The Catholic University of America

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Index of Issues


Message from the Editors

Welcome to the Fall 2008 edition of CUA Libraries Online. We are pleased to share with you recent news about the University Libraries and staff.

As always, we welcome comments, questions, and suggestions at our online comment form.

After you have finished enjoying this newsletter you can follow the latest news as they are posted at University Libraries News & Events. Please comment on our stories and subscribe to the RSS feeds.

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Library Survey a Success!

From October 1-October 31 CUA Libraries conducted a LibQUAL+(TM) survey of the University community. Participants in the survey were eligible to win prizes that included an iPod Touch, gift cards donated by the CUA bookstore, or a variety of gifts donated by Starbucks.

LibQUAL+(TM) is a service that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of service quality. The program's centerpiece is a Web-based survey bundled with training that helps libraries assess, improve and market library services. The goals of LibQUAL+(TM) include:

  • Foster a culture of excellence in library service
  • Help libraries better understand user perceptions of library service quality
  • Provide libraries with comparable assessment information from peer institutions
  • Identify best practices in library service

More than 500 libraries have participated in LibQUAL+(TM), including colleges and universities, community colleges, health sciences libraries, law libraries, and public libraries.

Over 794 students, faculty, and staff took the time to complete our survey last month, with nearly 400 of those providing comments.

  • Congratulations to the prize winners:
  • Jeff Cabral
  • Joanna Caccioppoli
  • Jen Garalsco
  • Jason Nehmer
  • Daniele Rebeggiani
  • Jason Russell
  • Martin Saavedra
  • Danielle Strait
  • Deborah Taylor
  • Gerard Visco

Thanks to all who helped make the Survey a Success!

~ Anne Marie Hules, Reference Librarian for Library and Information Science

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Library School in Practice: my summer practicum at National Geographic Society

One of the greatest benefits of going to The Catholic University of America for a Master's Degree in Library Science is being able to participate in a practicum in some of the most unique and exciting libraries in the country. This summer, from June through August 2008, I completed a practicum in the National Geographic Libraries and Information Services Department. I worked in the Indexing and Taxonomy Department and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get experience in a renowned cultural organization where there was always something new to learn.

After taking LSC 551: Organization of Information and learning about the creation of thesauri and taxonomies, I was interested in delving into these topics in detail. At National Geographic, one of my main projects was helping to organize subject terms within their subject heading taxonomy. A taxonomy is a set of controlled vocabulary terms, usually hierarchical. Once created, it can help users to navigate and search systems. This project was especially interesting, because it meant learning lots of geographical, travel, and scientific terms in the process. My supervisors, Jennifer Agresta and Anne Marie Houpper were eager to give me a well-rounded experience within a special library, so I helped with a variety of other projects, such as proofreading indices for National Geographic Traveler Magazine, indexing articles for National Geographic Kids Magazine, and researching and creating a bibliography of taxonomy resources for the library staff. Additionally, I was able to attend two "Taxonomy Tuesday" meetings at The Library of Congress with my supervisor Anne Marie. At these meetings, information professionals from DC area government and special libraries, came together to discuss their experiences with taxonomy creation and enterprise searching. My favorite presentation was given by information professionals at the Government Accountability Office who talked about the complex taxonomy they created and then integrated into their enterprise search engine. These talks helped me gain a glimpse of information management initiatives within high profile organizations.

Being able to participate in a practicum was an extremely valuable experience for me - it helped me to see the scope of library career options, and enabled me to put library science principles into practice. I would recommend a practicum as essential to any well-rounded library science education; with dozens of fascinating libraries to choose from in DC, the possibilities are endless!

~ Maria Koshute, Library Assistant, GLP

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Text messaging comes to the Aladin Catalog

You can now send call numbers to your mobile phone from the Aladin Catalog. No more pencil and paper! To use, click on the new Text it button on the item record page.

When you click on it, a window will pop up.

Enter your phone number and provider and click send. The call number, title, and author will be sent to your mobile phone. Note: standard text rates will apply.

~ Jonathan Smith, Electronic Services Librarian

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Use the RAT for Research in Religious Studies and the Humanities!

Are you having trouble finding relevant material for your research? Are you unsure where to begin? Using the RAT may help! The RAT (Research Advisory Tool) is a citation database of select reference materials available through CUA libraries. It includes reference books, subscription databases, CD-ROMs, and web sites -- all designed to point you to pertinent and interesting resources.

"The RAT is the middle ground between the information overload of a Google Book search and the paucity of the library catalog", says Kevin Gunn, the Coordinator of Religious Studies and Humanities Services. The database goes beyond what is offered in a standard library catalog by allowing the researcher to search annotations of sources relevant to CUA faculty, students, and staff.

These sources have been selected for inclusion by subject librarians, who considered the research value of the resource per se, the value of the resource to CUA scholars, students, and staff in particular and to highlight the lesser known works that deserve a wider audience. The annotations were written by librarians, staff members, and graduate students.

