January 06, 2016


XML 101

This past Fall I taught “XML 101” online and to library school graduate students. This posting echoes the scripts of my video introductions, and I suppose this posting could also be used as very gentle introduction to XML for librarians.


another fieldI work at the University of Notre Dame, and my title is Digital Initiatives Librarian. I have been a librarian since 1987. I have been writing software since 1976, and I will be your instructor. Using materials and assignments created by the previous instructors, my goal is to facilitate your learning of XML.

XML is a way of transforming data into information. It is a method for marking up numbers and text, giving them context, and therefore a bit of meaning. XML includes syntactical characteristics as well as semantic characteristics. The syntactical characteristics are really rather simple. There are only five or six rules for creating well-formed XML, such as: 1) there must be one and only one root element, 2) element names are case-sensitive, 3) elements must be close properly, 4) elements must be nested properly, 4) attributes must be quoted, and 5) there are a few special characters (&, <, and >) which must be escaped if they are to be used in their literal contexts. The semantics of XML is much more complicated and they denote the intended meaning of the XML elements and attributes. The semantics of XML are embodied in things called DTDs and schemas.

Again, XML is used to transform data into information. It is used to give data context, but XML is also used to transmit this information in an computer-independent way from one place to another. XML is also a data structure in the same way MARC, JSON, SQL, and tab-delimited files are data structures. Once information is encapsulated as XML, it can unambiguously transmitted from one computer to another where it can be put to use.

This course will elaborate upon these ideas. You will learn about the syntax and semantics of XML in general. You will then learn how to manipulate XML using XML-related technologies called XPath and XSLT. Finally, you will learn library-specific XML “languages” to learn how XML can be used in Library Land.


In this, the second week of “XML 101 for librarians”, you will learn about well-formed XML and valid XML. Well-formed XML is XML that conforms to the five or six syntactical rules. (XML must have one and only one root element. Element names are case sensitive. Elements must be closed. Elements must be nested correctly. Attributes must be quoted. And there are a few special characters that must be escaped (namely &, <, and >). Valid XML is XML that is not only well-formed but also conforms to a named DTD or schema. Think of valid XML as semantically correct.

Jennifer Weintraub and Lisa McAulay, the previous instructors of this class, provide more than a few demonstrations of how to create well-formed as well as valid XML. Oxygen, the selected XML editor for this course is both powerful and full-featured, but using it efficiently requires practice. That’s what the assignments are all about. The readings supplement the demonstrations.

DTD’s and namespaces

DTD’s, schemas, and namespaces put the “X” in XML. They make XML extensible. They allow you to define your own elements and attributes to create your own “language”.

DTD’s — document type declarations — and schemas are the semantics of XML. They define what elements exists, what order they appear in, what attributes they can contain, and just as importantly what the elements are intended to contain. DTD’s are older than schemas and not as robust. Schemas are XML documents themselves and go beyond DTD’s in that they provide the ability to define the types of data elements and attributes contain.

Namespaces allow you, the author, to incorporate multiple DTD and schema definitions into a single XML document. Namespaces provide a way for multiple elements of the same name to exist concurrently in a document. For example, two different DTD’s may contain an element called “title”, but one DTD refers to a title as in the title of a book, and the other refers to “title” as if it were an honorific.


Schemas are an alternative and more intelligent alternative to DTDs. While DTDs define the structure of XML documents, schemas do it with more exactness. While DTDs only allow you to define elements, the number of elements, the order of elements, attributes, and entities, schemas allow you to do these things and much more. For example, they allow you to define the types of content that go into elements or attributes. Strings (characters). Numbers. Lists of characters or numbers. Boolean (true/false) values. Dates. Times. Etc. Schemas are XML documents in an of themselves, and therefore they can be validated just like any other XML document with a pre-defined structure.

The reading and writing of XML schemas is very librarian-ish because it is about turning data into information. It is about structuring data so it makes sense, and it does this in an unambiguous and computer-independent fashion. It is too bad our MARC (bibliographic) standards are not as rigorous.

RelaxNG, Schematron, and digital libraries

fieldsThe first is yet another technology for modeling your XML, and it is called RelaxNG. This third modeling technology is intended to be more human readable than schemas and more robust that DTDs. Frankly, I have not seen RelaxNG implements very many times, but it behooves you to know it exists and how it compares to other modeling tools.

The second is Schematron. This tool too is used to validate XML, but instead of returning “ugly” computer-looking error messages, its errors are intended to be more human-readable and describe why things are the way they are instead of just saying “Wrong!”

Lastly, there is an introduction to digital libraries and trends in their current development. More and more, digital libraries are really and truly implementing the principles of traditional librarianship complete with collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination. At the same time, they are pushing the boundaries of the technology and stretching our definitions. Remember, it is not so much about the technology (the how of librarianship) that is important, but rather the why of libraries and librarianship. The how changes quickly. The why changes slowly, albiet sometimes too slowly.


This week is all about XPath, and it is used to select content from your XML files. It is akin to navigating a computer’s filesystem from the command line in order to learn what is located in different directories.

XPath is made up of expressions which return values of true, false, strings (characters), numbers, or nodes (subsets of XML files). XPath is used in conjunction with other XML technologies, most notably XSTL and XQuery. XSLT is used to transform XML files into other plain text files. XQuery is akin to the structured query language of relational databases.

You will not be able to do very much with XML other than read or write it, unless you understand XPath. An understanding XPath is essencial if you want to do truly interesting things with XML.


This week you will be introduced to XSLT, a programming language used to transform XML into other plain text files.

XML is all about information, and it is not about use nor display. In order for XML to be actually useful — to be applied towards some sort of end — specific pieces of data need to be extracted from XML or the whole of the XML file needs to be converted into something else. The most common conversion (or “transformation”) is from some sort of XML into HTML for display in a Web browser. For example, bibliographic XML (MARCXML or MODS) may be transformed into a sort of “catalog card” for display, or a TEI file may be transformed into a set of Web pages, or an EAD file may be transformed into a guide intended for printing. Alternatively, you may want to tranform the bibliographic data into a tab-delimited text file for a spreadsheet or an SQL file for a relational database. Along with other sets of information, an XML file may contain geographic coordinates, and you may want to extract just those coordinates to create a KML file — a sort of map file.

XSLT is a programming language but not like most programming languages you may know. Most programming languages are “procedural” (like Perl, PHP, or Python), meaning they execute their commands in a step-wise manner. “First do this, then do that, then do the other thing.” This can be contrasted with “declarative” programming languages where events occur or are encountered in a data file, and then some sort of execution happens. There are relatively few declarative programming languages, but LISP is/was one of them. Because of the declarative nature of XSLT, the apply-templates command is so important. The apply-templates command sort of tells the XSLT processor to go off and find more events.

Now that you are beginning to learn XSLT and combining it with XPath, you are beginning to do useful things with the XML you have been creating. This is where the real power is. This is where it gets really interesting.

TEI — Text Encoding Initiative

TEI is a granddaddy, when it comes to XML “languages”. It started out as a different from of mark-up, a mark-up called SGML, and SGML was originally a mark-up language designed at IBM for the purposes of creating, maintaining, and distributing internal documentation. Now-a-days, TEI is all but a hallmark of XML.

TEI is a mark-up language for any type of literature: poetry or prose. Like HTML, it is made up of head and body sections. The head is the place for administrative, bibliographic, and provenance metadata. The body is where the poetry or prose is placed, and there are elements for just about anything you can imagine: paragraphs, lines, headings, lists, figures, marginalia, comments, page breaks, etc. And if there is something you want to mark-up, but an element does not explicitly exist for it, then you can almost make up your own element/attribute combination to suit your needs.

TEI is quite easily the most well-documented XML vocabulary I’ve ever seen. The community is strong, sustainable, albiet small (if not tiny). The majority of the community is academic and very scholarly. Next to a few types of bibliographic XML (MARCXML, MODS, OAIDC, etc.), TEI is probably the most commonly used XML vocabulary in Library Land, with EAD being a close second. In libraries, TEI is mostly used for the purpose of marking-up transcriptions of various kinds: letters, runs of out-of-print newsletters, or parts of a library special collection. I know of no academic journals marked-up in TEI, no library manuals, nor any catalogs designed for printing and distribution.

TEI, more than any other type of XML designed for literature, is designed to support the computed critical analysis of text. But marking something up in TEI in a way that supports such analysis is extraordinarily expensive in terms of both time and expertise. Consequently, based on my experience, there are relatively very few such projects, but they do exist.


As alluded to throughout this particular module, XSL-FO is not easy, but despite this fact, I sincerely believe it is under-utilized tool.

FO stands for “Formatting Objects”, and it in an of itself is an XML vocabulary used to define page layout. It has elements defining the size of a printed page, margins, running headers & footers, fonts, font sizes, font styles, indenting, pagination, tables of contents, back-of-the-book indexes, etc. Almost all of these elements and their attributes use a syntax similar to the syntax of HTML’s cascading stylesheets.

Once an XML file is converted into an FO document, you are expected to feed the FO document to a FO processor, and the FO processor will convert the document into something intended for printing — usually a PDF document.

FO is important because not everything is designed nor intended to be digital. Digital everything is mis-nomer. The graphic design of a printed medium is different from the graphic design of computer screens or smart phones. In my opinion, important XML files ought to be transformed into different formats for different mediums. Sometimes those mediums are screen oriented. Sometimes it is better to print something, and printed somethings last a whole lot longer. Sometimes it is important to do both.

FO is another good example of what XML is all about. XML is about data and information, not necessarily presentation. XSL transforms data/information into other things — things usually intended for reading by people.

EAD — Encoded Archival Description

Encoded Archival Description (or EAD) is the type of XML file used to enumerate, evaluate, and make accessible the contents of archival collections. Archival collections are often the raw and primary materials of new humanities scholarship. They are usually “the papers” of individuals or communities. They may consist of all sorts of things from letters, photographs, manuscripts, meeting notes, financial reports, audio cassette tapes, and now-a-days computers, hard drives, or CDs/DVDs. One thing, which is very important to understand, is that these things are “collections” and not intended to be used as individual items. MARC records are usually used as a data structure for bibliographically describing individual items — books. EAD files describe an entire set of items, and these descriptions are more colloquially called “finding aids”. They are intended to be read as intellectual works, and the finding aids transform collections into coherent wholes.

Like TEI files, EAD files are comprised of two sections: 1) a header and 2) a body. The header contains a whole lot or very little metadata of various types: bibliographic, administrative, provenance, etc. Some of this metadata is in the form of lists, and some of it is in the form of narratives. More than TEI files, EAD files are intended to be displayed on a computer screen or printed on paper. This is why you will find many XSL files transforming EAD into either HTML or FO (and then to PDF).


RDF is an acronym for Resource Description Framework. It is a data model intended to describe just about anything. The data model is based on an idea called triples, and as the name implies, the triples have three parts: 1) subjects, 2) predicates, and 3) objects.

Subjects are always URIs (think URLs), and they are the things described. Objects can be URIs or literals (words, phrases, or numbers), and objects are the descriptions. Predicates are also always URIs, and they denote the relationship between the subjects and the objects.

The idea behind RDF was this. Describe anything and everthing in RDF. Resuse as many of the URIs used by other people as possible. Put the RDF on the Web. Allow Internet robots/spiders to harvest and cache the RDF. Allow other computer programs to ingest the RDF, analyse it for the similar uses of subjects, predicates, and objects, and in turn automatically uncover new knowledge and new relationships between things.

RDF is/was originally expressed as XML, but the wider community had two problems with RDF. First, there were no “killer” applications using RDF as input, and second, RDF expressed as XML was seen as too verbose and too confusing. Thus, the idea of RDF languished. More recently, RDF is being expressed in other forms such as JSON and Turtle and N3, but there are still no killer applications.

You will hear the term “linked data” in association with RDF, and linked data is the process of making RDF available on the Web.

RDF is important for libraries and “memory” or “cultural heritage” institutions, because the goal of RDF is very similar to the goals of libraries, archives, and museums.


wavesThe MARC standard has been the bibliographic bread & butter of Library Land since the late 1960’s. When it was first implemented it was an innovative and effect data structure used primarily for the production of catalog cards. With the increasing availability of computers, somebody got the “cool” idea of creating an online catalog. While logical, the idea did not mature with a balance of library and computing principles. To make a long story short, library principles prevailed and the result has been and continues to be painful for both the profession as well as the profession’s clientele.

MARCXML was intended to provide a pathway out of this morass, but since it was designed from the beginning to be “round tripable” with the original MARC standard, all of the short-comings of the original standard have come along for the ride. The Library Of Congress was aware of these short-comings, and consequently MODS was designed. Unlike MARC and MARCXML, MODS has no character limit and its field names are human-readable, not based on numeric codes. Given that MODS is flavor of XML, all of this is a giant step forward.

Unfortunately, the library profession’s primary access tools — the online catalog and “discovery system” — still heavily rely on traditional MARC for input. Consequently, without a wholesale shift in library practice, the intellectual capital the profession so dearly wants to share is figuratively locked in the 1960’s.

Not a panacea

XML really is an excellent technology, and it is most certainly apropos for the work of cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums. This is true for many reasons:

  1. it is computing platform independent
  2. it requires a minimum of computer technology to read and write
  3. to some degree, it is self-documenting, and
  4. especially considering our profession, it is all about data, information, and knowlege

On the other hand, it does have a number of disadvantages, for example:

  1. it is verbose — not necessarily succinct
  2. while easy to read and write, it can be difficult to process
  3. like all things computer program-esque, it imposes a set of syntactical rules, which people can sometimes find frustrating
  4. its adoption as standard has not been as ubiquitous as desired

To date you have learned how to read, write, and process XML and a number of its specific “flavors”, but you have by no means learned everything. Instead you have received a more than adequate introduction. Other XML topics of importance include:

  • evolutions in XSLT and XPath
  • XML-based databases
  • XQuery, a standardized method for querying sets of XML similar to the standard query language of relational databases
  • additional XML vocabularies, most notably RSS
  • a very functional way of making modern Web browsers display XML files
  • XML processing instructions as well as reserved attributes like lang

In short, XML is not a panacea, but it is an excellent technology for library work.


You have all but concluded a course on XML in libraries, and now is a good time for a summary.

First of all, XML is one of culture’s more recent attempts at formalizing knowledge. At its root (all puns intended) is data, such as the number like 1776. Through mark-up we might say this number is a year, thus turning the data into information. By putting the information into context, we might say that 1776 is when the Declaration of Independence was written and a new type of government was formed. Such generalizations fall into the realm of knowledge. To some degree, XML facilitates the transformation of data into knowledge. (Again, all puns intended.)

Second, understand that XML is also a data structure defined by the characteristics of well-formedness. By that I mean XML has one and only one root element. Elements must be opened and closed in a hierarchal manner. Attributes of elements must be quoted, and a few special characters must always be escaped. The X in XML stands for “extensible”, and through the use of DTDs and schemas, specific XML “flavors” can be specified.

With this under your belts you then experimented with at least a couple of XML flavors: TEI and EAD. The former is used to mark-up literature. The later is used to describe archival collections. You then learned about the XML transformation process through the application of XSL and XPath, two rather difficult technologies to master. Lastly, you made strong efforts to apply the principles of XML to the principles of librarianship by marking up sets of documents or creating your own knowledge entity. It is hoped you have made a leap from mere technology to system. It is not about Oxygen nor graphic design. It is about the chemistry of disseminating data as unambiguously as possible for the purposes of increasing the sphere of knowledge. With these things understood, you are better equipped to practice librarianship in the current technological environment.

Finally, remember, there is no such thing as a Dublin Core record.

Epilogue — Use and understanding

iceburgThis course in XML was really only an introduction. You were expected to read, write, and transform XML. This process turns data into information. All of this is fine, but what about knowledge?

One of the original reasons texts were marked up was to facilitate analysis. Researchers wanted to extract meaning from texts. One way to do that is to do computational analysis against text. To facilitate computational analysis people thought is was necessary for essential characteristics of a text to be delimited. (It is/was thought computers could not really do natural language processing.) How many paragraphs exists? What are the names in a text? What about places? What sorts of quantitative data can be statistically examined? What main themes does the text include? All of these things can be marked-up in a text and then counted (analyzed).

Now that you have marked up sets of letters with persname elements, you can use XPath to not only find persname elements but count them as well. Which document contains the most persnames? What are the persnames in each document. Tabulate their frequency. Do this over a set of documents to look for trends across the corpus. This is only a beginning, but entirely possible given the work you have already done.

Libraries do not facilitate enough quantitative analysis against our content. Marking things up in XML is a good start, but lets go to the next step. Let’s figure out how the profession can move its readership from discovery to analysis — towards use & understand.

by Eric Lease Morgan at January 06, 2016 06:05 PM

Mr. Serials continues

The (ancient) Mr. Serials Process continues to support four mailing list archives, specifically, the archives of ACQNET, Colldv-l, Code4Lib, and NGC4Lib, and this posting simply makes the activity explicit.

flowersMr. Serials is/was a process I developed quite a number of years ago as a method for collecting, organizing, archiving electronic journals (serials). The process worked well for a number of years, until electronic journals were no longer distributed via email. Now-a-days, Mr. Serials only collects the content of a few mailing lists. That’s okay. Things change. No big deal.

On the other hand, from a librarian’s and archivist’s point-of-view, it is important to collect mailing list content in its original form — email. Email uses the SMTP protocol. The communication sent back and forth, between email server and client, is well-structured albiet becoming verbose. Probably “the” standard for saving email on a file system is called mbox. Given a mbox file, it is possible to use any number of well-known applications to read/write mbox data. Heck, all you need is a text editor. Increasingly, email archives are not available from mailing list applications, and if they are, then they are available only to mailing list administrators and/or in a proprietary format. For example, if you host a mailing list on Google, can you download an archive of the mailing list in a form that is easily and universally readable? I think not.

Mr. Serials circumvents this problem. He subscribes to mailing lists, saves the incoming email to mbox files, and processes the mbox files to create searchable/browsable interfaces. The interfaces are not hugely aesthetically appealing, but they are more than functional, and the source files are readily available. Just ask.

Most recently both the ACQNET and Colldv-l mailing lists moved away from their hosting institutions to servers hosted by the American Library Association. This has not been the first time these lists have moved. It probably won’t be the last, but since Mr. Serials continues subscribe to these lists, comprehensive archives persevere. Score a point for librarianship and the work of archives. Long live Mr. Serials.

by Eric Lease Morgan at January 06, 2016 04:42 PM

December 04, 2015

Catholic Portal

Interview with Jim McCartin, Fordham University

Jim McCartin, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, joins us for a discussion of his research and the role CRRA has played in shaping and abetting his scholarly work. His book, Prayers of the Faithful: The Shifting Spiritual Life of American Catholics, came out in 2010 and explores prayer in the lives of American Catholics from the 1860s to the 1980s. His current project is the book: American Catholics and Sex from the 1830s to the 1980s.

What is your current area of research?

I’m currently working on a book project on the history US Catholics and sex from the 1830s to the 1980s. The study begins with early nineteenth-century European Catholic immigrants and the anxieties they provoked among non-Catholics concerned that Catholics were sexual deviants because of their practice of vowed celibacy, and it ends with the emerging story of clerical sex abuse in the late twentieth century. In between, it turns out that the story of US Catholics and sex is a great deal more interesting and complicated than historians and others have normally assumed, which makes this project especially exciting.

How did you get interested in your research area?

