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CRRA Update November 2010


  • Welcome to the University of Dayton and to DePaul University, the Alliance's Newest members!  Watch for more information about Dayton and DePaul in the December Update.
  • Committee News:
    (1) The Collections Committee reaffirmed the collecting focus and provided a suggested rubric for “rare, uncommon.”
    (2) The Digital Access Committee (DAC) is working on a number of issues related to portal development. Please see more committee news below.
  • Mark your calendars! CRRA in San Diego (January, 2011), CRRA/Notre Dame Forum on Digital Humanities (February, 2011), CRRA in Philadelphia (March 2011). Details below.

Welcome University of Dayton and DePaul University, the Alliance’s newest members!

The Collections Committee Update

The Committee has engaged a number of issues, the highlights follow.

The group discussed the portal’s emphasis on “Catholic.” This example was posed, “if an institution has a collection of Maria Montessori works - is this “Catholic” enough?” The Committee agreed that the contributing institution can best answer this. They welcome all resources by or about anyone Catholic, whether faith was known to be influential or not.

Jean McManus (ND) described a current project at Notre Dame to digitize late 19th, early 20th century Catholic pamphlets. Bob O’Neill suggested that Boston could work with ND on this. The project will provide a set of texts against which Eric may experiment with text mining and visualization techniques, such as graphs, timelines, etc. If other members have Catholic pamphlets to add to the mix, kindly contact a member of the Collections Committee or Pat.

The Committee addressed a question posed by a member institution. “We have a collection that, as a collection, is rare and unique. The resources within the collection, however, are not necessarily rare and unique. With the CRRA's renewed emphasis on rare and unique, what is the committee's response?”

Response: If a resource is included in a collection and it is not rare, one suggestion is to assign a term to the record for the item indicating why the resource is there and/or to point to the collection of which it is a part.

The Committee reaffirmed the CRRA collecting focus as emphasizing rare, unique, and uncommon materials. Committee members are reluctant to set parameters, preferring to leave final judgments of “appropriateness” to contributing institutions. However, when in doubt about what qualifies as “uncommon,” the group suggested that 10-20 records in Worldcat may indicate that the item in question is indeed uncommon. Collections coming from “Special” Collections are decidedly uncommon.

Digital Access Committee (DAC) Update

DAC has been meeting regularly this fall, and has made good progress on a number of items related to portal development. The group has previewed and made recommendations for the developing EAD viewer and indexer. In tandem with the ability to fully ingest EAD files is the need to revise the metadata guidelines to articulate the nuances of EAD in the portal. This, too, is keeping committee members busy.

Members recommend the Alliance conduct usability tests of the enhanced portal beginning spring 2011. Committee members supported a recommendation to conduct testing at member institutions in a similar fashion as the spring 2009 focus groups. Focus groups were held at six member institutions, and hosting institutions were provided a common list of question and procedures.

Several members have made strides in continually adding records and updating records to the portal through the suggested harvesting procedure outlined in the document Making Your Content Available in the Catholic Portal. The general consensus is the harvesting procedure works.

Last but not least, Eric Frierson of St. Edward’s has done excellent work in shaping the graphic display of the latest version of VuFind to look like the portal we know and love. Thank you, Eric, for your time and energy on this crucial task.

Kudos and thanks to all committee members, with special thanks to committee chairs, Tom Leonhardt (DAC) and Bob O’Neill (Collections).


Thursday, January 6, 2011. CRRA in SAN DIEGO – Make your plans to join us!
We invite you to attend the CRRA reunion and discussions in San Diego on Thursday afternoon, January 6, 2011. This will be an opportunity to talk about CRRA activities taking place at your library, to preview the EAD indexer and viewer, and to explore our readiness to promote the Catholic portal to librarians and scholars. We want to hear from everyone – new and continuing members – how things are going at your library. This a great occasion to network and socialize with your CRRA colleagues. We look forward to seeing you there.

Event details are posted to the CRRA calendar as they become available. The calendar is also accessible via the Admin area of the CRRA website (login: catholic; password: portal).

Draft Agenda for Thursday, January 6, 2011. Copley Library, University of San Diego (all times are Pacific time) 10:00am-2:00pm, 10:30-2:00pm, 2:30-5:00pm, 5:30pm Board of Directors meeting

Campus and library tours to be arranged.
Open forum for all participants with refreshments provided Dinner for all participants (your own treat). Venue TBD.

Thursday, February 24, 2011. Notre Dame/CRRA Forum on Digital Humanities
All are invited to attend this forum exploring current approaches in text mining and visualization techniques for digital humanists, with particular emphasis on Catholic scholarship. Watch for details in future Updates.

Tuesday, March 29 and Wednesday, March 30, 2011. CRRA in PHILADELPHIA

The Annual CRRA All-Members meeting will be held from 10:00 to 2:00 pm on Wednesday, March 30 at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Event details will be posted to the CRRA calendar as they are available. Please also mark your calendars for the day before the meeting - there will be CRRA events on Tuesday March 29th at Villanova University Library with dinner in Philadelphia that evening (all are invited!).

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.

Blog on, CRRA

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

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