Sunday, January 24, 2010
A Tale of Two MLA Bibliographies
Mark Sample, a professor of Contemporary American Literature and New Media Studies in the English Department at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia recently asked his blog readers to weigh in on whether they prefer URLs to be included in MLA bibliographies for websites. A whopping 74% agreed with him that website URLs should be included. (Take the poll).
I agree with Mark that eliminating URLs for articles coming from databases like JSTOR is just fine as long as the journal name, volume and issue number are there. I would also agree that the exclusion of URLs from websites seems misguided when many web sites offer stable, concise permalinks.
I will continue to train our Jr. theme research students to use URLs for websites as one way of distinguishing database materials for "born online" materials. Unfortunately the new MLA format uses "web" as the source whether it's a database or a website. This does not help students who don't recognize the difference.