Well, after the clerical sex abuse scandal exploded in 2002, it occurred to me that, while there is a lot of published work out there on the history of US sexuality, that work has not dealt at all adequately with how religion fits into the story of sex, and in particular, it hasn’t given very serious attention to Catholicism’s place in that story. I was looking for ways to think about how we get to the clerical sex abuse scandal of the early 2000s, and I found nothing that could provide an adequate, sensible narrative grounded in deep archival research. So, while my goal isn’t specifically to write a history of Catholicism and sex abuse, this project emerged out of a desire to offer a narrative that is sufficiently textured and grounded and one that can help to place sex abuse into a larger narrative frame.

How do you use the CRRA’s resources for your research?​ Which resources have been the most helpful, and why? How has Catholic Newspapers Online been useful?

​CRRA has been extremely useful in helping me identify a whole array of published and archival sources for this project. There’s no better way to be able to survey the published materials on Catholicism available in the United States, and I’ve made probably a dozen archival trips based on materials I’ve identified through the Portal. I have to say that I’ve been especially grateful for the digitized newspapers, though, which have been a tremendous source as I try to get a sense for how family life and related questions of sexuality played out on the ground in various local settings.

What’s the most exciting/surprising source you’ve been able to get access to for your research?

​There’s are a lot out there that has fascinated me. Among the most interesting sources I’ve come across are the trial records for an 1843 clerical rape trial that figures into the narrative I’m constructing. But there’s also just a wealth of interesting documentation on the practice of clerical celibacy in the 1880s and 1890s, on sex education in the 1920s, on Catholic arguments over the Rhythm Method in the 1930s, and on same-sex attraction in the 1940s and 1950s. It turns out that US Catholics had a quite complicated and pretty well-informed conversations around these and other themes, conversations that are much more nuanced and interesting than they are normally given credit for.

What do you wish you could get access to but is currently unavailable?

​Good question. I’m not exactly sure there are resources out there on this, but I’d love to have access to documents that provide a clearer sense of how sexuality was framed in the formation of male and female religious in the first half of the twentieth century. I’d also love to see archival materials related to the work of the Servants of the Paraclete, a religious order that, already in the early psot-1945 era, began to care for priests involved in sexual relationships of one kind or another.

by Rose Fortier at December 04, 2015 04:14 PM

November 30, 2015

Catholic Portal

CRRA Update Spring 2015

CRRA Update
Spring 2015
(March, April, May)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:

CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting, June 1-2 at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
From the Board
Committee Briefs
DAC Committee Brief
Membership Committee Brief
Tech Corner
Successes in ICON Ingestion
News from Our Members
Ximena Valdivia, Barry University Presents on CRRA to the Florida Chapter of ATLA and the Catholic Library Association Annual Meeting in Orlando
CUA Archives
The Boston College Jesuit Bibliography: The New Summervogel
Announcements from Georgetown
Collection Highlights
Collection Highlights: Liturgical Art Collection
USD Symposium
CRRA Website Statistics: First Quarter 2015 (January 1-March 31)
Heads Up
Jennifer Younger, Pat Lawton and Megan Bernal, DePaul University, will discuss digitizing and archiving Catholic newspapers at the Catholic Media Conference
Laverna Saunders, Rob Behary, Tom White (Duquesne), and Pat Lawton (CRRA) will present Digitizing Catholic Newspapers: Visions and Process
Gumberg Library at Duquesne University seeks a Digital Scholarship Librarian
Save the Date! June 1-2, 2015. 10

 CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting, June 1-2 at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

We look forward to welcoming colleagues, presenters and panelists to the symposium and annual meeting. Rev. Mark Francis, CSV, a noted liturgical theologian, will open the symposium with observations about liturgy and worship from the perspective of the worshippers and set the stage for the following presentations and panels.

New this year! We are setting up live streaming of the presentations and panels. Stay tuned. As soon as the arrangements are completed, we will send out an announcement on session names, times and how to connect to the live streamed sessions.

If you missed the registration due date and wish to attend in person, please contact Lisa Gonzalez directly to make arrangements. Contact Lisa Gonzalez or Jennifer Younger with questions or comments.

From the Board
Diane Parr Walker, chair, University of Notre Dame

 With the cheers of new graduates ringing in my ears, it is a pleasure to wind down the academic year by writing to my colleagues in CRRA. I am reminded of the cyclical nature of all organizations as the Board and committees turn their attention to planning goals for the coming year. Not surprisingly, the Board focuses on securing the resources needed to carry out our mission. Next year, in conjunction with the Development Committee, we will complete work begun this year to develop a strategic multi-year financial plan, identify opportunities for expanded member leadership, and develop a funding and sustainability plan for creating the directory, digitizing, and archiving Catholic newspapers. Steve Connaghan, vice-chair/chair-elect will lead a discussion for your input on next year’s priorities during the CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting, and the committees will finish their discussions too in early June. The Board will adopt the annual strategic plan and budget at its last meeting mid-June.

Thank you for completing the recent survey about current collecting, digitizing and archiving activities relating to Catholic newspapers. The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists (ACDA) distributed the survey on our behalf. We are pleased to see responses coming in from colleagues at seventy-eight Catholic libraries and archives. At the same time, the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada sent a similar survey to its membership which includes diocesan and national newspaper publishers. Some of them make current issues accessible from their websites and their responses too will be useful in understanding the current landscape of access to Catholic newspapers. As the Board continues to discuss and support the plans from the Catholic Newspapers Committee and the Digitizing Partners to digitize selected Catholic newspapers it is encouraging to know that eighty percent of all survey respondents (libraries, archives and publishers) want to know more about a collaborative digital project to implement a searchable digital archive of Catholic newspapers.

Collaboration with other associations assists their work as well as our work. I’m pleased to note our participation in the conferences of other associations, mentioned in CRRA in the News.

It has been my privilege to serve as chair this last year. I look forward to continuing to work on your behalf for CRRA this next year as past chair, along with the board and with Steve Connaghan as he takes over as board chair.

Committee Briefs

DAC Committee Brief
Demian Katz, chair, Villanova University

The Digital Access Committee (DAC) has been working with several member institutions to harvest and ingest content into the portal, including Boston College, University of Dayton, Marquette University, and Loyola Marymount, just to name a few. Thanks to all of you for continuing to grow the Catholic portal!

DAC and the Liaisons Committee will be co-hosting a webinar in June on using an EAD-creation tool. Kevin Cawley (University of Notre Dame and DAC Member) has developed a Windows template for creating EAD files. With it you can save your EAD finding aids locally and upload them to the Catholic portal.  In this webinar, Kevin will demonstrate use of this free tool and answer questions.  Please plan to join us. We will send a “hold the date” email to all on this list once the date is confirmed.

Membership Committee Brief
Laverna Saunders, chair, Duquesne University (retired)

Our mission in CRRA – providing enduring global access to Catholic research resources in the Americas – is an extension of what we do at our respective institutions. In talking with prospective members, I have enjoyed sharing with them why Duquesne joined CRRA. We wanted to showcase the foundational works of our Spiritan Order and the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper, making these digital resources accessible through the portal so scholars and students will find them. CRRA membership positions our university with other prestigious Catholic institutions. In addition, several librarians have contributed to CRRA by leading and serving on committees and by developing research tools such as LibGuides on Catholic topics.

I have also been privileged to look at CRRA’s programs through their eyes and am delighted to report that some members have already added Catholic Newspapers Online (CNO) to their library’s list of databases. CNO has grown to over 75 newspapers and if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to make it available from your website.

The Membership Committee had a busy year in continuing relationships with fifteen prospective members, showcasing members and partners on the CRRA website through live links to web pages, and adding member testimonials to Join pages.  With my retirement, I am leaving the Membership Committee and the Board, but look forward to seeing many of you at the Symposium in June and staying connected to my CRRA colleagues.

Tech Corner

Successes in ICON Ingestion
Nick Casas, Project Coordinator for CRRA, Center for Research Libraries

 I would like to individually thank the Digitizing Partners who have contributed to the ICON (International Coalition on Newspapers) Database so far. Thanks to your data, date errors, duplicate records, and expansion of issue records have been discovered and corrected in the database. This allows us to keep track of issues that need to be digitized on a global scale and improve ICON across the board.

A thank you goes to our partners in Hartford, Connecticut – Karen Lesiak of St. Thomas Seminary, Roberta Tuttle from the offices of the Catholic Transcript, and Stephanie Gold, formerly of the Chancery Archives of the Archdiocese of Hartford. They have all given us newspaper data from one of our coveted areas in the Priority Papers including Catholic Transcript, Connecticut Catholic, Catholic Press, and the rare Catholic Standard (Hartford). We are grateful for your efforts!

Another thank you goes out to Dustin Booher of Catholic University of America. He has been working diligently with his cataloging team and with me to get CUA’s data into ICON. Dustin has helped contribute a huge chunk of issue data for the Monitor (San Francisco, 1878-1920). Great work!

Special thanks go out to Kate Feighery of the Archdiocese of New York who was absolutely essential in getting brand new newspaper data into ICON. Kate represented the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York in ICON extremely well. She contributed two brand new titles never before ingested into ICON: Catholic Review (New York, 1872-1898) and Catholic New York (1981- ). Kate also contributed to expanding further issue data for the Metropolitan Record and Catholic News. Center for Research Libraries (CRL) were pleased on these efforts to expand this ever growing database. See the accompanying illustrations of our brand new ICON records, or click on the images to be taken out to the records in ICON.

The pie graphs for “Organizations” states “100%,” which means the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York is the only institution represented in ICON. Basically, this is the very first time these two newspapers can be discovered in ICON to the world! Bravo, Kate!

Also, this is just a gentle reminder that in order to ingest newspaper data into ICON, we need both a publication skeleton and an issue skeleton of your newspaper data. The publication skeleton is basic metadata about a newspaper’s publication information such as frequencies, volume numbers, identifiers, etc. We are always looking to beef up this data in ICON records. We can only accept publication skeletons that contain one institution, although you may put as many newspapers as you want. The issues skeleton lists out your institution’s issue holdings by date. This allows ICON to populate the timeline and interactive calendar. We can only accept issues skeleton that contain one publication. You may download a blank publication skeleton or issues skeleton from the CRRA Portal under the Digitizing Partners page.

As always, I encourage anyone to email me if they are having trouble filling out any of the skeletons. As you can see above, there are many success stories completing skeletons and ingesting data into ICON, and we will definitely see more in the future!

News from Our Members

Ximena Valdivia, Barry University Presents on CRRA to the Florida Chapter of ATLA and the Catholic Library Association Annual Meeting in Orlando

Special thanks to Ximena Valdivia, manager of Barry University Archives and Special Collections, for introducing the Florida chapter of the American Theological Library Association and Catholic Library Association members to the CRRA, the Catholic portal, and the Catholic Newspapers Program. Ximena provided an excellent overview and demonstration of the portal and the newspapers program, giving participants a firsthand account from a member perspective. Thank you, Ximena and congratulations on a job well done!

If you are interested in including the CRRA in your conference presentations, we are happy to assist and provide tri-fold color brochures.

CUA Archives

In early March, William J. Shepherd wrote a blog post called “The Archivist’s Nook: Introduction to American Catholic Archives.” In this post for The Catholic University of America’s University Libraries blog, Shepherd gives a fascinating overview to the events that led to efforts to establish Catholic Archives across America. Read the whole post here.

The Boston College Jesuit Bibliography: The New Summervogel
Chris Stasnyiak, New Sommervogel assistant editor, Boston College

The New Sommervogel (NSO) is a comprehensive online bibliography covering books, book chapters, journal articles and book reviews pertaining to the exponentially growing field of Jesuit Studies. In addition to basic bibliographic information, entries include (English) abstracts, detailed subject headings, direct links to items available in electronic format where available, and a link to an item’s WorldCat entry, which shows where it may be located. The database covers more than 1,600 periodicals and is updated regularly. Thanks to generous support of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, it is offered as an open-access resource.

From its very beginnings in the sixteenth century the Society of Jesus has maintained a unique tradition of bibliographic recordkeeping of works by and about Jesuits, starting with Pedro de Ribadeneyra’s Bibliotheca Scriptorum Societatis Iesu (1643). The largest and most authoritative of these efforts is the nineteenth-century Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus by the Alsatian Jesuit Carlos Sommervogel. In the twentieth century, the Hungarian Jesuit László Polgár carried on this work at the Rome-based Jesuit Historical Institute. More recently the Catholic University of Leuven has also been collecting bibliographic citations about the Jesuits.

Continuing in this tradition with the tools of the digital humanities, the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College has begun work on The Boston College Jesuit Bibliography: The New Sommervogel. Edited by Robert A. Maryks, this rich online resource allows scholars to more rapidly familiarize themselves with Jesuit Studies, a field that has seen explosive growth in the past decade due to increased attention to previously understudied areas of the Society’s influence, such as Jesuit ethnohistory, mathematics, science, and theater. In 2013 alone, there were over 1,200 scholarly publications on the Jesuits. Given the field’s increasing popularity and the additional surge of interest in the Society due to Pope Francis’s pontificate, Jesuit Studies will likely remain a field of sustained growth for many years to come. We hope The New Sommervogel will be a central catalyst in this upward trajectory.

The database is set to officially launch in June 2015, where it can be accessed at http://www.brill.com/products/online-resources/new-sommervogel. If you have any questions about the New Sommervogel or would like to get involved in the project, please email assistant editor Chris Staysniak at christopher.staysniak@bc.edu.

Announcements from Georgetown

We recently received exciting news from Georgetown on recent developments. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your news!

From Georgetown:
-Our new, state-of-the-art Booth Family Center for Special Collections opened in late March: http://www.library.georgetown.edu/news/booth-family-center-special-collections-opens
-We’ve received a gift of the world’s best private collection of items related to Wordsworth: http://www.library.georgetown.edu/news/gift-life%E2%80%99s-work

Collection Highlights

Collection Highlights: Liturgical Art Collection
Jency Liddell, CRRA Webmaster, University of Notre Dame

The CRRA website has a new rotating exhibit up on liturgical art. Please visit the CRRA website to see and enjoy the exhibit.

This exhibit features collections from three member institutions: the Ade Bethune Drawings at St. Catherine University, Religious Artifacts at Seton Hall University, and the Santo Collection at Regis University. These collections were selected because they represent many different facets of liturgical art. The exhibit was assembled in honor of the CRRA’s upcoming Symposium and Annual Meeting, “Bringing the created toward the Creator: Liturgical art and design since Vatican II,” which will take place on June 1-2 at Catholic Theological Union.

USD Symposium
Rose Fortier, CRRA Update Associate Editor, Marquette University

The Digital Initiatives Symposium at the University of San Diego was a day devoted to digital innovation in academic libraries. The Symposium had 175 attendees from all over the United States, as well as attendees from Mexico and Canada.

The symposium organizers did an excellent job of collecting a diverse set of presenters. The opening and closing keynote addresses were nicely bookended. Heather Joseph of SPARC opened the Symposium by discussing the Open Access movement, where it’s been and where it’s going. Kenneth Crews closed out the symposium with a discussion on copyright in libraries that was as thorough as it was enlightening. For a discussion on copyright, it was surprisingly upbeat. Kenneth Crews’ treatment of copyright, and especially fair use, was as encouraging as it was enlightening.

Topics covered included the nexus of Digital Humanities and pedagogy, Open Access in a variety of situations, the creation of vastly different types of digital collections, institutional repositories, collaboration between the library and faculty in Digital Humanities projects, and much more. The symposium was only one day, but there was enough content packed in for three days, or so it seemed.

The symposium has an excellent website that details the presentations along with their abstracts. Highlights of the Symposium have been gathered together in the form of tweets, many of which are quite informative. Eventually, proceedings of the conference will be posted here as well.

There are already plans for the symposium to take place for a third year in 2016. If this past Digital Initiatives Symposium is anything to go on, the next one will be well worth the wait.

CRRA Website Statistics: First Quarter 2015 (January 1-March 31)
Pat Lawton, CRRA Digital Projects Librarian, University of Notre Dame

The biggest change from 2014 to 2015 is the number of pages viewed per session (up 9.82%) which suggests that users are finding more relevant content on the site, prompting the viewing of more pages on average. The rest of the statistics were mixed.

How often was the site visited?  Pages viewed?  

  • Total Sessions: 7,920 (-6.31% from 2014)
  • Total Pageviews: 26,060 (+2.89 % from 2014)
  • Total Pages per Session: 3.29 (+9.82% from 2014)
  • Average Session Duration: 00:02:35 (min.) (+5.77% from 2014)
  • Total Users: 6,544

What content is being viewed and searched?

The top three landing pages are unchanged from 2014: the Home Page, Catholic Newspapers Online, and The Catholic Portal continue to be the most popular pages. Noteworthy is the marked increase in views of Catholic Newspapers Online, up by 32.8%! This page continues to grow, thanks to our members and friends who share links to Catholic newspapers.

Another notable increase in use is the Join page, up 10.73% from this period 2014. Kudos to our Membership Committee for this uptick in apparent interest.

Are visitors searching?  For what are they searching?

A small percentage of visits (10.4%) included searches for content, with approximately 2:09 minutes on the site following the search (up 13.39%). Compared to first quarter 2014, visits with site searches dropped from 2,088 to 822 (down 60.63%). In the previous period, 24.7% of visits included site searches versus 10.4% in 2015.  However, search refinements, search depth, pageviews, and time on the site following the search all increased in 2015.

Top Ten Search Terms

Parish history (histories) continues to be the most commonly searched terms and taken together, this concept accounts for 39% of phrase searches, followed by:Catholic pamphlets, Catholic Church, Franciscans, Vincent de Paul Saint 1851-1660, Bilenge ya Mawinda, Novenas, African American(s), Canon law studies, and St. Clements Mission House.

Heads Up:

Jennifer Younger, Pat Lawton and Megan Bernal, DePaul University, will discuss digitizing and archiving Catholic newspapers at the Catholic Media Conference

This is the annual conference of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, which takes place this year June 24-26, 2015 in Buffalo, NY.

Laverna Saunders, Rob Behary, Tom White (Duquesne), and Pat Lawton (CRRA) will present Digitizing Catholic Newspapers: Visions and Process

at the Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious (ACWR) Triennial Meeting, Pittsburgh, on Aug 28, 2015.

Gumberg Library at Duquesne University seeks a Digital Scholarship Librarian

Duquesne University’s Gumberg Library seeks an innovative and collaborative professional for the newly created position of Digital Scholarship Librarian. The Digital Scholarship Librarian will incorporate support for digital scholarship into the library’s program of services that support teaching, learning and research, and will coordinate the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation filing process. S/he will work with colleagues to develop the library’s digital resources and represent the library in campus discussions of implementing an institutional repository. The Digital Scholarship Librarian will also participate in reference, outreach, information literacy instruction, collection development, and liaison activities. Must be able to meet the criteria for the library faculty rank process at or above the level of Librarian II.

For full description and to apply online visit: http://duq.edu/work-at-du/employment

Save the Date! June 1-2, 2015

The CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting will be held June 1-2, 2015 at Catholic Theological Union (CTU), Chicago. Plan now to join in learning about the impact of Vatican II on liturgical art and design as visualized by a leading liturgical artist and what faculty, students, and others value most in the portal collections and Catholic Newspapers Online.

