SEC filings in MLA format
September 15, 2009 2:07 PM   Subscribe

AskMe librarians and other interested parties: how would one, in proper MLA format (6th edition), format a citation for a 10-K form or other SEC filing for a company?

I'm unable to get my hands on a copy of the handbook (though I don't remember seeing it specifically in there anyway), and none of the online tools that I can find seem to have that type of source listed.
posted by activitystory to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Before you start, there's now a seventh edition. See here for the most recent guidelines.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:35 PM on September 15, 2009

Response by poster: Strangely, I actually need the 6th edition format for this (though I doubt it differs in surprising ways from the 7th ed version). Owl's a great resource, but it lacks anything more specific than "a legal document".
posted by activitystory at 2:42 PM on September 15, 2009

Best answer: I just paged through a 6th edition MLA Handbook. There were recommendations for "legal sources" and "government publications," but I didn't see any guidelines for the kind of filings you're talking about. The Handbook does refer users to The Blue Book for any legal citations beyond a few very basic examples of statutes and court cases. So I think the resolution is that there is no "proper MLA format" for citing SEC filings (which don't tend to come up very frequently in the field of modern languages, I would imagine), but Blue Book citations should be acceptable in a paper that's otherwise done in MLA style.
posted by Orinda at 3:52 PM on September 15, 2009

Have you tried Easybib? It's the 7th edition, but It does have more specific choices that might be helpful.
posted by caroljean63 at 6:13 PM on September 15, 2009

Bluebook it.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:47 PM on September 15, 2009

Best answer: I would follow the lead of Harvard Business School and APA style and create your own citation template according to the standard formats of MLA style.

As the HBS citation guide states, "If you cannot find an example of the type of source material you want to cite, and if you have exhausted other resources..., then just cite all of the details that would help a reader find the source easily...When you are citing unusual source materials, don’t worry about following a particular format; instead, just list all of the details that would help readers locate the information quickly. It is always better to provide readers with too much rather than too little source information." As Orinda says, SEC filings probably don't come up that often in MLA-formatted papers. Based on HBS guide, I'd say you're perfectly free to form your own citation template as long as you follow standard MLA standards (authors go first, titles of major works or publications get underlined, minor works in quotes, 1 Jan. 2009 format for dates, etc...) and crib from other established style guides (e.g. APA or Chicago) as appropriate.

Also, this example of an MLA citation for a 10-K ought to be of use: Mergent Online (about half way down the list).
posted by zachlipton at 8:51 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Way to go zachlipton! I completely agree with everything you said and was just about to post the very links you picked myself! Great minds think alike I suppose. :)

Also Easybib DOES have the 6th edition on the site. You just have to click the box for it. Although it only offers a few government OR report choices, you can still get an idea.

Still, I'd go with the Mergent Online. Don't do a text search for 10-K though. Look for Report or SEC. There is no 10-K at all on the page, but it's implied.

Good luck!
posted by magnoliasouth at 1:38 AM on September 16, 2009

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