Other reference systems

On this page:

 MLA
The Modern Language Association of America is an international institution with over 30,000 members in 100 countries whose aim is to strengthen the study and teaching of language and literature. Published first in 1985, the MLA Style Manual is the standard guide for the large majority of American graduate students, teachers and scholars as well as of over 125 scholarly and literary journals. Its last edition, published in 1998, includes chapters on

  • 'Preparation of Theses and Dissertations'
  • 'Documentation: Preparing the List of Works Cited'
  • 'Documentation: Citing Sources in the Text'.

The Modern Language Association does not publish its manual on the Web, this is why we are here providing some examples of MLA referencing. Of course you will be able to check for more details in one of the copies held at your university library or purchase the manual:

  • Gibaldi, Joeph, MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 2nd ed. (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1998)

 In what follows you can find out about the basic principles of how to format a bibliography according to MLA style.

Books (monographs and collections of essays)

NB: You will have to be consistent with the way you use abbreviations. If for example you decide to abbreviate University Press as UP, you will have to use this convention each time University Press is mentioned.

  • Book by one author
    Author surname, her/his name. Title of Book. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication.
    Eg: Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. Denver: MacMurray, 1999.
  • Two books by the same author
    After the first line, replace the author's name with three hyphens, listing her/his books alphabetically.
    Eg:
    Palmer, William. J. Dickens and New Historicism. New York: St. Martin's, 1997.
    --- The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1993.
  • Book by more than one author
    First author's surname, her/his first name, second author's first name her/his surname, and last author's first name her/his surname. Title of book. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication.
    Eg:
    Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn, 2000.

    If you have more than three authors, only list the first author followed by the formula 'and others'.
  • Book by a corporate author
    Name of the corporation. Title of book. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication.
    Eg:
    American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. New York: Random, 1998.
  • Book with no author stated
    Title of book. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication.
    Eg:
    Encyclopedia of Indiana. New York: Somerset, 1993.
  • Collection of essays with one editor
    Editor's surname, her/his name, ed. Title of book. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication.
    Eg:
    Peterson, Nancy J., ed. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
  • Collections with more than one editor
    First editor's surname, her/his name, second editor's name her/his surname, and last editor's name last editor's surname, eds. Title of book. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication.
    Eg:
    Larsson, Mans O., Alexander Z. Speier, and Jennifer R. Weiss, eds. Let's Go: Germany 1998. New York: St. Martin's, 1998.

    If you have more than three editors, only list the first one followed by the formula 'and others'.
  • Essay in a collection
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of article.' Title of collection. Ed. editor's name(s). Place of publication: publisher, year. Pages.
    Eg:
    Harris, Muriel. 'Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.' A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34.

Articles

  • Article from a reference book with author stated
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of article.' Title of reference book. Ed. Editor's Name(s). Number of volumes. Place of publication: publisher, year.
    Eg:
    Midge, Tim. 'Powwows.' Encyclopedia of North American Indians. Ed. Thomas Birchfield. 11 vols. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1997.
  • Article from a reference book with no author stated
    'Title of article.' Title of reference book. Year ed.
    Eg.:
    'Jamaica.' Encyclopedia Britannica. 1999 ed.
  • An article in a scholarly journal (with continuous pagination throughout a volume/year)
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of article.' Title of journal vol (year): pages.
    Eg:
    Allen, Emily. 'Staging Identity: Frances Burney's Allegory of Genre.' Eighteenth-Century Studies 31 (1998): 433-51.
  • An article in a scholarly journal (with each issue of the journal beginning on page 1)
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of article.' Title of journal volume.issue number (year): pages.
    Eg:
    Duvall, John N. 'The (Super)marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise.' Arizona Quarterly 50.3 (1994): 127-53.
  • An article in a periodical, such as a newspaper or magazine
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of article.' Title of source day month year: pages.
    Months are commonly indicated through a three-letter abbreviation (= Feb., Aug.).
    Eg:
    Poniewozik, James. 'TV Makes a Too-Close Call.' Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71.
     

Electronic resources

  • Website by one or more author(s)
    Author's surname, her/his first name. Name of page. Date of posting/revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site. Date of access <electronic address>.
    Eg:
    Felluga, Dino. Undergraduate Guide to Literary Theory. 17 Dec. 1999. Purdue University. 15 Nov. 2000 <http://omni.cc.purdue.edu%7Efelluga/theory2.html>.
  • Website with no author stated
    Name of page. Date of posting/revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site. Date of access <electronic address>.
    Eg:
    Purdue Online Writing Lab. 2003. Purdue University. 10 Feb. 2003 <http://owl.english.purdue.edu>.
  • Article on a website
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Article title.' Name of website. Date of posting/revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with site. Date of access <electronic address>.
    Eg:
    Poland, Dave. 'The Hot Button. 'Roughcut. 26 Oct. 1998. Turner Network Television. 28 Oct. 1998 <http://www.roughcut.com>.
  • If no author is stated, simply start from 'Article title'
  • Article in an online scholarly journal
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of article.' Title of journal volume.issue (year): pages/paragraphs. Date of access <electronic address>. Page and paragraphs are often unavailable.
    Eg:
    Nielsen, Laura Beth. 'Subtle, Pervasive, Harmful: Racist and Sexist Remarks in Public as Hate Speech. 'Journal of Social Issues 58.2 (2002). 7 June 2003 <http://www.abf-sociolegal.org/Research_Fellows/Nielsen/Nielsen_main.htm>.
  • Article in an online magazine, journal, or newspaper
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of article.' Title of periodical date of posting/revision. Date of access <electronic address>.
    Eg:
    Bezlova, Antoaneta. 'China to Formalize One-Child Policy.' Asia Times Online 24 May 2001. 12 Dec. 2003 <http://www.atimes.com/china/CE24Ad02.html>.