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members and friends with an update of CRRA activities. Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 30, 2015 06:47 AM

CRRA Update Winter 2015

CRRA Update
Winter 2015
(December, January, February)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:

Welcome, CRRA Update Associate Editor, Rose Fortier
Committee Briefs
CRRA Liaisons and DAC Host Webinar on the Catholic Portal
ICON Webinars for the Catholic Newspapers Project
Tech Corner
Under Construction! The CRRA Website catholicresearch.net
News from Our Members
The Vatican Library and SLU/ Vatican Film Library Digitization Project
Robert A. Seal Named ACRL Academic/ Research Librarian of the Year
Congratulations to Jennifer Head
Dayton’s Slater and Hoelscher Release Results on Study of Catholics Historians’ Use of Archives
CRRA Research Guides on Vincentians and Jesuits
ACHA 2015 Panels
CRRA Members on the ACRL Ballot
Introductions at the Vatican Library
CUA Symposium: Ingrid Hsieh-Yee and Pat Lawton on “Crowdsourcing Terms of Thematic Exploration in the Catholic Portal”
Collection Highlights
African American Resources in the Catholic Portal
A Hidden Gem: Marquette’s African American Catholics of the United States
Heads Up
Grants for digitizing hidden special collections and archives
USD Digital Initiatives Conference
CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting-Save the Date! June 1-2, 2015

Welcome, CRRA Update Associate Editor, Rose Fortier
by Pat Lawton and Jennifer Younger

We are pleased to announce Rose Fortier, Marquette University, as the CRRA Update Associate Editor. Rose has already proven to be a most capable and valuable contributor, collaborator, and editor, with noticeable improvements in formatting and content, as evidenced in this issue. We look forward to working together and bringing future improvements to the content, format, and delivery of our newsletter. Please join us in welcoming Rose to our newsletter team!

Committee Briefs

CRRA Liaisons and DAC Host Webinar on the Catholic Portal

The first of a series of webinars on the Catholic Portal, “Overview of the Catholic Portal and Sharing CRRA Resources with Your Users” was held on January 16, 2015. The session provided an overview of the portal including scope, member responsibilities, types of records and how to search for them, basic guidelines on making content available in the portal and how to submit records for ingest, and use of LibGuides to inform users of CRRA resources.

Panelists included Fran Rice (Liaisons), Laverna Saunders (Membership), Diane Maher (Collections), Demian Katz (DAC), Eric Morgan (DAC), and Ted Bergfelt (LibGuides). There was an excellent turnout, with forty-four participants from twenty-four institutions. Responses to the evaluation form indicated averaged 4.2 on a scale 1-5 scale, 5 being “very informative.” The next installment of the series will take place this spring. The webcast was recorded and is available for viewing on the password-protected Member page of the CRRA website. Thank you, panelists and participants!

ICON Webinars for the Catholic Newspapers Project
by Nick Casas, CRL Project Coordinator for CRRA, Center for Research Libraries

As we progress through the project, we have been receiving lots of wonderful questions regarding ingesting newspaper data into the ICON Database at CRL. To help ease confusion and to learn more about the nitty-gritty process, we have created three webinars – an introduction to the ICON Newspaper Database, in-depth instructions on the Publication Skeleton, and more in-depth instructions on the Issues Skeleton. You can see recordings of these webinars, the presentation slides, and more on the Digitizing Partners page on the sandbox of the CRRA website. If you need assistance with your login and password, please contact Jency Williams or Pat Lawton.

Tech Corner

Under Construction! The CRRA Website catholicresearch.net
by Jency Liddell, CRRA Webmaster

CRRA is working diligently on redesigning the website. Right now, the www.catholicresearch.net is still available and accessible. Behind the scenes, changes are taking place on our “sandbox” version of the site at http://cportalpprd.library.nd.edu/. Once the progress on the sandbox is complete, it will be migrated over to the www.catholicresearch.net address and will replace the original website design and layout.

The spring 2014 site redesign and usability report by the Catholic University of America students has informed the majority of the changes to the site, and a project timeline was generated using the CUA students’ documentation. Along the way we have come up with some additional tweaks to improve the site. Major goals included reducing text and introducing more images, selecting a new font, text size, text color, and hyperlink color, relocating pages to match the new tab structure, working on general site reorganization, renaming links and urls, reorganizing the member backend, and so forth. Andy Wetherill and Tom Hanstra, of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library, are working on all tasks related to the CRRA header and footer, notably new tabs and drop-down menus.

The Digital Access and Collections committees have regularly reviewed new content and provided suggestions.  Thanks to them for their good guidance, and a particular shout-out to Demian Katz for his help in working behind the scenes within the CMS, Concrete5.

Some future and in-progress changes include designing a new page for the twelve collecting themes in place of the current pdf, adding member logos to the home page, reorganizing Catholic Newspapers Online, creating a master directory of all CRRA members, and refashioning CRRA Update, the newsletter, and the CRRA blog.

Over the Christmas holiday, we featured a special seasonal exhibit about crèches from the University of Dayton’s digital collections. Currently, an exhibit about Catholicism in Los Angeles from Loyola Marymount University’s digital collections is on display. If you have any suggestions for possible exhibits or questions about changes to the website, please contact Jency Liddell.

News from Our Members

The Vatican Library and SLU/ Vatican Film Library Digitization Project
by Debra Cashion, librarian at the Vatican Film Library, Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University’s Pius XII Library held meetings on January 14, 2015 to discuss the potential for collaborative digitization of Vatican manuscripts between the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and Saint Louis University.  Digitized content would be publicly accessible.

Although assisted by other major European libraries such as the Bibliotheca Palatina at the University of Heidelberg, the Vatican Library Digitization project represents an extremely daunting undertaking.  In addition to the scale of the collection (comprising about 82,000 manuscripts), all need to be photographed almost page by page.  Each needs metadata, or descriptive information about the manuscripts (such as Language, Date, Country of Origin, Author, Title, etc.) to create catalog records for public access. By their very nature as unique artifacts, however, pre-modern manuscripts represent a challenge for library catalogers. The title page, for example, came into use with the printed book, so a 13th century Bible, for example, doesn’t announce to the reader that it is one. A lesser known text, such as a book of commentaries, prayers, or poetry can be unrecognizable except to a handful of specialists. One of the best ways to access information about pre-modern manuscripts is through the secondary literature of specialists, but many, thousands, of Vatican manuscripts remain unstudied, and which ones will be studied next is totally unpredictable.

The Vatican Film Library (VFL) microfilm project at Saint Louis University plans to support the ambitious project of the Vatican Library through providing a means of unusual cataloging support. SLU would build a digital product to allow online access to their collection of BAV manuscripts on microfilm. In a crowd-sourced web environment, user-scholars would be able to provide assistance with the descriptive cataloging of the Vatican collection through online access to the microfilm copies of the manuscripts, in which each manuscript would have a webpage to which users could contribute information and expertise. This project would help address the enormous scale the BAV project, as the VFL collection of Vatican manuscripts on microfilm comprises about 37,000 of the BAV’s holdings. The microfilms of these manuscripts can be scanned much more quickly than the actual manuscripts can be photographed, and crowd-sourcing most of the metadata could help accelerate the creation of catalog records and open access.

As the Vatican project proceeds, the microfilm copies of the manuscripts would be replaced by the new digitized versions, but the SLU project could become a sustainable site where users would continue to contribute and discuss information about BAV manuscripts. The goal of the SLU project is to share information in a linked-data environment that would not only support access to the incomparable collections of the Vatican Library, but also continue the commitment of Saint Louis University to lead international research and scholarship in pre-modern manuscript studies.

Robert A. Seal Named ACRL Academic/ Research Librarian of the Year

Congratulations to Bob Seal, (Robert A. Seal), dean of university libraries at Loyola University Chicago, who is the 2015 ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. “Bob’s spirit of collegiality, support for colleague development, resource sharing on the global stage and his articulation of the importance of the 21st century learning commons which places academic and research libraries at the center of higher education, underscored the committee’s choice,” noted Tyrone Cannon, chair of the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee and university library dean at the University of San Francisco.  Read more

Congratulations to Jennifer Head, Archivist, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, IA, elected to the Board of the Archivists of Congregations of Women Religious (ACWR).

Dayton’s Slater and Hoelscher Release Results on Study of Catholics Historians’ Use of Archives

Jillian M. Slater and Colleen Hoelscher (University of Dayton) have released results of their 2013 study on the Use of Archives by Catholic Historians, 2010-2012: A Citation Study .

Slater and Hoelscher’s findings shed light on archival resources as used by Catholic historians. The authors share their observations and findings within the context of practical issues including archival description, collection development, and related activities.

A key finding from the study revealed Catholic historians’ use of types of archives. Historians cited “diocesan archives, archives of religious orders, and archival collections at Catholic colleges and universities most frequently. Each of these categories was cited over 20 percent of the time.”

The authors offer insights into archival practices that could be improved or adopted to ensure continued use of archives, for example:

“Observations from this study are twofold regarding archival description. On one hand, heavily cited Catholic college and university archives all provide access to online finding aids. This supports the widely recognized importance of discoverable archival description. In contrast, the archives of dioceses and religious orders, which are cited somewhat more frequently, do not provide access to online finding aids. This suggests that other factors such as name recognition and predictability of holdings may influence a researcher’s decision to consult records at these repositories.” — [http://ecommons.udayton.edu/imri_faculty_publications/4/]

CRRA Research Guides on Vincentians and Jesuits

Thanks to Ted Bergfelt, Duquesne University, you can access new research guides (LibGuides) with links to rare and important online collections in CRRA member libraries, and to  videos and suggested searches in the Catholic portal. LibGuides are posted to the Links and Resources page. If you know of other collections to add or would like to write a research guide on another topic, please contact Ted at bergfeltt@duq.edu.

ACHA 2015 Panels

The annual conference of the American Catholic Historical Association was held this past January in New York City. Peter Cajka wrote an excellent recap of the conference for the blog Religion in American History. Notably, see his summary of the panel “Archives, Libraries, and Community Collaboration” featuring papers by Christine Angel (St. John’s University), Carol Coburn (Avila University), Patricia Lawton (CRRA), Maria R. Mazzenga (CUA), and Peter J. Wosh (NYU). To see Caijka’s summary and more, check out his post.

CRRA Members on the ACRL Ballot

Some of you will notice familiar names when you fill out the ACRL ballot this spring. Scott Walter, DePaul, and Jack Fritts, Benedictine, are candidates for vice-president/president-elect and Board member respectively.

Introductions at the Vatican Library
by Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director

In mid-February, I met with His Excellence Most Reverend Msgr. Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, and his personal secretary, Mr. Robert White, a doctoral candidate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. The hour sped by as we talked about our mutual interests, the Vatican Library’s support for digitization, including the Saint Louis University Library project, and ways in which the CRRA and others can request help and collaboration from the Vatican Library or Secret Archives. As I left, we exchanged hopes for future collaboration and success.

CUA Symposium: Ingrid Hsieh-Yee and Pat Lawton on “Crowdsourcing Terms of Thematic Exploration in the Catholic Portal”

At the Feb. 20 Sixth Annual “Bridging the Spectrum” Symposium, Dr. Ingrid Hsieh-Yee (the Catholic University of America) presented a poster describing preliminary results from Hsieh-Yee and Lawton’s preliminary analysis of terms describing Portal Themes that were submitted by selected CRRA members. The study will inform how Portal Themes can be used to facilitate exploration and use of CRRA collections. Participants’ terms are compared with the Library of Congress subject headings and analyzed for possible linking to Portal subject headings. Findings will have implications for enhancing subject access to Catholic resources in local catalogs and the CRRA’s Catholic Portal.

Preliminary results suggest that besides LCSH matches and cross references already in LCSH, variants, associated and narrower terms, if accommodated, may increase success in retrieving items from the Catholic Portal.

Collection Highlights

African American Resources in the Catholic Portal
by Rose Fortier, CRRA Update Associate Editor

A search of the Catholic Portal for materials relating to Catholics of African American ethnicity reveals a diverse offering from a number of different institutions. A simple keyword phrase search of the Portal for “African Americans” yields 237 results (the search was conducted March 2, 2015). It is important to note that simple variations to search terms can produce different results. As always when searching a database, it is important to experiment with multiple search terms to find the most complete results.

Here are some highlights from the top institutions. The Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center has a collection of African American pamphlets published between 1867 and 1996. In addition, their collection of parish printed materials opens a window into African American parishes in the Philadelphia area.

By comparison, Boston College holds a number of more traditional materials. Their collection of monographs about African American Catholics sheds some light on the status of African Americans within the Catholic Church over almost seventy years. The most unique item listed in the Portal from Boston College is likely the Songs of Zion. This 252 page score includes hymns and accompaniment.

Meanwhile, The Catholic University of American holdings in the Portal show more archival and manuscript materials than books. With materials such as the Records of the Catholic Interracial Council of New York which covers materials from the CICNY from 1921-1975, and personal papers such as The Francis J. Haas Papers, there is much here to interest scholars interested in African American Catholics.

The last institution on the list–Marquette University–holds an interesting variety of materials. Of particular interest are the papers of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice. The papers cover a period from the late 1950s through 2001, and include information on topics such as interracial marriage, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and much more. A detailed finding aid is accessible through the Portal.

Collections of African American materials can be difficult to track down. This difficulty and the steps that may be taken to overcome it are evident in one of Marquette University’s newest digital collections: African American Catholics of the United States.

A Hidden Gem: Marquette’s African American Catholics of the United States
by Mark Thiel, archivist at Marquette University’s Raynor Memorial Libraries

Since 1977, Marquette University’s Special Collections and Archives department has served as the archival repository of the Washington, D.C.-based Black and Indian Mission Office, now home to three autonomous national Catholic agencies serving Native American and African American Catholics. At Marquette, each agency’s records form a separate record group within one archival collection, which is named after its oldest agency , the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions (est. 1874), because its records comprise the bulk of the over 600 cubic feet of records.

The BCIM name has worked well for serving researchers focused on Native American subjects. In so doing, Marquette produced microfilm of select record series, which it loans via interlibrary loan, and it has created online descriptive inventories and digital collections.

But for the archivists, success with the native records also provided increasingly stark contrast with the overshadowed records of the other two agencies. These are the records of the Black and Indian Mission [fundraising] Collection (est. 1884) and the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (est. 1907), which also served Philippine Igorot people and Hispanic Americans to the 1940s. Furthermore, Marquette also serves as the archives for the National Black Sisters Conference, whose records form yet another collection pertaining to African American Catholics.

When funding became available to provide for more digital image collections, archives staff were committed to developing one focused on African American Catholics. They began by selecting representative images, describing the subjects depicted and confirming the date and place, which often began with limited information. In a few instances, names of associated places and organizations had changed, which necessitated outside assistance for finding contemporary terms. Ultimately, archivists included over 200 20th century images that illustrate the breadth of African American Catholic life with clergy, women religious, lay adults and children from churches and schools in 26 states. The collection came to be called African American Catholics of the United States. More images will be added in the future and collections featuring other groups will be explored as well.

Heads Up:

Grants for Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is accepting proposals for the 2015 cycle of the Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant. Requests range from $50,000-$500,000 for collaborative projects or $250,000 for single-institution projects. The deadline for application is April 30, 2015. For a more details on the grant, check out the CLIR website.

USD Digital Initiatives Conference

April 29th, 2015, the University of San Diego hosts the 2015 Digital Initiatives Symposium. The program is already available, and the symposium includes a wide variety of topics dealing with digital scholarship of interest to CRRA members. Panel sessions and presentations cover topics from collaboration on digital projects, metadata in legacy digital collections, preservation of digital humanities projects, and much more. Registration closes March 23rd.

CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting-Save the Date! June 1-2, 2015

The CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting – Bringing the created toward the Creator: Liturgical art and design since Vatican II – will be held June 1-2, 2015 at Catholic Theological Union (CTU), Chicago. Our program will include an opening presentation by CTU President, Mark Francis, C.S.V., a noted liturgical theologian, who will set the stage for the following presentations and panels. The keynote speaker will be John Buscemi, a leading liturgical artist, asked by parishes around the country to design new vestments, altars, and churches for liturgical celebrations, speaking on the impact of Vatican II on liturgical art and design. We will draw on the richness of the Chicago area to bring faculty, students, and others who use the portal and Catholic Newspapers Online to talk with us about resources they value in their teaching and scholarship. Plan now to join your CRRA colleagues in conversations about your library initiatives as well as CRRA activities, accomplishments, and priorities for the coming year. Details are posted to the News and Events page.

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members and friends with an update of CRRA activities. Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 30, 2015 06:37 AM

CRRA Update Fall 2014

CRRA Update
Fall 2014
(October, November, December)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:

From the Board: Creating a Community Infrastructure for Digital Catholic Newspapers
Diane Parr Walker, Chair and University Librarian, University of Notre Dame

It was a busy and productive fall for the CRRA Board, focusing primarily on the progress and plans for newspapers digitization and repository services. The Catholic Newspapers Committee (which replaces the former Task Force) and its subgroups have done extensive work adding holdings of the priority newspapers to the publicly-accessible ICON registry, developing digitization guidelines, evaluating repository platforms, and investigating cost recovery models with a small number of vendors and partner organizations.

The Catholic Newspapers Online points to an increasing number of digitized and born digital newspapers. Each one is accessible from its own website.  For the future, we are building a community infrastructure, with the intent to include a shared repository for enhancing access to digital Catholic newspapers.  Digital access results in more use by more people. In the words of The Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans “… the Catholic Church needs to have its history easily accessible to researchers and interested readers, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.”  We can collectively make a strategic investment and create a valuable new digital resource.  As our plans go forward, we will keep you informed of ways in which you can participate in this ambitious project.

Other Board activities included the appointment of a Governance Committee to implement new provisions in the CRRA Bylaws. Tyrone Cannon, chair, Theresa Byrd, and John Buschman have agreed to serve as the Governance Committee.  Their first activity will be to recommend a process for members to elect new Board members next spring.   In addition, the Executive Committee of the Board has begun work on a strategic, multi-year financial plan to secure the future (Five Year Strategic Plan (2012/13 – 2016/17).

Congratulations are due Michael LaCroix, who retired from Creighton University and the Board effective mid-September.  Michael brought a wealth of experience and a keen perspective to the Board discussions.  We wish him well in retirement.

As the year ends and the holidays begin, I am mindful that our success comes through the leadership and activities of members and partners.  Our committees are deeply involved in shaping and carrying out our goals and we thank them for all their work. I wish that I could talk with each of you personally about the rewards I am experiencing through my involvement. Instead, let me encourage everyone to consider the opportunities mentioned later and join with us in advancing the CRRA mission.

Further Progress on Catholic Newspapers into ICON
Nick Casas, CRRA Project Coordinator, Center for Research Libraries

I am happy to announce that another Catholic newspaper has been ingested into the ICON (International Coalition on Newspapers) database, the Sacred Heart Review from Betsy Post and the staff at Boston College. How did we do it?

Betsy contacted me and gave me a list of her issues of Sacred Heart Review in both paper and digital format. She then notified me of missing issues to accurately reflect the holdings. We then took the data from Boston College’s catalog and the list of issues and produced the publications skeleton and issues skeleton specifically for Sacred Heart Review. The publications skeleton is used to feed metadata about the Publication such as ISSNs, OCLC numbers, title, alternate titles, publisher, etc. into ICON.

The issues skeleton is used to feed issues of that publication into ICON. It could either be A.) individual issues listed in year-month-day format or B.) a range of dates your organization has along with a frequency.

After the skeletons were completed, I sent all of the data Betsy provided me over to Andy Elliott, manager of the ICON database at Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Thus, an ICON record for Sacred Heart Review was born.

You can find the full record online at http://icon.crl.edu/calendar.php?pub_id=ca13001857

After the addition of Sacred Heart Review, ICON contains over 240 newspapers relating to Catholicism. This is astounding progress. Keep the newspapers coming! Special thanks to Betsy Post and the staff at Boston College and Andy Elliott at CRL.

