Handling Normative References to Standards-Track Documents
RFC 4897

 
Document
Type RFC - Best Current Practice (June 2007; Errata)
Updates RFC 3967
Also known as BCP 97
Was draft-klensin-norm-ref (individual in gen area)
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
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Stream
WG state (None)
Consensus Unknown
Document shepherd No shepherd assigned
IESG
IESG state RFC 4897 (Best Current Practice)
Telechat date
Responsible AD Russ Housley
Send notices to klensin@jck.com, hartmans-ietf@mit.edu

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Network Working Group                                         J. Klensin
Request for Comments: 4897
BCP: 97                                                       S. Hartman
Updates: 3967                                                        MIT
Category: Best Current Practice                                June 2007

       Handling Normative References to Standards-Track Documents

Status of This Memo

   This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
   Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2007).

Abstract

   The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Request for Comments
   (RFC) Editor have a long-standing rule that a document at a given
   maturity level cannot be published until all of the documents that it
   references as normative are at that maturity level or higher.  This
   rule has sometimes resulted in very long publication delays for
   documents and some claims that it was a major obstruction to
   advancing documents in maturity level.  The IETF agreed on a way to
   bypass this rule with RFC 3967.  This document describes a simpler
   procedure for downward references to Standards-Track and Best Current
   Practice (BCP) documents, namely "note and move on".  The procedure
   in RFC 3967 still applies for downward references to other classes of
   documents.  In both cases, annotations should be added to such
   References.

Klensin & Hartman        Best Current Practice                  [Page 1]
RFC 4897                  Normative References                 June 2007

Table of Contents

1. Introduction ....................................................2
2. Terminology .....................................................3
3. Normative Reference Rule ........................................3
   3.1. Source Documents Not Yet Processed by the IESG .............3
   3.2. Documents Already in the RFC Editor Queue ..................4
4. Target Documents Not on the Standards Track .....................4
5. Target Documents that Can Be Referenced This Way ................4
6. Security Considerations .........................................5
7. Acknowledgements ................................................5
8. Normative References ............................................5

1.  Introduction

   The IETF and RFC Editor have a long-standing rule (see, e.g., RFC
   2026, Section 4.2.4 [RFC2026] and the extended discussion in RFC 3967
   [RFC3967]) that a document at a given maturity level cannot be
   published until all of the documents to which it makes a normative
   reference are at that maturity level or higher.  This rule has
   sometimes resulted in very long publication delays for documents and
   some claims that it was a major obstruction to advancing documents in
   maturity level.  Recognizing the problems that this rule sometimes
   caused, RFC 3967 established an exception procedure for normative
   downward references under some specific circumstances.  Perhaps
   because of its fairly stringent requirements, RFC 3967 has not proven
   adequate either to clear the backlog of documents awaiting upgraded
   documents or to prevent additional documents from joining that queue.

   This document replaces the long-standing rule for downward references
   to Standards-Track documents (including BCPs) that are already
   published.  For normative references to Standards-Track and BCP
   documents, that rule was to hold the newer, referencing, document
   until the referenced ones could be brought to the appropriate
   maturity level.  It is now possible, following procedures described
   below, to simply note the downward normative reference and move on.

   This document also updates RFC 3967.  When downward references from a
   source document are approved under the procedure specified in that
   specification, we recommend that the references in the approved
   (source) document be annotated in the same way as references approved
   under this rule.

Klensin & Hartman        Best Current Practice                  [Page 2]
RFC 4897                  Normative References                 June 2007

2.  Terminology

   A reference involves two documents, the one in which the reference is
   embedded and the document referenced.  Where needed for clarity,
   these documents are referred to as the "source document" and "target
   document", respectively.

   The term "Standards-Track document", as used in this specification,
   is assumed to include BCPs but not Informational or Experimental
   documents of any variety or origin.
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