MLA 8th edition

The MLA has just published its new style guide, 8th edition, (April 2016), and the citation styles are much different than the previous edition. Does anyone know when Zotero will be updating its MLA format to the 8th edition guidelines? Thanks.
  • As soon as possible. I have the manual pre-ordered from Amazon, but looks like they ran out of copies.
  • OK, thank you. Their new guidelines allow for a lot of user discretion and move away from specific examples for every type of entry or media type. On the one hand, this approach is helpful in terms of trying to keep up with media types yet to be invented, but on the other hand, I think it may present challenges for citation generators.
  • CSL should be set up very well to handle that -- at least the part about being agnostic about item types, but I'll be able to tell you more once I have the manual.
  • edited April 6, 2016
    I'll be interested to hear what you think. The new guidelines give writers a lot of leeway about, for example, including a URL or not in the citation (that is just one example). There is this new concept of a "container" and then "nested containers." Overall, the idea is that writers can pick and choose what to include and not include, using their best judgment about what readers need in order to locate the source. It's far less prescriptive.
  • Two articles of interest:

    Inside Higher Ed
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/03/31/new-mla-handbook-wants-make-citing-sources-variety-media-much-easier

    LA Review of Books
    https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/the-future-of-academic-style-why-citations-still-matter-in-the-age-of-google
  • Interesting. "Nested containers" sounds like the once-planned hierarchical item types:

    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/391/1/hierarchical-item-relationships/
    https://www.zotero.org/trac/wiki/HierarchicalOntology

    Perhaps it will renew interest in implementing this framework.
  • Looking forward to this! I'm sure we'll get questions about whether Zotero can handle the 8th edition pretty quickly. Will you keep the 7th edition as a style just in case there are still faculty wanting their students to use it instead?
  • yes, will definitely keep the 7th edition.
    The way it sounds, for the 8th edition we'll just have to make some editorial choices. We won't publish 10 versions with all the different permitted variations, but we'll likely do a with and without URL version.

    Going forward, we'll keep the 8th edition as a new, separate style for a while until it's in decent condition. Then we'll use it to replace the current MLA style (i.e. 7th edition), so users get updated automatically, but as per above, keep the 7th edition available as a legacy option.
    I'm not sure if it makes, at some point, sense to retire a style entirely, but we'll certainly keep it around for years, though perhaps not decades.
  • A first version of an MLA 8th edition style is now available.
    https://www.zotero.org/styles?q=Modern%20Language%20Association%208th%20edition
    Let me know how it's working -- the bibliography section of the style actually has the exact same structure as the elements listed in the manual. I think that works very nicely.
  • I see two issues right off the bat.

    Titles are still supposed to be capitalized.

    URLs are supposed to leave off the http:// or https:// and they're not always showing up in a reference list - they are showing up for books, magazine articles and websites, but not journal articles. It's also not pulling in DOIs when they are available, FYI, which the 8th ed says to do in favor of other URLs.
  • OK on titles.
    CSL can't strip https, so that's not going to happen.
    On the DOI -- it's not clear to me what they actually want. The style is prefering DOI over URL -- it will never print a URL when a DOI exists -- but I'm not sure when a DOI should be used and they don't really help, especially not when considering the examples.
  • well, right now the MLA 8th style isn't printing DOIs at all.
  • sure it is -- it tests whether a URL is present (which, you'll recall, for Zotero purposes is _not_ the case where journal articles have a page range) and then uses the DOI if present.

    Given the absence of DOIs for Zotero on all other item types, only way to test this would be to use a journal article without page ranges.

    If you see a URL for an item that does have a DOI, that'd be a bug.

    I'm open for other suggestions on how to handle this. I initially had this print DOIs whenever they're in Zotero, but that seemed an awkward fit with the manual which cites a whole lot of journal articles (most of which do have DOIs) but only uses DOI in two(?) citations.
  • I just tested it out by taking out the page ranges on a journal article that has a DOI and it still didn't work.
  • Ortega, Maryoly, et al. “Construction of a Systemic Quality Model for Evaluating a Software Product.” Software Quality Journal, vol. 11, no. 3, July 2003. ProQuest, doi:10.1023/A:1025166710988.
  • edited April 21, 2016
    just to reiterate the logic:

    Does the item have a URL (and for Zotero: no page range)?
    --yes --Does the item have a DOI
    -------yes -- Print DOI
    -------no -- Print URL
    --no --Do nothing
  • edited October 14, 2016
    Hi, Just wondering when Zotero will be updating to MLA 8? ***nm, just saw the other forums. Thanks!
  • Hello,

    I was just trying to add MLA 8th edition to Zotero in my Firefox browser. However, I get this error message: ""https://www.zotero.org/styles/modern-language-association-8th-edition" is not a valid style file."

    I was clicking on the link here: https://www.zotero.org/styles

    Any thoughts?
  • the style on the repository is definitely valid and installs fine for me. Which version of Zotero? Can you install other citation styles?
  • edited April 21, 2017
    Hello all!

    Is there a way to add a byline when dealing with a particular translator, as per the MLA 8 Rules? For example:

    Descartes, René. Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. Translated by Jonathan Bennet, Early Modern Texts E-book, 2010, www.earlymoderntexts.com.

    Because I am discussing translation choices, I need this to appear as:

    Bennet, Jonathon. Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. By René Descartes. Early Modern Texts, 2010. Early Modern Texts E-book, ww.earlymoderntexts.com.
  • edited April 21, 2017
    Additionally, is there any way to mark titled Introductions as such, as required in 2.2.1 MLA 8?

    Bentley, Eric. “The Science Fiction of Bertolt Brecht.” Galileo, Grove Press, 1966, pp. 7–42.

    is supposed to now appear as (you'll notice a missing by-line too, despite it being filled out as the Book Author):

    Bentley, Eric. “The Science Fiction of Bertolt Brecht.” Introduction. Galileo, by Bertolt Brecht, Grove Press, 1966, pp. 7–42.

  • What happens when you enter a translator for a book item? Does it not render properly.

    For the introduction, enter this as a Book Section item. Put "Introduction" in the Extra field like this:
    medium: Introduction

    Does that render properly?
  • What happens when you enter a translator for a book item? Does it not render properly.
    that'd produce the first type of entry, which for general purposes makes sense/is correct, but doesn't work to emphasize the translator by listing him (in this case) first. I don't think we can provide that level of flexibility, I'm afraid. Listing the translator as an author and including Descartes in the title is the best I can come up with.
  • Sorry for the long delay, missed the reply notice!

    The introduction renders properly now, thank you bwiernik.

    I will toy with ways of getting translators to render as I want. For example, if I call the Publisher

    "By René Descartes, Early Modern Texts E-book"

    I get:

    Bennet, Jonathon. Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. By René Descartes, Early Modern Texts E-book, 2010, www.earlymoderntexts.com.

    which is correct, from how I understand the rules.
  • obviously not ideal, but that seems like a good workaround.
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