1. Scott Zeid
  2. mla-simple

Overview

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MLA Simple

Simplifies the process of writing MLA papers in LaTeX.
Copyright (c) 2012 Scott Zeid. Released under the X11 License.

This is a LaTeX file, mla-simple.tex, that simplifiies the creation of MLA papers using LaTeX. It defines an environment called mla-simple, a wrapper of mla-paper's mla environment that automatically handles Works Cited pages. It also fixes various formatting issues which exist when using the MLA package by itself, specifically:

  • Uses the correct date format (DD MMMMM YYYY).
  • Removes the extraneous "References" heading when using BibTeX on the Works Cited page.
  • Re-enables two spaces after periods.
  • Uses the correct 12 point font size.
  • Includes and uses a BibTeX style called "mla-new" by Patrick W. Daly.
  • Fixes the above BibTeX style to use proper formatting for URLs.

Other features of MLA Simple include:

  • Support for UTF-8 encoded input files (using inputenc).
  • A Makefile and shell script that help automate the process of writing LaTeX files on the command line. They should work with any basic LaTeX document, not just ones that use MLA Simple.

Requirements

  • Packages
  • datetime
  • ifpdf
  • inputenc
  • mla (mla-paper)
  • natbib

Usage

Simply include mla-simple using \input{mla-simple.tex}. Then, begin your document environment as usual (but you do not need to declare the document class; MLA Simple does this for you) and then create an instance of the mla-simple environment, passing your name, instructor, course name, date, and paper title as arguments. Then write your paper inside that environment.

For your Works Cited page, make a BibTeX file with the same name as your LaTeX file, but with the .bib extension, and cite your sources using the \mcite command. (You can use a different file name by using the \wcfile command.) These two commands, as well as the \nowc command described later, are defined by MLA Simple. \mcite is equivalent to (\citealt{source}), with \citealt being part of the natbib package.

If you have no sources, you can just use the mla environment which is part of the mla package. You can also insert the \nowc command somewhere in your document.

If you want to define your sources manually, use the mla environment instead of the mla-simple environment, and wrap your sources within the workscited enviroment (both part of the mla package).

Finally, convert your document into the appropriate format. The included Makefile can convert your document into PDF or DVI format for you.

Example

\input{mla-simple.tex}
\begin{document}
\begin{mla-simple}
{Scott}{Zeid}{Professor Jane Doe}{Compositon II}{\today}
{Test MLA Simple Document}

This is a test MLA Simple document \mcite{mla-simple}.

\end{mla-simple}
\end{document}

Formatting tips

  • Sometimes, you have to cite full dates, not just the year. However, you could simply put the whole date field, like this:

     year    = "4 April 1984"
    
  • When citing Web resources, you usually have to include the date on which you retrieved it. You can do this using the note field. For example:

    @misc{starbucks,
     author  = "Starbucks Coffee",
     title   = "Starbucks Coffee",
     note    = "Web. 16 April 2012",
     url     = "http://www.starbucks.com/"
    }
    
  • To restore the default US date format when using \today, do \usdate. (This is part of the datetime package.) To go back to MLA dates, do \mladate (from MLA Simple). See [the datetime documentation] datetime for more date formats.

Makefile usage

The included Makefile is intended to help simplify the process of converting a LaTeX document into other formats. Currently DVI and PDF are supported.

Targets

(assuming your document's filename is starbucks.tex)

  • starbucks
  • starbucks.pdf Makes PDF AND DVI files from the document.
  • starbucks.dvi Makes a DVI file from the document.
  • clean Removes all intermediate files in the current directory. This is done automatically by the other targets.
  • clean-all Removes all intermediate files, as well as all DVI and PDF files, in the current directory.

write usage

MLA Simple includes a shell script, write, that runs the editor defined in $EDITOR and then runs the Makefile on the given LaTeX file. It will be created with a simple template if it does not exist, and an empty BibTeX file will also be created if necessary. If the editor is Vim or Gvim, it will open both the LaTeX file and the BibTeX file in tabs. (Vim 7 or later is required for this to work.)

Invocation

./write <filename without .tex extension> [<extension of output file>]

If the output file extension is not given, it will default to pdf. This argument is simply passed on to the Makefile. For PDFs, the Makefile will also leave behind a DVI file.

Credits

License

The template is released under the X11 License. However, please note that the included mla-simple.bst BibTeX style, based on mla-new.bst by Patrick W. Daaly, is released under the LaTeX Project Public License (version 1.0 or later), which is not compatible with the GNU General Public License.

http://theoval.cmp.uea.ac.uk/~nlct/latex/packages/datetime/datetime-manual.html http://www.latex-community.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4089#p16041 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#LPPL-1.2 http://web.reed.edu/cis/help/latex/bibtexstyles.html#reedsty

Copyright (C) 2012 Scott Zeid.

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