CCCC 2001 in Review: D.22 The CCCC Connection: Teaching Comes to the MLA International Bibliography

Cynthia Selfe and Gail Hawisher: Chairs
Erika Lindemann presented "'Our Little Systems Have Their Day': Early Bibliographic Work in Composition Studies."
Todd Taylor presented "Present Tense: Lessons from the CCCC Bibliography Online 1984-1999."
Phyllis Franklin presented "Redefining the Scope of a Reference Work."

As they provided a historical review of bibliographic efforts that recently yielded a combined MLA/CCCC bibliography, the presenters hinted at the untold story of the politics underlying this collaboration. Despite the undercurrents, all who participated in the development of the unified project deserve credit for serving the needs of scholars and teachers of English and composition studies. As Cindy Selfe observed at the end of the session, a scholarly bibliography serves not just to trace a profession retrospectively but also to anticipate the future needs of its intellectual community.

Erika Lindemann reviewed early bibliographic contributions by Gary Tate and Richard Larson, as well as the Longman/CCCC Bibliographies edited by herself, Gail Hawisher, Cindy Selfe, and Gail Stygall, with attention to the increasingly rapid taxonomic evolution of composition/rhetoric. Lindemann also stressed the volunteer nature of this work; scholars who participated as bibliographers have done so out of a personal commitment to the discipline and the profession.

Todd Taylor, editor of the online CCCC bibliography, reported on what he has learned while moving the material from print to an online format. Among his insights were:

  1. The ethos in the field is humane and generous, which fosters the strong development and sharing of information.
  2. As one works toward accuracy, one recognizes that "citation is the mortar that holds together research in any field" by enabling professional relationships.
  3. New forms and media generate new ways of seeing (e.g., searchability) and blurred boundaries (e.g., taxonomic categories).
  4. The database as a genre deserves more consideration within our field.
  5. Volunteer bibliographers have contributed much, yet professional bibliographers, such as those on the MLA's staff, are needed to maintain and improve the quality of the data.

[Taylor also administered a deadly bibliographic quiz, with prizes to those with top scores. I scored a scabby three out of five. (Blush!)]

Phyllis Franklin opened her talk with the observation that the incorporation of CCCC bibliographic material certainly doesn't seem like a big deal at the moment. But it was. Without detailing the intricate politics that she, Lindemann, and others negotiated over many years, Franklin sketched the history of the MLA's bibliographic efforts, which date from 1921. As in the case with the composition/rhetoric bibliography, the scope of the bibliography-particularly its international range-has been both a fascinating and a vexing problem for compilers as well as users. The story ends cordially as the MLA International Bibliography has now been expanded to include the CCCC Bibliography from 1984-1999. Additional materials will now be routinely compiled as a part of the larger MLA project. The CCCC section of the database can be accessed at: http://www.ibiblio.org/cccc/ [CR]

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