Review by Choice Review
The last edition of MLA Handbook, also edited by Gibaldi, was published in 1988, when most academic libraries were just beginning to introduce CD-ROM indexes into their collections. Although this new edition largely preserves the format and phrasing of earlier versions, the editors have taken particular pains to incorporate guidelines for the use and citation of electronic formats throughout the volume while acknowledging the rapid rate of change in new technologies and consequent lack of definitive standards and practices. The third edition offered a short aside on word processing; the fourth incorporates advice throughout on composition and formatting on computer, although guidelines for the use of typewriters remain. More dramatic changes point to the increased emphasis on journal literature in the undergraduate curriculum: in the section devoted to library research, indexing and abstracting tools now lead the list of reference sources, with previously prominent dictionaries and atlases shunted to the end; in the section covering citation formats for periodical publications, articles in scholarly journals are now "the basic entry," and newspaper articles fall later in the chapter. New sections address citation formats for CD-ROMs (indexes, full text, multimedia or numeric); diskettes; magnetic tapes; on-line databases; and electronic mail, journals, and texts. Although MLA Handbook has never undertaken to offer extensive advice on style and composition, some guidance on appropriate use of new technology--such as the ethics of quoting personal or public e-mail correspondence and postings, or the perils of relying on computerized spell-checkers--would have been welcome. New appendixes provide a cursory list of reference sources by subject, as well as examples of other documentation styles. For coping with the intricacies of citations to computerized resources, Xia Li's Electronic Style: A Guide to Citing Electronic Information (1993) is a more specialized and comprehensive resource, but Gibaldi and the contributors to MLA Handbook have done an admirable job of retooling an academic classic in an era of constant obsolescence. For all libraries. B. Juhl; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
This fourth edition of a publication based on the "MLA Style Sheet," begun more than 40 years ago, includes a great deal of information about using and citing electronic sources. Designed as a "comprehensive picture of how research papers are created," the handbook was last published in 1988. It will be used by researchers from high school and up. It is aimed at students; The MLA Style Manual (1985) is aimed at scholars. The handbook takes readers through the research paper process step by step, and includes information on narrowing the topic, outlining, note taking, etc. Before dealing with such mechanics of writing as spelling, punctuation, and format, the manual covers the use of catalogs (online and paper), indexes, and databases in the library and offers a list of some standard print and electronic reference works. The sections on documentation in text and citations seem to include every type of source and possible variable. The work concludes with abbreviations for terms used in research, reference sources by subject, and some examples of other styles of documentation. Examples within each section are printed in a font different from the explanatory text, a feature that allows the user to easily find the appropriate format. Chapters are divided by subtopics with numeric denotation; an index makes topics easy to find. Public and academic libraries should update their style manuals with this edition because of the inclusion of electronic sources, portable and online. High schools that use the MLA style should also include it in their library collections. (Reviewed July 1995)
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This revision to the 2003 edition incorporates recent changes to accepted language and punctuation rules. It likewise addresses developments made by technology's rapid advance. Unlike its more complex cousin, the MLA Style Manual, this edition is geared toward secondary and undergraduate researchers and offers thorough explanations of research basics as well as essential annotated diagrams, whenever applicable. The slender paperback offers a fully searchable online component that remains available for the edition's lifespan.-Savannah Schroll Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.