The MLA International Bibliography contains citations to over 2.5 million scholarly publications, including print and electronic books, journal articles, and Web sites. Publications must meet certain criteria, including standards of form and content, to be included.
Citations in the MLA International Bibliography are indexed by subject terms and may include abstracts and links to full text where available online. For more on subject indexing, visit our page on the MLA Thesaurus. For more information on full-text links, see “Accessing Full Text Documents” on our page about Using the MLA International Bibliography.
The MLA provides a list of essay collections indexed in the MLA International Bibliography since 2008 as well as a list of all journals indexed in the bibliography since 1926. A searchable database of journals and series cataloged in the MLA Directory of Periodicals is available to MLA members here. Searchable Web site listings from the MLA International Bibliography are also available to members.
Indexers generally use the full text of items when indexing. Exceptions are books by a single author (or multiple authors writing collaboratively) and critical editions and translations of literary works. For these, bibliographers may as necessary base their indexing on front matter, such as the table of contents, introduction, or foreword, supplemented by other materials provided by the publisher and related book reviews.
Criteria for Inclusion in the MLA Bibliography
The MLA International Bibliography lists published works written for a scholarly audience as well as those of interest to scholars written for general audiences. Works listed may be in any language and from any place of origin and in any medium, physical or electronic, including film, audio, and microform. Both restricted-access and open-access electronic materials are included.
In general, only original publications or revised editions of previously published works are listed. Reprints are not listed unless they are of significant scholarly works otherwise unavailable to the scholarly community. Self-published materials are not included.
Most of the materials listed in the bibliography were published after 1926. However, some publications from as early as 1866 have been included, primarily as a result of our indexing of the JSTOR Language and Literature periodicals collection. The majority of works represented on the teaching of language, the teaching of literature, and rhetoric and composition have been published from 1998 to the present.
Subject Matter Indexed
The bibliography indexes works published in the following subject areas:
Literature from any country and in any language (except certain classical languages in some cases; see below)
Literary theory and criticism
Dramatic arts (theater, film, radio, television, opera, video)
Rhetoric and composition, including literary and nonliterary rhetoric and both written and oral discourse
History of printing and publishing
University-level teaching of language, literature, and rhetoric and composition
Not covered are works exclusively on classical Greek or Latin literature, on religious texts such as the Bible or the Koran (unless as they relate to other literature or language topics within the scope of the bibliography), and on aesthetics, human behavior, communication, and information processes (unless they treat human language or literature).
Types of Materials Indexed
Materials indexed include
scholarly books, articles, journals, and collections of essays
dictionaries, catalogs, handbooks, bibliographies, indexes, and other reference works
conference papers and proceedings
critical editions and translations of literary works, when accompanied by a new critical or bibliographic apparatus or are based on a newly established authoritative text
dissertations available through stable repositories
scholarly Web sites
Materials not indexed include
fiction, poetry, and other works of creative writing
book reviews, with the exception of review articles that provide scholarly and thematic context and significant depth of analysis
letters to editors, obituary notices, and similar materials, unless they make a significant contribution to scholarship
individual entries in reference books
textbooks, syllabi, courseware, lesson plans, and how-to guides
master’s theses, guides that are essentially plot summaries, and other apprentice or simplified works
electronic journals that do not meet our current guidelines