Prior to the late 1970s, most composition teachers and researchers were able to keep up with scholarship in the field by subscribing to a few journals and buying a few books. Materials in these private libraries were lent to students and colleagues, and from time to time, individuals addressed special concerns (e.g. basic writing, assessment) by circulating mimeographed bibliographies on particular topics. Bibliographical work in composition studies began in the late 1970s, when Richard Larson began publishing annually in the May issue of College Composition and Communication a selected, annotated listing of important books and articles published during the previous year. This annual list helped identify and define significant scholarship in the field and included publications in linguistics and education as well as rhetoric and composition. By the early 1980s, the number of specialists in the field had grown significantly, and individuals could no longer keep track of the year's work in composition studies on their own. Increasingly, scholars in the field were calling for more comprehensive bibliographic tools.
Plans for developing such a bibliography began in the early 1980s, eventually leading to the publication of the Longman Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric. Erika Lindemann developed the bibliography's taxonomy (which was based on the ERIC Thesaurus of Descriptors), devised a method of recruiting and training over 100 contributing bibliographers who would submit the annual entries (a procedure based on MLA's use of field bibliographers), and designed mainframe computer programs to produce the bibliography. The first Longman volume finally appeared in 1987 and included 3853 entries for works published in 1984 and 1985. The second volume, published in 1988, annotated 2724 items that had appeared in 1986.
Many members of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), including CCCC Chairs David Bartholomae, Andrea Lunsford, and Don McQuade, recognized that composition teachers and researchers needed a permanent, comprehensive bibliographical resource to remain informed of the scholarship in a growing discipline. They acted decisively to give the bibliography project an institutional home. In Spring 1989, the CCCC Executive Committee authorized the establishment of the CCCC Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric, appointed Erika Lindemann as editor, and contracted with Southern Illinois University Press to produce and market the annual volumes. Using the same taxonomy and methods developed for the Longman volumes, Lindemann prepared four volumes of the CCCC Bibliography, which included work published annually from 1987 through 1990. In 1991 the CCCC Executive Committee appointed Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe co-editors of the bibliography project. Hawisher and Selfe made several improvements in the scope and methods of compiling the bibliography, edited four volumes that listed scholarship published from 1991 through 1994. Gail Stygall, appointed editor in 1994, edited three volumes, including citations for work appearing in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The 1995 volume was the last print volume published by Southern Illinois University Press. The data for 1996-1999 have been merged with the data for all previously published bibliographies, including the Longman volumes, and are now available online at http://ibiblio.org/cccc. Todd Taylor, appointed editor of the bibliography in 1998, collected the data for 1998 and 1999 and prepared the retrospective online bibliography citing sources published from 1984 to 1999.
On March 24, 1999, the CCCC Executive Committee acting on a report prepared by Lindemann and Taylor, in consultation with Phyllis Franklin and Terence Ford (editor of the MLA International Bibliography at the time), terminated the CCCC Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric and initiated a bibliography project in collaboration with MLA. Prior to the 2000 edition, the scope of The MLA International Bibliography specifically excluded material relating to pedagogy, which explains why the field of composition and rhetoric developed and maintained separate bibliographic resources until this time, most notably in the form of The CCCC Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric. Times have clearly changed, however, and the larger modern language profession now embraces teaching as important intellectual work. Phyllis Franklin, the Executive Director of the MLA from 1985 to 2002, recognized the importance of new professional attitudes toward teaching, which led her to pursue a grant from the Mellon Foundation to fund an expansion of the MLA International Bibliography to include research on teaching beginning with the 2000 edition. Franklin was successful, and the modern language profession now owes her a debt of gratitude for her powerful vision. Teachers, scholars, and researchers in the field of composition studies are also especially grateful to Franklin. Including research in rhetoric and composition in the MLA International Bibliography will greatly enhance the accessibility and influence of the field.
Gail Hawisher, Erika Lindemann, James Sosnoski, Jaqueline Jones Royster, and Todd Taylor served as an ad hoc committee to plan the new section of the MLA International Bibliography in consultation with MLA staff. They met and worked on the new section from the Summer 1999 to Spring 2000. Field bibliographers for the new section participated in a workshop at the 2001 CCCC Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado. Data in the new Composition and Rhetoric section first appeared in the 2000 edition of the MLA International Bibliography. The data from the 1984-1999 volumes of the CCCC Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric remain online at http://ibiblio.org/cccc.
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