You can begin using the RAT by searching in the 'Search Resources' box or on the 'Advanced Search' page. If you need some help in deciding where to begin, try 'Browse Resources', where you can find the list of discipline and subject areas covered. The titles under this category are highly selective. Browsing resources will also help you by grouping the sources by format (e.g. dictionaries, encyclopedias, primary/critical editions, research guides, etc.).

As of December 10, 2008, the RAT contains over 1600 records in Art and Art History, Biblical Studies, Canon Law, Church History, Comparative Literature, Drama and Theater, Media Studies, Medieval and Byzantine Studies, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Theology. Another 400 citations are expected to be added during the spring semester. Faculty are invited to link to the database from their home pages and Blackboard accounts. So, the next time you need to find the perfect resource for your research, try the Research Advisory Tool. Please send any comments to Kevin Gunn at .

~ Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Religious Studies and Humanities Services

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Spotlight on a Staff Member

Dr. Maria Mazzenga, Education Archivist, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives

Q: You're from Scranton, PA. How did you end up in DC?
A: I sometimes say I'm from Scranton, Pennsylvania, just because it's easier than saying I'm from Lake Como, which is a tiny town about as far northeast of Scranton as you can get without being in New York state. I like cities (my family moved to Lake Como from the New York City area when I was young enough to remember it), so it was just a matter of where I would go after my schooling. My husband (then my fiancé) was working in D.C. when I finished graduate school so off I went to join him. With a Master's in history, I applied to the graduate program in CUA's History Department, and studied U.S. and American Catholic history here in the 1990s.
Q: Where did you do your undergraduate studies?
A: I did my Bachelor's at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg University is a former teachers' college turned state university in a town not as small as Lake Como but similar in spirit.
Q: What is your typical day like?
A: Generally, the work of the Education Archivist is twofold: educate the university community on our collection materials and archival practices, and illuminate the worth of the collections to the broader research and educational community. My typical day balances both.

As far as the campus community, I work with staff to make archival resources available for a range of educational presentations aimed at different groups of students and staff at CUA. Several classes visit every semester for presentations and tours customized to the visiting class. Honors program students have visited for document-based discussions of Catholics and labor. Anthropology students have been in to examine materials related to Native American life. We work with several professors in School of Library and Information Science to bring students in for tours, presentations on a range of subjects, as well as practicum work. So at any given time I might be working with staff to prepare for an incoming class in one of several departments.

More broadly, much of my work involves creating web-based educational materials, specifically those featured at the American Catholic History Classroom. The American Catholic History Classroom is currently a set of seven themed websites containing dozens of primary documents from ours and other archives. I work with the Archives' director, Dr. Timothy Meagher, to pin down topics that highlight key documents in our collections that we feel would benefit the broader educational and research community. Once we decide on a topic and themes, I gather up related materials and write up background information on the topic, document introductions, chronologies, bibliographies, and connections to the National History Standards to facilitate use of the site in history classrooms. Since most educators and students are unfamiliar with the documents, these supporting materials serve an important function on our educational websites. Site topics include Catholics and Labor, with a focus on primary documents from the Terence V. Powderly papers (housed at the Archives), Catholics and Race, with a focus on the efforts of the Federated Colored Catholics (documents for this site came from several different archives). Our newest site will go up soon, it is on Catholics and Politics, and it focuses on the involvement of Frs. John A. Ryan (whose papers are housed at the Archives) and Charles E. Coughlin in the Presidential election of 1936. The sites are among the most visited on the CUA archives website and we believe we are providing an important service to the Catholic educational community in creating them.
Q: What postgraduate degrees do you have?
A: I have a Master's Degree in History from Villanova University and a Ph.D. in History from CUA.
Q: Why did you decide to become an Education Archivist?
A: It combines teaching and working in an archive-both appeal to me. I worked for CUA Archives as a graduate student for about a year in 1997 as a project assistant on what has become the American Catholic History Classroom. At the same time, I was conducting research in several different archives for my dissertation in history. I have also taught history here and at other universities. These experiences made me see that for historians the primary documents found in archives constitute the front lines of historical research-such documents can give you the sense that you are as close to that document's or object's time period in history as you will ever get. At the same time, the process of attempting to interpret and use historical documents is important and imparts one with valuable insights on the past, the present, and the connections between the two. For the Education Archivist, the proximity to and interpretation of archival materials are always in constant interaction-it's great fun and satisfying work.
Q: What is the ONE thing every CUA student should know about the CUA University Archives?
A: That the Archives is their resource as much as anyone else's. The CUA Archives serves as the institutional memory of Catholic University; it is available for students interested in the history of their university. The Archives is also filled with valuable historical documents related to the history of the American Catholic experience, materials that can be used for projects in a range of courses in history, social work, theology, and religious studies, among others.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace [R.I.P]. It's a futuristic, hugely ambitious and blackly comedic book that attempts to arrive at some kind of philosophical understanding of the human experience, making fun of itself all the while for doing so.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Running. Writing poetry.
Q: What's your idea of a great vacation?
A: Going to a city and visiting as many of its museums as possible!
Q: What is your goal in life?
A: Professionally, to generate as much knowledge of and access to the archival collections I'm working with as possible without trivializing them. To continue research and writing on U.S. History and the U.S. Catholic experience.

