CRRA Update                                                                         Summer 2015

In this issue:

From the Board

Stephen Connaghan, Chair and University Librarian, The Catholic University of America

The Strategic Plan: Goals for 2015/16 is an ambitious plan. Our top priorities focus on: creating new digital resources; expanding access to current digital content; marketing our rich content to users and members; and developing a strategic multi-year financial plan to support CRRA programs. Based on the recently completed plan, we are going forward to secure funds for the newspaper digitization, shared repository and preservation projects: European Immigration (1880-1919) and Vatican II (1958-1972). In our path to developing an open access repository, we are seeking grant funds to digitize the European Immigration Years and seeking funds for the Vatican II portion from libraries, archives and other organizations. A prospectus was sent to members and partners in August and will go out to other libraries and archives this fall. We owe special thanks to Pat Lawton and the Newspapers Committee and Digitizing Partners, chaired by Megan Bernal, DePaul, for their dedicated and thorough work over the last eighteen months.

Connecting faculty and students with relevant resources is in our DNA. The published subject guides to CRRA collections in the portal--which was enriched last year with content from CONTENTdm, bepress and an institutional repository--offer an easy way to integrate CRRA resources into local guides.  Catholic Newspapers Online (CNO) is a ready reference tool for access to nearly 100 online Catholic newspapers.

As seen in the CRRA Accomplishments 2014-15, we do our best work through members. I thank all committee chairs and members for their leadership and participation. We welcome your ideas and encourage you to lend your expertise to the committee of your choice. Consider especially the new Development Committee set up last year to develop financial strategies that will sustain CRRA programs and services. Please suggest committee participation to others in your institution who might not receive the CRRA Updates. Committee charges, goals and rosters are on the website. You can write to the appropriate committee chair, Pat Lawton, or Jennifer Younger to volunteer or recommend a colleague.

Working with the CRRA is rewarding on many levels. It has been a pleasure to work with my colleagues on the Board for the past few years. I look forward to broader engagement with all of you during my term as chair of the Board. Together we will go far as our collaborative efforts will continue to provide deeper, richer access to American Catholic history than we possibly could on our own.

From the CRRA

Highlights from the CRRA Symposium, June 1-2, 2015

Sixty people participated in the third CRRA Symposium Bringing the created toward the Creator: Liturgical art and design since Vatican II, beautifully hosted by Catholic Theological Union. In addition, there were 286 views via USTREAM. Rev. Francis, CSV and President of CTU, opened the program with remarks about the Vatican II spirit of active participation in the liturgy and illustrated in the designs of the nationally-known artist, John Buscemi, the changes carried out in parishes across the country. We could see how the theology of worship was supported through liturgical design features such as angled pews and the ambo, font and altar on one plane.

Subsequent panelists spoke eloquently and succinctly, leaving time for the ever popular poster sessions and round table discussions. Participants encouraged us to do more in facilitating collaborative collection building and in digitizing Catholic newspapers, both of which are in our strategic plan goals for this year. The poster award went to Kristi Hass, Catholic Peacebuilding Network, for her poster on digitizing materials in global Catholic peacebuilding. We thank our host, the Program Committee, speakers, financial sponsors and participants for making the symposium a success.
A most rewarding aspect was seeing our vision of fostering a dynamic scholarly community in action. Two participants are making plans to study the CTU Library’s Alexander Peloquin Collection and St. Catherine Library’s Ade Bethune Archive, both of which were featured in the symposium. Professor Ostdiek, OFM, noted the papers of many liturgical artists and designers remain in the hands of the artists and suggested CRRA members actively consider acquiring, preserving and making these collections accessible for scholars. If you are interested, contact Jennifer Younger.

