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CRRA Update March/April 2013

CRRA Update
March/April 2013

• From the Board: Janice Welburn, chair, announcing CRRA as a nonprofit corporation
• From the Membership Committee: Evelyn Minick , chair, welcomes Mount St. Mary’s University
• Member News: Congratulations to Joe Lucia (Villanova), Morgan McIntosh Hodgetts (DePaul) and Maria Mazzenga (Catholic University)
• Feature Article: Indexing and displaying Encoded Archival Description files in the Catholic portal
• Committee Updates: From the Collections Committee on Treasures from the Catholic Research Resources Alliance: Women Religious; Newspapers Task Force on Survey of Member Holdings
• From the CRRA: Annual plan update and Member holdings in the portal
• CRRA in the News: Thanks to Diane Maher (University of San Diego)
• Portal Tech Tip: Using the comments feature
• Upcoming events: Catholic Legacies in Victoria (May 28-29, 2013)

Save the date:
We will hold our CRRA All Member Meeting on Tuesday morning, July 2, 2013 in Chicago. Details will be posted here and to the CRRA News and Events page as they become available. Please plan to join us!
Janice Welburn, CRRA Board Chair, Dean of Libraries, Marquette University

I am pleased to share the good news that CRRA is now a nonprofit corporation set up under the State of Wisconsin Statutes. Our official name is Catholic Research Resources Alliance, Inc. although our name on the website and correspondence will continue to be Catholic Research Resources Alliance, or more simply, CRRA.

The Board is working to complete the application for federal (U.S.) tax-exempt status, more popularly known as 501c3 status. During the 27 month grace period allowed between the time of nonprofit incorporation and submission of the application for federal tax-exempt status, CRRA is able to operate as a nonprofit organization. We wish to complete the application, however, this year and will keep you informed of progress. I look forward to providing an update at the All Member Meeting on July 2.

Evelyn Minick, Chair
We are pleased to welcome Mount St. Mary’s University (Emmitsburg, MD) to membership and participation in the CRRA. Founded in 1808, Mount St. Mary's University is the second oldest Roman Catholic university in the United States (the oldest is Georgetown University) and houses the largest Catholic seminary in the U.S.

The Mount has important holdings related to Portal themes and collections, including Catholic pamphlets and newspapers, with plans to digitize rare books and pamphlets. The Archives holds not only the expected college and seminary history but also unique resources relating to the religious formation of alumni as seen from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, through Desert Storm. Charles Kuhn, Dean, Phillips Library, is excited at the opportunity to share their resources, believing that membership in CRRA will increase awareness of these resources and inspire more scholarship in the field of Catholic Studies both at the Mount and abroad.

More information about the Monsignor Hugh J. Phillips Library and its collections is available at,  the web address for digital library collections in the repository is

-Congratulations to Joe Lucia, University Library and Falvey Memorial Library Director, Villanova University, on his new responsibilities as Dean of Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia. We will miss his knowledgeable voice on the CRRA Board of Directors and wish him well in his new role.
-Congratulations to Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts on the publication of ”Religious Archives and Shifting Demographics: The Solution of the Vincentians and DePaul University” in the recent issue of Catholic Library World (March 2013). We are excited to know too that Morgen and the staff of Special Collections at DePaul are describing their rich Catholic Social Justice collections and Vincentian materials in the DeAndreis-Rosati Memorial Archives for the Portal.
-Congratulations to Maria Mazzenga for the NCR article University Archivist Works to Make Catholic History Just a Click Away
Maria Mazzenga, Education Archivist at the Catholic University of America (CUA) and Member, CRRA Collections Committee was featured in the National Catholic Reporter. The article describes Maria’s efforts to get students excited about and using primary sources at CUA. Also included is an overview of CUA collections, with an emphasis on digital collections. Read the full story here:
CRRA in the News

Read about CRRA in Copley Connects, the University of San Diego library newsletter. Our sincere thanks to Diane Maher, University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, for capturing highlights of the CRRA 2012 Symposium in words and pictures:
Indexing and Displaying Encoded Archival Description (EAD) Files in the Catholic Portal

In collaboration with the Digital Access Committee (DAC), Eric Lease Morgan (Notre Dame) has re-indexed EAD files for the Catholic Portal resulting in improved search results and displays.

The previous process for indexing EAD files in the “Catholic Portal” was viewed as causing more problems than offering solutions. In short, too many search results were being returned. Those results, while unique, were too ambiguous and too similar in nature to be useful. Moreover, the previous indexing process did not take advantage of an EAD file’s rich metadata — title, date, language, controlled vocabulary terms, biographical history, abstract, scope content notes, etc.

