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Bibliography Thesaurus Support

The MLA International Bibliography is an essential tool for research in all aspects of modern languages and literature. Available as a searchable online database of more than 2.7 million records, the MLA Bibliography is used by academics and teachers around the world to find and share their work. Students at all levels rely on the bibliography to lead them to the journals, books, Web sites, and other publications they need to succeed in their research projects.

The MLA Bibliography is compiled by a staff of subject experts at the MLA office of bibliographic information services and by more than one hundred volunteer specialists, our field bibliographers. Updated frequently throughout the year, the MLA Bibliography indexes more than 70,000 new items annually, enabling researchers to find citations for the latest scholarship as well as publications dating back to the 1880s.

View a time line of the MLA International Bibliography.


The MLA Bibliography contains detailed bibliographic information on scholarly publications from around the world and across a broad range of topics, including

  • literature from any country and in any language

  • literary theory and criticism

  • dramatic arts (film, radio, television, theater)

  • folklore

  • linguistics

  • college-level teaching of language, literature, and rhetoric and composition

  • history of printing and publishing

For more information on the types and subjects of materials covered in the bibliography, visit our Content page.

We also provide a list of essay collections indexed in the MLA International Bibliography since 2008.

MLA Directory of Periodicals

Included with the MLA Bibliography is the MLA Directory of Periodicals, which provides information on over six thousand journals and book series that fall within the scope of the bibliography.

MLA Thesaurus

In analyzing an item for the bibliography, the indexers use a controlled vocabulary of names and terms that describe its content. These names and terms are organized in the MLA Thesaurus, which is included with subscriptions to the MLA International Bibliography. The thesaurus is continually updated along with the bibliography and, at present, contains over 68,000 terms and 520,000 names. 

Using the MLA International Bibliography

Visit Using the MLA International Bibliography to learn

  • where to find the bibliography

  • how to search the bibliography

  • how to access full-text documents

  • how to link your citations in the bibliography with your ORCID identifier

For further information on the MLA International Bibliography and how to use it, see Frequently Asked Questions and Tutorial Videos. 


The bibliographyis available online through subscribing academic, school, and public libraries. Subscriptionsto the bibliographyinclude the MLA Thesaurus and MLA Directory of Periodicals. Find out how your university, library, or other institution can subscribe to the MLA International Bibliography.

Field Bibliographers

The MLA International Bibliographyis compiled by MLA staff members with the assistance of more than one hundred volunteer specialists called field bibliographers. Bibliographers may also apply for an MLA Bibliography Fellowship.

The MLA International Bibliography and ORCID

The MLA International Bibliography has partnered with ORCID, a not-for-profit organization that provides researchers with unique digital identifiers to distinguish themselves from others with similar names.

Go to either ORCID or BibLink to register for an ORCID ID and to update your ORCID profile with your publications that are indexed in the MLA International Bibliography.

Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography is the leading annual bibliography of books and articles on modern languages and literatures, linguistics, folklore, and other related topics. Currently a collection of 2.5 million citations drawn from almost 5,000 journals and other key global sources, MLA adds new records for 65,000 books and articles each year. Coverage includes literature from all over the world - Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America.

Linguistics and language topics covered in the MLA International Bibliography include history and theory of linguistics, comparative linguistics, semantics, stylistics, syntax, and translation. Other subjects that are well represented include literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts (film, radio, television, theater), teaching of language and literature, rhetoric and composition, and the history of printing and publishing.

As delivered through the ProQuest platform, MLA International Bibliography offers OpenURL outbound linking to ensure direct access from citations to full-text articles in other OpenURL compliant databases.  Other key features of the MLA International Bibliography include:

  • Searching of all MLA index fields through 29 fields and limiters
  • Easy-to-browse MLA thesaurus and descriptors for specialist indexed fields
  • Ability to save searches, access search history, and create a marked list
  • Fully searchable directory of periodicals
  • Durable URLs for each record in OpenURL format
  • My Archive feature, allowing users to create their own research area with records saved and annotated for future use
  • Citation software support, allowing the export of citations for use with bibliographic software packages
  • Cross-Search with Literature Online for customers of both
  • OpenURL and Z39.50 compliancy
  • Nine updates per year

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