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Beginners' Bad Luck with EAD

As a former beginner myself, I recognize that the desire to produce EAD finding aids does not immediately result in their production. Among the members of CRRA, the more prosperous institutions can support computer systems that automatically generate EAD. But even these systems require an understanding of archival theory and how it might be maintained in a way congenial to machines. And other members of CRRA have the more difficult task of producing EAD without sophisticated equipment and IT support.

CRRA developed the EAD Template to help those who have no easy way to produce valid finding aids. While it tries to make EAD as easy as possible, beginners may still have bad luck with it. When I attended the Rare Book School EAD course at the University of Virginia in 1999, I had already produced hundreds of EAD finding aids. Daniel Pitti, the teacher of the course, offered helpful criticism and mentioned several mistaken ways of thinking that he had found among beginners. When CRRA members started using the EAD Template, I found one of these typical mistakes cropping up.

Archivists preserve filing systems that grow organically as routine activities generate records. The context of a document has evidential value; the whole filing system provides evidence about how an organization or individual conducted business, and therefore evidence of values, crises, attacks, defense mechanisms, unexpected events, daily life. Descriptions of such filing systems need to represent the organic form faithfully in all of its meaningful structure and peculiar quirkiness. Since filing systems generally have a hierarchical form, finding aids must also allow for components that contain other components that may contain other components -- boxes within boxes within boxes, or files within files within files.

Thanks to our familiarity with common filing systems on computers, we should have no trouble with this concept. Typically graphical displays of the contents of a hard drive show pictures of folders, and inside them other folders, and after a number of these eventually the individual computer files. One can generally also choose to view the same structure as an outline representing this structure in a slightly different way.



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Getting the Word Out: Whenever Possible Tell Scholars About the Trove That is The Catholic News Archive

 Masthead of Catholic Weekly “intended to contain” among other things “information of occurrences connected with the catholic [sic] religion in the United States, and various parts of Europe”

In the early 1840s reactionary agitators called Nativists whipped up Anti-Catholic/Anti-Immigrant fervor that resulted in armed conflict and the destruction of property in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After the first Nativist Riot May 3-10, 1844, a public meeting of Philadelphia’s Catholic citizens appointed a committee to prepare an address to answer the accusations of a Grand Jury which blamed Catholics for the conflagration. The American patriotism of Catholics, namely their dedication to the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to minority groups, was one of the major points of the address.

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A Snapshot of Catholic Digital Resources

In 2016-17, the Digital Access Committee and Collections were asked, “Is the Catholic Portal unique?”

The full goal fleshed out the question a little more: “Compare the resources and attributes (freely available, subject or general, functionality) of the Catholic Portal with those of other collaborative digital libraries, repositories and/or Portals.” Pat Lawton and I tackled this question. By the time we finished, we had 11 closed and open questions, that covered type of resource, scope, geographic range, age of items, collaboration, access, and rarity. (Pat and Sharon’s report is here; the spreadsheet of data is here.)

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CRRA Wins Catholic Communications Campaign Grant to Digitize Catholic News Service Newsfeeds

The Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA) has won a $49,764 Catholic Communications Campaign grant from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for Preservation and Online Access to Catholic History -- NCWC/CNS 1920- .  Funds will support the digitization and preservation of newsfeeds from the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC), currently known as  the Catholic News Service (CNS) newsfeeds (the Catholic equivalent of Reuters).

100,000 pages of the NCWC/CNS newsfeeds from 1920- (approximately 30 years) will be digitized and made freely available through the CRRA-developed Catholic News Archive , a digital collection of Catholic diocesan and national newspapers.  The newsfeeds will be digitized at the highest quality standards and the resulting digital images will be preserved in perpetuity.

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Limit to full text in VuFind

This posting outlines how a "limit to full text" functionality was implemented in the "Catholic Portal's" version of VuFind.

While there are many dimensions of the Catholic Portal, one of its primary components is a sort of union catalog of rare and infrequently held materials of a Catholic nature. This union catalog is comprised of metadata from MARC records, EAD files, and OAI-PMH data repositories. Some of the MARC records include URLs in 856$u fields. These URLs point to PDF files that have been processed with OCR. The Portal's indexer has been configured to harvest the PDF documents, when it comes across them. Once harvested the OCR is extracted from the PDF file, and the resulting text is added to the underlying Solr index. The values of the URLs are saved to the Solr index as well. Almost by definition, all of the OAI-PMH content indexed by Portal is full text; almost all of the OAI-PMH content includes pointers to images or PDF documents.

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CRRA Update Spring 2016

CRRA Update Spring 2016
(December, January, February)
Please see the PDF for the more visually rich version.

Feature Article: The Oliver Leonard Kapsner, O.S.B. Cataloging Bulletin: A Resource for Catalogers of Catholic Publications
From the Board
Committee Briefs




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Catholic Pamphlets and the Catholic Portal: An evolution in librarianship

This blog posting outlines, describes, and demonstrates how a set of Catholic pamphlets were digitized, indexed, and made accessible through the Catholic Portal. In the end it advocates an evolution in librarianship.cover page

A few years ago, a fledgling Catholic pamphlets digitization process was embarked upon. [1] In summary, a number of different library departments were brought together, a workflow was discussed, timelines were constructed, and in the end approximately one third of the collection was digitized. The MARC records pointing to the physical manifestations of the pamphlets were enhanced with URLs pointing to their digital surrogates and made accessible through the library catalog. [2] These records were also denoted as being destined for the Catholic Portal by adding a value of CRRA to a local note. Consequently, each of the Catholic Pamphlet records also made their way to the Portal. [3]

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The Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project

Kyle Roberts, Loyola University Chicago

The Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project (JLPP) was launched in March 2014 to create a visual archive of provenance marks from historic Jesuit college, seminary, and university library collections and to foster a participatory community interested in the history of these books.

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CRRA Update Winter 2016

CRRA Update Winter 2016
(December, January, February)
Please see the PDF for the more visually rich version.

Feature Article: Interview with Michael Skaggs
From the Board
Committee Briefs




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Interview with Michael Skaggs

Michael Skaggs is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Notre Dame. He studies religion in the American Midwest, and is particularly interested in how interfaith organizations addressed social problems.

What is your current area of research?

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OAI and VuFind: Notes to self in the form of a recipe

The primary purpose of this posting is to document some of my experiences with OAI and VuFind. Specifically it outlines a sort of "recipe" I use to import OAI content into the "Catholic Portal". The recipe includes a set of "ingredients", site-specific commands. Towards the end, I ruminate on the use of OAI and Dublin Core for the sharing of metadata.

Philadelphia by Eric Morgan

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CRRA Update Fall 2015

CRRA Update
Fall 2015
(September, October, November)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

Feature Article: Interview with Jim McCartin


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Interview with Jim McCartin, Fordham University

Jim McCartin, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, joins us for a discussion of his research and the role CRRA has played in shaping and abetting his scholarly work. His book, Prayers of the Faithful: The Shifting Spiritual Life of American Catholics, came out in 2010 and explores prayer in the lives of American Catholics from the 1860s to the 1980s. His current project is the book: American Catholics and Sex from the 1830s to the 1980s.

What is your current area of research?

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CRRA Update Summer 2015

CRRA Update
Summer 2015
(June, July, August)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:

CRRA Update Spring 2015

CRRA Update
Spring 2015
(March, April, May)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:


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CRRA Update Winter 2015

CRRA Update
Winter 2015
(December, January, February)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:


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CRRA Update Fall 2014

CRRA Update
Fall 2014
(October, November, December)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:


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CRRA Update Summer 2014

CRRA Update
Summer 2014
(July, August, September)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:


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CRRA Update Spring 2014

CRRA Update
Spring 2014
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:

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CRRA Update Winter 2014

CRRA Update
Winter 2014
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

SAVE THE DATE
CRRA All Member Annual Meeting at Marquette University on May 7-8, 2014, in Milwaukee
. Details are posted to the CRRA News and Events page.


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