The solution to the problem involved re-indexing portal EAD files and is described by Eric on the CRRA blog. Included in the posts is detailed information about mapping EAD elements to the VuFind/Solr index, useful information for understanding how your EAD descriptions will be searched in the portal. This re-indexing has solved the problem of too many records and has resulted in the display of more of EAD’s rich metadata, specifically the abstract, scope content, biographical history, and physical description. See Eric’s blog posts at: and for the full analysis.

The display and search results of EAD files are a great improvement and we encourage you to have a look and let us know what you think. EAD records in the portal are denoted by the Format term “Archival material” and this link takes you to a list of the 238 EAD files currently in the portal:[]=format%3A%22Archival+material%22&view=list.
Sincere thanks to Eric and the DAC for this important portal enhancement.

Jennifer Younger, Pat Lawton

Together with Janice Welburn and Tyrone Cannon, chair and vice-chair respectively of the Board , we met with the CRRA committee chairs to begin planning for next year’s goals. The chairs briefly noted some of the most significant accomplishments of this year, including the redesigned website, a more explanatory collection policy, digitizing priorities and the Catholic Newspapers Online, and with great appreciation to you the members, the addition of portal records with links to digital content.

Collectively, they identified priorities for next year including the Catholic Newspaper Program, outreach to scholars and students, member mentoring and orientation, building shared collections of interest, and social media interaction. In May, the CRRA committees will discuss and identify their goals. The draft strategic plan for 2013/14 will be shared with the full membership and discussed at the July 2 All Member Meeting.
We invite your input and suggestions at any time. You can write to any of the committee chairs directly or to Pat or Jennifer.

-On Our Way -- 69% of CRRA Members have records in the Catholic Portal
We are pleased to report that 69% of our member institutions have contributed records to the Portal, just 31% shy of our goal for 100% participation. Member holdings represent a wide variety of formats including archival materials, pamphlets, journals, audio materials, newspapers, and electronic resources. Clicking on this link retrieves all records currently in the portal. To narrow your search, select facets (such as institution, format, genre, era, and more) on the right side bar.
If you are interested in adding content, or have any questions regarding the process, please contact Eric Morgan or Pat Lawton.

Diane Maher, Chair
A couple of months ago, Marta Deyrup (Seton Hall University) wrote to CRRA liaisons and archivists in religious communities to invite participation in the online exhibit “Treasures from the Catholic Research Resources Alliance: Women Religious.” The purpose of this exhibition is to provide a glimpse into the diverse lives of women religious, and to invite people to get to know these women through images that illustrate their usual activities. While the exhibit will be hosted at Seton Hall University, when completed, we will also feature this online exhibit on the CRRA home page (, where it can be viewed in the context of other relevant collections. Watch the home page this fall.

Noel McFerran, Chair
Last summer, the task force initiated a pilot program to identify Catholic newspaper titles held in the U.S. and Canada. Staff at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto and at the University of Notre Dame together identified nearly 1,000 titles. From this pilot, we gained knowledge of where to locate Catholic newspapers and the vagaries of newspaper metadata. With this general sensibility to guide us, we are currently investigating software options for the Catholic Newspapers Directory so we may share this data.

At the same time, we are embarking on a project to identify CRRA member Catholic newspaper holdings. We are pleased (and grateful) to report that Marquette University, under the guidance of Amy Cooper Cary (Task Force member), Rose Fortier, and Scott Mandernack will conduct a Survey of Member Holdings. They are currently working with a small group of institutions to determine how best to gather the data, and plan to launch the Member Survey of Holdings this summer. Please help by your participation in the survey, we look forward to having our member holdings well represented in the Directory.

VuFind Tip #1: Adding Comments
Demian Katz, chair, Digital Access Committee
The Catholic Portal has several useful social features you can take advantage of while logged in. If you do not already have an account, you can set one up using the Login / Create account link found near the top of any Catholic Portal page.

If you would like to share your thoughts about a record in the portal, you can use the built-in comments feature. View the record for the item you wish to comment on. You will see a tab bar below the basic description of the item. Click on the Comments tab. You can now post a comment and read those shared by other users.

Watch for more tips in future issues and please let us know what others you may find helpful.
Catholic Legacies in Victoria (May 28-29, 2013)

Join colleagues for two days of seminars, lectures and exhibits that bring to vivid life the stories of Roman Catholic missionaries during the period of Victoria’s colonial settlement, including the extraordinary collection of “bishop’s books,” a collection of 3,500 rare editions from the Renaissance to the 20th century and hear the stories of Roman Catholic missionaries during the period of Victoria’s colonial settlement. Full details are on the web at
(Announcement courtesy of Jonathan Bengtson, formerly of the University of St. Michael’s College.)
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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