Here are just a few of the key updates in the seventh edition:
- Citations for online sources do not need to include a URL. The rest of the citation provides enough information that the reader will be able to find the source through a search engine or database. Moreover, URLs are not necessarily stable; a link that worked at the time of writing may be dead before a reader sees it.
- For in-text citations from online sources like Web sites, there's no need to use a paragraph or section number in place of a page number, unless the source itself is already numbered.
- Now that we have an incredible variety of media at our disposal, making the medium of publication clear is important. Citations should indicate whether the source was Print, Web, Radio, Television, DVD, Film, PDF, etc.
- Computer keyboards have made it much easier to italicize than underline. Anything that used to be underlined, such as book titles, should now be italicized.
The APA Publication Manual was also recently revised and published in a sixth edition. Like MLA, APA style now better supports writers working with online sources. (Click here for a brief overview.) Students writing in education, business, psychology, and other social sciences are likely to find APA style more useful, as well as the format used in much of the source material they will encounter in their research.
MLA has always been the preferred style for scholarly writing in the humanities, but since it also provides highly detailed information about using and citing a wide variety of material, it's also appropriate for projects that may include both traditional and nontraditional sources (even Twitter).