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CRRA Update January 2010

CRRA Update January 2010 

CRRA Digital Access and Collections committee members, under the leadership of Tom Leonhardt and Bob O’Neill, met to draft recommendations for the Board regarding member expectations for metadata in the Catholic portal. The Board extends their sincere congratulations and thanks to all committee members for a job well done! The Board will use these recommendations to develop a policy for current and future CRRA member institutions to ensure that portal metadata is dynamic and growing.

CRRA Board of Directors Adopts Principles of Membership

At the January 19, 2010 Board meeting, the Board of Directors voted to approve the “Principles of Membership in the Catholic Research Resources Alliance.” The document is posted to the “Bylaws and membership” folder in the Admin area of the CRRA website. This area is password protected and the login information is available to all CRRA members. If you need a refresher on the login and password, please contact us. An excerpt from the document reads:

Membership is based on three criteria. Member institutions have:

  • Collections relevant to the scope and themes as articulated in the CRRA collection policy.
  • Capacity to support the CRRA through membership dues and participation in its activities.
  • Ability, immediately or in a reasonable time frame, to enable discovery and access to their collections via the Catholic portal.


Please mark your calendars! If your institution is a CRRA member, you are invited to the annual CRRA Membership meeting on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 from 9am to noon at Georgetown University. While we recognize that not everyone participating in CRRA activities will be able to attend, this is the one time during the year we have the opportunity to come together as a group, face to face. Further meeting details will be posted as they become available.

Member News

The Digital Access Committee is happy to report that Demian Katz, Library Technology Development Specialist at Villanova University, is now a member of the Committee. To the CRRA, Demian brings programming knowledge and VuFind expertise. Demian’s hobby, which grew from a childhood interest and became a graduate school project, is maintaining a large bibliography of interactive fiction. Welcome, Demian!The Collections Committee welcomes John Buchtel, Georgetown University. As Head of the Special Collections Research Center, Dr. Buchtel manages Georgetown's collections of rare books, manuscripts, fine art, and the University Archives. His primary field of research is on early modern book dedications, with a particular focus on the patronage of Henry, Prince of Wales (1594 - 1612).  John has published, lectured, taught, and curated exhibitions on early modern literary patronage, the history of the book, book collecting, and the popular reception of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre.

Lynn Conway, University Archivist of Georgetown University Library, has stepped down from the Collections Committee. Thank you, Lynn, for your many years of service and welcome, John!

May be of interest ...

Religious History Top Area of Interest to American Historical Association Members

In “A New Found Religion? The Field Surges among AHA Members” Robert B. Townsend reports that “specialists in religious history recently surpassed all other topical categories in our annual look at AHA members, raising interesting questions about what is attracting fresh interest in the field. Demographically, the composition of the members who selected the topic is modestly different from the general membership in ways that may reinforce the recent growth of interest in religion, as the average age of those selecting the history of religion is slightly younger than the membership as a whole.

Special thanks to Jean McManus for bringing this to our attention!

Themes from Focus Groups at Member Institutions

At the annual meeting in July 2009, members agreed to hold focus groups at member institutions and gather user feedback concerning the content of the portal. In September 2009, Notre Dame hosted four focus groups and documented its processes, providing a model for other institutions. As of February 1, 2010, Catholic University Archives, Marquette University Libraries, Seton Hall University Libraries, and Villanova University Libraries have completed their focus groups. Thank you to all who have completed focus group interviews!

Focus group participants discussed content appropriate to the portal. Initial themes from the focus groups, in more or less priority order are as follows.

  • There are good materials at non-university institutions
  • There are good materials at non-Catholic institutions Digitized materials would be useful
  • Useful content exists that is not necessarily labeled “Catholic”
  • There needs to be more “global” Catholic content
  • Links to other collections would be useful
  • There needs to be more non-print materials
  • The VuFind interface goes in the right direction
  • Setting up a mechanism among institutions for Interlibrary loan of materials could be helpful

Mark your calendar ...

CRRA at ALA in June

The CRRA All Members meeting will be held Tuesday, June 29, 2010 from 9:00am to 12:00 noon, hosted by Board member Artemis Kirk and Georgetown University Libraries. Details will be provided as they are available. We hope to see you there. All are invited!

Eric Lease Morgan and Pat Lawton of the CRRA will participate in a panel discussion “Accessing Religious Materials: A Digital Solution,” hosted by the Catholic Library Association. Eric and Pat will discuss overall goals, steps and future directions in building the Catholic portal.

Jon Miller will describe The International Mission Photography Archive, using photographs accumulated by international missions from 1860-1945. CRRA Board member, Tim Meagher of Catholic University of America, will moderate the discussion.

The panel discussion will take place Saturday, June 26, 2010 from 1:30pm – 3:30pm. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the CRRA and the Catholic portal. We look forward to seeing you there.

CLIR grant symposium in March

Matt Blessing of Marquette University Libraries and Maria Mazzenga of Catholic University will attend the The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections Program Symposium in Washington, DC March 29-30, 2010. The symposium brings together 2009 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives recipients.

With funding by the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CLIR 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 $149,964. The grant supports the Catholic Social Action Access Project, one of only 14 selected from a total of 91 applications.

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 CRRA website.

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

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