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MLA Style Manual

Names and Terms

When an MLA member’s name appears in an MLAConnect article, the annual meeting proceedings, or an annual meeting program, list the member’s library, institution, city, and state (and country, if other than the United States) following the name. If the member is acting on behalf of an MLA committee, section, or chapter, list the member’s position on the committee, chapter, or section followed by the name of the committee, section, or chapter. If an article contains a list of all members of a committee, task force, chapter or section unit, or any similar list, use the members’names only.

Alphabetize hyphenated names by the name before the hyphen. If there is no hyphen, alphabetize by the name that appears last. Last names that begin with De, de, Mac, Mc, Van, van, etc., alphabetize by the entire last name, whether there is a space or not.

Concettina D’Aversa
Andre de Oliveira
Juan Martin Garcia
Marta Jorda-Oliver
Barry Lundquist
Gloria McNeil
John Smith
Paula von Isenburg
Peter VanHorn

In Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA), peer-reviewed articles, the byline appears after the title and before the abstract with author names only. Full affiliation information appears at the end of the article. The order of the authors’ names should reflect their contribution to the work in descending order.

The authors’ affiliation entry should list each author’s name; highest earned degree; email address; job title; library, institution; and complete address, city, state, zip code (and country, if other than the United States). Do not abbreviate any of these elements except post-office box (P.O.) and states using post office abbreviations. Do not include “and” between authors’ names. Follow the information that was provided in the submission.

In nonpeer-reviewed JMLA articles, list the author’s name, library and institution if applicable, city, and state (and country, if outside the United States) following the article text. Do not use “by.”

In MLAConnect, the first author’s name should be preceded by the phrase “Submitted by.” Include the authors’ names, “AHIP” if they are members of the Academy of Health Information Professionals, “FMLA” if they have been granted fellowship status in the association, library, institution, city, and state (and country, if outside the United States). When authors hold an MLA office and are writing the article from that perspective, use their MLA offices instead of their institutional affiliations and locations. Use “and” between two authors’names or before the last author’s name if there are more than two. See also “affiliations” in this section.

Capitalize titles of papers; discussions; continuing education courses; established MLA programs; and the full names of all association units, including committees, task forces, sections, chapters, councils, and special interest groups. In running text, lowercase shortened names, titles that appear after the office-holder’s name (except in bylines or lists of contacts), and shortened titles.

MLA Board of Directors
the board
Continuing Education Committee
the Membership and Bylaws Committees
the committee
an MLA committee
domain hubs
Information Services Domain Hub
Social Justice Caucus
the Research and Dental Caucuses
the caucus
an MLA caucus
MLA caucuses
Chapter Council Chair Donna R. Berryman AHIP
Donna R. Berryman, AHIP, Chapter Council chair
chapter chairs
the chair
incoming chairs
Executive Director Kevin Baliozian
Kevin Baliozian, MLA executive director
the MLA executive director

Capitalize MLA and academy membership categories and classes and the term “member” when it is preceded by a category. However, lowercase the word “membership” if it follows a membership category.

Fifty Voting Members cast ballots.
He is a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals.

Capitalize the term “Fellow” when MLA fellowship is meant. Lowercase “fellowship.”

Check also the specific item in question in the appendixes to this manual (Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C, Appendix D, and Appendix E).

Full, official names are capitalized; shortened or generic versions of a name are not:

Medical Library Association
the association
UCLA Biomedical Library
the library

Titles of officers are capitalized only when they precede a personal name:

President Barack Obama
President Obama
the president
Barack Obama, the president of the United States
President Julia Esparza, AHIP
President-Elect Traditi
the MLA president-elect
She becomes president-elect in 2008.

See also “gender, occupational titles” in this section.

Capitalize the second element of hyphenated terms.

Twentieth-Century Literature
Non-English-Speaking Peoples
Evidence-Based Medicine

Capitalize the following: first and last words, nouns and pronouns (including “it”), adjectives and adverbs, verbs, and subordinate conjunctions. Lowercase the following: articles, coordinate conjunctions, and prepositions. Capitalize the first word after the colon in a subtitle. If the title is on two lines, add a colon if needed:

Browning’s Roman Murder Story: A Reading of the Text, with Commentary

See Appendix D for initialisms, acronyms, and abbreviations common to MLA publications, and Appendix C for the proper spelling of selected individual trade names. In general, spell and capitalize names of computer programs and databases as they appear on a screen when accessed.

Use lower-case letters for email addresses:

When the animal’s sex is known (cow/bull; goose/gander) or the animal has a name, use masculine or feminine pronouns as appropriate. When the animal’s sex is unknown, use “it.”

