Reviews for MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers

Book News Reviews
This authoritative guide published by the Modern Language Association outlines how to document sources in a research paper using MLA style, for scholars and students at universities and secondary schools. It provides advice on all aspects of writing papers, from selecting a topic, the mechanics of writing, and plagiarism, to submitting the paper, abbreviations, and documenting a variety of sources. Reorganized and revised, this edition has been updated to include tips on research and writing in the online environment, simplified guidelines for citing works published on the internet, and new recommendations for citing works such as digital files and graphic narratives. It also has expanded discussion of when documentation is not needed, and revised guidelines for preparing a printed paper, citing works in newspapers and articles in reference works, and the punctuation of titles of works, and techniques for finding reliable sources online. It has a new companion website. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Choice Reviews 2009 September
Pity the knight-errant editor of a style manual: each time a new publication type is slain (the blog, the vlog, Twitter), a new format raises its hydra-like head. Six years in the making, this new edition of the MLA Handbook (4th ed., CH, Oct'95, 33-0646) dispatches several newfangled dragons successfully, in the clear and highly readable prose that has graced editions since the release of a simple style sheet in 1951. Several significant changes in documentation style were originally announced in last year's third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (CH, Nov'08, 46-1235). These changes include the abandonment of print as the "default" medium (each citation now must indicate the format of the work being cited), the addition of a requirement for issue number and volume, and the decision to allow URLs for online sources to be optional in citations. New formats such as graphic narratives (toons and strips) and digital files also make a first appearance. Chapters 1-4, covering, respectively, research and writing, plagiarism, the writing process, and paper formatting, have been updated with more emphasis on and examples of electronic resources. The citation examples are explained in some detail, and multiple examples are given for each publication type; particularly helpful are illustrations showing where elements of a citation appear in print and electronic sources. The editors wisely have dropped somewhat extraneous sections on selected reference sources by subject area and on alternate citation formats.

What this new version has lost in pages it has gained in bytes. Each print copy comes with a unique code that unlocks a companion Web site . The site offers the full, searchable text of the Handbook, as well as three case studies showing the research and writing process and citation styles appropriate to each project. The MLA does not currently offer site licenses for this content; instead, the site suggests that librarians or instructors can use their personal codes to unlock the content in teaching situations. This textbook model of an individual login tied to a paper copy is a bit awkward for libraries and writing centers to manage, though the MLA is to be lauded for offering very low-cost access to the online format. At any cost, the Handbook is an indispensible, well-crafted update of an indispensable reference source. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers. Copyright 2009 American Library Association.

Library Journal Reviews 2009 June #2

This revision to the 2003 edition incorporates recent changes to accepted language and punctuation rules. It likewise addresses developments made by technology's rapid advance. Unlike its more complex cousin, the MLA Style Manual, this edition is geared toward secondary and undergraduate researchers and offers thorough explanations of research basics as well as essential annotated diagrams, whenever applicable. The slender paperback offers a fully searchable online component that remains available for the edition's lifespan.

[Page 94]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.