From the Digital Access Committee (DAC): Making Your Content Available
Demian Katz, Digital Access Committee Chair

 DAC welcomes new member Paul Kelly from the Catholic University of America.  Paul is Digital Archivist at The Catholic University of America Archives, where he develops standards and practices for accessioning of born-digital content, manages digitization projects, and recently initiated CUA’s web archiving activities. His interests include digital forensics, late 19th/early 20th century literature, and live music. He received a BA in English Literature from the University of Glasgow in 2005, and an MSLIS from Catholic University in 2014.

DAC has recently expanded and revised CRRA guidelines for Making Your Content Available.  In addition to adding records to the portal, DAC has explored and identified strategies for harvesting digital content from CONTENTdm.

We are also pleased to announce the availability of a simple tool for creating simple EAD records that can be saved locally and/or made available to the portal.

If you have content you would like DAC to explore for ingest, please contact me or any DAC members.

Special thanks to Rob Behary (Duquesne) for work on CONTENTdm and to Kevin Cawley (ND) for development of the EAD Template.

Archivism is Activism! Preserving the History of Catholic Women Religious
Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director

Dr. Mary Ellen Lennon, historian, invited women religious from congregations in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to join with archivists, digital scholarship librarians and advancement officers to discuss “how we can help.”  Affiliated with the National Women’s History Project and a faculty member at Marian University, Dr. Lennon is organizing a comprehensive oral history project on the Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg, Indiana, a project she hopes will be replicated by many others.  She set the stage with questions. Have we gathered the authentic history of women religious? Are we preserving it? Are we attentive to needs of small communities without archivists?

Several CRRA colleagues participated including Jeff Hoffman, Archivist, who attended with Sr. Ginger Downey, Leadership Team, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters (OLVM), Jean McManus, Catholic Studies Librarian, Catherine Osborne, Fellow, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, University of Notre Dame; Kate Feighery, Archival Manager, Archdiocese of New York; Pat Lawton, CRRA Digital Projects Librarian and Jency Liddell, CRRA Associate Administrative Assistant, and Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director.  Together, we highlighted the opportunities for providing access to collections through the Catholic portal, emphasized the significance of digitizing in preserving the legacies of women religious and making it available to many researchers and noted that CRRA developed a template for creating standards-based metadata records which can be ingested into the portal.  Other speakers spoke about steps in organizing archives, digitization, getting funds, and overall, the great desirability of knowing much more about the content in these archives.

We were pleased to talk with Sr. Louise Grundish, SC, Archivist, Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill and president, Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious (ACWR) about partnering with ACWR in the design of a survey of these collections.  We share their interest in making the unique resources of women religious congregations accessible.  Our CRRA partners (OLVM and Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) are also members of ACWR and some of our CRRA members work closely with archivists of the institution’s founding congregation.  In turn, two members of ACWR contributed images to the online exhibit Treasures of CRRA: Images of Women Religious, curated by Marta Deyrup, Seton Hall University.

Preservation Survey Results Released by ATLA

A report on the ATL/CLA/AJL project In Good Faith:  Collection Care, Preservation, and Access is Small Theological and Religious Studies Libraries is available at https://www.atla.com/about/pressroom/Pages/Preservation-Survey-Results-Released-by-ATLA.aspx The Spring 2014 survey targeted religious libraries and archives with fewer than five full time equivalent, and budgets under $500,000 asking about their preservation and digital practices.  Several CRRA members, including University of Dayton Marian Library, the St. Thomas University Archbishop Ireland Memorial Library (graduate theology library), University of Saint Mary of the Lake (USML), St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and partners, including Sisters of Charity of BVM,  Our Lady of Victory Noll Missionary Sisters, along with two CRRA digitization partners, Archdioceses of New York and Hartford, responded.  The 235 responses reveal a lack of policies for preservation and digitization although preservation is often part of the mission and there is a need for expanding capacity for collection processing, cataloging and finding aid development to increase discoverability of collections.

Save the Dates! 

January 16, 2015 CRRA Webinar, All Are Invited!
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Catholic Portal

Friday, January 16
1:00-2:30 Eastern
12:00-1:30 Central
10:00-11:30 Pacific

This 90 min. ​session will provide an overview of the Catholic portal ​including scope, member responsibilities, types of records and how to search for them, basic guidelines on making content available in the portal and how to submit records for ingest, and use of LibGuides to inform users of CRRA resources.​  This session will provide an introduction. Future webinars will expand on many of these topics.​

​​Please plan to attend and invite ​your ​colleagues!  Information on joining the session will be sent closer to the date. We hope you can join us.
Information on this and all CRRA events are found on our News and Events link: http://www.catholicresearch.net/cms/index.php/crra-news-and-events/

June 1-2, 2015 CRRA Annual Meeting and Symposium
The CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting will be held June 1-2, 2015 at Catholic Theological Union (CTU), Chicago.  Plan now to join in learning about the impact of Vatican II on liturgical art and design as visualized by a leading liturgical artist and what faculty, students, and others value most in the portal collections and Catholic Newspapers Online.

Opportunities for Professional Service and Development in CRRA
Join Your Colleagues – Make a Difference!

CRRA carries out its mission through the leadership and engagement of its members. Every year we welcome new committee members to share their expertise and help us enhance CRRA programs and services. If you are looking for new opportunities to discover the joys of connecting with your colleagues, gaining new insights, and shaping our future, Diane Parr Walker, chair, Board of Directors, invites you to join a CRRA committee. There are lots of ways to match your interests and passion with CRRA.  Committee goals and current membership are on the website under CRRA Groups.  Please contact any committee chair or member, Pat Lawton or Jennifer Younger.

In addition, consider using your talents to enhance CRRA communications with its members, partners and other organizations.  We are seeking a creative, collaborative and self-starting individual to serve as the associate editor of CRRA Updates (add link here to job ad in file manager).  The associate editor will solicit and write content for Update, participate in planning and scheduling future issues, and envision a fresh and visually look with enhanced functionality.  A small stipend is available to support editorial activities.  To nominate yourself or recommend others, please contact Pat Lawton, CRRA Updates Editor.

Post-doc Opportunities at Notre Dame in Data Curation, please distribute:

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members and friends with an update of CRRA activities.  Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 30, 2015 06:26 AM

CRRA Update Summer 2014

CRRA Update
Summer 2014
(July, August, September)
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:

From the Board: Accessing Digital Content, Informing Users and Bringing Your Expertise to Our Shared Mission
Diane Parr Walker, Chair and University Librarian, University of Notre Dame

Our priorities for the year focus on two important areas: 1) to build a critical mass of digital content available through the portal and the Catholic Newspapers Program, and 2) to inform prospective users of this rich content. The year is off to a great start.  With links to over seventy newspapers, Catholic Newspapers Online (CNO) is already a “go to” reference source and as our support for newspapers digitization materializes, CNO will continue to grow. I’m pleased to report as well on our extended collaboration with the Center for Research Libraries to support discovery and digitization of Catholic newspapers.

All of us are looking for ways to let faculty and students know of the CRRA collections, which continue to grow through new member collections and additions from current members. I encourage you to see how the subject guides recently made available by the CRRA Subcommittee on Subject Guides might be useful on your campus.

In noting these accomplishments, I am remembering that our success comes through the support and activities of members and partners.  Our committees are deeply involved in developing policies and activities to reach our goals.  Please do consider how you might build on your professional interests and expertise in connecting with colleagues through participation on CRRA committees or as the associate editor of CRRA Updates (announcements below).  Contact any of the committee chairs, Pat Lawton or Jennifer Younger to seek more information or to volunteer your services.

From the Membership Committee: Welcome to St. John’s University (New York City) and Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO)
Laverna Saunders, Chair and University Librarian, Duquesne University

St. John’s University is Catholic, Vincentian, and Metropolitan.  Over 20,000 students choose from academic programs on the Queens campus (the largest), Staten Island, Paris and Rome. The Main Library in St. Augustine Hall holds materials relating to several portal themes, including Women and Men’s religious orders. The Halpern Collection of Popes and Saints Letters of 38 manuscript letters, not ordinarily available outside of the Church archives but soon to be available in a digital collection, bridges eight centuries.  They maintain close connections with the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University Center, the Institute on Poverty Studies, and the Religion and Science Dialogue.  Welcome Blythe Roveland-Brenton (pictured, left) Alyse Hennig (right), Theresa Maylone, Anna M. Donnelly and all of St. John’s.

Welcome to Saint Louis University
Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University was the first university west of the Mississippi. It is a Catholic, Jesuit university whose 13,000 students are undergraduates and graduates, national and international.  The Pius XII Memorial Library (Main Library) has already begun selecting materials for the portal. It holds extensive collections with special strength in theology and historical theology, including the world-renowned Vatican Film Library  and the Woodstock Letters, a publication of the Society of Jesus from 1872 until 1969, available as a digital collection.  They maintain close connections with the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Center for Digital Humanities on campus.

Welcome Dave Cassens, Dean of Libraries and all at SLU!

Catholic Newspapers in ICON: Welcome to Nick Casas, CRL Project Coordinator for CRRA
The goal of the Catholic Newspapers Program is to provide access to extant Catholic newspapers held in North America through a directory, digitization and repository.  In September, we contracted with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) to assist us in making Catholic newspapers visible in the freely-accessible ICON registry (International Coalition on Newspapers) and supporting our newspaper digitization initiatives. Nick Casas, CRL Project Coordinator for CRRA, will work with Pat Lawton, CRRA Digital Projects Librarian, to assist members in submitting their newspapers metadata to ICON, identify newspapers available in digital form and ensure their discoverability in ICON and the Catholic Newspapers Online, and provide technical support to CRRA members and partners digitizing newspapers and adding data to ICON.  We welcome this opportunity to continue our collaboration with the Center for Research Libraries.

Nick has been at the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) since September 2011, beginning as a stacks management assistant, then a library assistant, and now as a project coordinator. Previously, Nick attended Saint Xavier University in Chicago earning his bachelor of music in music education. With his teaching experience and education background, Nick graduated with the MLIS in May 2013 from Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Nick writes, “my goal with CRRA and CRL is to instruct other librarians, faculty, and staff from our member institutions to the best of my ability. Newspapers (serials in general) are a very different type of species compared to other materials. It is a challenge, and not everyone has that “serials mindset.” My goal is to help our member institutions at least to understand a part of it – not necessarily to make them experts, but to facilitate their data to us so we can make the ICON Registry grow efficiently.”

Welcome, Nick!

Subject Guides to the Portal
Subject guides to the portal are published and available via the Links & Resources tab on our website and through a keyword search using “Catholic portal,” or “CRRA” on the Springshare community site.  You can copy, adapt and incorporate the content to create a subject guide for your library or archive. You can also listen to the webinar at which Felice Maciejewski, Ted Bergfelt and Rick Clegg discussed the work of the LibGuides Subcommittee and the published guides at https://nd.webex.com/nd/lsr.php?RCID=7a8818dd852b43ab907d2b70e8395275. Also included in the list are examples of how one member incorporated links to the LibGuides to CRRA and the portal in other relevant LibGuides.

Save the Date!  June 1-2, 2015
The CRRA Symposium and Annual Meeting will be held June 1-2, 2015 at Catholic Theological Union (CTU), Chicago.  Plan now to join in learning about the impact of Vatican II on liturgical art and design as visualized by a leading liturgical artist and what faculty, students, and others value most in the portal collections and Catholic Newspapers Online.

News from Our Members

Avila University’s Martha Smith, CSJ, Archives and Research Center
This photo shows the outside legacy wall for the Martha Smith, CSH, Archives and Research Center, recently completed at Avila University. Carol Coburn, Professor of Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies and the Director of the CSJ Heritage Center, writes that they “are very excited to share our new site that was dedicated on August 25, 2014.  It is in our new Library/Learning Commons and provides space for archival materials, a research room, and a full time archivist.”

The Center includes the Women Religious Special Collections, begun by Sister Martha Smith and Carol Coburn, Ph.D., in the fall of 1997. These collections are unique as the first college/university Special Collections focused entirely on the experience of Catholic sisters and nuns.

Congratulations, Avila!

DePaul University: Sending St. Vincent’s Letters to the World
DePaul University Special Collections and Archives hold eight of St. Vincent’s original manuscripts – the largest collection outside of Europe. “Holding a letter (safely encased in plastic) that St. Vincent de Paul held,” the Reverend Edward R. Udovic, C.M., tells his students “can be a transformational experience. Vincent was a 17th century person, and even though his ideals and values transcend history, understanding that he was a real person and came from this specific place and time is very important.” Now the Vincentian community worldwide can get a closer look at these letters through a new digital collection, allowing “scholars to pore over the way the letters have been written: underlining, scratch-outs, and bolder passages, which cannot be replicated in the print volumes of Vincent’s correspondence,” says Andrew Rea, DePaul’s Vincentian librarian.

St. Catherine University Adé Bethune: The Power of One Person
Deborah Kloiber, University Archivist / Head of Special Collections, St. Catherine University Library

Adé Bethune (1914-2002) gave her personal papers, art works, books, and other items to St. Catherine University in 1984. The Adé Bethune Collection is one of St. Kate’s treasures, and has drawn the interest of scholars and others from around the world. This fall the University is celebrating the centennial of Adé Bethune’s birth and her contributions to art, especially liturgical art, and social action initiatives.

The celebration centers on an exhibition in the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery on campus curated by Deborah Kloiber, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections. Adé Bethune: The Power of One Person, which runs September 8 – December 19, 2014, draws from items in the University’s Adé Bethune Collection to commemorate the career of Bethune as artist, writer, and activist. From her early association with the Catholic Worker in the 1930s, Bethune went on to become a pioneering liturgical artist, graphic designer, and businesswoman, as well as a driving force for social justice and community change. The exhibition illustrates her work in these areas, all of which grew from her involvement with the Catholic Worker.

To further honor this remarkable woman, a lecture series accompanies the exhibition. The free lectures feature four scholars who are familiar with Adé Bethune and her work, and who have used the Adé Bethune Collection for their research. Dr. Julia Upton, RSM, Distinguished Professor of Theology, St. John’s University, New York, spoke September 18 on “The Work and Works of Mercy: Learning from Catholic Worker Artist Adé Bethune.” October 9 features two talks, one by Rebecca M. Berru-Davis, Ph.D., Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Theology, St. John’s University, Minnesota. Her topic is “Liturgical Design, Art, and Community: Adé Bethune’s Evolving Mission to Transform Church Space.”  The second, by Katharine E. Harmon, Ph.D., Lecturer in Theology, Marian University, Indianapolis is titled “Work and Worship: Adé Bethune and the American Liturgical Movement.” The final lecture, “Adé Bethune, Renaissance Woman: Creative Living and Aging,” will be given November 18 by Dr. Judith Church Tydings.

Bethune was once asked by a reporter about her opinion of Catholic art in general. Her response evokes the combination of innovation and authenticity that made her a pioneering artist of her time. “You use the word ‘art’ as meaning things, i.e., works of art. Actually art is the virtue (or power) residing in the artist. You should be careful in your use of the word. No virtue of making is generally found in our churches, schools, or homes. But they are full of works of art, most of them the very ugly products of commercialism.”

Adé Bethune used the artistic power she alluded to in many ways throughout her life—designing churches and sacred objects for use in worship; as an illustrator and graphic designer for a variety of causes and organizations that she supported; and in designing residential buildings in order to provide affordable housing in Newport. Her legacy demonstrates the ability, or power, of one person to improve conditions of her community and the world around her.

For more information about the celebration, see the exhibition website, http://www.stkate.edu/gallery/14-15/ade_bethune.php, and Pinterest board, http://www.pinterest.com/stkateslibrary/adé-bethune-the-power-of-one-person/.

View St. Kate’s rich holdings in the Catholic portal: http://www.catholicresearch.net/vufind/Search/Results?lookfor=ade+bethune&type=AllFields&filter%5B%5D=institution%3A%22St.+Catherine+University%22

CRRA at IFLA August 2014
We were well represented at three IFLA (International Federation of Libraries Association) meetings this year. At the IFLA Newspapers Section conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Pat Lawton (CRRA), presented Implementing the Catholic Newspapers Program: Collaborative Digitization and Discovery within a Nonprofit, Distributed, Online Organization which she and Alexandra Budz, a graduate student working with her at Notre Dame, co-authored. Pat noted “it was fascinating to see our project through the lens of national library projects in Europe. It was a great learning experience and opportunity to connect with experts in the field.”


While attending the IFLA meetings in Lyon, France, Michael LaCroix  (Creighton University), met the Head of “La Collection Jesuits des Fontaines,” Monsieur Yann Kergunteuil, who invited him to visit. For a variety of reasons, the Jesuits made a decision to close the “Centre Culturel des Fontaines” located in Gouvieux, north of Paris.   Subsequently, the Director of La Bibliotheque de Lyon and the city’s Mayor  offered unfinished space in the Library’s stack tower to house, grow, preserve, and promote the collection, which occupies over 32,000 linear feet. Thirty-seven semi-trailers were required to move the collection over a period of months in 1998 and 1999. The theme of the collection is Catholicism’s history of spirituality as presented in its social and cultural context, with particular emphasis on Europe’s civilization from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

  1. Kerguneuil (who speaks excellent English) and his associates welcome researchers and scholars interested in using this significant resource.  He can be reached at ykergunteuil@bm-lyon.fr. Information about the collection can also be found at La Bibliotheque de Lyon’s web site at http://www.bm-lyon.fr/nos-blogs-et-sites-thematiques/la-collection-jesuite-des/.

Theresa Byrd (University of San Diego), Marta Deyrup (Seton Hall University), Janice Welburn (Marquette University) and Jennifer Younger (CRRA), participated in the two day symposium Libraries at the Heart of the Dialogue of Cultures and Religions, sponsored by the  IFLA Religious Libraries in Dialogue (RELINDIAL) Special Interest Group. Held at the Institute catholique de Paris, the program was wonderfully diverse in religious traditions and countries represented.  There was great interest in what CRRA is doing (Can add link to The Catholic Research Resources Alliance: Building a membership community for collecting and hosting digital Catholica in theUnited States and Canada. Our colleagues from the French Catholic universities asked to include Catholic newspapers in France to the Catholic newspapers directory we are building and we promised to stay in touch about future opportunities.

On a problem of intense concern in North America too, Otto Lankhorst, Curator at the Fondation du Patimoine Monastique aux Pays-Bas (www.erfgoedkloosterleven.nl)  spoke about the work of religious congregations to preserve their libraries and archives in light of the increasing secularization of Dutch society.  Today, over one hundred organizations support this foundation in housing and preserving the heritage assets from Catholic religious orders.

We expect that RELINDIAL will hold a one day symposium in 2016, the year IFLA will meet in Columbus, Oh. We hope more of our North American colleagues will be able to attend.

Opportunities for Professional Service and Development in CRRA
Each year we welcome new committee members.  Maybe this is the year when you would like to explore new opportunities, and if so, we invite you to volunteer for a CRRA committee. The goals and current membership are on the website under CRRA Groups.

The newly formed Development Committee’s major objective is to develop strategies to generate funds to sustain the programs and services of CRRA. If interested, contact Lorraine Olley or Scott Walter, co-chairs. (The Development Committee web page is in process).

The Digital Access Committee (DAC) seeks two new members.  DAC identifies metadata guidelines, best practices and protocols for making metadata and content accessible via the portal. An interest in technological solutions to library problems and/or strong opinions about interface design and usability are very helpful. Technologists are welcome, but users of technology can be just as helpful as developers in hashing out solutions to the problems DAC usually discusses. If interested, contact DAC chair Demian Katz or Pat Lawton for more information.

