Due to advanced scholarly demands and requirements, in April 2016 the MLA eighth edition was introduced replacing the seventh edition. It is through this edition that one can understand the various ways that the digital publication the way scholars enter their sources. The new edition highlights different ways that are recommended for source documentation in research and academic writing. The main difference that is noticeable is the fact that the earlier editions pointed out the significance of following specific guidelines for formatting, while the eighth edition focuses on the practice and process of scholarly documentation. The essence of a style guide is to offer a method of citation that is applicable and that is what the eighth edition has done. Instead of pushing the writers to follow stern citation formulas, the edition presents the principles of MLA documentation and the how one can use them in different situations.

Because of the above mentioned reasons, one finds out that the new edition focuses on the writers’ strategies and individual perception. One should understand that each scholarly work is different and unique and it is upon a writer to evaluate his/her readers or audience to determine what they need. All writers aim at making the scholarly prose easy for the reader to understand and use and this is facilitated by the new edition.

Same as other editions the eighth edition has the same qualities that govern it; it evaluates sources, avoids plagiarism, uses quotations, constructs abbreviation, and keeps in mind other topics that are critical to a scholarly writer. Contrary though, it provides universal set of guidelines that writers can use for any source in any field of study. For instance if there was need to cite a film, one could consult the handbook and find out the proper way of formatting the film. Contrary, in this new edition. There is an explanation that MLA no longer supports this practice, reason being that types of sources have become undefinable or have provided a wide range of how they can be accessed. In this case the eighth edition offers a new way of entering the work cited list, whereby a writer creates an entry by consulting MLA’s list of core elements rather than consulting the handbook for the proper way of documenting a specific source.

Note that a writer should be able to identify the core elements and they are the basic form of information that should be common to all sources, be it a book or article, and from lectures to tweets. The list of core elements in MLA is as follows:

Author                                 Number

Title of source                       Publisher

Title of container                   Publication date

Other contributors                 Location

Version

The important process that is recommended by the new edition is getting all the core elements and assembling them in a format that is acceptable to the reader then the work cited entries is done.

It is imperative for a writer to continue looking for OWLs resources to identify any changes that may occur to the MLA guidelines.

Examples

The main thing that the new eighth edition focuses on is the principles of entering the sources, rather than insisting on a strict format that should be used for each source, thus citations in this new edition vary only a bit from the old one. If a person takes time to compare the works cited entries in the eighth edition with the seventh edition then he or she will notice that the difference in citation style is minimal. One will find that the punctuations are streamlined, volume and issue numbers are identified as such , and there is elimination of excess information like city of publication or media type.

Note the difference in citing a print book with one author:

Eighth edition (the new way):

Miller, Jacob, Things fall Apart. New York UP, 2012.

Note that in this kind of version, one is recommended to use only the most essential information (name of author, book title, publisher, and date).  It is imperative to know that the city of publication is not needed, and the medium of publication is not included.

Seventh edition (the old way) :

Miller, Jacob. Things Fall Apart. New York: New York UP, 2012. Print

As seen above this version includes the city of publication (New York) and the medium (print), which in the case of the new edition they are eliminated.

The differences in citing an article from a scholarly journal:

Eighth edition:

Kruger, Eva. “The Better Tomorrow.”Callaloo, vol. 14, no. 2, Spring 2002, pp. 245-72.

The version identifies the volume (14), the number (2), and the page numbers (245-72) of the scholarly journal. Such a format aids a reader or an audience in locating the source with ease rather than one facing difficulties dealing with extra information with no use. The citation also keeps up with minimum and simple punctuation; simple commas are used to separate the title of the journal, volume, number, date, and page numbers.

Seventh edition:

Kruger, Eva. “The Better Tomorrow.”Callaloo 14.2 (Spring 2001): 245-72. Web.

In this version the volume and the number are represented (14.2), and page numbers (154-72) of the journal but it is unfortunate because it does not define the references. We find that the seventh edition emphasizes on following a strict punctuation formula, while the eighth edition is more focused on providing the information in a streamline manner through the use of commas separating each component.

Takeaways

It is simpler for a writer who is used to the traditional MLA citation methods because what he or she just needs to do continue using them in a more simplified manner. Note that the eighth edition is termed to use simplified ways because it goes with the needs and requirements of the audience or reader. The crucial aspect in the eighth edition is to determine what a reader needs and if they want it in the source.

  • Writers are advised to look at the MLA style principles as flexible guides and not rules. It is the work of a writer to identify with the audience or readers so as to identify what they particularly need to know about the sources.
  • The main objectives of a writer is to inform, persuade, relate with the audience, provide an error-free and trustworthydocument and allow readers to focus on your ideas.
  • Consistency in in-text citations should be maintained throughout the paper. Note that the principles that govern the in-text citations differ just a bit from the seventh to the eighth editions.
  • It is imperative to know that the list of the work cited needs to include the core information, like name of author, title of source, publication date, and other information depending on the type of source. A writer should ensure that the entry should be follow a uniform and simple format, but be informative to the readers and that they can locate them.
  • The updated MLA guidelines use or follow a simple theory, thus once a writer has mastered the principles of the style and citation then one eliminates the difficulties of documenting any type of publication, in any field.