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CRRA Update Nov/Dec 2012

FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Janice Welburn, Chair

Last year, we adopted an inspiring vision describing what we want to achieve and an ambitious, actionable plan for getting there.  In this context, members, committees and the Board develop an annual strategic plan. The Board met on December 12, 2012 at Lauinger Library, Georgetown University. Committee chairs joined us for a discussion of goals and current activities for this year, which we all agreed was informative and helpful in creating a broad understanding of how the goals and activities of each group fit into the overall directions. 

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"The Vault" as inspiration for CRRA

Might we have documents as rich and colorful as a letter from Kurt Vonnegut, as found in the Vault?
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault.html
Perhaps thismight be our new challenge:  to post to this blog new, interesting treasures form across our collections. Volunteers?  --pat

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Preview the Updated CRRA Website - Thursday, Nov. 8 at noon (eastern)

Max Tolomei and I cordially invite you to attend a sneak preview of the updated and soon-to-be-releasted CRRA website. Max and I have been working to move the CRRA website’s content into the open source content management system, Concrete5, and re-evaluating the organization and function of the website as a whole. Using Concrete5 will bring our site into the 21st century, making it possible to dynamically update content, and allowing members to easily collaborate and share project information in a variety of ways.

Before taking the site "live," we seek your input into how the site works for you and how it might be improved.

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Indexing EAD files, again

I have spent some time re-indexing EAD files for the "Catholic Portal", and you can see the fruits of these initial labors on line. The text below describes one solution to the indexing challenges. This is implementation is not the answer but rather a proposal.

The problem

The current process for indexing EAD files in the "Catholic Portal" is seen as causing more problems than offering solutions. By indexing things at the EAD's did level, too many search results are returned. These results, while unique, are too ambiguous and too similar in nature to be useful. Moreover, the current indexing process does not take advantage of an EAD file's rich metadata -- title, date, language, controlled vocabulary terms, biographical history, abstract, scope content notes, etc. Clearly, something has to change.

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CRRA Update September 2012

CRRA Update September 2012

  • Welcome to new CRRA Participants
  • CRRA Collections Spotlight: Notre Dame’s Vatican II Collection, by Alan Krieger
  • Continuing Board and Committee Chairs
  • Update on Concrete5 and the CRRA Website

Welcome to Our New ParticipantsWe are pleased to welcome Fontbonne University, Rosemont College, and St. Norbert College to the CRRA membership and to welcome Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters as an inaugural partner (nonvoting) participant.

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CRRA Update October 2012

CRRA Update
October 2012


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CRRA Update August 2012

The August Update highlights the fall symposium, our newest member and CRRA liaisons.
Please mark your calendars for the upcoming CRRA/Depaul Symposium, and consider attending too the Loyola University Chicago Colloquium just days following the Symposium.

  • Call for Posters for the CRRA/DePaul Fall Symposium – Deadline is Wednesday, September 19
  • Announcing a Colloquium with John Padberg, S.J. Thursday, October 18, 2012, 3:30-5:30. Loyola University Chicago Lakeshore Campus
  • The CRRA Welcomes Regis University (Denver, Colorado)
  • Introducing CRRA Liaisons
  • CRRA All Member Meeting Highlights (Anaheim)


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CRRA/DePaul Symposium Call for Posters Deadline Sept. 19

The Catholic Research Resource Alliance (CRRA) and the symposium planning committee invite proposals for posters to be displayed at the 2012 CRRA symposium Nurturing the ‘Spirit of Perfect Charity’: Libraries and Archives at the Intersection of Service and Scholarship in Catholic Social Justice Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, October 15-16, 2012.  The planning committee seeks posters that showcase innovative technologies, best practices, future trends, and unique research findings from librarians, archivists, and scholars.

Referees Pat Lawton (CRRA) and Megan Bernal (DePaul University) will choose the best poster and a prize will be awarded.

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CRRA Update July 2012

CRRA Update July 2012

This month’s update provides information on key CRRA events: past, present and future. First is an invitation to the fall CRRA/DePaul Symposium; Janice Welburn (Board Chair) then provides an update of Board activities, with a look the future; and Jennifer Younger (CRRA Executive Director) provides an introduction to the CRRA Catholic Newspaper Program.

