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CRRA Update July/August 2013

CRRA Update
July/August 2013
please see the PDF for the more visually rich version 

Tyrone Cannon, Dean, University Libraries, University of San Francisco and Chair

Welcome to the new year. I enjoyed talking with so many of you at the All Member Meeting in Chicago and in our excellent discussion about goals for the year. I share your enthusiasm and am pleased to inform you that at the first Board meeting, we unanimously adopted the CRRA Strategic Plan: Goals for 2013-14.  The overarching priorities express the collective goals. These priorities encompass the goals of committees and the Board and support collaboration between and among these groups.  We look forward to working with the committees to achieve our goals.  The priorities are:

  • Catholic Newspapers
  • More outreach and member mentoring
  • Harvesting new content
  • Secure resources in support of program goals (an enabling goal)

Discussing priorities and goals was a perfect way to bring new and continuing Board members together. We welcomed five members.  Steve Connaghan, University Library, The Catholic University of America and Artemis G. Kirk, University Librarian, Georgetown University were reelected to their second three year term.  Michael LaCroix, Library Director, Creighton University; Lorraine H. Olley, D.Min.(cand.), Library Director, University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary and Scott Walter, Ph.D., University Librarian, DePaul University, were elected to a three year term. Darren G. Poley, Interim University Librarian and Director, Villanova University was elected to complete the term of Joe Lucia, former University Librarian, Villanova University.

Our grateful appreciation goes also to Villanova University and the University of Notre Dame for their activities that will upgrade the VuFind software behind the portal this year.  This project will put current VuFind architecture into place for continued smooth and effective functioning of the portal.

We are fortunate to have the leadership of our experienced and energetic committee chairs, all of whom are continuing this year.  The chairs are consulting with committee members about continuing membership and suggestions for new members.  As we confirm members for the coming year, we will update the committee rosters under CRRA Groups.

If you would like to participate, please let us know. You can send a note to the chair, to Pat or Jennifer.  This is a wonderful opportunity for you to engage with colleagues and contribute to our growing success.  Although there is great satisfaction in professional service, committee service isn’t just more work. We are rewarded with learning and networking opportunities that open new avenues at home.

New Subcommittee on Subject Guides
Evelyn Minick, Chair, Membership Committee

We have set up a new subcommittee to carry out our goal of developing a subject guide framework to embed the portal and newspapers program into library websites, library instruction and reference tools.  The Strategic Planning Task Force identified subject guides and pathfinders as one way to enhance the value of the portal beyond discovery, to serve as a reference tool.  A subcommittee roster is included on the Membership Committee page.  This new subcommittee will work closely with other CRRA committees. Please do send your suggestions to the chair or any member. We thank Felice Maciejewski both for agreeing to serve on the Membership Committee and to chair this new subcommittee, whose members are:

Felice Maciejewski, Subcommittee Chair, Dominican University
Tony Amodeo, Loyola Marymount University
Ted Bergfelt, Duquesne University
Lindsey Nawojski, Dominican University
Peggy Ridlen, Fontbonne University
Steven Szegedi, Dominican University
Ximena Valdivia, Barry University

Collection Spotlight.  “Catholic Church Extension Records”
by Kathy Young, University Archivist, Loyola University Chicago

Headquartered in Chicago, IL, the Catholic Church Extension Society (CCES) was founded in 1905 by Rev. Francis C. Kelley, later the Bishop of Oklahoma, to assist priests and parishes in poor regions throughout the United States by helping to build churches and parish buildings and providing financial support for clergy and to educate seminarians. Although the main goal of the society was to assist the ‘home missions’ in the southern and western United States, the Catholic Church Extension Society has also provided support for missions in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. One hundred and eight years later the Catholic Church Extension Society continues to assist the home missions in the United States.

The Catholic Church Extension Society records were gifted to Loyola University Chicago in 1967 by Vice President and General Secretary of CCES Rev. Joseph A. Cusack. The records span from 1905 to 1962 and include information on the history, administration, and finances of the Extension Society, chapel car logs, correspondence with dioceses, magazines published by the Extension Society, the American Board of Catholic Missions, Montezuma Seminary, the Russian Apostolate (St. Procopius Seminary), Rev. Francis C. Kelley, Rev. Richard St. John, and Bishop William O’Brien. In addition to the textual records, there is an extensive photograph collection with over 10,000 photographs of churches, people, and towns. Many of these records, especially the chapel car logs, dioceses correspondence, and photograph collection, provide an insight into the social and economic conditions in the southern and western states of the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

Projects to digitize selected parts of the records and photographs are underway in order to make the information in this collection more accessible. The initial focus of these projects is on the most used parts of the collection – the chapel car logs and the photograph collection. Logs and photographs from the chapel cars St. Anthony, St. Peter, and St. Paul are now available online at  with additional records relating to the work of the chapel cars, namely the correspondence of George C. Hennessey, to be added. Photographs from Alaska, Nebraska, Alabama, Arizona, Texas, and Illinois currently populate the Catholic Church Extension Photograph Collection available online at These digital collections are just the beginning of the effort to make the information contained in the CCES records more available.

