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The Modern Language Association (MLA) produces a style book that dictates a particular documentation system used by many English and Language Arts programs to write research papers, theses, etc. 

             "MLA style represents a consensus among teachers, scholars, and librarians in the
               fields of language and literature on the conventions for documenting research, and
               those conventions will help you organize your research paper coherently.  By
               using MLA style, you will direct your readers to the sources you consulted in arriving
               arriving at your findings, and you will enable them to build on your work."

                                                           MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.