NOTE: MLA’s Board of Directors approved the following motion at their 1994 post–annual meeting meeting: “MOVED, that the MLA Board of Directors adopt a policy of non-gender-specific language according to CMS14, pages 76–8 (2.98) for all of MLA’s documentation, publications, and communications, effective June 1, 1994.”

Avoid gender-specific pronouns following nouns that could refer to a member of either sex. Usually this can be done either by changing the pronoun to an article adjective or recasting the sentence to make the pronoun plural.

Rather than:

The librarian should plan his schedule to allow time for writing.


The librarian should plan a schedule that allows time for writing.
The librarian’s schedule should allow time for writing.
Librarians should plan their schedules to allow time for writing.

"Everyone,” “anyone,” “someone,” “no one,” and other indefinite singular pronouns may be followed by the singular “they.” Recasting the sentence to the plural is preferred.

Although many words that include the syllable “man” are intended to include women, substituting a neutral term is preferred.

Term Preferred Term
Englishmen the English
layman nonprofessionals, the lay public
manhours staff hours
mankind humanity, humankind
manmade artificial, synthetic
manpower staff, work force, personnel, employees
to man to staff, to cover, to work at, to operate


Although countries, ships, cars, and hurricanes have sometimes been referred to as feminine, “it” is preferred.

Use an inclusive term rather than a gender-specific one for jobs that can be held by both men and women.

Term Preferred Term
chairman chair
fireman firefighter
mailman mail carrier
policeman police officer
poetess poet
web master web manager, web coordinator

If no neutral term is available and a specific person is meant, use the suffix “-man” or “-woman,” as appropriate. Avoid the suffix “-person.” Anyone who heads an MLA committee or task force is referred to as “chair” according to the Bylaws of the association. Use any formal titles conferred by other organizations discussed in the text. If there is no formal title, follow the office-holder’s preference. Generally, editors will assume that the term the author has chosen is the proper one.

The short name for the Journal of the Medical Library Association should be JMLA rather than the Journal.

Set titles of unpublished speeches in quotation marks. See “capitalizing titles of works” in this section.

Put the title of a symposium in quotation marks when it is mentioned in running text; see “capitalizing titles of works” in this section.

When terms are quoted from a thesaurus, set in capitals and enclose in quotation marks.

Use italics for books and journals cited in running text. Use quotation marks for journal articles and electronic documents cited in running text. Web page titles and sections of chapters are capitalized, but do not use quotation marks or italics.

See also “capitalizing names and titles” and “capitalizing MLA items” in this section.

Although owners of trademarked names may suggest otherwise, publishers are not obligated to denote the trademark status of a name when that name is mentioned in text. Authors representing trademark owners frequently feel obligated to use the trademark or registered-trademark symbol (™ or ®) after the first mention of their product names but often do not use these symbols consistently to indicate the trademark status of other names not owned by their particular sponsor or employer.

Because the fair and consistent use of these symbols (or of footnotes denoting the trademark owners) requires exhaustive verification and vigilance on the part of the editor and because the use of these symbols (or footnotes) is not required by law, do not add trademark symbols, registered-trademark symbols, or trademark-denoting footnotes to trade names in MLA publications. In the interest of consistency, editors should also delete such references when inserted by authors.

At the same time, MLA recognizes that authors are often supported and encouraged by their institutions or other funders and that this support may be what enables an author to produce any written work at all. MLA editors are therefore advised to consider carefully an author’s express request that trademark status of particular names be denoted (merely including symbols or footnotes in the submitted manuscript does not constitute an “express request”).

If trademark status is denoted in a particular case, these guidelines should be used:

  • Use the trademark or registered-trademark symbol, not a footnote.
  • The author must specify which words should be denoted and with which symbol (™ and ® are not interchangeable). Trade names not specified by the author should not be cited with these symbols.
  • Use the symbol no more than four times in one article for each trade name: the first mention in the article’s title, the first mention in the running head, the first mention in the abstract, and the first mention in the article’s text.
  • If the article is part of a JMLA symposium, add symbols to the trade names in question in all other articles in the symposium for consistency.

In all cases, whether trademarks are denoted or not, the proper spelling and capitalization of trade names should always be verified and consistent. See Appendix C for a list of trade names common to MLA publications and their proper spelling.

In references, cite the full address including Internet protocol (http://, ftp://, etc.). Use a solidus at the end of a subdirectory.

An http:// Internet protocol is usually not necessary in text, because most addresses will refer to web addresses. An ftp:// or other Internet protocol is necessary. The Internet protocol is included in codes for linked pages on MLANET.

Check the word or phrase in question in this manual and its appendixes. If it is not here but appears in the English-language section of MW11 (not the “Foreign Words and Phrases” section), set in plain type and do not append the English translation. Otherwise, see pages 618–21 of CMS17 (11.1–11.8) for a discussion of how to treat isolated unfamiliar words or phrases in other languages in type.