Treasures from the CRRA: Women Religious, An online exhibit of images from 13 of our member institutions <>
“The digital exhibit, Treasures from the Catholic Research Resource Alliance: Women Religious, began with the idea of highlighting some of the rare and unique resources that are available as bibliographic citations and finding aids through the Catholic Portal. Women religious is one of the major collection themes of the Alliance, however, unlike other kinds of materials, many of these resources have not been fully documented or cataloged and it is often frustrating for researchers to locate them.”

Sincere congratulations to all who participated in this first CRRA-member collaborative exhibit and special thanks to the exhibit organizers and creators, Marta Deyrup and Tracy Jackson of Seton Hall University

Highlights from the CRRA Annual Meeting in Chicago – July, 2013
Over 40 CRRA members and guests participated in lively and informative discussions on priorities and goals in Chicago. Eighteen member institutions (half of CRRA membership) were represented.  Participants articulated important aspects regarding priorities and goals in the annual strategic plan.  Their comments reiterated key points for the coming year:

  • Good to emphasize digitization and full text accessibility
  • Keep in mind continuing importance of access to print resources via finding aids.
    • Get more records into the portal from new and continuing members
    • Need outreach to Catholic Studies programs in secular universities
    • Emphasize “the product:” focus on the portal, Catholic newspapers
    • Identify (under member responsibilities) best practices on creating access to the portal from member libraries, including in library instruction and reference, showcasing in class sessions

There were also extensive discussions about digitizing Catholic newspapers. Pat Lawton’s presentation for Monday’s Digitizing Catholic Newspapers and Tuesday’s All Member Meeting is accessible under News & Events Archives on our website.  The twelve slides summarize progress and next steps in moving the Catholic Newspaper Program (CNP) forward:

  • Creating the directory
  • Encouraging individual and collaborative projects to digitize North American Catholic newspapers, and
  • Exploring options for a content repository.

Lyrasis staff presented an overview of Lyrasis Digital Services, which cover all aspects of content creation and management.  Participants had questions and comments, including:

  • Money tops the list of discussion points.  How much is needed, where to get it, and can CRRA help vet the list of questions; Consortial sponsorship and partnerships are important for grant-seeking.
  • Nonprofit organizations that share the values of libraries and archives, understand preservation, support open access and capacity to assist with fundraising would be good candidates for partnerships.  Also, a solid track record and expertise in digitizing newspapers would be good.  Lyrasis is a potential partner. Are there other organizations to be considered?
  • Several individuals expressed interest and/or plans for digitizing their local Catholic newspaper and/or others from their library holding.
  • An ND graduate student, Michael Skaggs, spoke about his use of Indiana diocesan newspapers to explore how Vatican II impacted Indiana dioceses.
  • It will be good to identify strategies to gain support from all bishops for digitizing diocesan newspapers.  Local bishops hold the copyright on their diocesan newspapers. There are already some successes, e.g., Duquesne secured permission for digitizing.

Catholic Newspaper Program
Current activities are focused on choosing the directory platform, identifying and engaging partners for digitizing as well as for other assistance in moving forward.

  • The Newspaper Directory Group and the Newspaper Task Force are on track to send a recommendation for a directory platform to the Board this fall. Once the platform is selected, we will be developing strategies for soliciting and adding member holdings.
  • Second, we are talking with approximately a dozen individual institutions keen to work with us on digitizing diocesan newspapers about their desired projects, needs, and so on. Some of them, including Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary, Boston College, Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, and Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center, are CRRA members. Some who are not CRRA members want to participate and we will work to make this possible.   Understanding what individual partnering institutions bring to the table and where they need assistance will help us in defining elements in other partnerships.
  • We are meeting with Lyrasis staff members to develop a proposal –to include a project brief, work plan and goals - for a CRRA/Lyrasis Partnership which the Board will review in October. We want a partnership that will help us realize our goals, including financial and technical support for individual and collaborative digitizing projects, and enabling wide access and use of digital Catholic newspapers.

