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.