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Citation Style Guides: MLA Style

MLA Citation Style

MLA citation style is the documentation and citation format of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). Founded in 1883 and based in the United States, the MLA is a major advocate for the study and teaching of languages and literatures. The MLA is known for its support of the literary humanities, notably through: the MLA International Bibliography, an essential database for research in all aspects of modern languages and literatures; the MLA Directory of Periodicals, a continuously updated online listing of the journals indexed in the bibliography; and the MLA Handbook, now in its 8th edition, which is the essential source for MLA citation style.

MLA style is the preferred system for citing sources in scholarly writing for courses, papers, and publishing in the literary humanities—notably for English, but also for literary, language, and folklore topics based in other languages.

The USask Department of English Requirements for Essays is based in MLA style, as detailed in the MLA Handbook. 

The MLA Handbook, now in its 8th edition published in 2016, is available only in print.  The Library has multiple copies in various locations.  Please see the box on the right for availability.

Helpful Links for MLA Citation Style

Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

NorQuest Library has noted that the formal MLA style does not have a format for Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers so they have developed this citation style in the spirit of wahkôhtowin and reconciliation. 

Unlike most other personal communications, Elders and Knowledge Keepers should be cited in-text and in the Works Cited list. The in-text citation format should be formatted as:

Delores Cardinal described the nature of the...


The nature of the place was... (Cardinal).

The citation format for the Works Cited list is as follows:

Last name, First name. Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. City/Community they live in if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. Month Date, Year. 

For example:

Cardinal, Delores. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. 4 April 2004. 

Note: If you would like to approach an Elder or Knowledge Keeper for teachings, remember to follow protocol or if you are unsure what their protocol is, please ask them ahead of time.

Thank you to Lorisia MacLeod, a librarian at NorQuest College in Edmonton, for developing this template and allowing us to share it.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International LicenseDetails and Exceptions.

There are print copies of the MLA Handbook 8th edition in the Murray Library and in the Education & Music Library.  See the selection below:

This short video teaches how to create both in-text citations and works cited lists in accordance with MLA citation style, 8th ed.  [YouTube video courtesy of McMaster University Library]