The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
MLA Documentation Guide

MLA Documentation Guide

In April 2016, MLA published the 8th edition of its official handbook. This revised handbook updates MLA's citation and documentation guidelines. We are in the process of changing our information and examples to reflect MLA's revisions. Please check back soon to see our updates!


MLA documentation is commonly used in English and foreign language and literature courses, as well as in other disciplines in the humanities. If you're not sure if you're supposed to be using MLA style, consult with your instructor.

In the 2009 MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (New York: MLA), the MLA recommends the use of a parenthetical system of documentation. Information about other systems of documentation appears in Appendix B of the manual. These systems include Endnotes and Footnotes, Author-Date System, and Number System.

With the MLA parenthetical system, you will place citations in parentheses within your text to point to sources in an alphabetized list of works cited that appears at the end of your paper.

Notes--numbered consecutively throughout your paper--may still be used for explanation or comment that the paper itself cannot accommodate.

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