To explore other opportunities, contact any committee chair, Pat Lawton or Jennifer Younger.

In addition, we are seeking a creative, collaborative and self-starting individual to serve as the Associate Editor of CRRA Updates (link to full job description).  If you like to share the news, we need your talents to enhance CRRA communications with its members, partners and other organizations.  The associate editor will solicit and write content for Update, participate in planning and scheduling future issues, and envision a fresh and visually engaging look with enhanced functionality.  A small stipend is available to support editorial activities.  To nominate yourself or recommend others, please send a short letter of interest and qualifications to Pat Lawton, CRRA Updates Editor.

Preservation Survey Results Released by ATLA
A report on the ATL/CLA/AJL project In Good Faith:  Collection Care, Preservation, and Access is Small Theological and Religious Studies Libraries is available at https://www.atla.com/about/pressroom/Pages/Preservation-Survey-Results-Released-by-ATLA.aspx

The Spring 2014 survey targeted religious libraries and archives with fewer than five full time equivalent, and budgets under $500,000 asking about their preservation and digital practices. The 235 responses reveal a lack of policies for preservation and digitization although preservation is often part of the mission and there is a need for expanding capacity for collection processing, cataloging and finding aid development to increase discoverability of collections.

Lyrasis Offers Online Class: Grant Writing for Digitization and Preservation Projects
This four-hour class, which will be offered online in two-hour increments for two successive days, focuses on preparing for and writing grants for digitization and/or preservation projects.
WHEN: Thursday & Friday, October 30 & 31, 2014 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST

See more at: http://www.lyrasis.org/Pages/EventDetail.aspx?Eid=20AE1024-1414-E411-88A4-002219586F0D#sthash.bZGdCx7g.dpuf

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members and friends with an update of CRRA activities.  Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 30, 2015 06:22 AM

CRRA Update Spring 2014

CRRA Update
Spring 2014
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

In this issue:

From the Board: Getting Ready for 2014-15
Tyrone Cannon, Chair and Dean, University Libraries, University of San Francisco

At the June 18th Board meeting, the Board took the actions listed below to put the 2014-15 year in place.  I want to thank the entire Board for their excellent work this past year. Special thanks are due to two departing Board members – Janice Welburn, past Board chair, and Evelyn Minick, chair of the hard-working Membership Committee. I enjoyed serving as chair and look forward to continuing in the role of past chair.  Board actions were:

  • Adoption of the FY15 budget
  • Allocation of one-time funds for program needs this year: part-time manager for the Catholic Newspapers directory and digitization projects; expanding digital content; and managing the CRRA website
  • Election of Laverna Saunders, University Librarian, Duquesne University and John Buschman, Dean of University Libraries, Seton Hall University, to three year terms on the Board
  • Election of Darren Poley, Outreach Librarian, Villanova University, to a second one year term on the Board
  • Election of Steve Connaghan, University Librarian, The Catholic University of America, to vice-chair/chair-elect
  • Determination that the proposed revision of the CRRA Bylaws were ready to go to CRRA official representatives for review and voting
  • Adoption of the Annual Strategic Plan: Goals for 2014-15

Accomplishments and Priorities for 2014-15
Diane Parr Walker, Chair and University Librarian, University of Notre Dame

On behalf of the Board, I am very pleased to thank the many talented and dedicated committee members and CRRA staff whose accomplishments truly move us forward in providing enduring access to Catholic resources in the Americas. We know from the website analytics that in one year (mid-Feb. 2013 to mid-Feb. 2014), over 21,000 unique individuals visited the CRRA website for a total of over 26,000 visits.  About 27% of users of the site searched the Portal, with the most popular search strings being “Catholic parishes,” “Book of Genesis” and “Canon law” (CRRA Update Winter 2014).

Our priorities for 2014-15 build on this success.  They are 1) to build a critical mass of digital content available through the portal and the Catholic Newspapers Program, and 2) to inform prospective users of this rich content.  Our mission is all about faculty and students searching the portal to find and use Catholic resources in their teaching, learning and research.  The CRRA Strategic Plan: Goals for 2014-15 is on our website (click on the tab “About CRRA,” then click on annual strategic plan).  During the year, we will share progress through webinars and the Updates, but I hope you will take a few minutes now to learn more about our goals for the coming year.

From the Membership Committee: Welcome to St. John’s University, New York City
Evelyn Minick, Chair and University Librarian, Saint Joseph’s University

The Membership Committee was delighted to welcome three new members and partners this last year – Avila University, Kansas City, MO; Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, IA and the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.  In the next CRRA Update, we will welcome St. John’s University, New York City, as the 40th institutional member of CRRA.

From the Digital Access Committee (DAC): Harvesting Digital Content from Member Institutions
Demian Katz, Chair, and Systems Librarian, Villanova University

DAC worked closely with Diane Maher, chair, and the Collections Committee on two initiatives to harvest CRRA member metadata records from digital repositories and load the records, with links to the digital content, into the portal.  Rob Behary (Duquesne) and Rose Fortier (Marquette) identified records from the Spiritan collection and articles from the journal Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education respectively, for harvesting.  These records are now available for viewing in the portal.

Kudos and thanks to Duquesne, Marquette, and DAC for advancing CRRA goals to increase digital content accessible via the portal and for adding to the critical mass of materials on two portal themes – Catholic Men’s Religious Orders and Catholic education.

Following the successful ingestion of  BePress (Marquette) and CONTENTdm (Duquesne) content into the Catholic portal, the Digital Access Committee is looking for additional members interested in adding digital content to the online index.

Rob Behary of Duquesne has provided instructions to help other CONTENTdm users make their collections available <http://www.catholicresearch.net/cms/files/1014/0510/0321/Making_CONTENTdm_Collections_Available_to_CRRA.pdf> , and DAC is also willing to work with members using other platforms.

If you are interested in working with DAC to expose your institution’s digital content in the portal, please contact Demian, Pat, or any member of the Digital Access Committee.

Upcoming CRRA Webinar on LibGuides
The Subject Guide to the Portal Subcommittee, chaired by Felice Maciejewski (Dominican University), is sponsoring a webinar to review the newly developed LibGuides to the portal.  The guides describe the kinds of materials found in the portal and provide tips on searching and full-text availability. A special announcement via the CRRA listserv will go out with date, time and sign-in information.

A Mystery Collection
Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director

Thanks to Ann Kenne, Head of Special Collections and University Archivist, St. Thomas, for her close reading of the CRRA Update Winter 2014 in which I mistakenly stated that the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN held the files and archives of the National Office for Black Catholics (NOBC). A search query for “National Office Black Catholics” returns 31 hits but the records do not appear to describe a collection of files and archives from the National Office for Black Catholics. I do not remember where I read about this collection.  Can you help solve this mystery?  Does such a collection of records exist? Where does it exist?

Opportunities for Professional Service and Development in CRRA
There are many CRRA committees, groups, and task forces doing important and interesting work to advance our mission to provide enduring global access to Catholic research resources. Information about the various groups is viewable on our website at: http://www.catholicresearch.net/cms/index.php/crra-groups/ .

If you or someone at your institution is interested in sharing time and talents through CRRA committee service, please contact Pat, Jennifer, or the committee chair.  Committee members often find the opportunity for meeting and working with CRRA colleagues to be a rewarding experience.

In addition to serving on committees, there are other opportunities to help CRRA achieve its priorities and goals. We describe very broadly below some areas of opportunity but we know from experience that members always have excellent suggestions. We welcome your ideas and participation.  Please contact Pat or Jennifer to explore how your interests and CRRA’s program needs could result in a professional service opportunity for you.

  • Are you a creative or technical guru? Help make the CRRA website a more dynamic, inviting and informative site for users and members. We have excellent recommendations from graduate students at The Catholic University of America on ways to enhance our website and are working with committees to implement these recommendations in the fall.   We are looking for one or more individuals to help implement these changes and going forward, to update the website with new and changing program information, news and events, and other features.
  • Do you like to share the news? Help enhance CRRA communication with its members, partners and other organizations with shared interests to be more useful in networking and developing shared initiatives between or among members and others. We are looking for one or more individuals to help us get the word out. This could include editing the CRRA Updates on a quarterly basis, compiling special updates, writing or soliciting content for Updates, creating a fresh and visually appealing newsletter look or enhanced functionality to enable searching across issues and archiving the content.
  • Are you data driven? Are you interested in putting data to work in improving services? There is a lot of analytics data on use of the CRRA website which we have only begun to analyze.  We are seeking individuals who would like to analyze and parse this data, and report out to committees and members with recommendations for improving the website and our programs.

Positions Available
Head of Archives & Special Collections at Santa Clara, University Library
Santa Clara University Library seeks applications and nominations for the position of Head of Archives and Special Collections. The selected candidate will be an imaginative and innovative leader who articulates a clear vision for a unit that includes the university archives, special collections, and digital initiatives. Since 2009 the unit has grown in personnel and resources and increased its visibility and prominence throughout the campus community and beyond. The focus of Archives and Special Collections are on areas relevant to the University’s roles, primarily as a Jesuit, Catholic university in the heart of Silicon Valley, and as the oldest institution of higher learning in California, with a history integrally connected to Mission Santa Clara. The collections also help support the primary resource needs of faculty teaching courses in the University’s curriculum.

The full position announcement and application instructions may be viewed at https://jobs.scu.edu/postings/1715

Applications received by July 25, 2014 will receive first consideration.

Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offering its 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s, Ph.D., and law degrees.

Santa Clara University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, committed to excellence through diversity and inclusion, and, in this spirit, particularly welcomes applications from women, persons of color, and members of historically underrepresented groups.  The University will provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability.

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members and friends with an update of CRRA activities.  Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 30, 2015 06:18 AM

CRRA Update Winter 2014

CRRA Update
Winter 2014
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version

CRRA All Member Annual Meeting at Marquette University on May 7-8, 2014, in Milwaukee
. Details are posted to the CRRA News and Events page.

In this issue:

From the Board: Thanks to our members
Tyrone Cannon, Chair and Dean, University Libraries, University of San Francisco

I’m pleased to announce that the carefully planned upgrade of the VuFind software behind the portal was successfully implemented by the end of January 2014.  Darren Poley, Demian Katz, and Pragya Singhvi, Villanova, and Tom Hanstra and Eric Lease Morgan, University of Notre Dame, were the principals carrying out the upgrade to VuFind 2.0.  This project improved the performance and stability of the platform and simplified future development work by introducing a more flexible architecture. Thank you, Villanova and Notre Dame. We appreciate your excellent contributions which greatly enhance our capacity to carry out our mission.

Thanks go also to the Membership Committee for creating the attractive, new trifold brochure about CRRA’s vision and programs. Special thanks are due to Evelyn Minick, Saint Joseph’s University, and Kathy Webb and Nichole Rustad, University of Dayton, for brochure design and printing. Print copies were distributed to college and university presidents attending the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) Annual Conference in early February. CRRA is an affiliate member of ACCU. I encourage you to print the brochure for sharing with others in the library or on campus.  You can download the brochure for printing from our website.  Go to About CRRA and click on CRRA Brochure.

From the Membership Committee: Welcome to the University of St. Thomas
Evelyn Minick, Chair and University Librarian, Saint Joseph’s University

We are pleased to welcome the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) to CRRA.  Established in 1855 as a Catholic, archdiocesan university, the University today emphasizes a values-centered, career-oriented education serving over 6,000 undergraduates and 3,000 graduates.  The O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library (the main university library) and the Ireland Library serving the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity are located on the St. Paul campus.  St. Thomas holds rich, special collections, including some digital materials, which will add depth and range to the CRRA collections and are useful in studying Catholic intellectual history, particularly of the upper Midwest.  We welcome Dan Gjelten, Director, Linda Hulbert, Associate Director Collection Management and Services, Ann Kenne, Head of Special Collections Department / University Archivist and Curt LeMay, Director of Archbishop Ireland Memorial Library and Theological Librarian, who will be leading their participation in CRRA programs.  Find out more about the Libraries at http://www.stthomas.edu/libraries/ and more on St. Thomas’ rich special collections in this month’s “Featured Collection.”

From the Digital Access Committee (DAC): VuFind 2.0 supports new functionality in the portal
Demian Katz, Chair, and Systems Librarian, Villanova University

Generally speaking, the benefits of the VuFind upgrade are not immediately visible in terms of new features. The most noteworthy changes are “under the hood,” making future upgrades less complicated as well as making new activities easier.  For example, DAC is working closely with Diane Maher, chair, and the Collections Committee on two initiatives to harvest CRRA member metadata records from other digital repositories and load the records, with links to the digital content, into the portal.  Rob Behary, Duquesne, and Rose Fortier, Marquette, are identifying the records to be harvested.  Once our review is completed, we will announce the addition of these collections from Duquesne and Marquette respectively, which will both increase the digital content accessible via the portal and add to the critical mass of materials on two portal themes – Catholic Men’s Religious Orders and Catholic education.

Digitizing Catholic Newspapers: Scope of the Project, Digitizing Partners, and the Repository Working Group
Pat Lawton, Digital Projects Librarian

Betsy Post (Boston College), Jennifer Younger, Laurie Arp and Sandy Nyberg of Lyrasis, and I are focused on developing a case statement to digitize 12 priority Catholic newspapers and to implement a shared repository for the digitized papers.  The 12 priority papers include papers from Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis. In addition, Scholars have noted the advantage of comparing local or regional perspectives to the national story.  Thus, the priority list also includes newsfeeds from the Catholic News Service, the National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor.  Digitizing pre-1923 content in the public domain is one starting point. There is also significant interest in 1958-1970 for coverage from the pre and post-Vatican II years, the Civil War years, and the Church and civil rights.

CRRA enlisted the participation of Digitizing Partners (http://www.catholicresearch.net/cms/files/7413/9654/0651/Digitizing_Partners_list_of.pdf) to identify newspaper holdings and cost estimates for the 12 priority papers.  In less than two months, partners completed an inventory of holdings and “best versions” for digitization, enabling us to estimate digitization costs.  The CRRA extends warm thanks and kudos to our digitizing partners for their fortitude in assessing and estimating over 1.4 million frames/pages of microfilm and print!  We also thank our Lyrasis friends for their gentle guidance through the minutia of the newspaper digitization processes.  When it comes to newspapers, it does indeed take a village.

Under the leadership of Betsy Post, Boston College’s Head, Digital Library Programs, The Repository Working Group investigated a range of repository platform options and developed cost estimates for a shared repository for the digital newspapers content.  The group had a dual recommendation: Veridian  and Islandora.  Their recommendation will be part of the larger case statement to digitize Catholic newspapers and make them available and searchable through a shared repository.

Since thanks to members of this group, including:

  • Betsy Post (Boston College), Chair
  • Rob Behary (Duquesne)
  • Megan Bernal (DePaul)
  • Kate Dohe (Georgetown)
  • Demian Katz (Villanova)
  • Pat Lawton (CRRA)
  • Leah Prescott (Georgetown)

Save the date! CRRA All Member Annual meeting May 7-8, 2014, Marquette University, Milwaukee

The Program Committee is excited to continue our tradition of meeting at member institutions and thank Janice Welburn, Dean of University Libraries, for inviting us to Marquette. You can find more information on meeting and hotel arrangements on our website under News & Events.  You may wish to book your room soon to ensure a room at the Ambassador Hotel.  A special CRRA rate of $109 is available until April 14. Book your rooms now!

Plan now to join us in discussions about Catholic media, using newspapers in teaching and individual research, and digital collections, as well as CRRA activities, accomplishments and priorities for the coming year.  We welcome your suggestions. Please contact any Program Committee member:  Janice Welburn, Marquette; Michael Lacroix, Creighton; Fran Rice, Dayton; Deb Kloiber, St. Catherine; Lisa Gonzalez, Catholic Theological Union; Pat Lawton and Jennifer Younger, CRRA.

Featured Collection
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow: Special collections at St. Thomas
Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director

In addition to the general collections of almost one million books and journals in print and/or electronic format, the University Archives and Special Collections holds rich and notable special collections, with over 700 records already in the Catholic portal. These collections add substantially to materials relating to Catholic portal themes of Catholic education, Intellectual life, Literary figures, Liturgy and devotion, and Religion and citizenship.

  1. The Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) Collection includes the personal papers of this well-known British Catholic historian and major influence on other writers during the inter-war period, first and subsequent editions of Dawson’s works in a variety of languages as well as rare and unique items in his personal library. His papers include his correspondence with individuals such as T.S. Eliot, Arnold Toynbee, C. S. Lewis and others, and complement correspondence between Dawson and others in archival collections held at Dayton, Georgetown, Catholic and Notre Dame.
  2. The Chesterton-Belloc Collection is an extensive collection (2000 + items) of first and later editions plus others materials (periodical articles, pamphlets, other ephemera) published by the English Catholic authors G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Both were ardent Roman Catholics and indefatigable defenders of the faith. The Chesterton portion is unusually complete, representing practically every word Chesterton ever committed to paper. The Belloc materials include twenty-nine letters signed by Belloc, addressed to one Carl Schmitt, the American Catholic scholar and artist. Some of Schmitt’s essays can be found at the Carl Schmitt Foundation website.
  3. Formed in 1970 by black Catholic laity, religious and clergy, the files and archives of the National Council for Black Catholics (NOBC) document not only the Black Catholic response to the Civil Rights struggles of the late sixties, seventies and eighties, but the response of the entire Catholic Church to the racial tensions of this era. Thanks to the efforts of this coalition, the Catholic Church became a visible and powerful force in the racial justice movements of the era. During this era the NOBC became the Catholic focal point for Civil Rights activity, and a major force in the national struggle for civil and human rights. It would be impossible to write a history of the Catholic Church in this era and more specifically black Catholics in this era without consulting this collection. The documents are divided into six categories: General Files, Liturgy, Civil and Human Rights, Conferences and Workshops, Education and Family and NOBC Newsfiles.
  4. The University Archives collections and makes available records of permanent historical value from the University’s governing bodies, administrative offices, academic departments, curriculum and student life, as well as materials on affiliated entities dating back to the early 20th The student newspaper – The purple and gray – and yearbook – Aquinas – can be read online, complementing newspapers in Catholic Newspapers Online and yearbooks at Benedictine University and Saint Joseph’s College.
  5. Other rare, digital collections include temperance tracts from the 19th century, early religious texts in Native American languages, and more documents from the University Archives.

From the CRRA:

Catholic University of America Students and the CRRA Website
Pat Lawton, Digital Projects Librarian

This semester, we have the privilege to work with graduate students in the Department of Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America.  Students in Dr. Sue Yeon Syn’s Information Architecture and Web Design class are working with us as clients in redesigning/evaluating our current website.  The project is done in a team and the team conducts a website evaluation and suggestions for re-design in terms of its structure of pages and content as well as graphic design. The design suggestions are based on thorough evaluation including usability testing and content analysis.  We have been working with the group in an iterative process and will have final suggestions at the semester’s end.

We look forward to implementing the team’s suggestions for a more attractive, effective and user-friendly website.

Special thanks to Bill Kules, Dean, Dr. Sue Yeon Syn and the very capable CUA students on the team charged with evaluating and analyzing our website!

Reviewing Google Analytics data from past year (Feb 16, 2103 to Feb 16, 2014)
The team from CUA also took a good look at our site stats (google analytics) for the past year and made a number of observations. Following are snippets from the report, contact Pat for a copy of the full report.

