In citing sources, you should present publication information according to the MLA Handbook, available in the reference room and in the University book store. The MLA guidelines specify, among other things, that you should underline book titles, but you will find that when you cut and paste text from a word-processor into the text-areas in the fill-out-forms used to submit entries to the database in this course, any formatting that was present in the word-processor version of that text (boldface, underline, italics, etc.) disappears (though carriage-return/line-feeds will be retained, and will become paragraph breaks). That's because most word-processors use proprietary and idiosyncratic codes to achieve text formatting, and these codes cannot be transferred to different applications. The database entries can, however, store and present HTML markup, which is the standards-based, non-proprietary encoding that is used to produce web pages. Because the database entry forms make text-formatting difficult, it is not required, but the fact is that you can quickly learn to produce HTML markup as part of your entries, if you want them to look a little more finished and professional.
HTML uses open and close tags to delimit the text to which formatting commands should be applied: it is important when using these tags to remember to close the formatting command. When you type them out, these open and close tags look like this:
If you were to use this, for example, in italicizing a book title, you would type something like this:
Rendered on the screen by an HTML browser, that would come out looking like this:
Other simple and useful HTML tags:
One other thing worth noting about Web browsers and HTML pages: tabs and spaces are collapsed to single spaces--you can type in any number of tabs or spaces in an entry (in an effort to indent the beginning of a paragraph, for example) and you won't see any effect. Web browsers understand single spaces, since they have to separate the words you read, but they don't understand any higher-level use of space for formatting purposes, since those objectives are supposed to be accomplished with tags (like the blockquote tag, above, for example). For the purposes of these entries, you do not need to indent paragraphs--but a couple of hard returns at the end of each paragraph will produce vertical space to demarcate your paragraphs.
A complete list of HTML tags, and lots of other useful information about producing web pages, can be found at the Web Developer's Virtual Library: