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CRRA Update October 2009

Following is the update of CRRA activities and news during the month of October, 2009. This update includes:

-News about CRRA members
-An update on the focus groups at member institutions
- Notes from the Digital Access Committee meeting
- Future happenings
- Suggested readings

I would like to include more news items by and about members in future updates, so if you have news items to share, please pass them on.

Happy reading!

Pat Lawton
CRRA Digital Project Librarian
[email protected]

Member News

CRRA welcomes Loyola University Chicago and St. Catherine University!
The CRRA Board of Directors welcomed Loyola University Chicago and St. Catherine University as the newest members and participants in the CRRA. Bob Seal, Dean of Libraries, Loyola and Carol P. Johnson, Director of Libraries, Media Services, and Archives at St. Catherine accepted with pleasure the invitation to join the CRRA this year (2009/10).

Carol Johnson has been actively involved with the CRRA through her service on the Collections Committee and in partnering with us in authoring the CLIR grant proposal. Deborah Kloiber, Curator of the Ade Bethune Collection, played a significant role in the planning and drafting of the CLIR grant and has expressed her continued interest in CRRA activities. St. Kate's houses a number of important print and digital collections. One highlight is their collection of the papers and art works of the liturgical artist, Ade Bethune. For more about St. Kate's library and collections, see
Bob Seal, Director of Loyola University Libraries, graciously hosted our July meeting. We enjoyed glorious Lake Michigan views and a tour of the newly completed Klarchek Information Commons. Kathy Young, University Archivist and Curator of Rare Books, participated in our July meeting and shared news of her work with a Chicago-based collaboration among libraries, universities, and archives, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC). Loyola has a number of resources of interest to the CRRA, including the Jesuitica collection and the Women & Leadership Archives (WLA). Many of the WLA collections relate to Catholic women leaders; it will be a great resource for the CRRA. Dr. Beth Myers, Loyola's Director for Women & Leadership Archives, will also participate in CRRA activities. For more about the library and collections at Loyola see

Ed Starkey Announces Retirement
CRRA Board Member, Ed Starkey, University Librarian of the University of San Diego, announced that he will be retiring the end of December, 2009. Ed provided the inspiration, encouragement and knowledge that was so essential to the founding of the CRRA. Ed will be sorely missed!

ARL/CNI Forum on Special Collections in Washington DC
Bob O’Neill (Boston), Jennifer Younger (Notre Dame), John Buchtel (Georgetown), and Pat Lawton attended the ARL/CNI Forum “An Age of Discovery: Distinctive Collections in the Digital Age” in Washington, DC. The forum included a wide array of speakers, including such notables as G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Don Waters, Program Officer for Scholarly Communication, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus, President of the International Council on Archives, and Strategic Advisor, University of Waterloo. Two themes dominated the forum: special collection are for use, and “[The] Online [Environment] enables the past to be put back together once again” (Ian Wilson). For more on the forum, see the Proceedings page with selected presentations.


Focus Groups to be Held at Member Institutions in November and December
Member institutions including Georgetown, Catholic, Villanova, Marquette and Seton Hall University are preparing for focus groups to be held in November/December. From this data, aggregate summaries of findings will be created and shared with all institutions. Focus group data will provide a systematic overview from potential portal users and may serve as a guide for future portal directions. Thank you to all who are gathering data! We look forward to your findings.

If you have yet to begin plans for focus groups at your institution, it’s not too late! To begin the process, call Pat Lawton and/or consult the documents from the focus groups held at Notre Dame. Documents include steps in planning, sample email announcements for focus group participants, key questions, and moderator notes. All documents are posted to the Admin area of the CRRA website.

Digital Access Committee (DAC) Meeting
The Digital Access Committee (DAC), chaired by Tom Leonhardt, met on October 12. Members identified the following as important next steps: create a data input form enabling members with no metadata records for particular collections to easily submit collection-level descriptions to the portal; identify existing common errors in the portal and gather suggestions for further improvements.

Meeting minutes are posted to the Portal admin area.

Suggested Reading
Two reports of possible interest to CRRA members were released this month.

SPARC Report on Income Models for Open Access
SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) examines the issue of sustainability for current and prospective open-access publishers in “Income models for Open Access: An overview of current practice,” by Raym Crow ( Although the report examines online journals in particular, by way of extrapolation, it is useful in thinking about models of sustainability for the portal. Read with an eye toward the CRRA, it presents a host of possible revenue streams for the portal, including sponsors, advertisers, and value-added services.

JISC Final Report on: “Digitisation of Special Collections: mapping, assessment, prioritization”
This report may be useful in planning the process to identify collections of interest and prioritize the need for digitization. The methodologies look rather robust and the study provides a useful framework for identifying variables of interest to CRRA such as Curatorial environment, Age of collections, and Subject area. Also note that they surveyed intermediaries (librarians, archivists, etc.) as well as end users.

Interesting results include:
• Articulation of a method of user-driven prioritization
• Identification and articulation of the need to have collections accessible in one place (a comprehensive collection description and finding utility to support resource discovery)
• Recommendation that a “standard approach to collection description be adopted where the relationships between a collection and its ‘super-collections’ and ‘sub-collections’ are clearly presented”
• Finding that high quality metadata is essential for discovery

Looking ahead …
Eric Lease Morgan will be in Chicago November 14-16 for the Digital Humanities and Computer Science Conference.

Sister Jean Bostley of the Catholic Library Association and Malachy McCarthy of the Claretian Missionaries Archives, USA, have invited Eric and Pat to participate in a panel discussion at ALA in June 2010. The session is entitled Planning, Building, and Using Religious Archive Digital Sites: The USC Internet Mission Photography Archive and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance. Date and time to be announced.

Please send your news items for future CRRA Updates to Pat Lawton at [email protected].

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all!

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