  • Total visits: 26,514
  • Unique visitors: 21,233
  • Pages/visit: 3.02
  • Avg visit duration: 2min 17 seconds
  • New visitors: 78.9%

Traffic source and medium:

  • Most traffic is organic (75.38%) from Google. That traffic also spends the least amount of time on the site and visits the fewest number of pages.
  • Second highest traffic comes directly to the site url (3,467 direct visits, 701% of which are new visits.

Landing pages (how users enter the site):

  • Top landing pages include two that go to home page. Users spend a significant amount of time (5:30 and 12:22) and visit a significant number of pages (5.38 and 11.51) when they enter through the homepage.
  • Other popular landing pages are the Catholic Portal page, Newspaper Program, About, Resources, and News and Events.

Page views

  • Top page views are mostly global navigation pages and search results. The newspaper program pages appear twice in the top 20, but can only be reached from the homepage.

Search analytics (for Catholic Portal)

  • About 27% of users of the site used the search (portal).
  • Fewer than half of searches result in immediate exits from site.
  • Nearly 26% of searches result in additional (refined) searches.
  • Avg time spent on site after search is about 2 minutes.

Top Ten Search Terms

  • When searching the portal, the search term most used was “Parish histories,” followed by “Canon law.” Please see the illustration below for more.

Top 10 Portal Search Terms, 2013

CRRA in the News!

  • Duquesne University is hosting an information table at the Catholic Library Association Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, 22-24 April 2014, with CRRA brochures and poster on display. CLA is held in conjunction with the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) conference. Approximately 7,000 people are expected to attend.
  • Also at the CLA Annual Convention, CRRA members – Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, Catholic University, and Pat Lawton, CRRA – will describe the collaborative efforts to link the twelve themes, such as Catholic social action, Catholic education, Women religious, to records in the CRRA’s Catholic Portal on Wednesday April 23 : Facilitating Access by Subject Themes: The CRRA Themes-to-Records Project (Cataloging Roundtable). This project has instigated a broader conversation regarding thesauri for Catholic resources.
  • Pat Lawton’s article Collaborating to Preserve and Provide Access to Catholic Newspapers was published in the February 2014 issue of the ACDA Newsletter, the official newsletter of the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists. Kate Feighery, Archival Manager, Archives of the Archdiocese of New York, and one of CRRA’s Digitization Partners, invited the article, available on our website under News & Events.
  • CRRA members participated in a panel presentation – Connecting the Dots: Archives, Digital Resources, and Universities – at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association (ACHA). They were: Timothy J. Meagher (The Catholic University of America), chair and speakers: Una M. Cadegan (University of Dayton), Mary Beth Fraser Connolly (Valparaiso University), Patricia Lawton (University of Notre Dame), Emilie Gagnet Leumas (Archdiocese of New Orleans), Maria R. Mazzenga (The Catholic University of America).
  • Jean McManus, University of Notre Dame and Pat Lawton, participated in a panel discussion Librarians, Historians, and Resources Going Digital at the American Catholic Historical Association’s spring conference at Xavier University, Cincinnati, March 27-29, 2014.
  • Pat Lawton’s paper proposal Implementing the Catholic Newspapers Program: Collaborative Digitization and Discovery within a Nonprofit, Distributed, Online Organization has been accepted for the IFLA Newspapers Section Pre-Conference “Digital Transformation and the Changing Role of News Media in the 21st Century” to be held in Geneva, Switzerland 13rd – 14th August 2014.

Digital Initiatives Symposium at University of San Diego – APRIL 9
Digital Initiatives Symposium
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego

Join University of San Diego’s Copley Library for a day-long event focused on the digital elements of library ecosystems and institutional repositories as well as a bepress Digital Commons user group meeting.

Featured keynote speakers will be:

Lorraine Haricombe, Dean of the University of Kansas Libraries
Lee Van Orsdel, Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University

For the complete program, please visit the USD website: www.sandiego.edu/library/symposium.php.

Positions Available
Electronic Resources & Discovery Librarian – Duquesne University, Gumberg Library
The Gumberg Library seeks an innovative, adaptable, service-oriented Electronic Resources and Discovery Librarian to provide leadership and a strategic vision for connecting our extensive electronic resources collections to our diverse user population via the Library’s online catalog, link resolver and discovery system.  This full-time, non-tenure track faculty position is available July 1, 2014.  Full job description: http://www.duq.edu/work-at-du/employment/faculty-hiring/faculty-openings/gumberg.

ATLA is seeking a Lead Metadata Analyst with an academic background in Roman Catholic theology.   Details available at:

Please feel free to repost this announcement or forward it to anyone you feel might be interested and qualified.

Brenda Bailey-Hainer, Executive Director
American Theological Library Association
300 South Wacker Drive, Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312.454.5100   Fax: 312.454.5505

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members and friends with an update of CRRA activities.  Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 30, 2015 06:15 AM

CRRA Update Sept/Oct/Nov 2013

CRRA Update
September, October, November, 2013
please see the PDF for
the more visually rich version


CRRA All Member Annual Meeting at Marquette University on May 7-8, 2014, in Milwaukee. Details will be posted here and to the CRRA News and Events page as they become available.

In this issue:

  • From the Membership Committee: CRRA welcomes Avila University (Kansas City, MO) and Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dubuque, IA)
  • From the Board: Building Relationships
  • Collections Spotlight: A Serendipitous Discovery, by David Richtmyer
  • Digitizing The Missionary Catechist, by Jeff Hoffman
  • From the Catholic Newspapers Task Force: A Platform for the Catholic Newspapers Directory
  • Implementing the Catholic Newspapers Directory
  • Digitizing Catholic Newspapers
  • Teaching with the Prejean Papers: Kudos to our DePaul Colleagues
  • ATLA Receives IMLS Grant
  • Conference at the Vatican Library

Evelyn Minick, Chair

We are pleased to welcome Avila University (Kansas City, MO) and Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dubuque, IA) as our 37th and 38th member and partner respectively.

Dating back to the 1800’s, Avila University, a Catholic University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education to 1,800 students. The Hooley-Bundschu Library holds two notable collections that will add significantly to the CRRA collections: the CSJ Heritage Center Federation Collection of records of the United States Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Women Religious Collections with over 1,600 manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, ephemera and other materials related to the communities and activities of sisters and nuns in the United States. Find out more about Library and the University Archives and Special Collections at https://www.avila.edu/hbl/library/index.aspx.


Kathleen Finegan, Library Director, Adonna Thompson, Archivist and Carol Coburn, Professor of Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, learned of the CRRA mission through Carol’s participation in the recent conference Catholic Archives in the Digital Age. They look forward to introducing Avila students and faculty to the resources in the portal and Catholic Newspapers Online.

The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary began in the early 1800’s in Philadelphia with a mission of teaching poor children. These pioneer BVMs recognized the immense need for education, particularly of girls, and developed a cross-country educational network from New York to Hawaii, Minnesota to Mississippi. Today over 500 Sisters serve in diverse ministries in more than 20 states and three foreign countries.

The Mount Carmel Archives offer a unique perspective on the activities of the Catholic Church and deep insight into the lives of religious women. The collections include over 2,900 personal files (open for use excepting medical information) and files of over 200 missions in 21 states and three foreign countries with information on the curriculum, student activities and associated parish history. In addition, the Archives include materials relating to the Conference of Major Superiors of Women (CMSW) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which complements the collections at Loyola University Chicago. The Archives continues to acquire materials through transfer from congregational offices, social justice ministries of the Sisters and individual donations. In addition to creating finding aids, they are digitizing a collection of 70 open-reel films from various BVM missions for preservation and access and planning future projects for other non-print formats. Jennifer Head (pictured above, left), Archivist, and Assistant Archivist, Deanna Marie Carr, BVM (pictured above, right) want to make these unique collections, which are not represented in WorldCat, known and more accessible to researchers through the portal.

From the Board: Building Relationships
Tyrone Cannon, Chair and Dean University of San Francisco

Let me add the Board’s appreciation to the Catholic Newspaper Task Force and the Directory Platform Group for their careful review and recommendation of a newspapers platform.

The International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) program and database are hosted by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). For that reason, at the Board’s fall meeting, we agreed our next step is to build a relationship with CRL with its mission to collect, preserve and connect scholars with unique materials. We will consult our members and CRL to understand the benefits of partnering and to determine affordable, mutually agreeable fees for participating in ICON, which is a CRL Global Resources Forum program. On behalf of the Board, I encourage you to contact any Board member with questions, comments or advice.

Collections Spotlight: A Serendipitous Discovery
by David Richtmyer, Member, Collections Committee and Rare Books Librarian and Senior Cataloger, Burns Library, Boston College

Technical Services librarians like myself perform the very bedrock of library service: if our job is done correctly, hundreds of thousands – in some cases, millions – of volumes are easily discoverable and retrievable. Language, format and date of the materials is, as it were, immaterial. The downside to this happy state of affairs, alas, is that rarely is this work remarked on, much less praised, unless something has gone amiss.

So it was particularly rewarding when I received the following message from a user that I had never heard of before. But first, a bit of background information to frame her discovery of a resource now housed and hosted at Boston College.

In 2008 Boston College was in the process of turning the former St. John’s Seminary Library into what would become our Theology and Ministry Library. To accomplish this transformation, the materials – especially the rare materials – held by St. John’s had to be removed for the ensuing renovations that were to take place in the summer of that year. While picking over the many rare books held in this collection – 15 incunabula alone, and well over 150 16th century volumes – I spotted a set of dusty, folio-sized books that contained what appeared to be a local newspaper: the Sacred Heart Review. Perusing a few of the issues I discovered an interesting Catholic newspaper, published before and during the First World War, filled with articles and advertisements from a long-ago Boston.

“What,” I asked, “would become of these volumes if the Burns Library did not take them?” The question was not an idle one; space is limited in the Burns Library and there were many duplicate copies amongst the St. John’s collection. “They’ll be thrown away,” I was told. The more I scanned individual issues of this journal the more a whole world began appearing to me, and so my acquisition of these journals into the Burns Library’s collection became a foregone conclusion. That is the short of how the Burns Library acquired this collection.

Years later, and with the hard work of many dedicated Boston College Libraries staff, including Betsy Post, Bill Donovan, Naomi Rubin, and many others, this landmark newspaper is now available in electronic format here.

All of which brings me back to the message I received from Ellen Brewin, a Boston College Law School alumna from 1976:

Dear Mr. Richtmyer,

I have been working on family genealogy for a number of years. This week I received a request for more information about one side of my family which led me to go ahead and once more perform a google search for the name of the little townland in Roscommon near Boyle called “Tawnytaskin.” My mother’s grandmother, Catherine Coleman, emigrated from there in about 1865 ending up in Leominster, Ma.

Through the “magic” of the Internet, I have connected with a variety of people online who are descended from Catherine’s grandparents – many of whom have added small pieces to the story of this family that I first heard about from my mother. I even have “met” descendants of her brothers who still live in Ireland as well as her uncles’ descendants who also remain there.

Imagine my surprise to find that my search yielded information from several issues of the Sacred Heart Review which posted letters from young children living in Tawnytaskin in 1911-1912. These letters even refer to their American cousin living in Leominster as well as pinpointing the death of a beloved grandfather 2 days before Christmas (he was my great grandmother’s uncle).

I know that some of my Irish cousins have been searching for more information about the death of their ancestor in 1911 as he is buried with his brother, Catherine Coleman’s father in Estersnow Cemetery. I have sent the links off to Ireland and I know that they will be surprised and happy as well. There was also some mention of an Aunt Winnie in Manchester, NH which should give them some more food for genealogical thought.

Thank you so much for working on this – it gave me goosebumps to feel the years between us just slide away and feel almost as if it were the present.

The work of librarians and archivists everywhere is a hugely important task: the prevention of cultural Alzheimer’s. Anyone who has helped a loved one through this horrible disease knows how devastating it is for a person to lose their very soul. So what a greater confirmation of the worth of this task could I have received than Ms. Brewin’s message!

Digitizing The Missionary Catechist
by Jeff Hoffman, Archivist, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters

In looking over material of the Victory Noll archives, we had a discussion on whether to microfilm some of our records or digitize them. In closer examination we decided to explore digitization. It was about this time that Pat Lawton introduced us to the CRRA. Through discussions with her, we began looking at the Victory Noll Archives participating with the CRRA. Our earliest participation would be the digitization of THE MISSIONARY CATECHIST, which was our journal that was published from 1924 to 1964. Once we decided to go ahead with the digitization, we needed to look at how this would be funded. We searched for resources that would be a good fit for us, in which our chances of getting the funding would stand a good chance of success. One of the first that came to mind was Our Sunday Visitor Institute. Since they only offer funding through organizations listed in the Official Catholic Directory, our competition would be limited. Throughout the grant process Pat walked us through the steps necessary. One item that is necessary is a letter from the local ordinary in support of the project. We applied in the spring with the closing date the Tuesday after Easter. I recommend contacting the Bishop sooner than later, because they tend to be busy in the time leading up to the Triduum. We were able to get the full amount that we requested.

One of the grant application questions asked for a timeline of the project. This made us take into consideration how we were going to scan the material. We decided to outsource it due to limited resources here. We did not request for the scans to be OCRed, and did not realize this until later in the project. To make the journal OCR-enabled, we ended up running through an Adobe Acrobat Program on our own, which added slightly to our overall cost.

We also looked at how we would make the journal available online. We looked at various hosting sites, and found few geared towards libraries and archives. We went with Omeka.net, because of their different pricing levels. We liked what we saw, when we utilized their free level, and decided to go with an upgrade.

I only had limited experience with metadata before I began this project. Pat and Alex Papson (University of Notre Dame) walked me through the fields that would be necessary for our project, and gave me a better explanation of Dublin Core. I read all I could find about metadata, but having someone explain the slight variations in various fields was helpful. Once I had a better understanding of metadata and Dublin Core, I could make better use of online resources available when uploading the material. When it came to uploading the metadata, I found that I could do it via batches with Omeka.net. However, I did not find a way to do it for THE MISSIONARY CATECHIST. The issues had to be uploaded individually before they were connected to the metadata.

Due to time constraints, we looked at the possibility of having an intern assist with the adding of the metadata. We set our timeline up in order to have the intern work on the project over the summer. We figured out how long that portion of the project would take, and its cost. Both were placed into the application. We were very pleased with the work of our intern and look forward to making the Catechist available to all through our website http://www.olvm.org and the CRRA.

From the Catholic Newspapers Task Force: A Platform for the Catholic Newspapers Directory
Noel McFerran, chair, University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto

I am pleased to announce our selection of the International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) database as the platform for the Catholic Newspapers Directory. This is an exciting step that allows us to leverage our resources through use of an existing database and place Catholic newspapers into a bigger pond of newspapers. ICON is freely accessible at www.crl.edu/icon. Although there were other possible options, such as OCLC WorldCatLocal, the deciding factor was the capacity to include Catholic newspaper holdings of CRRA members, such as Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center (PAHRC) and others who are not necessarily members of OCLC or participants in other major union catalogs.


We owe thanks to many people, but especially to the Newspapers Directory Group, a subcommittee of the Catholic Newspaper Task Force. We are grateful for their expert guidance and discharge them with great appreciation.

  • Rob Behary, Duquesne University
  • Megan Bernal, DePaul University
  • Pat Lawton, CRRA
  • Shana McDanold, Georgetown University
  • Noel McFerran, University of St. Michael’s College
  • Betsy Post, Boston College
  • Manda Vrkljan, University of St. Michael’s College

Implementing the Catholic Newspaper Directory
Pat Lawton, Digital Projects Librarian

In November, our CRRA newspapers program assistant, Alex Budz and I met with staff at the Center for Research Libraries to develop a workflow in the use of the ICON database, which includes about 150,000 newspaper title records. We were pleased to learn that of the first 25 Catholic newspaper records submitted, more than half were new contributions to the ICON database.

I am working now with Noel McFerran and the Newspapers TF to set up a Newspapers Implementation Advisory Subcommittee. This group will evaluate and recommend technologies, standards, and oversight strategies for all aspects of the Catholic Newspapers Program including: creating the Catholic Newspapers Directory in the ICON database, digitizing a core set of Catholic newspapers, and establishing a shared repository. Immediate needs include: identifying an oversight process for ensuring data quality and ease of workflow for member holdings into ICON, identifying digitization best practices, and recommending a repository platform. The group will make its recommendations to the Catholic Newspapers TF which will seek input and approval as needed from the Board. Noel and I welcome your suggestions, comments and questions, which you may send to Noel, to me or to any member of the Newspapers Task Force.

Digitizing Catholic Newspapers
Jennifer Younger, Executive Director

Pat Lawton, Betsy Post (Boston College), and I are working with Lyrasis staff to develop a concept proposal for digitizing a core set of Catholic newspapers and developing a shared repository for digital Catholic newspapers content. We anticipate a pilot project to digitize the Boston Pilot, the Boston diocesan paper, which will also develop workflows, costs, and timeframes for collaboration of participating institutions. An important goal is thus for partners to establish and test a framework to ensure a viable, functional framework for a larger digitization project. The Scholars Advisory Committee has suggested that priority be given to digitizing major U.S. newspapers, such as Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis. In addition, they have noted the advantage of comparing local or regional perspectives to the national story. Thus, our preliminary priority list also includes newsfeeds from the Catholic News Service, the National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor. Digitizing pre-1923 content in the public domain is one starting point. There is also significant interest in 1958-1970 for coverage from the pre and post-Vatican II years.

We are working with about 20 CRRA members and other “digitizing partners” who have indicated their willingness to provide the information needed for the concept proposal, such as best copy, page and frame counts, and formats. In addition, our digitizing partners will provide the newspaper content for digitizing. We will also need to find external funds to carry out the digitizing. We will work with the CRRA Board of Directors, Lyrasis and others in identifying possible funding sources and determining how best to approach them. Our goal is to submit the concept proposal to the Board for discussion in its first meeting in 2014. Please let us hear your questions, comments and suggestions. You can contact Pat, Betsy and/or me directly.

Teaching with the Prejean Papers: Kudos to our DePaul Colleagues in Special Collections and Archives for their efforts in bringing special collections to faculty and students as documented in the Catholic Library World article by faculty member Susanne Dumbleton.

Dumbleton, S. (2013). Everyone turns human: Teaching with the Prejean papers. Catholic Library World, 84 (1), 17-24.

ATLA Receives IMLS Grant to Explore Preservation Needs in Small Theological and Religious Studies Libraries

The American Theological Library Association (ATLA) has received a 2013 National Leadership Grants for Libraries Planning Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) in the amount of $46,500. The grant will support the project, “In Good Faith: Collection Care, Preservation, and Access in Small Theological and Religious Studies Libraries,” in partnership with the Catholic Library Association (CLA) and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL).

During the grant period, the American Theological Library Association, the Catholic Library Association, and the Association of Jewish Libraries will assess the collection care, preservation, and access practices of small theological and religious studies libraries and begin to identify valuable and vulnerable collections held in these institutions. The centerpiece of the project will be a survey designed for and deployed to institutions that may not have previously been included in such studies. Existing standards and practices that help libraries respond to their unique circumstances will be promoted to the targeted libraries and at the same time the partners will communicate the challenges and opportunities faced by these libraries to the larger library and research communities. Finally, the project will explore collaborative initiatives to respond to identified long-term collection care, preservation, and access needs.

“’In Good Faith’ is an exciting project that will benefit the members of all three associations. Based on earlier research, we know that many small theological and religious studies libraries hold valuable unique special collections but lack the resources locally to preserve them and make them easily accessible to researchers. This project will begin to identify and inventory these collections and to seek solutions – before these materials are lost to scholars forever ,” said Brenda Bailey-Hainer, ATLA Executive Director. More …

Conference at the Vatican Library on the Library Catalogue:

Faster, Smarter, and Richer (FSR): Reshaping the Library Catalogue International Conference
27-28 February 2014
The Vatican Library Rome, Italy
Conference url <http://www.aib.it/attivita/congressi/c2014/fsr2014/>

CRRA Update is an electronic newsletter distributed via email to provide members and friends with an update of CRRA activities. Please contact Pat at 574.631.1324 or email plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 30, 2015 06:09 AM

November 26, 2015

Catholic Portal

CRRA Update July/August 2013

CRRA Update
July/August 2013
please see the PDF for the more visually rich version 

Tyrone Cannon, Dean, University Libraries, University of San Francisco and Chair

Welcome to the new year. I enjoyed talking with so many of you at the All Member Meeting in Chicago and in our excellent discussion about goals for the year. I share your enthusiasm and am pleased to inform you that at the first Board meeting, we unanimously adopted the CRRA Strategic Plan: Goals for 2013-14.  The overarching priorities express the collective goals. These priorities encompass the goals of committees and the Board and support collaboration between and among these groups.  We look forward to working with the committees to achieve our goals.  The priorities are:

  • Catholic Newspapers
  • More outreach and member mentoring
  • Harvesting new content
  • Secure resources in support of program goals (an enabling goal)

Discussing priorities and goals was a perfect way to bring new and continuing Board members together. We welcomed five members.  Steve Connaghan, University Library, The Catholic University of America and Artemis G. Kirk, University Librarian, Georgetown University were reelected to their second three year term.  Michael LaCroix, Library Director, Creighton University; Lorraine H. Olley, D.Min.(cand.), Library Director, University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary and Scott Walter, Ph.D., University Librarian, DePaul University, were elected to a three year term. Darren G. Poley, Interim University Librarian and Director, Villanova University was elected to complete the term of Joe Lucia, former University Librarian, Villanova University.

Our grateful appreciation goes also to Villanova University and the University of Notre Dame for their activities that will upgrade the VuFind software behind the portal this year.  This project will put current VuFind architecture into place for continued smooth and effective functioning of the portal.

We are fortunate to have the leadership of our experienced and energetic committee chairs, all of whom are continuing this year.  The chairs are consulting with committee members about continuing membership and suggestions for new members.  As we confirm members for the coming year, we will update the committee rosters under CRRA Groups.

If you would like to participate, please let us know. You can send a note to the chair, to Pat or Jennifer.  This is a wonderful opportunity for you to engage with colleagues and contribute to our growing success.  Although there is great satisfaction in professional service, committee service isn’t just more work. We are rewarded with learning and networking opportunities that open new avenues at home.

New Subcommittee on Subject Guides
Evelyn Minick, Chair, Membership Committee

We have set up a new subcommittee to carry out our goal of developing a subject guide framework to embed the portal and newspapers program into library websites, library instruction and reference tools.  The Strategic Planning Task Force identified subject guides and pathfinders as one way to enhance the value of the portal beyond discovery, to serve as a reference tool.  A subcommittee roster is included on the Membership Committee page.  This new subcommittee will work closely with other CRRA committees. Please do send your suggestions to the chair or any member. We thank Felice Maciejewski both for agreeing to serve on the Membership Committee and to chair this new subcommittee, whose members are:

Felice Maciejewski, Subcommittee Chair, Dominican University
Tony Amodeo, Loyola Marymount University
Ted Bergfelt, Duquesne University
Lindsey Nawojski, Dominican University
Peggy Ridlen, Fontbonne University
Steven Szegedi, Dominican University
Ximena Valdivia, Barry University

Collection Spotlight.  “Catholic Church Extension Records”
by Kathy Young, University Archivist, Loyola University Chicago

Headquartered in Chicago, IL, the Catholic Church Extension Society (CCES) was founded in 1905 by Rev. Francis C. Kelley, later the Bishop of Oklahoma, to assist priests and parishes in poor regions throughout the United States by helping to build churches and parish buildings and providing financial support for clergy and to educate seminarians. Although the main goal of the society was to assist the ‘home missions’ in the southern and western United States, the Catholic Church Extension Society has also provided support for missions in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. One hundred and eight years later the Catholic Church Extension Society continues to assist the home missions in the United States.

The Catholic Church Extension Society records were gifted to Loyola University Chicago in 1967 by Vice President and General Secretary of CCES Rev. Joseph A. Cusack. The records span from 1905 to 1962 and include information on the history, administration, and finances of the Extension Society, chapel car logs, correspondence with dioceses, magazines published by the Extension Society, the American Board of Catholic Missions, Montezuma Seminary, the Russian Apostolate (St. Procopius Seminary), Rev. Francis C. Kelley, Rev. Richard St. John, and Bishop William O’Brien. In addition to the textual records, there is an extensive photograph collection with over 10,000 photographs of churches, people, and towns. Many of these records, especially the chapel car logs, dioceses correspondence, and photograph collection, provide an insight into the social and economic conditions in the southern and western states of the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

Projects to digitize selected parts of the records and photographs are underway in order to make the information in this collection more accessible. The initial focus of these projects is on the most used parts of the collection – the chapel car logs and the photograph collection. Logs and photographs from the chapel cars St. Anthony, St. Peter, and St. Paul are now available online at http://content.library.luc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/coll28  with additional records relating to the work of the chapel cars, namely the correspondence of George C. Hennessey, to be added. Photographs from Alaska, Nebraska, Alabama, Arizona, Texas, and Illinois currently populate the Catholic Church Extension Photograph Collection available online at http://content.library.luc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/coll2. These digital collections are just the beginning of the effort to make the information contained in the CCES records more available.

Treasures from the CRRA: Women Religious, An online exhibit of images from 13 of our member institutions <http://blogs.shu.edu/crra/>
“The digital exhibit, Treasures from the Catholic Research Resource Alliance: Women Religious, began with the idea of highlighting some of the rare and unique resources that are available as bibliographic citations and finding aids through the Catholic Portal. Women religious is one of the major collection themes of the Alliance, however, unlike other kinds of materials, many of these resources have not been fully documented or cataloged and it is often frustrating for researchers to locate them.”

Sincere congratulations to all who participated in this first CRRA-member collaborative exhibit and special thanks to the exhibit organizers and creators, Marta Deyrup and Tracy Jackson of Seton Hall University

Highlights from the CRRA Annual Meeting in Chicago – July, 2013
Over 40 CRRA members and guests participated in lively and informative discussions on priorities and goals in Chicago. Eighteen member institutions (half of CRRA membership) were represented.  Participants articulated important aspects regarding priorities and goals in the annual strategic plan.  Their comments reiterated key points for the coming year:

  • Good to emphasize digitization and full text accessibility
  • Keep in mind continuing importance of access to print resources via finding aids.
    • Get more records into the portal from new and continuing members
    • Need outreach to Catholic Studies programs in secular universities
    • Emphasize “the product:” focus on the portal, Catholic newspapers
    • Identify (under member responsibilities) best practices on creating access to the portal from member libraries, including in library instruction and reference, showcasing in class sessions

There were also extensive discussions about digitizing Catholic newspapers. Pat Lawton’s presentation for Monday’s Digitizing Catholic Newspapers and Tuesday’s All Member Meeting is accessible under News & Events Archives on our website.  The twelve slides summarize progress and next steps in moving the Catholic Newspaper Program (CNP) forward:

  • Creating the directory
  • Encouraging individual and collaborative projects to digitize North American Catholic newspapers, and
  • Exploring options for a content repository.

Lyrasis staff presented an overview of Lyrasis Digital Services, which cover all aspects of content creation and management.  Participants had questions and comments, including:

  • Money tops the list of discussion points.  How much is needed, where to get it, and can CRRA help vet the list of questions; Consortial sponsorship and partnerships are important for grant-seeking.
  • Nonprofit organizations that share the values of libraries and archives, understand preservation, support open access and capacity to assist with fundraising would be good candidates for partnerships.  Also, a solid track record and expertise in digitizing newspapers would be good.  Lyrasis is a potential partner. Are there other organizations to be considered?
  • Several individuals expressed interest and/or plans for digitizing their local Catholic newspaper and/or others from their library holding.
  • An ND graduate student, Michael Skaggs, spoke about his use of Indiana diocesan newspapers to explore how Vatican II impacted Indiana dioceses.
  • It will be good to identify strategies to gain support from all bishops for digitizing diocesan newspapers.  Local bishops hold the copyright on their diocesan newspapers. There are already some successes, e.g., Duquesne secured permission for digitizing.

Catholic Newspaper Program
Current activities are focused on choosing the directory platform, identifying and engaging partners for digitizing as well as for other assistance in moving forward.

  • The Newspaper Directory Group and the Newspaper Task Force are on track to send a recommendation for a directory platform to the Board this fall. Once the platform is selected, we will be developing strategies for soliciting and adding member holdings.
  • Second, we are talking with approximately a dozen individual institutions keen to work with us on digitizing diocesan newspapers about their desired projects, needs, and so on. Some of them, including Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary, Boston College, Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, and Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center, are CRRA members. Some who are not CRRA members want to participate and we will work to make this possible.   Understanding what individual partnering institutions bring to the table and where they need assistance will help us in defining elements in other partnerships.
  • We are meeting with Lyrasis staff members to develop a proposal –to include a project brief, work plan and goals – for a CRRA/Lyrasis Partnership which the Board will review in October. We want a partnership that will help us realize our goals, including financial and technical support for individual and collaborative digitizing projects, and enabling wide access and use of digital Catholic newspapers.

CRRA Member News

Invitation to Participate in the Catholic Archives in the Digital Age: A Conference for Reports, Archivists, and Scholars
You are invited to join in discussions at Catholic Archives in the Digital Age: A Conference for Reporters, Archivists, and Scholars, a first-ever conference for Catholic archivists on October 9, 2013 at the Catholic University of America. Panel discussions will provide members of the media a chance to see what materials are currently available in digital form that might assist them in their reporting and give members of the media a chance to tell archivists what kinds of material they would like to access.  Maria Mazzenga, CUA and Pat Lawton, CRRA are among the conference planners.

The primary on-site audience will be members of the media, diocesan and religious order archivists. However, this is of interest to academic archivists and digital library teams, with discussions of digitization best practices, challenges, funding, and a website, hosted by Catholic University’s Department of Library and Information Science, designed specifically for Catholic archivists. Everyone is welcome to attend at no charge in person or via live stream but you must register on the website.

We hope you will be able to join us for this important event, whether in person or via livestream.  You can join without leaving home.  For more information, please see the conference website: http://iprcua.com/2013/10/09/catholic-archives-in-the-digital-age/.

Regis University Announces A Scholarly Online, Open Access Journal
Welcome to Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal (JHE), a scholarly online, open access journal. An initiative of Regis University, JHE is scholarly and peer reviewed, and focuses on the development, advancement and critique of higher education in the Jesuit tradition.  JHE hopes to support a new online community of scholars and scholarship in Jesuit higher education. JHE shares writings from a wide variety of individuals interested in Jesuit Higher Education and seeks submissions on a regular basis. Consult the web site for information on a publishing calendar or Deborah Halley, Regis University – School of Humanities & Social Sciences at dhalley@regis.edu.

Who is Visiting the CRRA Website and How Are They Using It? – A Report from Google Analytics for the Period of May-July 2013

Visitors and Page Views

  • In this period (May 1- July 31, 2013) there were 5,305 visitors to the site, up 13.46% from the same period in 2012.
  • Close to 70% of the visits (5,058) were from the US, followed by 10% (501) from Italy.
  • Most visitors arrived at the site through the use of a search engine (74.1%).
  • Peak visits for this period occurred on Monday, July 15, 2013, totaling 105.
  • In this period, visits increased (or peaked) on Mondays and typically peaked on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, declining toward the end of the week.
  • Visitors viewed 16,302 pages vs. 11,517 in 2012, for a 41.55% increase in traffic.
  • The number of pages per visit increased as well by 24.76% with an average of 3.07 pages viewed per visit in 2013 and 2.46 pages viewed in 2012.
  • In short, the number of visitors to our site has increased and they are viewing more pages on average per visit than in 2012.
  • Pages Viewed
    The majority of pages viewed included the home page, followed by the Catholic Portal, About CRRA, Links & Resources, then Groups and News & Events, followed by Catholic newspapers online.

What visitors do while visiting: searching the portal


  • Nearly 1/4 (24.82%) of all visitors searched the portal while visiting the site.
  • The top three unique searches were: “Book of Genesis” (37 searches, 1.89% of total), followed by “Parish histories” (19, .97%) and “Canon law” (13, .66%).
  • Most searches for this period were General searches, followed by Subject Searches:
    • General searches = 1,843
    • Subject searches = 1,229
    • Title searches = 117
    • Author searches = 38
    • Call number searches = 36
    • ISBN searches = 16
    • Tag searches = 0
  • Compared to 2012 for this same period, significantly more visitors searched the portal. This may be attributable to the more prominent placement of the search box for the Catholic portal in the website redesign.

If you have other stats you’d been interested in seeing in our updates, please send a note to Pat.  This is just a sampling of what stats are available via google analytics.

 Position Announcement: Technical Services Coordinator, DePaul University, Chicago, IL

The Technical Services Coordinator will report to the Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Discovery Services. The Technical Services Coordinator will provide broad oversight and leadership for the technical infrastructure, processes, and metadata that facilitate discovery of library collections. This position will collaborate with library staff responsible for information technology and collection development/management to make research resources accessible in all formats to the academic community and beyond. This position will also contribute to library involvement in consortial projects and programs such as CARLI, the Center for Research Libraries, the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, and the Chicago Collections Consortium. Please see the full announcement at https://jobs-depaul.icims.com/jobs/17693/technical-services-coordinator/job

Position Announcement:  Marketing & Electronic Communications Librarian, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

Gumberg Library seeks an experienced, collaborative, and creative librarian to promote our collections, services and programs strategically through a variety of media. This new, full-time non-tenure track faculty position is available January 1, 2014. Candidates must meet the criteria for library faculty rank at or above the level of Librarian II, with at least three years of professional experience.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to carefully review the full job description at http://www.duq.edu/work-at-du/employment/faculty-hiring/faculty-openings/gumberg.

Candidates must hold an ALA-accredited Master’s degree.

Mark your calendars

2014 Annual Catholic Library Association Convention. Pittsburgh, PA
April 22-24, 2014


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 plawton@nd.edu with your questions, comments, or news to share.

by Josh Dinsman at November 26, 2015 03:21 AM

November 17, 2015



This blog posting contains: 1) questions/statements about MARC and posted by graduate library school students taking an online XML class I’m teaching this semester, and 2) my replies. Considering my previously published blog posting, you might say this posting is “re-MARCable”.

I’m having some trouble accessing the file named data.marc for the third question in this week’s assignment. It keeps opening in word and all I get is completely unreadable. Is there another way of going about finding the answer for that particular question?

Okay. I have to admit. I’ve been a bit obtuse about the MARC file format.

MARC is/was designed to contain ASCII characters, and therefore it ought to be human-readable. MARC does not contain binary characters and therefore ought to be readable in text editors. DO NOT open the .marc file in your word processor. Use your text editor to open it up. If you have line wrap turned off, then you ought to see one very long line of ugly text. If you turn on line wrap, then you will see many lines of… ugly text. Attached (hopefully) is a screen shot of many MARC records loaded into my text editor. And I rhetorically ask, “How many records are displayed, and how do you know?”


I’m trying to get y’all to answer a non-rhetorical question asked against yourself, “Considering the state of today’s computer technology, how viable is MARC? What are the advantages and disadvantages of MARC?”

I am taking Basic Cataloging and Classification this semester, but we did not discuss octets or have to look at an actual MARC file. Since this is supposed to be read by a machine, I don’t think this file format is for human consumption which is why it looks scary.

[Student], you continue to be a resource for the entire class. Thank you.

Everybody, yes, you will need to open the .marc file in your text editor. All of the files we are creating in this class ought to be readable in your text editor. True and really useful data files ought to be text files so they can be transferred from application to application. Binary files are sometimes more efficient, but not long-lasting. Here in Library Land we are in it for the long haul. Text files are where it is at. PDF is bad enough. Knowing how to manipulate things in a text editor is imperative when it comes to really using a computer. Imperative!!! Everything on the Web is in plain text.

In any event, open the .marc file in your text editor. On a Macintosh that is Text Edit. On Windows it is NotePad or WordPad. Granted all of these particular text editors are rather brain-dead, but they all function necessarily. A better text editor for Macintosh is Text Wrangler, and for Windows is NotePad++. When you open the .marc file, it will look ugly. It will seem unreadable, but that is not the case at all. Instead, a person needs to know the “secret codes” of cataloging, as well as a bit of an obtuse data structure in order to make sense of the whole thing.

Okay. Octets. Such are 8-bit characters, as opposed to the 7-bit characters of ASCII enclosing. The use of 8-bit characters enabled Library Land to integrate characters such as ñ, é, or å into its data. And while Library Land was ahead of the game in this regard, it did not embrace Unicode when it came along:

Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems. Developed in conjunction with the Universal Character Set standard and published as The Unicode Standard, the latest version of Unicode contains a repertoire of more than 120,000 characters covering 129 modern and historic scripts, as well as multiple symbol sets. [1]

Nor did Library Land update its data when changes happened. Consequently, not only do folks outside Library Land need to know how to read and write MARC records (which they can’t), they also need to know and understand the weird characters encodings which we use. In short, the data of Library Land is not very easily readable by the wider community, let alone very many people within our own community. Now that is irony. Don’t you think so!? Our data is literally and figuratively stuck in 1965, and we continue to put it there.

Professor, is this data.marc file suppose to be read only by a machine as [a fellow classmate] suggested?

Only readable by a computer? The answer is both no and yes.

Any data file intended to be shared between systems (sets of applications) ought to be saved as plain text in order to facilitate transparency and eliminate application monopolies/tyrannies. Considering the time when MARC was designed, it fulfilled these requirements. The characters were 7-bits long (ASCII), the MARC codes were few and far between, and its sequential nature allowed it to be shipped back and forth on things like tape or even a modem. (“Remember modems?”) Without the use of an intermediary computer program, is is entirely possible to read and write a MARC records with a decent text editor. So, the answer is “No, MARC is not only readable by a machine.”

On the other hand, considering how much extra data (“information”) the profession has stuffed into MARC data structure, it is really really hard to edit MARC records with a text editor. Library Land has mixed three things into a single whole: data, presentation, and data structure. This is really bad when it comes to computing. For example, a thing may have been published in 1542, but the cataloger is not certain of this date. Consequently, they will enter a data value of [1542]. Well, that is not a date (a number), but rather a string (a word). To make matters worse, the cataloger may think the date (year) of publication is within a particular decade but not exactly sure, and the date may be entered like as [154?]. Ack! Then let’s get tricky and add a copyright notation to a more recent but uncertain date — [c1986]. Does it never end? Then lets’ talk about the names of people. The venerable Fred Kilgour — founder of OCLC — is denoted in cataloging rules as Kilgour, Fred. Well, I don’t think Kilgour, Fred ever backwards talked so make sure his ideas sortable. Given the complexity of cataloging rules, which never simplify, it is really not feasible to read and write MARC records without an intermediate computer program. So, on the other hand, “Yes, an intermediary computer is necessary.” But if this is true, then why don’t catalogers know to read and write MARC records? The answer lies in what I said above. We have mixed three things into a single whole, and that is a really bad idea. We can’t expect catalogers to be computer programmers too.

