CRRA Update January 2012

CRRA UPDATE January 2012

Happy New Year! We wish you a most blessed, peaceful, healthy, and prosperous 2012. This month’s update includes:

  • Reflections on The Duquesne Symposium
    Over seventy scholars, librarians, archivists, graduate students, library staff and university leaders came together to learn about trends in American Catholic research and to network with colleagues on how archives, libraries and member organizations support scholars in Catholic Studies …
  • Lives of Women Saints at Georgetown, by John Buchtel
    The collection consists of over 1,000 volumes printed in vernacular languages (primarily Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French) between 1521 and the mid-20th century. The collection preserves a fascinating window into women’s spirituality in each of the eras it cover …
  • Results from the CRRA Five year Strategic Planning Survey
    The CRRA Five Year Strategic Planning Task Force distributed a Survey on Strategic Directions for CRRA
  • Many Rare Catholic Materials Yet to be Digitized
    A recent survey of Catholic college and university libraries indicates that many rare and unique Catholic scholarly materials are held by the institutions, and a small percentage (30%) of the surveyed institutions has digitized their rare Catholic resources.
  • CLIR Accepting Proposals for Hidden Collections Grants
    The CLIR Hidden Grants are for describing collections of currently “hidden” collections. In 2009, three CRRA members authored a successful collaborative grant. CRRA encourages and will provide assistance to members seeking grants, individually or collaboratively …
  • Call for Papers & Posters by Jan. 31: Conference on Information & Religion, Kent State
  • CRRA Meetings 2012-2014, please save the dates


The Duquesne Symposium

Advancing Catholic Scholarly Research: A Symposium at Duquesne University Perhaps the best way to describe the Symposium is through the participants’ words:

  • The Symposium clarified the mission of the CRRA and will help me to choose what items to contribute to the portal.
  • It was wonderful to discuss options and future problems/challenges from experts in the field.
  • I have more ideas about areas of our collection that would be of interest to scholars of Catholic Studies.
  • Great symposium. Generated a lot of ideas for me to take home.
  • I have made personal contacts for on-going assistance. I have seen possibilities I would not have seen. This has been interesting + helpful. Let’s hope it becomes an annual event!

Over seventy scholars, librarians, archivists, graduate students, library staff and university leaders came together to learn about trends in American Catholic research and to network with colleagues on how archives, libraries and member organizations support scholars in Catholic Studies. Participants represented thirty five institutions, of which 19 are CRRA members and 16 are not, including academic, seminary, diocesan, and religious special collections and archives. We also welcomed special guests from the Catholic Library Association (CLA), the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists (ACDA), and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU).

Keynote speaker Dr. Leslie Woodcock Tentler opened the program with a fascinating look at how she became a scholar of American Catholic history and how the field has advanced in the last twenty years. She offered her insights on future directions which she believes will focus on the 20th century in areas including the religious crisis in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and what has contributed to the success, or not, of Catholic education. You can read her paper in a forthcoming issue of Catholic Library World.

In turn, we learned about the challenges of finding collections on “ordinary life” and were encouraged to think about how our own collections fit into national collections (Dr. Paula Kane); how the National Institute of Newman Studies (NINS) manages a massive corpus of materials in a way less intimidating to the next generation of scholars (Dr. Kevin Mongrain); how mission, heritage and partnership work to build a digital library of Catholic research resources (Joseph Lucia) and how ACCU serves as the collective voice for its members to the Catholic Church, helps its members advance their missions and supports the mission of the CRRA (Dr. Michael Galligan-Stierle). The ACCU Update Winter 2011 (on page 5) provides descriptions of two digital projects presentations: Donald Beagle (Integrating Digital and Archival Sources in Historical Research) and Yannet Lathrop (Digitizing the Nouwen Archives).

