MLA Handbook Plus is a new, subscription-based digital product providing online access to the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook. MLA Handbook Plus will be available in beta in mid-September 2021, and the full launch is planned for January 2022. We’re very excited to bring the handbook to a digital platform! Sign up below to get updates on MLA Handbook Plus, including information about free trials.
We created MLA Handbook Plus because we heard—increasingly during the pandemic—that users needed a version of the handbook that could be discovered and accessed by site license through a school’s digital library collections and made available through LMSs.
Our goal, as always, is to provide instructors with clear guidelines, students with the best tools to effectively learn and use MLA style, and writers at all levels access to the advice they need. Read on to learn more about the content and user experience design of MLA Handbook Plus.
The cornerstone of MLA Handbook Plus is the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook, released in print in spring 2021. The ninth edition was created in direct, sustained dialogue with the instructors, librarians, and students around the world who use the handbook every day. A comprehensive reference work and textbook, the new handbook features
- 400 pages
- seven chapters, three of which are devoted to documentation
- 142 visual examples
- over 500 sample citations
- two appendixes
- a comprehensive index
A handy chart compares how the new handbook stacks up against the previous edition.
Access, Accessibility, and Interactive Enhancements
MLA Handbook Plus meets WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards. It will be available to an unlimited number of simultaneous users at subscribing institutions, who will get access to the platform from their institution’s network. Using the site will be intuitive and straightforward, requiring no special training. Students can also create free accounts allowing them access to the platform off-campus for designated periods of time, because we know it is essential that students have uninterrupted access to important course and reference materials like the MLA Handbook regardless of physical proximity to their institution’s libraries. Students can also access the platform from any browser or device, because students have different technological needs and preferences.
Everything in the new edition of the handbook will be available on MLA Handbook Plus, but this is so much more than an e-book. We’ve added features that enhance the content and make learning and teaching MLA style even easier. For example, throughout the site, you’ll find lots of cross-linking of related content. To reinforce core concepts, we also added a split-view feature to allow students to see figures and illustrations while reading corresponding content, so exploring the handbook will be even more interactive.
Navigation and Search
Designed for easy navigation, the print handbook has sections numbered continuously through each chapter. Cross-references at the end of sections point out related information covered elsewhere in the handbook, figure references are clearly delineated from the text, and figures are easily readable alongside the instructional text.
MLA Handbook Plus uses the same numbering of sections, so students and instructors can easily go back and forth between MLA Handbook Plus and the print and e-book editions. But because long chapters are harder to digest and navigate online, content in MLA Handbook Plus is presented in smaller, discrete sections. And different pathways through the text will be available: for example, a learner’s tour gives students new to MLA style access to the most critical information to help them get started.
We designed the search functionality of MLA Handbook Plus to allow students to quickly find the most relevant information and the hundreds of works-cited-list examples listed by format in the handbook’s appendix. With their free personal account, students can save searches for quick access, and instructors can include specific search results in their LMS or course materials to help illustrate particular concepts.
In the future we’ll be adding to MLA Handbook Plus titles in our popular MLA guides series, such as the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy and the MLA Guide to Undergraduate Research in Literature. And with MLA Handbook Plus, we’ll be able to make annual updates to the handbook, allowing MLA style to change and evolve with student needs and usage conventions. We’re also creating a companion video course series—with quizzes and assessments—that will make teaching MLA style easier than it’s ever been.
Sign Up for Updates
Throughout the summer we’ll start setting up free trials, and we’ll be recording demos and tutorials to help users make the most of the content and tools on the site. Sign up now to get updates on MLA Handbook Plus!