Sunday, April 12, 2009

Newly Released 7th Ed MLA Handbook Favors Web Citations

Article source: Ars Technica

For those of you who use the MLA Citation Style, the recently released 7th edition of the MLA Citation Handbook has, among other things, new rules on citing web sources:
The Modern Language Association's (MLA) new handbook for academic citations does away with the primacy of print, along with the need to include URLs for Web citations. All hail the rise of the Internet.

Even more interesting is the MLA's decision to ditch URLs in citations. URLs "often change, can be specific to a subscriber or a session of use, and can be so long and complex that typing them into a browser is cumbersome and prone to transcription errors," says the book. "Readers are now more likely to find resources on the Web by searching for titles and authors' names than by typing URLs."


For those in academics, though, the move is just further evidence of the Web's mainstreaming. Print, for long the superpower, now sees itself reduced to just one more format among others. As archives like Project MUSE and JSTOR continue to digitize old journals and projects like Google Book Search digitize old books, even information that originally appeared in "print" is increasingly accessed through electronic systems, read off of screens, or (rather ironically) printed again by the ream in campus computer labs.

Now, we'll wait and see whether the other citation bible, the University of Chicago/Turabian Style follows in the footsteps of the MLA.

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