New, Starting 2009!
A Note on Accepted Styles for NHD Projects
The two accepted styles for citations and bibliographies in NHD projects are:
- Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Whichever style students choose to use, it is important that they remain consistent with that style throughout their NHD project and bibliography. It is also important that they remain consistent to whichever edition of that style they are using. While the NHD Rule Book indicates the 5th edition of the MLA guide, students are allowed to use the 5th edition and any edition coming after it (6th and 7th). However, they must be consistent and only use one edition.
Changes in MLA's New 7th edition
It has been brought to our attention that some of the changes in the new 7th edition of the MLA handbook, published in 2009, are quite different from previous editions; which could cause confusion for students, teachers and judges. A few examples of these changes include:
- URLs are no longer required for citations of web sources
- For each citation, it is required to indicate what type of source it is by placing the medium of publication at the end of the citation; "Print," "Web," "Film," "Personal Interview," etc.
There is a good website that highlights the main points of the new MLA 7th edition: owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01.
It's important to acknowledge the ideas of others when writing up your own. Research is never done in isolation; in forming your own ideas you consult other authors and sources. In this way, history research is like having a conversation with other thinkers who are also asking some of the same questions you are. At National History Day we will want to see where you got your information, the sources you used, and the basis for your own original ideas so that they can benefit from your expertise.
Acknowledging sources in history research is done through the practice of citation. Citations can take the form of attributions (or giving credit) in the text of a paper, footnotes at the bottom of the page, or endnotes.
When do you need a citation?
You need a citation for:
- Direct quotations
- Opinions, judgments or insights of others that you summarize or paraphrase
- Information not widely known
- Information that is open to dispute or not commonly accepted
- Tables, charts, graphs or statistics taken from another source
You don't need a citation for:
- Your own ideas, observations and conclusions
- Common knowledge, like facts readily available in many reference works
- Familiar quotations, like "Early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy and wise," can be attributed to Benjamin Franklin without indicating source
What should the citation look like?
Different fields have different styles of footnotes. For National History Day, we use the MLA style, named for a professional academic society, the Modern Language Association.
In the MLA style, sources are indicated in parentheses within the text and linked to a bibliography at the end of the paper. So you would indicate your reference by writing out the author and page number, like this:
By the 1790s, African American families began to cluster in two areas of the city of Philadelphia (Nash 164).
If you are citing more than one work by the same author, then indicate which one by including a few key words from the title, like this:
By the 1790s, African American families began to cluster in two areas of the city of Philadelphia (Nash, Forging Freedom 164).
Finally, if you are including the author and title in your actual sentence, then just indicate the page number:
According to historian Gary Nash in his work Forging Freedom, African American families began to cluster in two areas of the city of Philadelphia in the 1790s (164).
Where should the citation go?
Place a citation as close to the quoted or paraphrased material as possible without disrupting the sentence. When material from one source and the same page numbers is used throughout a paragraph, use one citation at the end of the paragraph rather than a citation at the end of each sentence.
Parenthetical citations usually appear after the final quotation mark and before the period. An exception occurs, however, in quotes of four or more lines since these quotes are presented as block quotes: that is, they are indented and use no quotation marks. In such cases, the parenthetical citation goes at the end of the block quote after the period.
How do I format my Bibliography?
Each of the citations in your text are then linked to a bibliography at the end of the paper. In MLA style, a bibliographic entry has three parts: the author's name, the title, and the publisher information. Like this:
Nash, Gary. Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720–1840. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.
Entries vary by kind of source. Here are some of the kinds of sources and how they are cited:
Book by Multiple Authors/Editors
- Trotter Jr, Joe William. and Eric Ledell Smith, eds. African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 1997.
Article or Essay in a Collection or Anthology
- Sumler-Lewis, Janice. "The Forten-Purvis Women of Philadelphia and the American Antislavery Crusade." In African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives. Ed. Joe William Trotter Jr. and Eric Ledell Smith. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 1997. 166-176.
- Alnutt, Brian E. "'The Negro Excursions': Recreational Outings Among Philadelphia African Americans, 1876-1926." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 129 (January 2005): 73-104.
- Fogarty, N. Personal interview. 2 July 2003.
Unpublished Manuscript Source, like a letter:
- Sarah Wister to Jeannie Field, 1 October 1863, Wister Family Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Web sources, see MLA Style Guide for Web Content at http://www.mla.org/style_faq4
These are some of the guidelines for most common citations. For more guidance on how to cite works and attribute quotations, check out these guides:
Citing Web Sources: MLA Style Guide for Web Content at http://www.mla.org/style_faq4
MLA Style Guide at http://www.lib.usm.edu/research/guides/mla.html
Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th Edition