Younger and Lawton Present “Building a Catholic News Archive” at the Catholic Media Conference June 25 in Buffalo

CRRA Executive Director Jennifer Younger and Digital Projects Librarian Pat Lawton co-presented a session introducing Conference members to the Catholic Newspapers Program and encouraging them to consider participating. Participants expressed keen interest in having their papers represented and Younger and Lawton were delighted to learn that many participants have digitized versions of their papers going back to the early 21st century.  In talking with project partners Reveal Digital and Veridian, they learned that much of this already-digitized content could indeed be post-processed and live alongside other Catholic newspapers destined for the Archive.  It was a most productive and engaging conference and we are especially grateful to Tim Walters, Executive Director of the Catholic Press Association, for inviting and supporting our participation.

Committee Briefs

DAC Committee Brief


Building the Catholic Portal, It Takes a Village

Demian Katz, chair, Villanova University

The Catholic Portal is designed to be the first stop for Catholic research. To help reach that goal, DAC asks that all members consider adding content to the Portal. Portal usage has increased over the past several years, yet to be a true destination for users everywhere, the Portal needs more member records. DAC has worked to ensure the process of adding content is simple.  Please contact us to help you add content today, whether for the first time or to refresh and grow your current Portal collections. Please contact us to help you add content today!  

DAC and Liaisons Webinar On Finding Aids, with an Emphasis on Creating EAD

left to right: Kevin Cawley, Fran Rice, Eric Lease Morgan, Demian Katz

Have you ever wondered how to find or add finding aids to the Catholic portal? Has your institution need of a simple to use, free tool to create EAD files? Liaisons chair Fran Rice and DAC members Demian Katz, Eric Lease Morgan, and Kevin Cawley provided participants with practical information addressing just these questions. 

This informative webinar was archived and is available for your viewing at:

Finding aids in the Portal represent a myriad and impressive array of rare and unique primary source material such as correspondence, papers, ephemera and more.  Sample Collections described in the portal include, for example:
  • Graham Greene
  • Teilhard de Chardin
  • John Henry Cardinal Newman
  • Dorothy Day
  • Anti-Catholic Collections
Let us know how we can help to represent your important archival collections.  

Membership Committee


The Catholic Peacebuilding Network Joins CRRA

Kristi Haas, Jerry Powers

We welcome the Catholic Peacebuilding Network (CPN) as a partner in CRRA. Formed in 2004, CPN is a network of academics and practitioners who seek to enhance the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding. CPN is housed at the University of Notre Dame Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and governed by a Steering Committee representing various Catholic institutions, including CRRA members Boston College, Catholic University, Catholic Theological Union, Georgetown, and the Universities of Notre Dame, San Diego, and St. Thomas. CPN works with faculty and scholars at many institutions in carrying out its mission through conferences, working groups, sponsored publications and more. It reaches over 1,000 scholars, practitioners, students, and others directly through its e-list.

CPN materials relate to several portal themes:  Peacebuilding, Catholic social action, and Diocesan Collections including papers of bishops. It holds almost 200 documents (a third in digital format) from bishops and dioceses in three African countries with hundreds more to be acquired and papers from twelve past conferences and events. The unique and elusive nature of these materials makes them an outstanding addition to the portal, adding important global coverage relating to Africa and materials related to current scholarship.

LibGuides Sub-Committee

Available on the CRRA website are links to LibGuides that can be used as templates by CRRA members and partners who want to offer CRRA-themed LibGuides to their communities or who want to include information about CRRA collections in other of their subject guides. Some of the guides provide information about the CRRA and/or the Catholic Portal, or link their users to many of the electronic collections of CRRA member libraries. Two are examples of guides for researching CRRA resources for specific topics.

Some guides are available both in Version 1 and Version 2 of LibGuides, so libraries using either of the LibGuides versions can make use of the templates. Some are available only in Version 1 or Version 2.

You are welcome to contact Ted Bergfelt, Duquesne University, for more information:  

To access these guides, click the following  link:

Tech Corner


Updated CRRA Website

We are pleased to announce that many changes to the website recommended by graduate students at Catholic University Department of Library and Information Science in the spring 2014 have been implemented. Please take a look!

