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

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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 …

 

CRRA/DePaul Symposium Call for Posters Deadline Sept. 19

The Catholic Research Resource Alliance (CRRA) and the symposium planning committee invite proposals for posters to be displayed at the 2012 CRRA symposium Nurturing the ‘Spirit of Perfect Charity’: Libraries and Archives at the Intersection of Service and Scholarship in Catholic Social Justice Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, October 15-16, 2012.  The planning committee seeks posters that showcase innovative technologies, best practices, future trends, and unique research findings from librarians, archivists, and scholars.

Referees Pat Lawton (CRRA) and Megan Bernal (DePaul University) will choose the best poster and a prize will be awarded.

How to submit a poster proposal
Please submit an abstract of up to 125 words describing your project, with a cover sheet listing your name, title, and institution, and contact information (email and phone number) to crra2012@depaul.edu by September 19th.

Poster guidelines
Presenters will be provided a hanging board suitable for a poster up to 5’ wide and 3’ tall.  It is recommended that posters be designed to fit within the confines of the provided poster board and consist of materials that can be mounted easily with push pins (we will have a supply on hand).  Posters will be displayed on easels or tables.

Deadline
The deadline for submitting poster proposals is September 19, 2012.  Participants will be notified of acceptance on October 1st.

Posted by Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts, Chair of the Symposium Planning Committee

For questions please email crra2012@depaul.edu.
Please see http://via.library.depaul.edu/crra/ for more information about and to register for the Symposium.

 

CRRA May 2012 Update: Focus on Anaheim meeting

The May Update includes details about the CRRA All-Member Annual Meeting in Anaheim, June 25-26, 2012.  Also noteworthy: on June 23 and June 25, Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director, will participate in panel discussions of interest to our membership.  Details on these events are also in this Update.

In this issue we  introduce the impressive Ade Bethune Collection at St. Catherine University and Diane Maher, Chair of the Collections Committee provides an update of Committee activities.

Happy reading, I hope to see you in Anaheim.
Best regards,
Pat

Continue reading “CRRA May 2012 Update: Focus on Anaheim meeting”

VuStuff II: A Travelogue

On Wednesday, October 12, 2011 I had the opportunity to attend and present at the second annual VuStuff meeting held at Falvey Library, Villanova University (Philadelphia). This posting documents my experience there, but in a nutshell, this small and intimate meeting provided a venue for interesting discussion on the topic of modern librarianship.

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CRRA All-Members Meeting: A Travelogue

Just about this time last week I was attending the CRRA All-Members Meeting in Philadelphia (March 29-30, 2011). This posting documents the experience.

slideshowThe Meeting began Tuesday afternoon, March 29, at Villanova University where attendees were treated to a number of show & tell presentations describing the digital library goings-on of the Falvey Library. Joseph Lucia began by listing a number of well-articulated reasons why open source software is akin to the values of librarianship. Most notably, he alluded to the Second Enclosure and the very real threats to the public commons. Other presentations outlined local digitization efforts using Tesseract, their institutional repository implementation, scholarly publishing with Open Journal System, and their newly released digital library software called VUDL. I am continually impressed with the work being done by the folks at Villanova. Administration has a vision, a plan, and puts the plan into practice. “We do things for the sake of scholarship… We collaborate and find partners.” This approach to digital librarianship seems to me to be the best long-term strategy and ensures sustainability. It is not so much about getting more money but instead about setting priorities and allocating resources accordingly.

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Digital Humanities Forum — A Travelogue

This is the briefest of travelogues — a description of what went on at the Digital Humanities Forum, February 24, 2011.

On Thursday, February 24, the Hesburgh Libraries and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA) sponsored the Digital Humanities Forum. The purpose of the event was to raise the awareness of the digital humanities across campus just a little bit. To that end we hosted two speakers and a couple of hands-on workshops.

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Usability results from Team Catholic Portal

This posting lists the results of a usability study done against the “Catholic Portal”.

In a previous posting called “Usability testing” (dated February 14, 2011) a set of eight usability questions was outlined. Since then Team Catholic Portal here at Notre Dame facilitated six usability studies made up of five graduate students and one faculty member. These participants were scholars in philosophy and theology. We used the simple facilitator/note-taker approach. We employed usability software (Silverback), but didn’t use it to evaluate our results. Using our notes as well as professional judgement, we evaluated the results and came up with the following prioritized list of things to be addressed with the Portal’s interface:

  • 6 – set search filter to off by default
  • 5 – enable sending of more than one email at a time
  • 4 – clarify difference between canonical and remote [files]
  • 3 – remove autocomplete feature
  • 2 – re-do text mining language
  • 1 – tweak facets to be more descriptive or complete
  • 1 – retain links of original EAD file in local EAD file
  • 1 – respect my browser preferences
  • 1 – remember [search] results after creating account
  • 1 – make local EAD file the default
  • 1 – implement authority control (cross-reference) functionality
  • 1 – highlight search words in result [list]
  • 1 – explain what facets are
  • 1 – enable further search [refinements] after selecting “archival records”
  • 1 – confirm adding to favorites
  • 1 – add addresses and phone numbers to records

Once we have finished migrating our existing “sandbox” implementation of the Portal to production hardware, I will see about implementing the changes. Some of them require changes to the underlying VuFind software. Some of them require changes in wording.

CRRA in San Diego January 6, 2011

From left to right: Eric Morgan (ND), Eric Frierson (St. Ed’s), Marta Deyrup (Seton Hall), Clay Stalls (Loyola Marymount), Kris Brancolini (Loyola Marymount), Jennifer Younger (CRRA), Tyrone Cannon (Univ of San Francisco), Janice Welburn (Marquette), Jean Zanoni (Marquette), Pat Lawton (CRRA), Alma Ortega (Univ of San Diego), Theresa Byrd (Univ of San Diego), Susan Ohmer (Notre Dame), Laverna Saunders (Duquesne), Diane Maher (U San Diego), Ed Starkey (U San Diego)

The San Diego meeting provided an opportunity for new and continuing CRRA members and friends to look at the enhanced portal, discuss future directions for the CRRA,  and last but not least,  to get to know one another.