Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access
How to Submit a Rule Change Proposal to CC:DA
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The Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA) is the
body within the American Library Association (ALA) that is charged with
initiating and developing proposals for the revision of the
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR). Within the United States, all
additions and changes to the cataloging code (except those originating
from the Library of Congress) must be channeled through this group.
Anyone can submit a rule revision proposal to CC:DA by following the
instructions detailed below. CC:DA welcomes input and suggestions for
code revision. At the same time, it should be noted that the process for
rule revision is a formal one that requires careful preparation and
patience upon the part of the petitioner. The latter is particularly
important because, although approved and endorsed by CC:DA, a proposal
must usually pass through a lengthy review, revision, and subsequent
review process before it is approved by the Joint Steering Committee for
Revision of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (JSC). It is not
uncommon for this process to take a year or more given that the JSC is
composed of representatives from the American Library Association, the Library of Congress,
the British Library, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the
Canadian Committee on Cataloguing, and the Australian Committee on
Cataloguing. All these members review and discuss rule revision
proposals with their own cataloging communities.
CC:DA is open to considering rule revision proposals that range from
small, isolated additions or changes to the text and/or examples (e.g.,
the Committee spent a great deal of time identifying and correcting
typographical errors that had crept into the 1993 rule revision packet)
to major changes of the code (e.g., addition of a new chapter or deletion
of a rule).
Whether minor or major rule revisions result, each proposal is carefully evaluated by the Committee and considered from several different angles. Although each area below might not be equally important for every proposal, the following list provides a comprehensive overview of the factors and questions that the Committee routinely considers in its evaluation process.
Preliminary Steps To Take in Submitting a Proposal
Given the complexity and time-consuming nature of the rule revision process, as well as the careful evaluation and close examination that each proposal will receive, it is advisable to undertake several preliminary steps before undertaking the preparation of a formal proposal:
Formal Elements of a Rule Revision Proposal
A copy of the rule revision proposal must be forwarded to the Chair of CC:DA (see instructions on Forwarding the Proposal below). If at all possible, the proposal should be sent in electronic form to facilitate distribution over the Committees electronic discussion list. This will speed up the process by allowing CC:DA to consider the proposal as soon as it is received. Proposals distributed to CC:DA are also posted on the CC:DA Web site <http://www.libraries.psu.edu/tas/jca/ccda/ccda.html>. (Note: if the proposal contains changes to a section or sections of the rules that feature foreign language diacritics, a paper copy should also be provided.)
Electronic copies may be either in a recent version of a popular word processor, such as Microsoft Word or Word Perfect or may be in simple ASCII text. For ASCII text versions, formatting should be indicated by SGML-like tagging, as indicated below.
The CC:DA Webmaster prepares documents for distribution to CC:DA and for posting on the CC:DA Web site. The Webmaster may be contacted for assistance in the mechanical and editorial details of preparing a proposal. The Webmaster may contact the proposer for corrections or clarifications; the proposer will have the opportunity to review the final version of the proposal.
The proposal should take the form of a dated memorandum addressed as shown below. Once received by the Chair of CC:DA, the proposal will be assigned a document number.
Note: On the Subject: line, please include the following types of information if applicable to the proposal: the rule number; captioned words associated with the rule; whether examples, footnotes or appendices are affected:
The proposal should include a background statement that provides the context in which the rule revision should be considered. A thorough explanation of the problem(s) in AACR that will be remedied by the revision, an historical overview of the steps, discussions, events, etc. that have led to its creation, and citations to any related documents are appropriate for inclusion in this section of the proposal. As the organizational needs of the proposal dictate, the Rationale and Assessment of impact discussed below may also be included here.
According to JSC policy, There will be one proposal per document. CC:DA interprets this to mean that all revisions in the proposal must be closely related, not that a separate proposal is required for each rule affected by the revision. It is therefore common for proposals to include revisions to more than one rule. Furthermore, these revisions often occur in different parts of AACR. To enhance the clarity and readability of the proposal, the following information is required for each instance of a proposed revision. If more than one revision is proposed, the order of presentation should mirror the text of the code.
Presentation of the rule with proposed changes included:
Rationale/Explanation for the proposed revisions:
Each proposal should contain a rationale or justification for the suggested revision,
including a statement of the problem presented by the current rule, and an estimate
of the impactof the proposed solution when appropriate.
The rationale may follow the set of presentations for each rule, appear immediately
after all the rules have been presented or be included in the
Background statement discussed above.
Finally, the proposal should include an assessment of the impact
resulting from implementation of the revision(s), including the need to
study and/or change other rules within AACR. This may be a separate
section of the proposal or be included
in the Background statement.
The rule revision proposal can be forwarded to CC:DA in one of two ways:
The names of current CC:DA members are listed in the Committees section in the ALA Handbook
(ALCTS/CCS/CC:DA) with full address information provided in the Handbooks
Index of Persons. If you are an ALA member, one free copy of the ALA Handbook
can be requested from ALA headquarters in Chicago.
The roster of current CC:DA members is also available on the CC:DA Web site.
While CC:DA will accept a rule revision proposal at any time, rule revision is a complicated and lengthy procedure, and the more complicated and longer the proposal, the more time will be required to consider it. For a proposal to be guaranteed to receive consideration at the next CC:DA meeting, the following minimal time should be allowed:
This appendix provides two examples of rule revision proposals that were submitted from different groups to CC:DA proposals that made their way through the CC:DA process to the JSC and were eventually adopted, one with minor changes, as part of AACR. Although the examples differ somewhat in their organization and content, each provides the information needed by the Committee to review and evaluate the merits of the proposal. Each example is presented twice to illustrate both options for submittal: (1) a Microsoft Word document and (2) appropriately coded, electronic ASCII text.
Example 2: CC:DA/MuLA/25.30D2/1
Revised by CC:DA: 2002 Jun 17
Revised per CCS Executive Committee: 2003 June 2