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Book Reviews

Holland, Jesse J. Black Men Built the Capitol. Globe Pequot Press, 2007. (F205 .N4 H65 2007)

When the author, a political reporter for the Associated Press, was first assigned to Washington D.C., he took the usual tours, but remained curious about what part African Americans played in the history of this great city. He began to research this question, which resulted in this fascinating book.

Part tour guide, part history, this is the perfect book for your out of town guests: Chapters on the Capitol, the White House, the National Mall , etc. begin with what we know about each, then follow with what we don't know. Most of us don't know, for example, that slaves from surrounding farms were rented out to build the Capitol (the rent payment going to the slave owner); nor that the National Mall was the site of slave markets and slave pens, where slaves were imprisoned before or after being sold and shipped to their new owners, usually to the port of New Orleans.

~Anne Lesher, Reference Librarian for Reference Services


Perego, Jeanne; Joseph and Chico, translated by Andrew Matt; introduction by Father Georg Ganswein., San Francisco : Ignatius Press, c2008., E .P4575 J6 2008

Joseph and Chico is a unique illustrated book for children and is also an authorized biography of Pope Benedict XVI, as told by his cat Chico! Pope Benedict XVI's love for animals, and cats in particular, is well known, so it is somewhat fitting that a children's biography of the Pope be told from the feline perspective.

If you are familiar with cats then you know that a cat wouldn't think twice of befriending a Cardinal or a Pope. Chico, the narrator, is a feisty golden tabby that tells the story of his friend from the young Joseph Ratzinger's birth up to his election as Pope. The book covers Ratzinger's birth and childhood, his teenage years during the Nazi era, which Chico describes as, "one of the most dramatic and shameful times in the history of man" (notice he doesn't say cats!). Chico wistfully recalls that later, when Joseph Ratzinger became a Cardinal and returned home for visits, he would sit on his friend Joseph's lap when Joseph played the piano.

The book is beautifully illustrated in color by Donata Dal Molin Casagrande and is recommended to readers of all ages!

~Anne Marie Hules, Reference Librarian for Library and Information Sciences

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Staff Notes

Library Staff Honored for their years of Service at CUA

On Nov. 18, Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., university president, hosted a dinner for faculty and staff members to celebrate their 20- or 10-year anniversary of employment with the university. Four members of the Library Staff were honored:

20 years of service:


Lolita Rillorta
Technical Services Technician, Fast Track Project

Urszula Montwill-Zwaniecki
Serials Checklist Assistant, Serials

10 years of service:


Almalaraj Savari
Library Management Systems Librarian,
Library Information Systems

Nirmal Gomes
Technical Services Technician, Fast Track Project

Robin Pike, Audio Visual Archivist, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, was published in the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Case Studies Portal. This group publication is a case study entitled: Survey of the University of Pittsburgh and Association of American Universities' Websites and Physical Holdings. (pdf)

David Rice, CLS Coordinator, Access Services, and Anna Ramach, are engaged to be married. Their wedding date is July 25, 2009. Congratulations to the happy couple!

Linda Todd (Library and Information Science), Acting Head of the Nursing/Biology Library and Nirmal Gomes (Education) , Technical Services Technician, Fast Track Project both passed their comps! Well done both of you!

Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Religious Studies and Humanities Services is running for Vice-chair for the College Libraries Section (CLS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Elections will be in March 2009. Kevin serves on other American Library Association committees, including the CLS Research for College Librarianship Committee (where he is updating a database on library science publications for librarians looking for suitable publications for their research) and the ACRL Committee on the Status of Academic Librarians (which is involved in updating and revising ACRL policies and is formulating a policy on e-portfolios for tenure-track librarians). Kevin is also an incoming member of the University Libraries Section (ULS) Bylaws and Procedures Committee and will begin serving his term in January at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver.

Megan Gates, Stacks Supervisor, Access Services, entered a "pope mobile" themed book cart in Unshelved's Pimp my Book Cart competition. Alas, Megan did not win but her entry was an imaginative and creative effort and we enjoyed it at Mullen very much! For more information about the context and the winners please go to: http://www.unshelved.com/PimpMyBookcart/

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Contributors

The editors would like to the thank the following contributors to the Fall 2008 Newsletter:

Maria Koshute, Kevin Gunn, Maria Mazzenga and Anne Lesher

Content Editor: Anne Marie Hules, Reference Librarian for Library and Information Science

Web Editor: Jonathan M. Smith, Electronic Services Librarian

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