CRRA Update Winter 2014

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, by Tyrone Cannon
  • From the Membership Committee: Welcome to the University of St. Thomas, by Evelyn Minick
  • From the Digital Access Committee (DAC): VuFind 2.0 supports new functionality in the portal, by Demian Katz
  • Digitizing Catholic Newspapers, by Pat Lawton
  • Mighty oaks from little acorns grow: Special collections at St. Thomas, by Jennifer Younger
  • Catholic University of America Students and the CRRA Website/ Reviewing Google Analytics data from past year (Feb 16, 2103 to Feb 16, 2014)
  • Digital Initiatives Symposium at University of San Diego – APRIL 9
  • CRRA in the News!
  • Positions available

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 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 ( 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 century.  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

top search strings in portal 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 and Lee Van Orsdel, Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University

For the complete program, please visit the USD website:

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:

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 with your questions, comments, or news to share.

Catholic Comics, Women Poets, Holy Cards, and more in CRRA Member Digital Collections

Curious about what Catholic resources are available in digital form?  Wait no longer –  the CRRA has assembled a preliminary listing of full digital content held among 20 of its member institutions.

The listing with links to digital exhibits, resources, and collections is now available on the CRRA website at:

The following and much more is available. We will continue to update this listing so check in periodically to learn of new additions.

  • Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact
    A Catholic comic book collection that ran from the mid-1940s to the early 1970s.
  • Vincentian Holy Cards
    These cards span several centuries and many languages, and show the religious iconography surrounding St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, and the various religious and lay orders founded by them.
  • Catholic Women Poets Collection
    The Catholic Women Poets digital collection features correspondence and poems from Helen Parry Eden, Emily Hickey, Louise Imogen Guiney, Shelia Kaye-Smith, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, Alice Meynell, Christina Rossetti, and Kathryn White Ryan. Also included are several images of the featured poets. This digital collection is composed of materials from the Carrigan Collection.
  • The Missionary Catechist
    This was the mission journal of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters from 1924-1964.




CRRA Update May June 2013

 CRRA Update
May/June 2013
please see the PDF for the more visually rich version

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CRRA Annual Meeting in Chicago, events July 1-2, 2013

CRRA’s Annual All Members Meeting will take place Tuesday, July 2 during ALA Chicago. There are several opportunities to get together with you, our CRRA friends and colleagues.  Please review the events below (in order by date) and RSVP to Felice Maciejewski  at

Click here for a PDF of CRRA Events in Chicago, or just read on…

We hope to see you in Chicago!

Digitizing Catholic Newspapers

Monday July 1:  2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
DePaul Loop Library Instruction Room
1 East Jackson Blvd. (in downtown Chicago)

Come and share your interests and/or experience in digitizing newspapers. We will learn more about newspaper digitization and other digital services offered by Lyrasis, exploring a possible collaborative initiative for funding strategies and support, digitization of collections,  and access.  Your input is central to identifying what will help you and other CRRA members do what you want to do, and how your digitizing projects might be part of and benefit from a more comprehensive effort.

A taste of Italy: Dinner at Quartino’s
Monday July 1: 6:30 p.m.
Enjoy the distinctive Italian small-plates menus and vintage ambience at Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar in Chicago’s Near North side.  Meet us at 6:30 and treat yourself to an enjoyable dinner with friends.

CRRA All Member Meeting
Tuesday July 2 : 8:30 a.m. to Noon
Breakfast at 8:30 and Meeting at 9:00
University Club  Northwestern Room (A&B)
Dress is business casual
76 East Monroe (corner of Michigan Ave. and Monroe St.)
Start your day with breakfast (hosted by Dominican University) and stay to contribute your ideas to CRRA.  Our agenda is a window into mission-support for the next year. We want your input on the proposed top priorities: expanding access to Catholic newspapers, engaging in more outreach about the portal and member mentoring, and harvesting new content. We are setting up small group and plenary discussions on ways in which we can get the word out about the portal and CRRA collections and especially what works at your institution.  We will explore ways in which individuals and institutions can increase our capacity to carry out our mission of providing global enduring access to Catholic research resources in the Americas.

Treasures of Faith: Twenty Years of Acquisitions
Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street

In 1991, Newberry Trustee Sister Ann Ida Gannon, president Emerita of Mundelein College, arranged for the transfer of Mundelein’s rare book collection to the Newberry.  More donations followed of which a selection are in this exhibit of books used by American seminarians.  Hours posted on the website.

Stay the night at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) Guest Housing
5401 S. Cornell Avenue (an easy bus ride to downtown)
If you are joining us for CRRA events and need a place to stay, consider the reasonably priced guest rooms at Catholic Theological Union  in the heart of the Hyde Park neighborhood.  Contact CTU directly or write to Melody McMahon , Library Director, CTU for more information on staying on campus.

We hope to see you in Chicago!

Please share this invitation with others at your institution.  Our meetings are open to others interested in our mission and activities and who may not yet be members. All are welcome!

CRRA Update March/April 2013

CRRA Update
March/April 2013

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

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WordPress Finesse

Greetings CRRA community,

We have been working on updating the blog and are in the process of adding new information in an effort to make it more user-friendly.  With this in mind, we felt it might be helpful to share our findings, what we learned about WordPress, with you, as you may find the information useful now or at some point in the future.  Feel free to share this information with colleagues, family and friends.

In this posting, we will present information on the following topics:

  1. Adding the “more tag” in blog posts
  2. Creating and displaying categories for blog posts
  3. Antedating blog posts
  4. Formatting a blog’s side bar

As an aside, please note that all the information pertains to blogs operated using the WordPress system. 

Adding the “More Tag”

The “more tag” is a very useful tool in blog posts.  Using the “more tag” will help to make your blog page look cleaner and sleeker and allow your readers to easily access the information they need.  Additionally, the “more tag,” allows users to quickly browse the most recent posts.

WordPress defines the “more tag” as a “tag that breaks a post into ‘teaser’ and content sections. Type a few paragraphs, insert this tag and then compose the rest of your post. On your blog’s home page you will see only those first paragraphs with a hyperlink ((more…)), which when followed displays the rest of the post’s content.”  The “more tag” is considered a QuicktagQuicktags are displayed in the tool bar at the top of the draft of your new post.  The “more tag” can be inserted at any point in your post.  Also, you can go back and edit previous posts and insert the “more tag” wherever it is most useful and then update the piece.

An example has been provided here.  Click this link and it will lead you to the rest of the content.  Continue reading

CRRA Update Jan/Feb 2013

This month’s update includes:

  • From the Board: Janice Welburn, chair, on Becoming a nonprofit federally tax-exempt corporation
  • Member News:  Villanova wins ACRL Excellence in Libraries Award!; Congratulations to Carol Johnson, Bob Skinner, and Stephanie Clark; CRRA in the Spotlight
  • Feature Article: Learning more about our collection through selecting materials for CRRA, by Lisa Gonzalez, Catholic Theological Union
  • Committee Updates:  From The Collections Committee on Updating the collection policy; the Digital Access Committee on EAD records, the website, and more; and the Newspapers Task Force on the List of Catholic Newspapers Online
  • Grant opportunities: CLIR Hidden Collections proposals due March 22, 2013
  • Upcoming events: The CRRA Annual Meeting (July 2)

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