, women are Asteer[ed]...into lower‑paying, traditionally female jobs (like clerical work) rather than higher‑paying jobs in traditionally  male‑dominated fields (like the trades or technical work).@ This situation leads women on welfare to Atake money under the table for odd jobs@ (McCrary 12) so they can make a little more money but not lose their benefits.  The system forces women to stay on welfare and take money under the table--for which the government receives no taxes.  This system does not benefit the women on it or the government who wants them off it

  Works Cited

Cox, Amy G. AThe Work Schedules of Low‑educated American Women and Welfare Reform.@ Monthly Labor Review April 1997: 25-35. Online. Infotrac. 11 October 1999

Dodson , Lisa. Don't Call Us Out of Our Name : The Untold Lives of Women and Girls in Poor America. Boston: Beacon, 1998.

McCrary, Teresa. AGetting off the Welfare Carousel.@ Newsweek December 6, 1993: 11.

National Partnership for Women & Families. AWhat Types Of Discrimination Are Welfare Recipients Likely To Face?@ Work and Family.  January 15, 1998. Online. http://www.nationalpartnership.org/workandfamily/workplace/preventdiscrim/prevent_types.htm (June 30, 1999).

Samson, Shirley. AThe Long of Road of the Single Mother.@ Welfare Reform in Three States. Ed. J. L. Bellingham. New York: Thompson, 1996.                        

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Making the Works Cited list

Whenever you use material from another source, you must:

1. Locate and record all the necessary information

2. Format that information according to certain rules, no mater how it was formatted in the original source

1. Locate and record information:

 One thing that can make research very frustrating is having to return to a source a second time to find some piece of information for documentation. To avoid making last minute trips to the library and looking for lost pages on the web, be sure to record the documentation information when you find the source. For any source, you need to know  information in several categories:

Information needed for Works Cited list:

AuthorBthe name(s) of the writer or speaker of the specific source you are using (book, article, or web page)

TitleBthe title of the specific source you are using

 PageBthe exact page where the  information or quotation was found, if page numbers are available

Publication informationBinformation about the book, magazine, or web site where the source was found  

Author: Be sure that you look for the author of the specific source you are using. For example, if you use AA Hanging@ in this book, you would use George Orwell, not the authors of the whole book.

Title: Be sure that you look for the title of the specific source you are using. For example, if you use Michael Bronksi=s reading about AIDS in this book, you would use AMagic and AIDS: ADD SUBTITLE@of that essay, not the title of the whole book.

Page: Be very careful to record the page where you find material in an article or book. Web pages usually  do not have page numbers

Publication Information: This part of the citation will be different for each type of source, and if you are using many different kinds of sources, you may need to use a complete handbook for the details.

 BOOK: Look on the title page of the book for the following information.

Place of publicationBthe city, or if it is not a well-know city, the city and the state

PublisherBthe name of the company that published the book. You don=t include words such as Publishers, Company, Press, Inc., etc.Bjust give the name of the publishing company.

YearBlook on the back of the title page for the most recent year. Be sure the year you find is one that comes after the copyright sign CIRCLE C

If the book is an anthology, which is a collection of essays, stories, poems, plays, etc., you will need some additional pieces of information:

Title of whole bookBthis title is on the title page. The title of the specific essay you used will be found in the table of contents and on the first page of the essay. Be sure to record both.

Editors of whole bookB look for the editors listed on the front of the title page. There may be others listed on the back of the title page, but those are not the ones you need.

Pages Blist the first and last page of the essay .

 

PERIODICAL (MAGAZINE OR NEWSPAPER)

You can find this information on the front page or cover of most periodicals:

Title of periodical: record the complete title.

Date of periodical: find the date of publication

Pages: List the first and last pages of the article. If the last part of the article is continued later in the periodical, list the first page and a plus sign: 16+. If you are using a newspaper, be sure to record the section as well as the page, since the numbers start over at the beginning of each section. Most newspapers use different letters for the sections, so you will record 1A or 1C for the first page of different sections.

