Preparing EAD files for indexing

This posting outlines how I plan to prepare EAD files for indexing with Solr, the underlying indexing technology of VUFind.

The problem

I am aggregating sets of EAD files from Catholic Research Resource Alliance members. I am expected to index these files at the most granular level possible -- meaning at the did level. In order to satisfy both human and computer requirements, each indexed record needs at least a unique identifier, a human-readable descriptor, and a location code. The unique identifier can be gotten from the unitid element. The human-readable descriptor can come from the unittitle. The location code can be inferred from the url attribute of the eadid element.

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Adding unitid elements to did elements

This posting outlines how I believe I will add unitid elements to did elements of EAD files.

The problem

As the CRRA matures, I expect a greater amount of the metadata ingested into the "portal" will come from EAD files. In order to index EAD files meaningfully, I need to extract unique identifiers from each container-level element, a human-readable description of the container, and a location code. The identifier and human-readable description can easily come from unitid and unititle elements of did elements.

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VuFind 2.0 Conference

VUFind is the technical backbone of the "Catholic Portal", and this posting documents my experiences at the VuFind 2.0 Conference held at the Villanova Conference Center on September 15 & 16, 2010. In short, it provided an opportunity for the community to share successes, challenges, and visions for the future.

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CRRA in San Diego, January 2011

We invite you to attend the CRRA reunion and discussions in San Diego on Thursday afternoon, January 6, 2011. We are scheduling this meeting before the ALA Midwinter Meeting meetings begin on Friday in hopes that many of you who are attending the ALA meetings will be able to join in the CRRA discussions as well.

At this time, we are putting together what promises to be a set of lively and informative discussions. This will be an opportunity to talk about CRRA activities taking place at your library, to discuss progress to date on the 2010/11 goals in the strategic plan, and to explore our readiness to promote the Catholic portal to librarians and scholars. VuFind 1.0 will be very near to being ready for implementation and this will be an opportunity to explore its functionality. Also, we will take a look at how the contents on the portal are growing particularly in regard to adding rare, unique and uncommon archival collections and other materials. The outlines of the proposal to be submitted to the NEH Challenge Grant will be ready for discussion. And, we want to hear from everyone – new and continuing members – how things are going at your library. Very importantly, this is an occasion to network and socialize with your CRRA colleagues.

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VUFind "Midwest" User's Group Meeting

An inaugural VUFind "Midwest" User's Group Meeting was held Friday, September 3, and this posting outlines my perceptions of what happened there.

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Collection Policy Statement for the Catholic Portal

(The following is the current collection policy for the Catholic Portal.)

Collection Policy Statement for the Catholic Portal

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CRRA Update August 2010

CRRA Update AUGUST 2010

We are pleased to announce that St. Joseph’s University’s (Philadelphia) Francis A. Drexel Library, under the leadership of Evelyn Minick, is the newest and twelfth member of the CRRA. St. Joseph’s brings a host of resources to the CRRA, including the Jesuitica Collection.

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Where in the world is the CRRA?

Pat and I are in the process of mapping the locations of CRRA members, below:

View CRRA Members in a larger map

Harvesting, updating, and re-indexing

This posting describes the automated process I am currently using to harvest, update, and re-index the MARC records of the "Catholic Portal".

Step #1 - Make a list

Librarians love lists, and I am no exception. The process begins with a list (databases) of CRRA members who have MARC metadata to share. Each item in the list includes the following fields:

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Making your content available

Pat Lawton and I created this (updated) outline -- a recipe -- for getting CRRA member metadata records into the "Catholic Portal." It is also available as a PDF document designed for printing.

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Web 2.0 features

After tweaking with VUFind's configuration files, our "sandbox" implementation of the "Catholic Portal" now supports many (if not all) of VUFind's Web 2.0 features -- faceted browse, favorites, cover art, reviews, author blurbs, etc. Please give them a whirl. Create an account for yourself and add some items to your Favorites.

NTS ("note to self"), the account creation process did not work until I changed the value of RewriteBase in my httpd.conf file from /vufind to /.

Help wanted

Help wanted. Is there anybody out there in CRRA Land who can help me customize the look & feel of our "Catholic Portal"?

For better or for worse, people increasingly rank their likes or dislikes of a website based on it's graphic design. Certainly, usability, functionality, and completeness are very important qualities but so are aesthetics.

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VUFind (version 1.0.1)

I have installed VUFind (version 1.0.1) on our development server, and the address is

At the present time you won't find very much there except our indexed metadata records -- about 60,000 of them. The next steps are to edit some of the underlying configurations to enable bits of functionality (call number displays, cover art, user reviews, etc.) The bigger issues to be resolved include: 1) giving our implementation the CRRA look & feel, and 2) indexing did-level data found in EAD files. More on these things later.

CRRA Update July 2010

CRRA Update JULY 2010

  • Highlights from the June 29, 2010 CRRA All-Members Meeting at Georgetown
  • Next steps
  • Member News
  • Might be of interest ...
  • Mark your calendars ... For two upcoming CRRA Gatherings January 6, 2011 (San Diego) and March 29, 2011 (Philadelphia)

Highlights from the June 29, 2010 CRRA All-Members Meeting at Georgetown

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CRRA Update June 2010 - Highlight June All-Members Meeting

CRRA Update JUNE 2010

Welcome to a Special Edition of the CRRA Monthly Update, highlighting the June All-Members meeting

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CRRA Update May 2010

CRRA Update MAY 2010

Please mark your calendars! CRRA ALL MEMBERS MEETING Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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CRRA Update February 2010



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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.

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CRRA December 2009 Update

Following is the CRRA update of activities during the month of December, 2009.  This update includes news about:

  • CLIR grant announcements
  • Focus group data analysis
  • The CRRA website
  • Kim Kelley
  • Steve Connaghan
  • Upcoming events

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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CRRA Update November 2009

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

-    CRRA member news

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