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Catholic Newspapers Committee & Digitizing Partners Forum

Committee Charge and Forum Purpose

Darren Poley Darren G. Poley, Chair

The Catholic Newspapers Committee is charged with establishing a program that will identify, locate, document, preserve and digitize North American Catholic newspapers, working systematically and collaboratively with CRRA members, digitizing partners, scholars, and other associations. The Digitizing Partners Forum provides critical input and support concerning the active digitization of papers of interest.


For a list of current Catholic Newspapers  Committee members, click here.
For a list of current Digitizing Partners Forum Committee members, click here.


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2020/21 Goals

  • Increase traffic to Catholic News Archive.
    • Grow the number of issues, titles and digitizing project partnerships.
    • Build awareness of CNA as the go-to-place for online full-text Catholic newspapers within organizations and institutions outside the CRRA circle.
    • Create promotional material (digital ad/button/banner, newsletter articles) for local use in showcasing the archive (e.g. could be shared with libraries and posted to their intranet, added to LibGuides, other subject guides, etc.).

2019/20 Accomplishments

  • Reviewed “Three Year Strategic Plan Goals & Objectives: 2019/20 – 2021/22” document (Approved by the Board: June 26, 2019), particularly Goal 1: Enhance and improve our products and services by ensuring member and scholar usability.
  • Revised and updated “Catholic Newspapers Program” section of the CRRA website in response to Objective 3: Revamp website to meet changing landscape of stakeholders, including differentiating Catholic Newspaper Directory from full-text Catholic News Archive (strategic action: 1.2.3).
  • Identified strategic priorities for 2019/20, and measures of success, focusing primarily on Objective 2: Increase traffic to Catholic News Archive:
    • 1.2.1) Increase number of issues, titles and digitizing project partnerships
      • Measure of success: Cultivate partnerships and grow content.
      • Outcome: Supported the pilot project on developing partnerships between CRRA and individual digitizing partners to develop and submit digitization grant proposals. Reached a new milestone of half a million pages.
    • 1.2.6) Lobby for inclusion of CNA in library discovery services; Ideally at vendor level
      • Measure of success: The inclusion of the CNA in EBSCO, and the number of libraries accessing the CNA from within EBSCO.
      • Outcome: Working with the EBSCO, ProQuest and OCLC technical contacts on sending sample CNA metadata records. Once the process is established, all metadata records will be loaded and available in the vendors’ discovery services. No timetable yet on availability.
    • 1.2.7) Lobby for inclusion in subject guides
      • Measure of success: Poll membership on mention of, link to CNA as resource in their local subject guides, and if so, subject area of the subject guide. Set a target of use by 25% of membership.
      • Outcome: Decided to hold on lobbying until after creation of promotional material and teaching module.
    • 1.2.12) Creation of promotional material (digital ad/button/banner, newsletter articles) for local use in showcasing the archive (e.g., could be shared with libraries and posted to their intranet, added to LibGuides, other subject guides, etc.)
      • Measure of success: Number of materials created. Impact to be assessed the following year.
      • Outcome:
        • Provided feedback on the positioning platform developed from the spring 2019 focus group interviews with non-member archivists and librarians at Catholic academic libraries and diocesan archives.
        • Promotion of the Catholic News Archive by individual committee members and staff
          • CRRA Corner: Fully Searchable, Open Digital Repository at Your Fingertips, by Josh Dinsman and Darren Poley. Published in the Catholic Library World, v. 90, no. 1, September 2019, p. 12.
          • Faith, Scholarship, and Catholic News, by Maria M. Mazzenga and Jennifer A. Younger. ACCU Update Newsletter, Fall 2019, pp.11-12.
          • Getting the Word Out: Whenever Possible Tell Scholars About the Trove That is The Catholic News Archive, by Darren Poley. CRRA Blog, August 8, 2019.
          • Jennifer Younger distributed fliers and talked with individuals at the American Catholic Historical Association Annual Meeting, January 2020.
          • Darren Poley, Villanova, presented “Preserving Access to Catholic Newspapers” at the Catholic Library Association Virtual Annual Conference, October 2019.  A high school librarian in the audience said she would check out the CNA for use in her school.
          • Katherine Nuss, USCCB, promoted the Catholic News Archive as a source at a Holocaust Museum, DC event “Reconsidering the Catholic Church and Holocaust, Dec. 2019” and at a program in Washington DC on 100 years of Religion in Mexico (1920-2020).
    • 1.2.13) Explore developing a teaching guide for the Catholic News Archive
      • Measure of success: Getting a teaching guide up and live on the website.
      • Outcome: Set up a template for a teaching guide and learning modules.  Advised a graduate student on design and completion of a teaching guide to the Catholic Worker newspaper now available in CRRA guides online.

Past Projects

The Catholic Newspapers Committee often carries out its work through subcommittees and working groups. Past groups provided direction and strategies to guide the emerging Catholic Newspapers Program.

  • The Digitization Agreement Group advised on the scope and content of what legal agreements would be required for obtaining permissions from rights owners for making digitized newspapers available. 
  • The Digitization Specifications Group developed digitization specifications based on national standards and tailored for the CRRA’s Catholic Newspapers Program for use by digitizing partners and CRRA members.
  • In 2013, the Newspaper Directory Group identified, explored and recommended software and hardware solutions for the CRRA Newspaper Directory, which resulted in the submission of metadata for selected Catholic papers to the ICON Database hosted by the Center for Research Libraries, Chicago, IL. 
  • In 2013-14, the Repository Group identified the purposes and priorities for a CRRA repository, and recommended strategies, options, and cost estimates for repository options for newspapers repository, evaluated options, developed Catholic newspapers in digital form. The result was the adoption of the Veridian platform.