Critical works on literature, language, and folklore are included. There is no restriction on the organization, format, or purpose of these works. Dictionaries, catalogs, handbooks, bibliographies, indexes, and other reference works, as well as working papers, conference papers, and proceedings, are included. (Summaries are excluded; individual articles from dictionaries and encyclopedias are excluded.) Literary works and translations are generally excluded unless they are accompanied by a new critical or bibliographical apparatus or they are based on a newly established authoritative text. Reviews of literary and scholarly works are not included. Letters to editors, obituary notices, and the like are excluded unless they make a significant contribution to literary, linguistic, or folklore scholarship. Unpublished doctoral dissertations are not included, but citations to Dissertations Abstracts International are listed. Textbooks, handbooks, anthologies for teaching, syllabi, and curriculum guides are included; courseware, lesson plans, and how-to guides are excluded. Electronic journals, books and bibliographies are included.
Gap Fill Policy
We work our way backwards, looking for most recent gaps first. We recently signed an agreement to add links to Project Muse titles. We have identified gaps in coverage for those journals and have begun to index them.
If a publisher sends us the retrospective issues, we will cover them. We added retro content for all of JSTOR's language and literature collection. Recently we added retro-indexing from our print 1926-1962 volumes. We did not look for gaps in coverage from that time frame.
10 times a year.
Since 1981, the MLA International Bibliography has used a contextual indexing and faceted taxonomic access system (CIFT). The classified sequence and the subject index both depend on subject analysis of cited documents by MLA staff members and contributors in terms of an ordered sequence of facets--fundamental categories of information relevant to the study of literature, linguistics, and folklore.
Keywords and Indexes
In indexing an item for the bibliography, the indexers use terms that describe its content. These descriptors, based on the document author's wording, are assigned to facets pertinent to that item, and these facets control its classification and provide subject access to it in the index. Several general principles govern the assigning of descriptors. Descriptors are usually specific terms; appropriate cross-references are provided to similar or related terms in the index. Descriptors define the explicit content: for example, authors are not identified as belonging to groups unless their group identification is treated within the indexed document, and methodological approaches are specified only when they are discussed or clearly applied. Finally, descriptors are assigned for an item if, and only if, users seeking information on the topic indicated by a descriptor would be likely to want to retrieve the item.
A thesaurus developed by our thesaurus staff is used to standardize the terms used in the bibliography. Terms come from the literature itself. To reflect the changing needs and interests of the scholarly community, the thesaurus undergoes constant revision. At present over 45,000 terms and 327,000 names are controlled.
Full Text Linking
We have added links to JSTOR full text (All language and literature journals have been indexed; Asian studies titles are presently being indexed if they relate to language and literature. We are completing a linking project for all articles from the other collections.) We recently signed an agreement with Project Muse to link to relevant language and literature articles in their collection. This work is in process.