Janice R. Walker (jwalker@chuma.cas.usf.edu)
Department of English
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Avenue, CPR 107
Tampa, FL 33620-5550
January, 1995 (Rev. 4/95)
Vers. 1.0

MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Sources

(Endorsed by the Alliance for Computers & Writing)

For a recent project, I decided to do research on MOOs and MUDs, internet sites which allow for real-time, synchronous communication. In doing my research, I found a wealth of information published, not in traditional print format, but via various electronic formats, including ftp (file transfer protocol) sites, gopher sites, http (World Wide Web) sites, and e-mail discussion lists.

My students were asking how to cite various types of electronic information as well. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, while giving citation references for Computer Software (135) and information retrieved from computer and information services (136-8), does not address the wealth of information now being made available to us (and to our students) via the internet. The most complete work on electronic citation, the Xia Li and Nancy Crane book, A Guide to Citing Electronic Information, is based on the American Psychological Association style rather than the MLA style preferred by most English departments.

We need some standardization of citation references, and this compilation is, therefore, an attempt to address this need. As we move out of the Gutenberg era and into the electronic age, more and more work is being published electronically that may never appear in conventional print medium. I have, therefore, compiled a listing of electronically-available information sites that have not been addressed by MLA, attempting where possible to adhere to formats already delineated by MLA. Please note, however, that, since punctuation is an important part of many internet addresses, certain conventions of citation punctuation have necessarily been changed and/or adapted (for instance, placing the date in parentheses and omitting trailing periods for internet addresses).

As more sites and information become available on line, this work will necessarily grow. Discussions of proper citation formats have appeared in the MBU-L listserv (Megabyte University), the ACW-L listserv (Alliance for Computers and Writing), and the Victoria-L listserv (The Electronic Conference for Victorian Studies), just to name a few, in recent months. And my own e-mail posting to the MBU and ACW listservs offering the information I have compiled about citing electronic sources has inundated me with responses from teachers and academics across the country who are looking for answers to their own or their students' questions. At the CCCC in Washington, D.C. this spring, the Alliance for Computers and Writing discussed the need for this type of citation format and voted to approve this style sheet.

The basic component of the reference citation I have compiled is simple:

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Work." Title of Complete Work. [protocol and address] [path] (date of message or visit).

The pages that follow give specific examples, following this format. Please bear in mind, however, that, like the internet itself, the information sources are in a constant state of flux and, therefore, this work will also need to change as the sites themselves proliferate and adapt to the new era of electronic print.


(Endorsed by the Alliance for Computers & Writing)

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Sites

To cite files available for downloading via ftp, give the author's name (if known), the full title of the paper in quotation marks, and the address of the ftp site along with the full path to follow to find the paper, and the date of access.

Bruckman, Amy. "Approaches to Managing Deviant Behavior in Virtual Communities." ftp.media.mit.edu pub/asb/papers/ deviance-chi94 (4 Dec.1994).

WWW Sites (World Wide Web)

(Available via Lynx, Netscape, Other Web Browsers)

To cite files available for viewing/downloading via the World Wide Web, give the author's name (if known), the full title of the work in quotation marks, the title the complete work if applicable in italics, the full http address, and the date of visit.

Burka, Lauren P. "A Hypertext History of Multi-User Dimensions." MUD History. http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/lpb/ mud-history.html (5 Dec. 1994).

Telnet Sites

(Sites and Files available via the telnet protocol)

List the author's name (if known), the title of the work (if shown) in quotation marks, the title of the full work if applicable in italics, and the complete telnet address, along with directions to access the publication, along with the date of visit.

Gomes, Lee. "Xerox's On-Line Neighborhood: A Great Place to Visit." Mercury News 3 May 1992. telnet lambda.parc.xerox.com 8888, @go #50827, press 13 (5 Dec. 1994).

Synchronous Communications (MOOs, MUDs, IRC, etc.)

Give the name of the speaker(s) and type of communication (i.e., Personal Interview), the address if applicable and the date in parentheses.

Pine_Guest. Personal Interview. telnet world.sensemedia.net 1234 (12 Dec.1994).

WorldMOO Christmas Party. telnet world.sensemedia.net 1234 (24 Dec. 1994).

GOPHER Sites (Information available via gopher search protocols)

For information found using gopher search protocols, list the author's name, the title of the paper in quotation marks, any print publication information, and the gopher search path followed to access the information, including the date that the file was accessed.

Quittner, Joshua. "Far Out: Welcome to Their World Built of MUD." Published in Newsday, 7 Nov. 1993. gopher /University of Koeln/About MUDs, MOOs and MUSEs in Education/Selected Papers/newsday (5 Dec. 1994).

E-mail, Listserv, and Newslist Citations

Give the author's name (if known), the subject line from the posting in quotation marks, and the address of the listserv or newslist, along with the date. For personal e-mail listings, the address may be omitted.

Bruckman, Amy S. "MOOSE Crossing Proposal." mediamoo@media. mit.edu (20 Dec. 1994).

Seabrook, Richard H. C. "Community and Progress." cybermind @jefferson.village.virginia.edu (22 Jan. 1994)

Thomson, Barry. "Virtual Reality." Personal e-mail (25 Jan. 1995).

Works Cited

Gibaldi, Joseph, and Walter S. Achtert. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 3rd ed. NY: MLA, 1988. Li, Xia, and Nancy Crane. Electronic Style: A Guide to Citing Electronic Information. Westport: Meckler, 1993.

Copyright J. Walker 1995

This style sheet is also available as a link from the following sources:

Please contact the author for permission to link to or copy the material presented herein. Thank you.
J. Walker This page has been browsed times since December 30, 1995