WORLD WIDE WEB SITE  

Web sites are much less standardized than books and magazines, and also they may be changed so that the site you found will not actually be available later on. Documentation rules for web sites are just now being developed, so you may find that you need to change the way you do this. Currently, you should try to find the author f the page you are using, but that may not be available. Sometimes you must list an organization as the author. You will need to be a detective sometimes to find what you need to know about a web sourceBfollow links back to home pages, look at the URL, look at the end as well as the beginning of the page. You must distinguish three types of sites:

 a. On-line versions of printed magazines and newspapers:

b. Databases and indexes (usually available only through the library or department)Bthe articles found on these also usually exist in print on paper as well as online

c. Plain websites that are open to everyone and exist only on the web.

 

For the first two, which have print equivalents, you must first give the information that you would give if you had found the source in print.

For the third type, you will need only to find the author of the specific material you are using (if the author is given) and the title of the page you are using.

Then, for all three, you will also need:  

Online date: this is the date that the material was put on the web; usually it is available on the page or the homepage

Site title: This may be difficult or impossible to find, but if you can locate it, it will help your reader greatly to understand what the source is. You may be able to find it by following links to home.

URL: These are the letters, numbers, and symbols that locate this page. Often you will find them at the bottom or top of the page if you print out a web page; you can also look at the top of the screen while you have the page on line. Usually the URL will be listed as Aaddress@ or Ago to.@ It will always begin http://.... Be sure to copy it exactly.

Your date: This is the day that you actually locate the page. It may also appear at the top or bottom of the page in a print out. If not, you must be sure to record it.

If you cannot find some of this information, it will be even more important that what you have is absolutely accurate.  

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2.How to format the citation in the Works Cited list in MLA Style: (APA to be added)

In the Works Cited list, you must be very careful to set up the citations exactly as the rules tell you. The rules are guides to a kind of shorthand or code, and if you don=t follow them exactly, you will confuse your reader. Also, once you learn to follow the rules, you=ll be able to understand other people=s citations and use them to find sources if you  need to. Remember that the rules will be different in different fields of study.

NOTE: Often you will see the information in a very different format on the book or magazine itself, or in a library or index. You must translate the information so that it is in the format the rules below describe.

There are some rules that apply to all citations in English classes:

a. You must remember the general rules for titles.

b. You must always set up the citation with hanging indentation, which means that the first line starts at the left margin and continues all the way to the right margin. When you reach the right margin and must return to the left on the next line, you must indent 5 spaces. It looks just like a paragraph, except that the first line sticks out and the rest of the paragraph is indented in.

COMPUTER HINT: Don=t use the TAB key to indent the entry. Most word processing programs have a very simple way of creating hanging indents:

1. Place the cursor where you want the entry to begin.

2. Click the FORMAT command on the top of the screen.  

3. From the pull-down menu, select PARAGRAPH.

4. (Only in some programs) A dialogue box may appear; if so, click SPECIAL.

5. Select HANGING INDENT.                                               

6. Do NOT hit the ENTER key until you reach the end of that entry.

7. Repeat for each entry.  

Punctuation of titles and use of hanging indentation are the same for all entries. Also, in each entry you must put the information in a certain order, and you must separate the information with the appropriate punctuation.

A. BOOK

For a book with one author:

Give the author first, with last name followed by first name, followed by a period; the title of the book, underlined and followed by a period; the city, followed by a colon, then the publisher, followed by a comma, and finally the year.

EXAMPLE:

Dodson , Lisa. Don't Call Us Out of Our Name : The Untold Lives of Women and Girls in Poor America. Boston: Beacon, 1998.  

OR

Dodson , Lisa. Don't Call Us Out of Our Name : The Untold Lives of Women and Girls in Poor America. Boston: Beacon, 1998

(In all other examples, underlining will be used, but italic print is  always an acceptable alternative if you are using a computer.)