Changes include the addition of a central tab for the Catholic Newspapers Program, easy access to Member Login, contact info, and placement of our Mission front and center. More changes are yet to come and we hope you will find this updated version more visually appealing and easier to navigate.

Special thanks to Jency Liddell, former CRRA Web Manager, who implemented many of the changes and to our Collections and Digital Access Committees, who carefully vetted pages as they were edited and suggested many key enhancements.  

If you have suggestions for future improvements, please send them on!

Member News


Two Members Win 2015 ALA John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards

The Loyola University Chicago Libraries won for Celebrate Gorey, an extensive programming and outreach campaign on the writer and artist Edward Gorey.  The libraries collaborated to bring the first major Gorey exhibition to his native Chicago, recognizing a remarkable gift of over 1,300 rare items to the libraries. Enhanced by multiple partnerships, including the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, the multifaceted campaign served to raise endowment funds, expand Friends group membership and bolster awareness of the Libraries’ Special Collections.

The Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame used the 50th anniversary of its iconic building – home of the famous mural Word of Life and affectionately known as "touchdown Jesus" – as an opportunity to build awareness of the library and its services among the Notre Dame community. Their comprehensive strategy and flawless execution helped stakeholders rally around the libraries, further establishing them as vital to the school's landscape.

The year’s winners won not only bragging rights but, $10,000 cash awards generously provided by EBSCO and the H.W. Wilson Foundation.” Congratulations!

For your consideration


The Recorder, Newsletter of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission (NJCHC), Invites Submissions on Catholic New Jersey

A newly unveiled version of the NJCHC newsletter known as "The Recorder" is now available for your reading reference. The goal of this publication is to share personal accomplishments,
institutional news, archival and library resource information, research projects, upcoming events, and other items that touch upon the religious history of New Jersey in some manner.

With data sharing in mind, you are invited to submit anything from a news update to a full-length article as they currently work on constructing the second (December 2015) and third (June 2016) editions. Along with the newsletter found in the above link, blog entries and further information about the NJCHC can be found via the homepage at -

For more information about submissions and questions about the newsletter please contact Alan Delozier.

CRRA Welcomes Philip Windsor, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies Intern

Philip Windsor has elected to do his practicum work with CRRA this fall. He will analyze sustainability models for digital collections and research crowdfunding options to assist in creating a funding and sustainability plan for creating the directory, digitizing and archiving Catholic newspapers. He is interested as well in member outreach and in conjunction with CRRA committees will develop member surveys to learn of current activities on interlibrary lending and opportunities for collaborative collection development projects and digitization grants.

Opportunities for Professional Service and Development in CRRA

Each year we welcome new committee members. Maybe this is the year when you would like to explore new opportunities? We invite you to volunteer for a CRRA committee. The goals and current membership are on the website under CRRA Groups. Contact any committee chair, Pat Lawton or Jennifer Younger. The newly formed Development Committee’s major objective is to develop strategies to generate funds to sustain the programs and services of CRRA. This year, the Committee goal is to develop a funding and sustainability plan for creating the newspaper directory; digitizing, and archiving Catholic newspapers with actionable strategies and priorities. The targeted completion date for the plan is mid-December 2015 so that we can take action in early 2016. If interested, contact Lorraine Olley or Scott Walter, co-chairs, or Jennifer Younger.

Save the Date


Catholic Archives in the Digital Age: A Conference for Teachers and Archivists

October 8-9, 2015 at the Catholic University of America.

This conference will explore how digitization has affected both the fields of archives and education, with a focus on Catholic archival and educational institutions.

For more information and to register, please see:


2016 Digital Initiatives Symposium

April 27-28, 2016 at the University of San Diego.

The 2016 annual Digital Initiatives Symposium will be sponsored by the University of San Diego’s Copley Library on April 27th-28th.  Due to popular demand, the Symposium is extended to a day and a half. The Symposium’s call for proposals will be out in September. 

Please check out highlights of the 2015 Symposium at this link

If you have questions about the 2016 Symposium, please contact Theresa Byrd at either or 619-260-7522.
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.