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CRRA Update November 2009

Following is the CRRA Update for November, 2009.  This update includes:

-    CRRA member news

-    Focus groups report

-    Progress report on our strategic plan

-    The CRRA Collection Policy Statement

-    News about the CLIR grant award

-    Upcoming events

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.

Pat Lawton
Digital Project Librarian
[email protected]

Focus Groups at Member Institutions

One of the goals from our annual meeting in July 2009 was to hold focus groups at all member institutions, to gather user feedback concerning the content of the portal.  In September, Notre Dame hosted four focus groups and documented their processes, providing a model for other institutions. As of November 30, Marquette University Libraries and Seton Hall University Libraries have completed their focus groups. With uniformity in approach and questions, we can realize a sizable dataset that promises to yield rich data from future portal users coast to coast.   Thank you to all who are in the planning stages or have completed their focus group interviews!

Once all member institutions' focus group data is reported, data across institutions will be analyzed, summarized, and disseminated. The cross-institutional data gathered from the focus groups will serve to build a portal that aligns with users' wants and needs.

Ed Starkey
CRRA Board Member, Ed Starkey, University Librarian of the University of San Diego,
announced he will be retiring the end of December, 2009.

Ed, together with Charlotte Ames, retired Notre Dame Catholic Studies Librarian, was the inspiring figure for the entire CRRA project.  Ed’s vision was to bring Catholic librarians and libraries together to advance Catholic scholarship and Catholic intellectual life around the globe; to encompass and create a place where scholars might find all materials related to the Catholic intellectual tradition in order to realize new knowledge.

Ed provided the inspiration, encouragement and knowledge that was so essential to the founding of the CRRA. We wish much joy to Ed in his retirement days.  He will be sorely missed and we will continue our work to realize the vision he has inspired.

Collection Policy Statement Adopted by CRRA Board of Directors
At the November 19 board meeting, Bob O'Neill, Chair of the Collections Committee (Boston College), moved to adopt the proposed collection policy statment with a change from “rare, unique and infrequently held" to “rare, unique and uncommon.”  The change was approved.

The newly adopted Collection Policy Statement is archived and available to CRRA members from the Admin area of the website and from this link: (If you need a reminder of the password and login, send Pat an email at [email protected].

New Portal Records Now Accessible at
We are happy to announce that the goal to incorporate the VuFind interface and pilot project records  into our home site has been met, and well ahead of schedule!  At you will find the records that were formerly available only at the VuFind test site.

We welcome your comments about this update.  Pages are under construction to make them more inviting, more easily navigable, up to date, and informative.  Please send your comments or suggestions to Pat at [email protected] or Eric at [email protected].

Progress Report on the Strategic Plan
Thanks to our members’ hard work, we have made great progress on the objectives charted at our July 2009 Loyola meeting.  This link takes you to the "Loyola Plan" document with completed tasks highlighted.  We are well on track and even ahead of schedule in some areas.

  • The pilot project to ingest 20,000+ records has been surpassed.
  • Focus groups have been completed at Notre Dame, Marquette, and Seton Hall.  Four other institutional members have plans to host focus groups.
  • Three CRRA member institutions collaborated to submit a successful CLIR grant proposal.
  • We are working with new members to add their content to the portal and orient them to the CRRA.
  • The board is working to identify new members and to develop policies and procedures to support a growing membership.

At the November 19, 2009 board meeting, Tom Leonhardt proposed that we establish CRRA Policies and Procedures to address a variety of issues from committee member roles and expectations to contributor expectations, rights and limitations, etc.  The board enthusiastically approved.  CRRA Committees will be involved in the drafting of policies and procedures.  We welcome your input!

In summary, we have made great strides in the four short months since our July meeting.  This is amazing progress for a largely volunteer organization.  Our congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all!

If there are aspects of the CRRA's work in which you would like to have greater involvement, please contact a CRRA board member or Pat Lawton.

CLIR Grant Awarded to CRRA Member Institutions
CLIR Grant Awarded for the Catholic Social Action Access Project:  A Collaborative Project of Marquette University, Catholic University of America, St. Catherine University and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance

With funding by the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has awarded Marquette University, Catholic University of America, St. Catherine University and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA) a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant in the amount of of $149,964.  The grant will support the Catholic Social Action Access Project, one of only 14 selected from a total of 91 applications. More information about the 2009 CLIR awards is here:

This collaborative project brings together three significant collections documenting US Catholic social action in the 20th century. St. Catherine University's Ade Bethune Collection documents the career of a world-renowned liturgical artist and social activist who helped found the Church Community Housing Corporation to develop affordable housing in Newport County. The Catholic Charities, DC records (CCDC), held by the Catholic University of America document the CCDC's leadership and support of progressive social legislation. Marquette University's Dorothy Day-Catholic Worker Collection includes audio recordings of the voices of most influential Catholic social activists of the 20th century.

Jean Zanoni, Associate Dean of Marquette Libraries and Matt Blessing, Head of Special Collections and Archives, are Co-Principal Investigators.  Project collaborators are CRRA members and descriptions of project materials will be collocated within the CRRA’s Catholic Portal.

The award is effective January 1, 2010, and project activities will be completed by December 31, 2011.

The grant announcement above will be published in the Winter issue of ACCU's newsletter. Other planned venues for the announcement include:   CLA's Catholic Library World, the ATLA-RC listserv and newsletter; ACRL's C&RL News; the SAA Newsletter; Midwest Archives Conference newsletter; and Mid-Atlantic Archivist newsletter.

We encourage you to spread the news among your local communities.  If you would like more information, contact Jean Zanoni, Matt Blessing, or Pat Lawton.  If you send an announcement about the grant, please let us know.  For purposes of grant reporting, we would like to track to whom announcements are made.

Thank you and congratulations to all grant participants!

Mark your calendars  ...
Kevin Cawley (Notre Dame) will present "Investigating Change through the Catholic Research Resources Alliance" as a panelist at the Conference on the History of Women Religious, to be held at the University of Scranton June 27-30, 2010.

Of possible interest:  The American Catholic Historical Association will hold their ninetieth annual meeting from January 7 through January 10, 2010 at the ManchesterGrand Hyatt San Diego.  More information about the meeting is here:

All CRRA events and events of possible interest to members are posted to the CRRA calendar, available at and also accessible from the Admin area of the website.

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email the first Friday of each month to provide members with an update on CRRA activities. The Update is also posted to the CRRA Blog.  Please contact us at 575.631.1324 or email [email protected] with your questions, comments, or news to share.

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