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MLA Documentation Understanding a Discipline’s Philosophy Creating Credibility with Your Readers Living a Plagiarism-Free Life UNO Writing Center 2006-07 Language of Documentation History of Documentation Philosophy of MLA Why do we cite sources?

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MLADocumentation

Understanding a Discipline’s Philosophy

Creating Credibility with Your Readers

Living a Plagiarism-Free Life

UNO Writing Center

2006-07


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Languageof Documentation

  • Historyof Documentation

  • Philosophy of MLA


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Why do we cite sources?

  • To allow readers to locate and retrieve sources used in an essay.

  • To properly acknowledge another author’s ideas and work.

  • To build your own credibility as a serious, knowledgeable writer.

  • To avoid plagiarism.


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MLA Style: Two Parts

  • In-Text Citation

    (Parenthetical Documentation)

  • Works Cited Page


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Part I: In-Text CitationsWhat needs to be cited?

  • Direct Quotes

  • Paraphrases

  • Another source’s research, theories or ideas

  • Another source’s argument or opinions

  • Facts that are not commonly known

  • Another source’s visuals, e.g. tables, graphs, images, statistics


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Part I: In-Text CitationsWhat does NOT need to be cited?

  • Proverbs or sayings

    • A stitch in time saves nine.

  • Well-known quotations

    • “To be or not to be. That is the question.”

  • Common knowledge

    • Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.

  • Your own field research, observations or surveys

    • My survey revealed that 15% of the Shakespeare class believes Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays.


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How to Use In-text Citations

Author’s last name and page number(s) of quote must appear in the text.

Heiresses know “there’s a big difference between being fun and provocative and being totally over the top and gross”(Hilton 8).

Paris Hiltonargues an heiress knows “there’s a big difference between being fun and provocative and being totally over the top and gross”(8).


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Using Attributive Tags (Signal Phrases)

According toHiltonin her autobiography, “I’m a fantasy to a lot of people . . . They want to think I’m ‘Paris Barbie’”(8).

In her autobiography, Confessions of an Heiress,Paris Hiltonreminds us that “an heiress knows how to tread that fine line – in stilettos”(8).


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How to Cite a Paraphrase

  • Paraphrase material by putting the source’s idea into your own words AND sentence structure.

    Original: “there’s a big difference between being fun and provocative and being totally over the top and gross”(Hilton 8).

    Paraphrase: Hilton acknowledges the contrast between suggestive behavior and coarse, vulgar behavior(8).


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In-text Rarities

  • Same Last Name:Use the first initial of their first name in the parenthetical:

    (C. Hilton 45 )and(P. Hilton 8)

  • No Author: Use the first word or words from the title of the source. Punctuate appropriately: “Paris: The Barest” (“Paris” 12)


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More In-text Rarities

  • Same Author, Multiple Works:

    The author’s last name must be accompanied by a word from the title of the source you are referring to:

    (Hilton, “Confessions” 8)and (Hilton, “Diary” 25)

  • Web Sources: When possible use (Author page #) or (Title page #): (Dionne A21)

    If no page numbers are provided, use paragraph numbers

    instead. (Author par. #) or (Title par. #): (“Paris” par. 17)


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Part 2: Works Cited

  • The Works Cited page contains a complete list of sources that you cite in your essay.

  • Each Works Cited entry provides the bibliographic information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve that source.


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Works Cited

  • Most entries should contain the following information:

    Author’s name (last name, first name)

    Title of work

    Publication information


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Works Cited: Some Examples

  • Book:

    Author. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.

    Mair, George. Paris Hilton: The Naked Truth. New York: Penguin, 2004.

    Collins, Ronald K.L., and David M. Skover. The Death of Discourse. New York: Westview, 1996.

    Note: Only the first author’s name is reversed.


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Works Cited: More Examples

  • Journal Article

    Author. “Title of Article: Subtitle.” Periodical Title Volume (Year): Inclusive Page Number(s).

    Howarth, William J. “Some Principles of Autobiography.” New Literary History 5.2 (1974): 363-81.

    Note: Journals that paginate each issue separately will call for an issue number as well: . . . volume.issue (year): inclusive page numbers.


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Works Cited: Even More Examples

  • Web Page (Professional )

    Author. “Title of Document.” Info about Electronic Publication. Access Information.

    Dionne, Jr., E.J. “The Paris Hilton Tax Cut.” The Washington Post 12 Apr. 2005. 29 Oct. 2005 <www.washingtonpost. com>.




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For more information…

  • MLA Handbook

  • UNO Writing Center www.unomaha.edu/writingcenter/

  • Modern Language Association www.mla.org

  • Purdue On-Line Writing Lab owl.english.purdue.edu

  • St. Martin’s Handbook


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