                           

ESSAY IN A BOOK (ANTHOLOGY):

Give the author first, with last name followed by first name, followed by a period; the title of the essay in quotations and followed by a period. Then give the title of the whole book,  underlined and followed by a period; then the abbreviation Ed. and the  name of the editor; next  the city, followed by a colon, then the publisher, followed by a comma, and finally the year.

EXAMPLE:

Samson, Shirley. AThe Long of Road of the Single Mother.@ Welfare Reform in Three States. Ed. J. L. Bellingham. New York: Thompson, 1996

 

ARTICLE IN A NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE:  

Give the author first, with last name followed by first name, followed by a period; the title of the article in quotation marks and followed by a period; the title of the magazine or newspaper, underlined; then the date, followed by a colon, and the pages followed by a period.

 

EXAMPLE:

 DeParle, Jason.  AYesterday's Welfare Deadbeats Are Given an Unexpected Makeover.@ New York Times   September 11, 1997: B3.

  

ONLINE DATABASE:

 Often you will find articles from newspapers, magazines, or journals in online or electronic databases, which are special sites on the internet that have many complete articles available to download for reading or printing.. You will only be able to use a databases if you go through a library, so you want to give your reader two kinds of information about your site.

Print-equivalent information: When we speak of a print equivalent, we mean the version of the article as it was published on paper, in the actual magazine or newspaper. So always follow the format for periodicals given in 2, above

Online source: Immediately after the complete periodical information, give the information about the on-line database. You must be sure to give the name of the database and the date you found it, as well as using the word online to indicate that this is an electronic source. Some formats will also ask you to give the URL, but most will not. Ask your instructor to be sure.

EXAMPLE:  

 Cox, Amy G. AThe Work Schedules of American Women and Welfare Reform.@ Monthly Labor Review April 1997: 25-35. Online. Infotrac. 11 October    1999.

WEB PAGE:  

Give the author first, with last name followed by first name, followed by a period; the title of the page in quotation marks and followed by a period; the name of the site,  underlined and followed by a period; the on-line date  followed by a period, then the URL and finally the date you found the site enclosed in parenthesis.

If the web page is also available in print, give the information for the print version first, using the guide for magazine or newspaper above. Then give the publication information for a web page.             

If you cannot find some of the information, you must omit it.

EXAMPLE:

National Partnership for Women & Families. AWhat Types Of Discrimination Are Welfare Recipients Likely To Face?@ Work and Family.  January 15, 1998. Online. http://www.nationalpartnership.org /workandfamily/workplace/preventdiscrim/prevent_types.htm (June 30, 1999).

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Making the parenthetical citations

Unfortunately there=s no short nickname for the parenthetical citation, so you=ll need to remember that these long words refer to something very short and simple. If you learned to use footnotes or end notes or to refer to the items in the works cite list by number, please FORGET that system. The rules you must follow in college English courses are even simpler than that. They=re intended to be easy and clear for reader and writer.  

1. Select the information that must be cited. If you have used someone else=s words, you must put them in quotation marks. If you have used someone else=s ideas or information, you may have put it in your own words, but you must still make a clear citation.

2. Look at the Works Cited entry for that source. Usually it will begin with the author=s last name, but it may begin with a title. In either case, you will use the first word or two as a code to guide the reader back to that entry. If you must use part of the title, punctuate it as you did the title.

3. Decide how to make the citation. You may refer to the author or title in the sentence OR you may enclose that information in parenthesis. In either case, you must give the page number in parenthesis if the page number is available.  

 

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 Summary of Documentation

Locate and record the citation when you find the source

Make the Works Cited entry according to the rules

Use author or title along with page number in the sentence or in parentheses

Be sure to give a citation when you use an author=s ideas or information in your own words, and also when you quote an author=s exact word

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