Lorraine Olley, chair, CRRA Five year Strategic Planning Task Force, led a lively discussion on future directions and activities. There was strong support and enthusiasm for locating, providing access to and digitizing North American Catholic newspapers, an initiative being led by the CRRA Catholic Newspapers Task Force. We recognize that our colleagues in ACDA, CLA and ATLA bring a wealth of knowledge and experience and look forward to working with them. In addition, participants spoke to the value of finding aids for providing collection level information as well as to full digital content of rare books, papers and possibly digitized media collections on Catholicism, creating a sacramental records database, including more collections of photographs and unique materials such as parish histories. One participant summed it up as the need to focus on building a significant corpus of materials where a scholar can be sure to find the most important Catholic records and materials. It was exciting to see how our various institutions were so easily able to identify shared interests in making Catholic resources more accessible to those who would use them.

We want to thank especially Laverna Saunders, University Librarian, for inspiring us to create the symposium and for so generously hosting it at Duquesne University. We also thank Rob Behary, Systems Librarian and David Nolfi, Health Sciences Librarian, and the entire Duquesne team of librarians and library staff who made our time there productive and most enjoyable. Looking forward, we do intend to hold a second symposium in fall 2012 (Chicago), so stay tuned.

Lives of Women Saints at Georgetown

Georgetown University’s Special Collections Research Center acquired the John Thatcher collection of lives of women saints and women religious in 2009, supported in part by a generous grant from the B. H. Breslauer Foundation. The collection consists of over 1,000 volumes printed in vernacular languages (primarily Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French) between 1521 and the mid-20th century. Written for use as works of popular devotion, often locally produced, many of these books were not systematically collected by research institutions, and some can otherwise be found only in a few European libraries. In some cases the Thatcher copy may be the only surviving copy. The collection preserves a fascinating window into women’s spirituality in each of the eras it covers.

An exhibition in 2010 presented highlights from the collection, lending insight into the devotional practices of both nuns and of lay­women. The books on display gave evidence of “the humdrum routines of everyday life, but also of defiance, sacrifice, martyrdom, and heroic deeds carried out in defense of the faith. They speak of love of God, but also of erotic yearning…. The diversity of languages conveys both the amplitude and unity of Catholic culture. Taken as a whole, these books greatly enrich our knowledge of the early modern world, and in particular, of the lives of women.” For more about the exhibition, see: http://www.library.georgetown.edu/exhibition/portraits-piety-women-saints-and-women-religious-john- thatcher-collection.

Cataloging of the collection is ongoing. As the books are cataloged, the records are being flagged for inclusion in the Catholic Portal. As of December, 2011, almost 800 records have been contributed to the Portal. The books are available for consultation upon request in the Special Collections reading room in Lauinger Library at Georgetown.

John Buchtel, Georgetown University Library Member, CRRA Collections Committee

Etching taken from Antonio Gallonio, Historia delle Sante Vergini Romane (Rome 1591)

CRRA Five Year Strategic Planning Survey Results

The CRRA Five Year Strategic Planning Task Force distributed a survey on strategic directions for CRRA to 146 CRRA members on Nov. 17. A total of 69 surveys were completed, or 47% of the total population.

Key themes from the survey responses are summarized as follows. To see the full report of conclusions and to see the actual responses, please see: http://www.catholicresearch.net/info/5yr%20Planning%20TF/

Content

  • Continue freely available discovery of metadata records in the portal, with links to full digital content as available
  • Place greater emphasis on rare and unique items and collections; and on other formats
  • Facilitate collaborative grants to digitize and describe resources
  • Enhance the portal’s searchability, display, and overall look and feel
  • Provide greater access to digitized content, with emphasis on adding links to records as possible, linking to available resources where available, and working to digitize member content and endangered resources.Community
  • Continue membership model, perhaps incorporate a sliding scale to make membership affordable to small institutions
  • Conduct user studies to determine what scholars and researchers need and want
  • Offer various member services (after the portal is improved). Suggested services include: (1) Offer introductory training sessions at selected institutions for faculty and students o Develop tools and scholars collaboratory (2) Assist members, as needed, to help them to survey and manage their collections (3) Provide help with digitizing Many Rare Catholic Materials Yet to Be Digitized

A recent survey of Catholic college and university libraries indicates that many rare and unique Catholic scholarly materials are held and a small percentage (30%) of the surveyed institutions has digitized their rare Catholic resources. Yet, respondents indicate an interest in working collaboratively with other institutions to make Catholic scholarly materials more readily available through digitization.