    Marshall, Leon. 'Mandela in Retirement: Peacemaker without Rest.' National Geographic 9 Feb. 2001. 7 June 2003 <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/02/0209_mandela.html>.
  • Article in an online encyclopedia
    'Title of article.' Title of encyclopedia. Year. Editor of the project. Date of access <electronic address>.
    Eg:
    'Ho Chi Minh.' Encarta Encyclopedia. 2003. Microsoft. 7 June 2003 <http://encarta.msn.com>.
  • CD-ROM
    Title of CD-ROM. CD-ROM. Publisher, year.
    Eg:
    Encarta 2004 Reference Library. CD-ROM. Microsoft, 2003.
  • Article in a reference database on CD-ROM
    'Title of article.' Title of CD-ROM. CD-ROM. Place of publication: publisher, year.
    Eg: 'World War II.' Encarta. CD-ROM. Seattle: Microsoft, 1999.

Audio and video

  • Film
    Title, Dir. Director's name. Prod. Producer's name(s). Distributor, Year of release.
    Eg:
    The Tuxedo. Dir. Kevin Donovan. Prod. John H. Williams, and Adam Schroeder. DreamWorks, 2002.
  • Radio and television
    'Title of episode.' Title of series. Name of network. Radio station or TV channel call letters, City of local station or channel. Broadcast date.
    Eg:
    'The Blessing Way.' The X-Files. Fox. WXIA, Atlanta. 19 Jul. 1998.
  • Sound recording
    Performers. Title of recording. Publisher. Year of release.
    Eg:
    Morissette, Alanis. Under Rug Swept. Maverick. 2002. 

Unpublished dissertations

  • Unpublished dissertations, theses
    Author's surname, her/his first name. 'Title of dissertation/thesis.' Diss./MA/BA thesis. Name of university, year
    Eg:
    Elmendorf, James. 'The Military and the Mall: Society and Culture in Long Beach, California.' BA Thesis. Hampshire College, 1995.

    Jackson, Marjorie. 'The Oboe: A Study of its Development and Use.' Diss. Columbia U., 1962.

Here are some more links on the use of MLA style, if you have further questions:

The Oxford system
The Oxford Style Manual published by the Oxford University Press combines both the contents of The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (widely adopted, for example, in Australian universities) and The Oxford Guide to Style. The first part of The Oxford Style Manual contains 16 chapters on different aspects of academic writing (e.g.: lists of abbreviations, capitalization, punctuation, and scientific and mathematical symbols, advice on how to treat quotations, illustrations, tables, notes and references, information on foreign languages and on recent issues such as citing electronic media, submitting material for online publications, and current copyright law). The second part of the manual consists of short alphabetical entries that provide easy-to-follow guidance on specific writing conundrums, including common spelling difficulties, confusables and differences between British and American English.

Finding a copy of the Oxford Style Manual in British libraries is obviously not a problem, but you can also find its main features in the pages of the

The University of Chicago system (author-date system)
The style manual published by the University of Chicago puts together two different reference systems. The first one, called 'Documentary-Note Style' (or 'Humanities style'), reminds us of systems proposed in the above-mentioned style-books, while the second reproduces the principles of the so-called Harvard (or 'author-date') system.

The author-date system pairs the name of the author with the date of the publication directly behind a citation. Full information is only given in the bibliography at the end of the text. It is winning an increasing number of followers in Britain as well as in the USA (it is, for example, adopted by the Journal of Romance Studies) and it has become the norm in scientific and sociological studies. Nevertheless it has its minor drawbacks: readers are obliged to turn from text to the bibliography to unravel each abbreviation.

For example a bibliographical reference within the main body of the text:

  • (Blinksworth 1987, 23)

will have to be complemented in the final bibliography in the following way:

  • Blinksworth, Roger. (1987) Converging on the Evanescent.
    San Francisco, Threshold Publications.

For further information

  • The University of Chicago style book is not so available in UK libraries as are the other three systems, but you can download its main features from the appropriate sections of the websites of the Ohio State University.
  • As regards the author-date system click here

ISO
Established in 1947, the International Organization for Standardization is a network of The National Standards Institutes of 147 countries and constitutes the world's largest developer of standards. Although its principal activity is the development of technical standards, it also deals with the standardization of documentation and referencing. In particular its Technical Committee n. 46 defined important guidelines on:

  • Documentation - Bibliographic references - Content, form and structure: ISO 690:1987
  • Information and documentation - Bibliographic references - Part 2: Electronic documents or parts thereof: ISO 690-2:1997
  • ISO is currently developing a Glossary of terms and definitions in ISO standards for the identification and description of information resources.