CRRA Member News

Invitation to Participate in the Catholic Archives in the Digital Age: A Conference for Reports, Archivists, and Scholars
You are invited to join in discussions at Catholic Archives in the Digital Age: A Conference for Reporters, Archivists, and Scholars, a first-ever conference for Catholic archivists on October 9, 2013 at the Catholic University of America. Panel discussions will provide members of the media a chance to see what materials are currently available in digital form that might assist them in their reporting and give members of the media a chance to tell archivists what kinds of material they would like to access.  Maria Mazzenga, CUA and Pat Lawton, CRRA are among the conference planners.

The primary on-site audience will be members of the media, diocesan and religious order archivists. However, this is of interest to academic archivists and digital library teams, with discussions of digitization best practices, challenges, funding, and a website, hosted by Catholic University’s Department of Library and Information Science, designed specifically for Catholic archivists. Everyone is welcome to attend at no charge in person or via live stream but you must register on the website.

We hope you will be able to join us for this important event, whether in person or via livestream.  You can join without leaving home.  For more information, please see the conference website:

Regis University Announces A Scholarly Online, Open Access Journal
Welcome to Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal (JHE), a scholarly online, open access journal. An initiative of Regis University, JHE is scholarly and peer reviewed, and focuses on the development, advancement and critique of higher education in the Jesuit tradition.  JHE hopes to support a new online community of scholars and scholarship in Jesuit higher education. JHE shares writings from a wide variety of individuals interested in Jesuit Higher Education and seeks submissions on a regular basis. Consult the web site for information on a publishing calendar or Deborah Halley, Regis University - School of Humanities & Social Sciences at [email protected].

Who is Visiting the CRRA Website and How Are They Using It? – A Report from Google Analytics for the Period of May-July 2013

Visitors and Page Views

  • In this period (May 1- July 31, 2013) there were 5,305 visitors to the site, up 13.46% from the same period in 2012.
  • Close to 70% of the visits (5,058) were from the US, followed by 10% (501) from Italy.
  • Most visitors arrived at the site through the use of a search engine (74.1%).
  • Peak visits for this period occurred on Monday, July 15, 2013, totaling 105.
  • In this period, visits increased (or peaked) on Mondays and typically peaked on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, declining toward the end of the week.
  • Visitors viewed 16,302 pages vs. 11,517 in 2012, for a 41.55% increase in traffic.
  • The number of pages per visit increased as well by 24.76% with an average of 3.07 pages viewed per visit in 2013 and 2.46 pages viewed in 2012.
  • In short, the number of visitors to our site has increased and they are viewing more pages on average per visit than in 2012.
  • Pages Viewed
    The majority of pages viewed included the home page, followed by the Catholic Portal, About CRRA, Links & Resources, then Groups and News & Events, followed by Catholic newspapers online.

What visitors do while visiting: searching the portal


  • Nearly 1/4 (24.82%) of all visitors searched the portal while visiting the site.
  • The top three unique searches were: “Book of Genesis” (37 searches, 1.89% of total), followed by “Parish histories” (19, .97%) and “Canon law” (13, .66%).
  • Most searches for this period were General searches, followed by Subject Searches:
    • General searches = 1,843
    • Subject searches = 1,229
    • Title searches = 117
    • Author searches = 38
    • Call number searches = 36
    • ISBN searches = 16
    • Tag searches = 0
  • Compared to 2012 for this same period, significantly more visitors searched the portal. This may be attributable to the more prominent placement of the search box for the Catholic portal in the website redesign.

If you have other stats you’d been interested in seeing in our updates, please send a note to Pat.  This is just a sampling of what stats are available via google analytics.

 Position Announcement: Technical Services Coordinator, DePaul University, Chicago, IL

The Technical Services Coordinator will report to the Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Discovery Services. The Technical Services Coordinator will provide broad oversight and leadership for the technical infrastructure, processes, and metadata that facilitate discovery of library collections. This position will collaborate with library staff responsible for information technology and collection development/management to make research resources accessible in all formats to the academic community and beyond. This position will also contribute to library involvement in consortial projects and programs such as CARLI, the Center for Research Libraries, the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, and the Chicago Collections Consortium. Please see the full announcement at

Position Announcement:  Marketing & Electronic Communications Librarian, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

Gumberg Library seeks an experienced, collaborative, and creative librarian to promote our collections, services and programs strategically through a variety of media. This new, full-time non-tenure track faculty position is available January 1, 2014. Candidates must meet the criteria for library faculty rank at or above the level of Librarian II, with at least three years of professional experience.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to carefully review the full job description at

Candidates must hold an ALA-accredited Master’s degree.

Mark your calendars

2014 Annual Catholic Library Association Convention. Pittsburgh, PA
April 22-24, 2014

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members with an update of CRRA activities.  Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email [email protected] with your questions, comments, or news to share.

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