CRRA members Marta Deyrup and Martha Loesch (Seton Hall) presented their findings as participants in the Digital Projects Showcase at the November Duquesne Symposium.

To read more about this and other showcase projects, see the full article from the ACCU newsletter (page 9) at: http://www.accunet.org/files/public/Update/Winter2011b.pdf.

CRRA encourages and will provide assistance to members seeking digitization grants, individually or collaboratively. For more information, please contact Jennifer or Pat.

CLIR Accepting Proposals for 2012 Cycle of Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant Program

As noted by Matt Blessing in last month’s article on the Dorothy Day Archives at Marquette, the 2009 CLIR grant awarded to CRRA members Marquette, St. Kate’s and Catholic was afforded by participation in the Catholic Research Resources Alliance and made “securing major outside funding support for this initiative much easier.”

In the current economic climate, it is no secret that collaborative proposals are emphasized. We invite members to consider partnering with other CRRA institutions to develop grant proposals. The CRRA offers support in helping to make connections and to draft proposals. In the CLIR grant referenced by Matt, individual institutions display items cataloged in the grant both locally and in the portal, thereby extending the possibilities for discovery.

FROM CLIR:
Washington, DC, January 10, 2012—The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is now accepting proposals for the 2012 cycle of the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant program. Information about the program and links to the online application and guidelines are available at http://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/index.html. The deadline for submitting proposals is Friday, March 16, 2012.

CLIR will host a webinar for applicants on Friday, January 20, 2012 from 2:00 – 3:15 pm EST.

Decisions will be announced by December 31, 2012.

The program awards funds to institutions holding collections of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate through existing finding aids. Award recipients will create descriptive information for their hidden collections that will be linked to and interoperable with all other projects funded by this grant, to form a federated environment that can be built upon over time. Funding for the program comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

CRRA Meeting schedule 2012-2013

Plan to join your CRRA colleagues in the months and years to come.

ALA Anaheim June 2012

Open to change but proposed: June 25 dinner, June 26 meeting
How will these dates work for you? Please send your preferences or comments about proposed meeting dates to either Jennifer or Pat so we may make a plan that is amenable to member and visitor schedules. All are invited to attend.

Chicago Fall 2012

Symposium and CRRA meeting; Venue and date TBD
The November 2011 Duquesne Symposium was a great success and we would like to continue the tradition with a Midwest symposium this fall. In collaboration with our many Midwestern members, we look forward to an event that will inspire and assist in furthering our mission to make Catholic scholarly materials accessible. Please let us know if you would like to serve on a planning task force and to share your thoughts on topics and events you would recommend.

Indianapolis Spring 2013

Annual meeting in spring 2013 in conjunction with ACRL in Indianapolis

Spring 2014

Symposium & annual meeting in spring 2014, place TBD

Call for Papers & Posters

Second Annual Conference on Information & Religion: “Preservation and Access: Facilitating Research in Information & Religion” Keynote: Carisse Mickey Berryhill, Ph.D., Special Collections Librarian, Abilene Christian University
May 18 & 19, 2012
Kent State University, Kent, OH http://bit.ly/CSIRconf2012

The Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR) will host its Second Annual International Conference on Information and Religion in May 2012. This call for papers and posters seeks original contributions in all areas related to information and religion. The conference theme invites participants to share their work in a variety of areas in which scholars are exploring the intersections of religion and information.

Prospective participants are encouraged to submit abstracts that report on recent research and scholarship. Contributions to this call for papers and posters should not have been previously published. There are no restrictions on research methodology.

  • Jan. 31, 2012: Deadline to submit abstracts.
  • March 15, 2012: Notification of acceptance sent to participants.
  • April 15, 2012: Deadline to submit final, completed papers in order for them to be considered for publication in ASIR: Advances in the Study of Information and Religion. Conference information is posted at http://bit.ly/CSIRconf2012.

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