The bottom line is this. Library Land automated its processes but it never really went to the next level and used computers to enhance library collections and services. All Library Land has done is used computers to facilitate library practice; Library Land has not embraced the true functionality of computers such as its ability to evaluate data/information. We have simply done the same thing. We wrote catalog cards by hand. We then typed catalog cards. We then used a computer to create them.

One more thing, Library Land simply does not have enough computer programmer types. Libraries build collections. Cool. Libraries provide services against the collections. Wonderful. This worked well (more or less) when libraries were physical entities in a localized environment. Now-a-days, when libraries are a part of a global network, libraries need to speak the global language, and that global language is spoken through computers. Computers use relational databases to organize information. Computers use indexes to make the information findable. Computers use well-structured Unicode files (such XML, JSON, and SQL files) to transmit information from one computer to another. In order to function, people who work in libraries (librarians) need to know these sorts of technologies in order to work on a global scale, but realistically speaking, what percentage of librarians, now how to do these thing, let alone know what they are? Probably less than 10%. It needs to be closer to 33%. Where 33% of the people build collections, 33% of the people provide services, and 33% of the people glue the work of the first 66% into a coherent whole. What to do with the remaining 1%? Call them “administrators”.

[1] Unicode – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode

by Eric Lease Morgan at November 17, 2015 07:07 PM

November 16, 2015

Catholic Portal

A historical treasure trove: Social justice tradition runs through Catholic archives


Catholic schools face many challenges. In recent decades, the steady supply of free labor from religious men and women has dried up. Demographic changes resulted in most inner-city Catholic schools serving poor, non-Catholic populations. Stagnant wages put the cost of a Catholic school education out of reach for most middle-class Catholic families. And the rising cost of education at all levels, from kindergarten through college, has affected profoundly the crowning glory of U.S. Catholicism, our vibrant educational system.

For all those problems, there are many interesting developments in Catholic education, one of which was the focus of a conference titled “Catholic Archives in the Digital Age: A Conference for Archivists and Teachers” held Oct. 8-9 at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The event brought together Catholic educators with Catholic archivists to explore ways that archival material, especially digitized material, can be used in classrooms.

We all find reasons to bemoan canon law, but one of its benefits is that it requires a lot of record-keeping, and those records, deposited in Catholic archives, are a treasure trove of information for teaching young people.

The conference began with a panel of archivists highlighting their holdings that could be useful in the classroom. Malachy McCarthy oversees the Claretian archives in Chicago. He noted that religious communities like the Claretians respond to the needs of the times, and the archives reflect those responses. For example, the Claretian archives have material on the “down-and-dirty social history” of the mostly working-class people the Claretians served. Continue reading …


by plawton at November 16, 2015 07:55 PM

DPLA Announces Knight Foundation Grant to Research Potential Integration of Newspaper Content

Posted by DPLA on November 9, 2015 in DPLA Updates, News & Blog, Projects and tagged announcements, newspapers.

The Digital Public Library of America has been awarded $150,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to research the potential integration of newspaper content into the DPLA platform.

Over the course of the next year, DPLA will investigate the current state of newspaper digitization in the US. Thanks in large part to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress’s joint National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) showcased online as Chronicling America, many states in the US have digitized their historic newspapers and made them available online. A number of states, however, have made newspapers available outside of or in addition to this important program, and DPLA plans to investigate what resources it would take to potentially provide seamless discovery of the newspapers of all states and US territories, including the over 10 million pages already currently available in Chronicling America. Continue reading.

by plawton at November 16, 2015 07:45 PM

November 11, 2015



screencastThis is the briefest of comparisons between MARC, MARCXML, and MODS. Its was written for a set of library school students learning XML.

MARC is an acronym for Machine Readable Cataloging. It was designed in the 1960’s, and its primary purpose was to ship bibliographic data on tape to libraries who wanted to print catalog cards. Consider the computing context of the time. There were no hard drives. RAM was beyond expensive. And the idea of a relational database had yet to be articulated. Consider the idea of a library’s access tool — the card catalog. Consider the best practice of catalog cards. “Generate no more than four or five cards per book. Otherwise, we will not be able to accommodate all of the cards in our drawers.” MARC worked well, and considering the time, it represented a well-designed serial data structure complete with multiple checksum redundancy.

Someone then got the “cool” idea to create an online catalog from MARC data. The idea was logical but grew without a balance of library and computing principles. To make a long story short, library principles sans any real understanding of computing principles prevailed. The result was a bloating of the MARC record to include all sorts of administrative data that never would have made it on to a catalog card, and this data was delimited in the MARC record with all sorts of syntactical “sugar” in the form of punctuation. Moreover, as bibliographic standards evolved, the previously created data was not updated, and sometimes people simply ignored the rules. The consequence has been disastrous, and even Google can’t systematically parse the bibliographic bread & butter of Library Land.* The folks in the archives community — with the advent of EAD — are so much better off.

Soon after XML was articulated the Library Of Congress specified MARCXML — a data structure designed to carry MARC forward. For the most part, it addressed many of the necessary issues, but since it insisted on making the data in a MARCXML file 100% transformable into a “traditional” MARC record, MARCXML falls short. For example, without knowing the “secret codes” of cataloging — the numeric field names — it is very difficult to determine what are the authors, titles, and subjects of a book.

The folks at the Library Of Congress understood these limitations almost from the beginning, and consequently they created an additional bibliographic standard called MODS — Metadata Object Description Schema. This XML-based metadata schema goes a long way in addressing both the computing times of the day and the needs for rich, full, and complete bibliographic data. Unfortunately, “traditional” MARC records are still the data structure ingested and understood by the profession’s online catalogs and “discovery systems”. Consequently, without a wholesale shift in practice, the profession’s intellectual content is figuratively stuck in the 1960’s.

* Consider the hodgepodge of materials digitized by Google and accessible in the HathiTrust. A search for Walden by Henry David Thoreau returns a myriad of titles, all exactly the same.


  1. MARC (http://www.loc.gov/marc/bibliographic/bdintro.html) – An introduction to the MARC standard
  2. leader (http://www.loc.gov/marc/specifications/specrecstruc.html#leader) – All about the leader of a traditional MARC record
  3. MARC Must Die (http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2002/10/ljarchives/marc-must-die/) – An essay by Roy Tennent outlining why MARC is not a useful bibliographic format. Notice when it was written.
  4. MARCXML (https://www.loc.gov/standards/marcxml/marcxml-design.html) – Here are the design considerations for MARCXML
  5. MODS (http://www.loc.gov/standards/mods/userguide/) – This is an introduction to MODS


This is much more of an exercise than it is an assignment. The goal of the activity is not to get correct answers but instead to provide a framework for the reader to practice critical thinking against some of the bibliographic standards of the library profession. To the best of your ability, and in the form of an written essay between 500 and 1000 words long, answer and address the following questions based on the contents of the given .zip file:

  1. Measured in characters (octets), what is the maximum length of a MARC record? (Hint: It is defined in the leader of a MARC record.)
  2. Given the maximum length of a MARC record (and therefore a MARCXML record), what are some of the limitations this imposes when it comes to full and complete bibliographic description?
  3. Given the attached .zip file, how many bibliographic items are described in the file named data.marc? How many records are described in the file named data.xml? How many records are described in the file named data.mods? How do did you determine the answers to the previous three questions? (Hint: Open and read the files in your favorite text and/or XML editor.)
  4. What is the title of the book in the first record of data.marc? Who is the author of the second record in the file named data.xml. What are the subjects of the third record in the file named data.mods? How did you determine the answers the previous three questions? Be honest.
  5. Compare & contrast the various bibliographic data structures in the given .zip file. There are advantages and disadvantages to all three.

by Eric Lease Morgan at November 11, 2015 03:19 PM

October 25, 2015


“Sum reflextions” on travel

These are “sum reflextions” on travel; travel is a good thing, for many reasons.

pantheonI am blogging in front of the Pantheon. Amazing? Maybe. Maybe not. But the ability to travel, see these sorts of things, experience the different languages and cultures truly is amazing. All too often we live in our own little worlds, especially in the United States. I can’t blame us too much. The United States is geographically large. It borders only two other countries. One country speaks Spanish. The other speaks English and French. While the United States is the proverbial “melting pot”, there really isn’t very much cultural diversity in the United States, not compared to Europe. Moreover, the United States does not nearly have the history of Europe. For example, I am sitting in front of a building that was build before the “New World” was even considered as existing. It doesn’t help that the United States’ modern version of imperialism tends to make “United Statesians” feel as if they are the center of the world. I guess, that is some ways, it is not much different than Imperial Rome. “All roads lead to Rome.”

As you may or may not know, I have commenced upon a sort of leave of absence from my employer. In the past six weeks I have moved all of belongings to a cabin in a remote part of Indiana, and I have moved myself to Chicago. From there I began a month-long adventure. It began in Tuscany where I painted and deepened my knowledge of Western art history. I spent a week in Venice where I did more painting, walked up to my knees in water because the streets flooded, and I experienced Giotto’s frescos in Padua. For the past week I experienced Rome and did my best to actively participate in a users group meeting called ADLUG — the remnants of a user’s group meeting surrounding one of the very first integrated library systems — Dobris Libris. I also painted and rode a bicycle along the Appian Way. I am now on my way to Avignon where I will take a cooking class and continue on a “artist’s education”.

appian wayTravel is not easy. It requires a lot of planning and coordination. “Where will I be when, and how will I get there? Once I’m there, what am I going to do, and how will I make sure things don’t go awry?” In this way, travel is not for the fient of heart, especially when venturing into territory where you do not know the language. It can be scary. Nor is travel inexpensive. One needs to maintain two households.

Travel is a kind of education that can not be gotten through the reading of books, the watching of television, nor discussion with other people. It is something that must be experienced first hand. Like sculpture, it is literally an experience that can only exist time & space in order to fully appreciate.

What does this have to do with librarianship? On one hand, nothing. On the other hand, everthing. From my perspective, librarianship is about a number of processes applied against a number of things. These processes include collection, organization, preservation, dissemination, and sometimes evaluation. The things of librarianship are data, information, knowledge, and sometimes wisdom. Even today, with the advent of our globally networked computers, the activities of librarianship remain essentially unchanged when compared to the activities of more than a hundred years ago. Libraries still curate collections, organize the collections into useful sets, provide access to the collections, and endeavor to maintain all of these services for the long haul.

Like most people and travel, many librarians (and people who work in libraries) do not have a true appreciation for the work of their colleagues. Sure, everybody applauds everybody else’s work, but have they actually walked in those other people’s shoes? The problem is most acute between the traditional librarians and the people who write computer programs for libraries. Both sets of people have the same goals; they both want to apply the same processes to the same things, but their techniques for accomplishing those goals are disimilar. One wants to take a train to get where they are going, and other wants to fly. This must change lest the profession become even less relevant.

flowersWhat is the solution? In a word, travel. People need to mix and mingle with the other culture. Call it cross-training. Have the computer programmer do some traditional cataloging for a few weeks. Have the cataloger learn how to design, implement, and maintain a relational database. Have the computer programmer sit at the reference desk for a while in order to learn about service. Have the reference librarian work with the computer programmer and learn how to index content and make it searchable. Have the computer programmer work in an archive or conservatory making books and saving content in gray cardboard boxes. Have the archivist hang out with computer programmer and learn how content is backed up and restored.

How can all this happen? In my opinion, the most direct solution is advocacy from library administration. Without the blessing of library administration everybody will say, “I don’t have time for such ‘travel’.” Well, library work is never done, and time will need to be carved out and taken from the top, like retirement savings, in order for such trips abroad to come to fruition.

The waiters here at my cafe are getting restless. I have had my time here, and it is time to move on. I will come back, probably in the Spring, and I’ll stay longer. In the meantime, I will continue with my own personal education.

by Eric Lease Morgan at October 25, 2015 11:31 AM

October 22, 2015


What is old is new again

The “how’s” of librarianship are changing, but not the “what’s”.

(This is an outline for my presentation given at the ADLUG Annual Meeting in Rome (October 21, 2015). Included here are also the one-page handout and slides, both in the form of PDF documents.)

Linked Data

Linked Data is a method of describing objects, and these objects can be the objects in a library. In this way, Linked Data is a type of bibliographic description.

Linked Data is a manifestation of the Semantic Web. It is an interconnection of virtual sentences known as triples. Triples are rudimentary data structures, and as the name implies, they are made of three parts: 1) subjects, 2) predicates, and 3) objects. Subjects always take the form of a URI (think “URL”), and they point to things real or imaginary. Objects can take the form of a URI or a literal (think “word”, “phrase” or “number”). Predicates also take the form of a URI, and they establish relationships between subjects and objects. Sets of predicates are called ontologies or vocabularies and they present the languages of Linked Data.

simple arced graph

Through the curation of sets of triples, and through the re-use of URIs, it is often possible to make explicit assuming information and new knowledge.

There are an increasing number of applications enabling libraries to transform and convert their bibliographic data into Linked Data. One such application is called the ALIADA.

When & if the intellectual content of libraries, archives, and museums is manifested as Linked Data, then new relationships between resources will be uncovered and discovered. Consequently, one of the purposes of cultural heritage institutions will be realized. Thus, Linked Data is a newer, more timely method of describing collections; what is old is new again.

Curation of digital objects

The curation of collections, especially in libraries, does not have to be limited to physical objects. Increasingly new opportunities regarding the curation of digital objects represent a growth area.
With the advent of the Internet there exists an abundance of full-text digital objects just waiting to be harvested, collected, and cached. It is not good enough to link and point to such objects because links break and institutions (websites) dissolve.

Curating digital objects is not easy, and it requires the application of traditional library principles of preservation in order to be fulfilled. It also requires systematic organization and evaluation in order to be useful.

Done properly, there are many advantages to the curation of such digital collections: long-term access, analysis & evaluation, use & re-use, and relationship building. Examples include: the creation of institutional repositories, the creation of bibliographic indexes made up of similar open access journals, and the complete works of an author of interest.

In the recent past I have created “browsers” used to do “distant reading” against curated collections of materials from the HathiTrust, the EEBO-TCP, and JSTOR. Given a curated list of identifiers each of the browsers locally caches the full text of digital object object, creates a “catalog” of the collection, does full text indexing against the whole collection, and generates a set of reports based on the principles of text mining. The result is a set of both HTML files and simple tab-delimited text files enabling the reader to get an overview of the collection, query the collection, and provide the means for closer reading.


How can these tools be used? A reader could first identify the complete works of a specific author from the HathiTrust, say, Ralph Waldo Emerson. They could then identify all of the journal articles in JSTOR written about Ralph Waldo Emerson. Finally the reader could use the HathiTrust and JSTOR browsers to curate the full text of all the identified content to verify previously established knowledge or discover new knowledge. On a broader level, a reader could articulate a research question such as “What are some of the characteristics of early American literature, and how might some of its authors be compared & contrasted?” or “What are some of the definitions of a ‘great’ man, and how have these definitions changed over time?”

The traditional principles of librarianship (collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination) are alive and well in this digital age. Such are the “whats” of librarianship. It is the “hows” of the librarianship that need to evolve in order the profession to remain relevant. What is old is new again.

by Eric Lease Morgan at October 22, 2015 10:40 AM

October 13, 2015


Painting in Tuscany

As you may or may not know, I have commenced upon a sort of leave of absence from my employer, and I spent the last the better part of the last two weeks painting in Tuscany.

Me and eight other students arrived in Arezzo (Italy) on Wednesday, October 1, and we were greeted by Yves Larocque of Walk The Arts. We then spent the next ten days on a farm/villa very close to Singalunga (Italy) where we learned about color theory, how to mix colors, a bit of Western art history, and art theory. All the while we painted and painted and painted. I have taken a few art classes in my day and this was quite honestly the best one I’ve ever attended. It was thorough, individualized, comprehensive, and totally immersive. Painting in Tuscany was a wonderful way to commence a leave of absence. The process gave me a chance to totally get away, see things from a different vantage point, and begin an assessment.

What does this have to do with librarianship? I don’t know, yet. When I find out I’ll let you know.

by Eric Lease Morgan at October 13, 2015 10:30 AM

September 29, 2015


My water collection predicts the future

As many of you may or may not know, I collect water, and it seems as if my water collection predicts the future, sort of.

Since 1979 or so, I’ve been collecting water. [1] The purpose of the collection is/was enable me to see and experience different parts of the world whenever I desired. As the collection grew and my computer skills developed, I frequently used the water collection as a kind of Guinea pig for digital library projects. For example, my water collection was once manifested as a HyperCard Stack complete with the sound of running water in the background. For a while my water collection was maintained in a FileMaker database that generated sets of HTML. Quite a number of years ago I migrated everything to MySQL and embedded images of the water bottles in fields of the database. This particular implementation also exploited XML and XSLT to dynamically make the content available on the Web. (There was even some RDF output.) After that I included geographic coordinates into the database. This made it easy for me to create maps illustrating whence the water came. To date, there are about two hundred and fifty waters in my collection, but active collecting has subsided in the past few years.

But alas, this past year I migrated my co-located host to a virtual machine. In the process I moved all of my Web-based applications — dating back more than two decades — to a newer version of the LAMP stack, and in the process I lost only a single application — my water collection. I still have all the data, but the library used to integrate XSLT into my web server (AxKit) simply would not work with Apache 2.0, and I have not had the time to re-implement a suitable replacement.

Concurrently, I have been negotiating a two-semester long leave-of-absence from my employer. The “leave” has been granted and commenced a few of weeks ago. The purpose of the leave is two-fold: 1) to develop my skills as a librarian, and 2) to broaden my experience as a person. The first part of my leave is to take a month-long vacation, and that vacation begins today. For the first week I will paint in Tuscany. For the second week I will drink coffee in Venice. During the third week I will give a keynote talk at ADLUG in Rome. [2] Finally, during the fourth week I will learn how to make croissants in Provence. After the vacation is over I will continue to teach “XML 101” to library school graduate students at San Jose State University. [3] I will also continue to work for the University of Notre Dame on a set of three text mining projects (EEBO, JSTOR, and HathiTrust). [4, 5, 6]

As I was getting ready for my “leave” I was rooting through my water collection, and I found four different waters, specifically from: 1) Florence, 2) Venice, 3) Rome, and 4) Nice. As I looked at the dates of when the water was collected, I realized I will be in those exact same four places, on those exact same four days, exactly thirty-three years after I originally collected them. My water collection predicted my future. My water collection is a sort of model of me and my professional career. My water collection has sent me a number of signs.

This “leave-of-absence” (which in not really a leave nor a sabbatical, but instead a temporary change to adjunct faculty status) is a whole lot like going to college for the first time. “Where in the world am I going? What in the world am I going to do? Who in the world will I meet?” It is both exciting and scary at once and at the same time. It is an opportunity I would be foolish to pass up, but it is not as easy as you might imagine. That said, I guess I am presently an artist- and librarian-at-large. I think I need new, albeit temporary, business cards to proclaim my new title(s).

Wish me luck, and “On my mark. Get set. Go!”

  1. blog postings describing my water collection – http://infomotions.com/blog/2009/09/water-1-of-3/
  2. ADLUG – http://www.adlug.net
  3. “XML 101” at SJSU – http://ischoolapps.sjsu.edu/facultypages/view.php?fac=morgane
  4. EEBO browser – https://github.com/ndlib/text-analysis-eebo
  5. JSTOR browser – https://github.com/ndlib/text-analysis-jstor
  6. HathiTrust browser – https://github.com/ndlib/text-analysis-htrc

by Eric Lease Morgan at September 29, 2015 04:37 PM

Date created: 2000-05-19
Date updated: 2011-05-03
URL: http://infomotions.com/