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CRRA Virtual Annual Meeting 

Member Engagement 
Thursday, May 5, 2022

2:00-3:00pm ET | 1:00-2:00pm CT | 12:00-1:00 MT | 11:00am-12:00pm PT



1.Welcome & Housekeeping – Paul Bracke, CRRA Board Chair (3 minutes)
  • Kevin Cawley - Digital Access Committee Chair, University of Notre Dame
  • Stephanie Shreffler- Collections Committee Chair, University of Dayton
  • Sharon McCaslin - Membership Chair, Fontbonne University
  • Daren Poley - Newspapers Committee Chair, Villanova University
  • Paul Bracke, Board of Directors, Chair, Gonzaga University 
  • Jennifer Younger, Behind the Scenes, Executive Director
3.Discussion with Presenters – moderated by Jennifer Younger (20 minutes)
4.CRRA Volunteer Recognition – Paul Bracke (20 minutes)

Volunteer Recognition 

This year’s distinguished volunteers join a growing number of individuals recognized in past years, all of whom have contributed in various ways to the development and success of CRRA resources, which include the Catholic Portal, the Catholic News Archive and CRRA Subject Guides.

Today we recognize Diane Maher, University of San Diego, and Stephanie Shreffler, University of Dayton, for their steadfast leadership of the Collections Committee.  According to our records, Diane was present at the first meeting in 2006 (perhaps by phone because Diane remembers more distinctly the 2008 Boston meeting), and then, in 2012, Diane accepted Pat Lawton’s invitation to become chair.  Stephanie joined the Committee in September 2014. Also at Pat Lawton’s invitation, she became chair in August 2016.  Together their thoughtful and energetic leadership led to a decade of accomplishments.  

Their leadership focused attention on what the committee could do to understand, grow, and promote the curated collection of rare and unique Catholic materials brought together the Catholic Portal. During the pandemic, we have of necessity become more skilled in working virtually with colleagues, but a decade ago, it wasn’t that usual to hold all meetings by phone. Yet, Diane and Stephanie successfully set the stage for effective committee work. As chairs,

  • They excelled in seeing important questions and developing committee strategies for finding answers, for example, to create awareness through the Links and Resources page on CRRA’s website of other Catholic groups and resources such as the Catholic Open Access Religion Journals and #HiddenCatholicCollections mentioned earlier by Stephanie.
  • They were open to considering all ideas and points of view from committee members and demonstrated the truth of the statement we all know – that “there are no dumb ideas or questions,” and
  • made everyone feel comfortable that they had something to contribute.
  • The 2016 revision of the Collection Policy Statement, which guides members in selecting materials for the Portal, as well as their work to expand the scope of the Portal by allowing non-members to add metadata records for their archival collections, is a testament to their ability to develop an effective and productive committee.  

They also saw how their work fit with others in CRRA. Over the years, they led the committee in working

  • with the Digital Access Committee, for example, in developing a tool for evaluating the uniqueness of materials in the Portal and harvesting metadata from OAI-compliant repositories,
  • with the Liaisons on identifying content for the Portal,
  • with members through lightning talks featuring their collections at annual meetings, and
  • fostering the development of CRRA subject guides through an ad hoc subcommittee, which has now been incorporated into the Collections Committee.   Diane and Stephanie were strong advocates not only for building the Portal but also for developing subject guides that provided topical pathways for finding materials in the Portal. 

In 2015/16, Diane responded to a call for essays from the Atla journal Theological Librarianship. Advised by the committee members that the Atla Roman Catholic Denomination Group was aware of the Portal as a gateway to rare and unique material, Diane invited colleagues to describe a specific collection at their institution and wrote the introduction.  This article still stands as an authoritative description of the Portal as a gateway and virtual library, and its value as a research tool. The article - Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: The Shared Wealth of Scholarly Resources in the Catholic Portal  was published October 2016 (v9,n2). 

Stephanie and her University of Dayton colleague, Kayla Harris, created two collections documenting Catholic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In December 2020, they presented the webinar “Curating the Catholic Web Archives About the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Their clear and easy to follow presenting style introduced attendees to web-archiving and walked participants through the criteria used to make selections from the vast amount of Web content available, and described how the collections support the missions of the library and the university as a whole.  Over 110 individuals from a broad range of CRRA members as well as from other academic, religious, and diocesan archives.  The recording is available from our website. Users can search the two collections - The COVID-19 Pandemic and the U.S. Church collection and The Marian Library Web Clippings collection – on the University of Dayton website.

Today we also recognize Daniela Rovida, Rare Books Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, University of Notre Dame, for her proactive project to expand discovery avenues worldwide for Catholic e-newspapers in the Catholic News Archive. Since joining the Digital Access Committee in fall 2020, Daniela has focused her energy in two directions. First, she said, I want to learn about how the Portal is created and managed. Second, I want to use my skills in cataloging and metadata to the benefit of CRRA. She decided to create new MARC records, or in one case, update the existing MARC record, for the e-newspapers in the Catholic Newspapers. After she added the links to that paper in the Catholic News Archive and completed the cataloging, she uploaded the records to the Catholic Portal and even more importantly, to OCLC’s World Cat. She wasn’t content to stop there. She went on to create the globally accessible Catholic News Archive Collection in OCLC Collection Manager. Not only CRRA members but also all libraries around the world can add their holdings symbol to this collection of e-newspaper records. In this way, libraries can add these records to their local discovery systems for direct access to the e-newspapers in the Catholic News Archive. Her work has resulted in a discovery channel which will be amplified more than a hundred-fold as libraries download to their catalogs and discovery systems.

Please click below to view the recording of this meeting.