MLA style is a system for documenting sources in scholarly writing. For over half a century, it has been widely adopted for classroom instruction and used worldwide by scholars, journal publishers, and academic and commercial presses.
The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, published in 2016, rethinks documentation for an era of digital publication. The MLA now recommends a universal set of guidelines that writers can apply to any source and gives writers in all fields—from the sciences to the humanities—the tools to intuitively document sources.
The List of Works Cited
The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook introduces a new model for entries in the works-cited list, one that reflects recent changes in how works are published and consulted. Previously, a writer created an entry by following the MLA’s instructions for the source’s publication format (book, DVD, Web page, etc.). That approach has become impractical today, since publication formats are often combined (a song listened to online, for example, could have been taken from a record album released decades ago) or are undefinable.
In the new model, the work’s publication format is not considered. Instead of asking, “How do I cite a book [or DVD or Web page]?” the writer creates an entry by consulting the MLA’s list of core elements—facts common to most works—which are assembled in a specific order. The MLA core elements appear below:
In the new model, then, the writer asks, “Who is the author? What is the title?” and so forth—regardless of the nature of the source.
From "What's New in the Eighth Edition." Modern Language Association, 2016, www.mla.org/MLA-Style/What-s-New-in-the-Eighth-Edition.