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February 2011 Update

Please mark your calendars for the

March 30 All-Members Meeting and

March 29 Pre-meeting Events

Tuesday, March 29 – Villanova University, Philadelphia

1-4:30 Events at Falvey Memorial Library

6:30  Dinner with CRRA colleagues, place TBA

Wednesday, March 30 – Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia

10:00-2:00 CRRA All Members Meeting

and more

In this update …

  • Welcome to Creighton University, our newest member.  Watch for more information about Creighton in the March 2011 Update.
  • Congratulations to Duquesne’s Gumberg Library for winning an LSTA Grant Award to Digitize the Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper!
  • Collections Committee Update:  Portal Enhancements and more …
  • CRRA at Upcoming Conferences and Outreach to Catholic Colleges and Universities, by Jennifer Younger
  • CRRA Colleagues from the University of Dayton, Marquette University, and Dominican University braved the February weather for two days of tours, presentations, workshops, and conversation at the ND/CRRA Digital Humanities Forum and Workshops at Notre Dame.
  • Mark your calendars! CRRA in Philadelphia (March 2011) To facilitate reservations and our hosts in providing refreshments, it would be helpful to have a count of expected attendees.  Please email Pat Lawton at [email protected] if you will be joining us for any or all of these events.

Congratulations to Laverna Saunders and Team at Duquesne’s Gumberg Library

for winning a $20,000 LSTA Grant Award to digitize additional years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper.  The Pittsburgh Catholic, America’s oldest Catholic newspaper, has been in continuous publication since March 16, 1844.

Through a pilot project, Gumberg Library completed digitization of the 1844-1864 issues, and seeks to complete digitization through the year 1900. “Duquesne University has continuously microfilmed the Pittsburgh Catholic since its inception in 1844. To convert the Pittsburgh Catholic to digital format, Gumberg Library started with volume 1 issue 1 and will continue to digitize the newspaper from the oldest volumes to the newest volumes.” Grant funds will allow the Gumberg to digitize the February 27, 1864 through January 3, 1900. Adding this content to our digital library will support our service to the local Catholic community and increase the depth of our unique content to be available through the CRRA (Catholic Research portal).”

Catholic newspapers were frequently cited as a source of great interest by participants in focus groups conducted last year at member institutions. We look forward to making the Pittsburgh Catholic available to portal users and encourage all to consider adding records and/or full text items for locally held Catholic newspapers, cited by scholars as an invaluable resource.  Kudos to Duquesne!





The Collections Committee Update: A View from the Collections Committee

Earlier this month, we looked at the enhanced portal functionality under development at . You may remember that one goal in the Strategic Plan 2010-11 is to index finding aids in full EAD (Enhanced Archival Description) content for discovery.  With the EAD indexer and viewer in place, discoverability has been significantly increased.  A search for “Dorothy Day” now retrieves items not previously found in the “non-EAD indexer” portal.   For example, this record was retrieved from the series level within the George Gilmary Higgins Papers. This exciting development underscores the value of deep indexing of archival finding aids in the portal.

It is also interesting to see areas in which a critical mass of items is developing along with growing member participation.  We searched four themes with the following results:

  • Catholic social action – 1,203 responses in five institutions (and suggested topics such as “Church and social problems” and “Catholic Worker Movement” leading you to more)
  • Vatican II – 1,270 responses in ten institutions
  • Women religious – 491 responses in nine institutions
  • Catholic education – 1,626 in 11 institutions

If you have rare or uncommon materials in these subject areas, these would be especially welcome additions to the portal. Of course, contributions relating to any of the twelve primary collecting themes are helpful and highly desirable. If you have any questions about finding aids or priorities, please contact Pat Lawton or any member of the Collections Committee.




CRRA Events at Upcoming Conferences
By Jennifer Younger, chair, CRRA Board of Directors

At the CRRA meeting at Georgetown University, we decided to hold the annual CRRA membership meeting in conjunction with the ACRL Conference in Philadelphia. We will not be holding a formal event during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 2011.  Just as is the case at other conferences, however, there may be informal get-togethers with other CRRA members or prospective members.

There are CRRA participants at a number of different conferences, including those of the Catholic Library Association (CLA), April 26-28, in New Orleans; the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), June 8-11, in Chicago; and the Society of American Archivists (SAA), August 22-27, in Chicago and possibly at the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists meeting during the SAA conference on August 24, in Chicago.  [All events are posted to the CRRA calendar.]

At the CRRA meeting in San Diego, a couple of people asked about setting up a local team.  Despite not planning formal meetings, we hope we can always find opportunities to get together, share best practices and ideas for carrying out the CRRA mission.

Outreach to Catholic Colleges and Universities
By Jennifer Younger, chair, CRRA Board of Directors

Our membership outreach to Catholic colleges and universities is underway.  The directory on our home page lists the Catholic colleges, universities and seminaries and the directors of their libraries and/or archives. I have sent the About CRRA brochure as well as information on the collections policy, benefits and principles of membership, and making content available to the directors. About 200 of the Catholic colleges, universities and seminaries in the United States belong to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU).

Several directors responded immediately. Michael Lacroix, Creighton University, was the first to ask for an invitation and Creighton is joining as the 20th CRRA member. Others said they want to pursue membership. Still others said they have been carefully following previous news items since the CRRA began and are excited to hear from us. One director replied with information about the special collections at his institution, which I have sent to Bob O’Neill and the Collections Committee. With assistance from a good number of you, I am following up in conversations with all interested directors.  In addition, with directors and/or librarians from Marquette, St. Edward’s and Seton Hall, I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting directors, librarians and/or archivists at prospective member campuses.

We are on target to meet, possibly even to exceed, the goal in our strategic plan of 20 new members for next year, thanks to your good work. Your conversations with colleagues are the best way of reaching out to prospective members. Some of you will be attending the ACRL meeting in Philadelphia which follows the CRRA meetings on March 29-30.  Others of you are likely to be attending the Catholic Library Association meeting in New Orleans (April 26-28), the American Theological Library Association in Chicago (June 8-11) and/or the Society of American Archivists in Chicago (August 22-27). If there is anything that Pat or I can do to help you in reaching out to your colleagues, please do call on us.


February 24-25 ND/CRRA Digital Humanities Forum and Workshops at Notre Dame

Ann Hanlon, Rosemary Del Toro, John Jentz (Marquette University); Jillian Slater, Fred Jenkins, Fran Rice, Colleen Mahoney (University of Dayton) and Steven Szegedi of Dominican University braved the February winter weather and joined us for two days of tours, discussion, and conversation.  In addition to the planned events, Reference Librarian Bob Hohl provided us with a special look at the St. John’s Bible held by St. Mary’s College.

Thanks to all who made the trip!  This was our first meeting with many of you, and the event proved to be a great opportunity to learn about one another and our work. We learned about text mining and visualization techniques and how they are being implemented in the portal.  This ability to search across a large body of documents and “do stuff with them” (Eric Morgan) promises to be an important benefit for scholars interested in Catholic scholarship and to the CRRA mission.  As Bob O’Neill observed in a recent Collections Committee meeting, “text mining distinguishes the portal from other projects.”

*    *   *   *

All CRRA events and events of possible interest to members are posted to the CRRA calendar, please bookmark this link for future reference!

Check our progress and news on the CRRA blog:

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email January-November 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.

CRRA Calendar:
CRRA 2011 Philadelphia All-Events:
CRRA 2011 All-Members Meeting Saint Joseph’s:


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