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Indexing and displaying Encoded Archival Description files

This posting muses on how to index and display Encoded Archival Description (EAD) files in the "Catholic Portal" of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance.

The Catholic Portal is essentially an index of two types of metadata: 1) records describing individual and discrete items, and 2) records describing collections of individual items. For the most part, the former metadata records are MARC records describing books. The later are EAD files describing the holdings of archives.

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My experience with Archivists' Toolkit

by Adam McGinn (July 17, 2012)

During the last two months, I had evaluated Archivists' Toolkit for use with the Catholic Portal project. Archivists' Toolkit is a program suitable for recording and managing archival metadata. The program stores metadata in either a remote or local SQL database, and also allows exporting to an XML file. The documentation for Archivists' Toolkit is quite helpful, though it is fairly comprehensive and it may be difficult to find how to do something specific. I am writing this document in the hope that it will help potential future users of Archivists' Toolkit here at Hesburgh Library.

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Link to full-text items

Note To Self, this URL -- http://bit.ly/MpReCn -- will return a list of all the full-text items in the "Catholic Portal". Thanks, Demian!

Graphic design and the "Catholic Portal"

Graphic design is definitely not my forte, but I think I have finally wrangled it as well as the overall look & feel of the "Catholic Portal".

"Skinning" Vufind is not terribly difficult. Using a sort of inheritance, the implementor creates a hierarchy of directories where Vufind will look for customized output views before falling back to a default theme coming with the distribution. I was having one heck of a time getting the search results to display correctly. After looking solutions in all the wrong places, I finally copied a version of the Blueprint theme's results.tpl file to my local themes directory. After tweaking it a bit, and after refreshing Vufind's cache and compile directories, things started to line up. As an extra bonus, things like Google, Internet Archive, and HathiTrust snippet views were also being displayed. The "book bag" feature now works as well. Whew!

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Fulltext indexing in Vufind with Aperture

The implementation of fulltext indexing in Vufind with Aperture is not difficult. This posting describes how I implemented it for the Catholic Research Resources Alliance.

About 800 of the 125,000 indexed records in the "Catholic Portal" are linked to full text through a URL in the MARC records' 856 field. The vast majority of these records come from the University of Toronto and the University of Notre Dame. The process of fulltext indexing is documented at vufind.org, but I'll clarify here.

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How to make CRRA metadata available via the FTP "dropbox"

When CRRA members are not able or do not want to make their metadata available their own website, we hear at Catholic Portal Central will create one for them. To begin the process, a CRRA member simply needs to express this desire with me, Eric Lease Morgan (574/631-8604; [email protected]), and we will go from there.  

I will then assign the member a username/password combination. I will use various techniques to discover the member's IP address. Once done, the local FTP application configuration will be updated.

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FTP site as dropbox

In an effort to make it easier for us here at the "Catholic Portal Home Planet", we have implemented an FTP site designed to be used as a dropbox.

For the longest time Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA) members sent me their metadata via email. I was then expected to parse it, index it, and make it available for searching. A hidden task in this scenario was archiving the metadata -- a task that is not really very scalable. Consequently, I advocated CRRA members make their metadata available via a website where I could then harvest the data with us. Unfortunately and to my surprise, not every CRRA member was able to do this mostly because of local infrastructure policies.

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CRRA Update June 2012

CRRA Update June 2012

In celebration of the official start of summer, we are writing to celebrate what is nearly the end of a year with many accomplishments. Even a partial list of goals and objectives met this year illustrates the progress we have made developing the portal as a significant source for discovering Catholic research materials and strengthening the membership alliance dedicated to achieving our mission. Some of the year’s highlights include the following.

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CRRA May 2012 Update: Focus on Anaheim meeting

The May Update includes details about the CRRA All-Member Annual Meeting in Anaheim, June 25-26, 2012.  Also noteworthy: on June 23 and June 25, Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director, will participate in panel discussions of interest to our membership.  Details on these events are also in this Update.

In this issue we  introduce the impressive Ade Bethune Collection at St. Catherine University and Diane Maher, Chair of the Collections Committee provides an update of Committee activities.

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Using OAI-PMH to populate the "Catholic Portal" is not straight-forward

Using OAI-PMH to populate the "Catholic Portal" is not straight-forward, and this posting outlines some of my investigations in this regard.

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April 2012 Update

CRRA UPDATE

April 2012

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