The MLA Eighth Edition Handbook uses the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary to define plagiarism as "committing 'literary theft.' Plagiarism is presenting another person's ideas, information, expressions, or entire works as one's own. It is thus a kind of fraud: deceiving others to gain something of value. While plagiarism only sometimes has legal repercussions (e.g., when it involves copyright infringement--violating an author's exclusive legal right to publication), it is always a serious moral and ethical offense" (6).
MLA Eighth Edition states, "Today the Internet, with its many publications, databases, archives, and search engines, has accelerated the process of finding and retrieving sources-but at the same time it has complicated the researcher's assessment of their reliability" (11).
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When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. These are the general pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each Works Cited entry. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order:
Each element should be followed by the punctuation mark shown here. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication, and required punctuation such as journal editions in parentheses, and colons after issue numbers. In the current version, punctuation is simpler (just commas and periods separate the elements), and information about the source is kept to the basics.
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