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Downloadable EndNote Output Styles for MLA 8th Edition

Last time MLA changed its citation style, it took EndNote several years to update its built in MLA style. So if you’re looking for an Output Style to use with EndNote that conforms (as much as possible) to the new MLA Handbook, 8th Edition, I’ve created files you can download and install.

  1. Drag the two style files that you find in this folder into the Styles folder that EndNote looks at (you can see where your own installation is looking by going to Preferences > Folder Locations).
  2. Set MLA 8th as your output style by opening EndNote, clicking the “Edit” menu and then “Output Styles.” You may need to click on “Open Style Manager” the first time, at which point it might be useful to check the box next to the new MLA styles so that they’re listed with your other “favorites.”
  3. Download and read this ReadMe file that includes special instructions on using EndNote with this Output Style. (For the sake of convenience, I will also put the ReadMe information here in this blog post.)

If you run into problems or come up with improvements, please let me know!

Using the Style

To make sure that EndNote generates good citations, here are some important things to know:

  • URLs for web sources other than library databases should be included, but do not include the “http://“ or “https://“ part. You will have to make this edit individually in the records for your items as there is no way that I know of to programmatically take those prefixes out of the URL in EndNote.
  • Fill in the “Date” field with the day and month, but not year, like so: “21 Jan.”
  • If your work has no listed author, be sure to include a “short title” in your record because this is what will show up in your in-text citations.
  • If your work’s author is also the publisher, leave the Author field blank.
  • If you are focusing on an aspect of the work done by a person who is not the creator of the main content, put that person’s name in the “Author” field. Then put a descriptive label (editor, performer, translator, etc.) in the “Label” field.
  • If you are looking at an “unexpected type of work” (a transcript of a broadcast, a manuscript of a published work, etc), put a descriptive word into the “Type of work” field (such as “Transcript” or “Manuscript”).

Special Instructions by Reference Type

Web Page:

  • Add the name of the web page within a site to the “Title” field, and the name of the full web site to “Series Title” field.
  • Do not include the year of the “Last updated date” as that will be duplicated from the “year” field. Instead enter the date in the this way: “26 Jan.”
  • Add the name of the organization that sponsored or published the web site to the “Publisher” field.

Film or Broadcast:

  • If you are treating the director as an author, put the name into the “Director” field. If you are treating the director as an Other Contributor, put the name into the “Credits” field.

Map:

  • If your map is part of a collection that has a title (such as “Google Maps”) put that title into the “Series Title” field.

Artwork

  • If you experienced a work first hand, put the location name (museum name, city name, etc) in the “Place Published” field.
  • If you found the work reproduced online, use the “Artwork” reference type and put the online database name in the “Database Name” field.
  • If you found the work reproduced in a book, magazine, etc., use the reference type that matches the thing where you found the reproduced artwork (“Book Section,” “Newspaper,” etc.)

Manuscript:

  • Put the word “Manuscript” in the “Type of Material” field. If you are using the Manuscript field for something other than a manuscript, then put a similarly descriptive word in the “Type of Material” field.

Caveats

The new MLA style gives people many, many options. Sadly, none of the reference managers that I know of are currently that flexible, so there are some things that are options in the style that people will not be able to do automatically using EndNote or any other software in their current states. Most notably, there is no good way, currently, to do the following:

  • Use a description (without quotation marks or italics) in place of a title for untitled works
  • Add the optional place of publication to citations
  • Add the optional access date to citations

To do these things and the other optional descriptive work allowed in the 8th edition, you’ll want to finish your final draft, save a new copy of your document, use the “Convert to plain text” option under “Tools” on your EndNote toolbar to break the connection with the EndNote program, and then do any final edits that the program cannot do for you.

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