Indexing and displaying Encoded Archival Description files

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

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

My experience with Archivists’ Toolkit

by Adam McGinn (July 17, 2012)

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

Graphic design and the “Catholic Portal”

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

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

That said, it requires quite a number of skills in order for Vufind to be implemented properly. They include but are not limited to subject experts, systems administrators, computer programmers, usability technicians, graphic designers, metadata experts, administrators of people, public service personnel, etc.

sample screen dump of “Catholic Portal” search results

Fulltext indexing in Vufind with Aperture

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

About 800 of the 125,000 indexed records in the “Catholic Portal” are linked to full text through a URL in the MARC records’ 856 field. The vast majority of these records come from the University of Toronto and the University of Notre Dame. The process of fulltext indexing is documented at, but I’ll clarify here. Continue reading “Fulltext indexing in Vufind with Aperture”

How to make CRRA metadata available via the FTP “dropbox”

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

FTP site as dropbox

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

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

To overcome the limitations of some CRRA members, I created an FTP site allowing them to deposit their metadata. This same FTP site is also accessible via the Web, and therefore I can have my cake and eat it too. No CRRA members need to send me their metadata, and I can harvest it from a Web server.

If you are a CRRA member who is unable or not allowed to make your metadata available via the Web, then get in touch with me, Eric Lease Morgan (574/631-8604;, and I will give you instructions for making your metadata available via the “dropbox”.

CRRA Update June 2012

CRRA Update June 2012

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

  • Implementation of findings from usability studies and upgrade to VuFind 1.3 for enhanced search functionality
  • Inauguration of a new column in the monthly updates featuring member collections to increase awareness of collection scope, theme and portal content
  • CRRA liaisons to support effective communication between CRRA and its members as well as among members, and for sharing of best practices between and among local CRRA teams
  • Adoption of a five year strategic plan designed to build on past accomplishments in going forward to add value beyond discovery, expand scholarly participation, grow CRRA collections systematically and collaboratively, expand CRRA’s sharing of resources and scholarship, and secure the future.
  • Adoption of an ambitious and inspiring vision describing the positive impact we intend to have.   Continue reading “CRRA Update June 2012”