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Guide to Using MLA Bibliography

What is MLA?

MLA - Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography is usually the best index for researching literature and literary criticism topics. MLA provides references to academic journal articles in literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore back to 1963. MLA is updated ten times per year.

MLA is an Ebscohost database so it looks very much like Academic Search Premier and has many of the same search functions. See a quick Ebscohost three minute online tutorial if you have never used an Ebscohost database.


Why Is Searching the MLA International Bibliography Better Than Searching Google? MLA says...

  • The MLA International Bibliography contains over 1.7 million records that pertain specifically to language and literature. Material from other disciplines, like biology or political science, is not included.
  • The Bibliography provides the most comprehensive listing of scholarly material in language, literature, and folklore, including publications not available on the Web.
  • A professional indexing staff and scholars in relevant fields review books, essay collections, journals, bibliographies, and electronic publications to create the most accurate listing possible.
  • The materials covered come from reputable publishers in over one hundred countries.
  • Indexers use controlled vocabulary as subject headings, enabling more precise searches than user-chosen keywords would allow.
  • Each citation contains the information users need to create a bibliography as part of a research project.

How Can I Find Articles Using MLA?

  1. From the WSU Stewart library home page ( select the Database Finder. This is under Quick Links on the right.
  2. Under "Search By Title" click on the letter"M" and "search"
  3. Click on MLA and MLA Bibliography again
  4. Enter your keywords for your search in the Find box.
    • Enter author's names as last name, first, for example: Heaney, Seamus
    • Review subject headings for more refined searches
  5. Click on the titles of interest to see the full record and subject headings
  6. You may add references of interest to a folder
    1. Click on the Folder Has Items at the top right to print, save or email selected references
  7. Important NOTE: Most of the article references in MLA are NOT full text
  8. To get the full text of articles use the following steps:
    1. Check the journal name in our Ejournals to see if the article is available online in another database. If it is available then you can continue clickeing to get the full text online. Print, save or email according to the instructions on the screen.
    2. OR order the article from an other library through Interlibrary Loan using the Illiad System form
      • Articles ordered through Iterlibrary loan usually arive in a day or two and you get to keep the photocopy of the article.

What do I do if I can't find what I need?

If students or faculty have ANY problems finding resources on their topics they are encouraged to ask a librarian for assistance. Please call, stop by, email or use our online chat service.

Updated June 17, 2010 . Please send comments to Carol Hansen
Weber State University, Stewart Library. Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved.

Stewart Library - Weber State University - Ogden, Utah 84408. (801) 626-6403 - Copyright © 2008 ALL Rights Reserved