The Archivist’s Nook: Collecting the Sacred and Secular – The Museum at CUA

Christ Pantokrator Enthroned by Thomas Xenakis (1997)
Christ Pantokrator Enthroned by Thomas Xenakis (1997)

As mentioned in a previous blog entry, the Museum Collection at CUA is the oldest part of the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives. The first donations date to before CUA opened in 1889. Items were displayed in Caldwell Hall until 1905, and thereafter, until 1976, parts of the collection were either displayed in McMahon Hall, Mullen Library, or in storage. Since then the collection has been stored in Curley Hall, and more recently parts in Aquinas Hall or with items being used in campus exhibitions, often the May Gallery in Mullen, or loaned to secure campus offices to be displayed and enjoyed as office decoration.

CUA continues to accept a small number of artifacts as part of its manuscript collections along with paintings, sculptures, and other objects from individual donors. In 1976, responsibility for the museum was taken up by the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives (then known as the Department of Archives and Manuscripts), though it was not until 1994 that a project to establish a comprehensive and descriptive catalog of the entire museum collection was undertaken.  The museum collection today includes art works and artifacts representing different periods and genres, totaling about 5,000 pieces. For more on the history of the Museum, see Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Collecting the Sacred and Secular – The Museum at CUA”

Appy Hour: iTunes U

App: iTunes U  iTunes U icon
By: Apple Inc.
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on an iPad

iTunes U, by Apple Inc, is a very comprehensive app that allows users to access free education content from universities around the world. It is currently only available to iOS devices.

There is a private courses option for schools that participate. The Catholic University of America is not a participant. However, public content is voluminous.

When I opened the app, I chose to browse the catalog and was taken to a screen with a lot of content. Across the top you can choose categories from various academic disciplines. Standout courses are the first section, though it’s not clear what makes them standout. Some of them are clearly promoted, for example there are three “i” related courses. The next section down offers Learning Resources. These simply take me to prepared lists in the App Store. The next section is New & Notable. Again, not sure what makes some notable, but there is content added last month.

Basically, the best way to get to real courses is to search your discipline at the top of the app, or browse the discipline lists. When you find a course you like, click “Get it” and it will be added to your library.

I downloaded the BB450 and BB451, Biochemistry for Pre-Medical Students, from Oregon State University, from August 2012 and February 2013. The content is incredible. The syllabus, and the weekly lectures on video, and audio are provided. Course exams are also included. There is a link to the text book chapter for that week, however you are asked to pay to view it. I was really surprised by how substantial and comprehensive the course content included. It would make a great supplement, especially the exams, to the biochemistry for pre-med course here.

Overall, there is a lot of great content in this app, it just takes a little practice to locate the content you would like after wading through promotional material.

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Expanding Access

The University Libraries at The Catholic University of America provides access to digital scholarship in multiple forms. This month, we are pleased to announce the acquisition of additional access to Web of Science back files! This expands access to the Arts & Humanities Index, the Social Sciences Index and the Science Index to more than 20 years of connected research.

Use Web of Science back files to:

  • Find new routes to discovery by tracing research backward in time and explore citing and cited articles that have influenced foundational research.
  • Calculate an accurate h-index by ensuring the full extent of an author’s past research is taken into account.
  • Open your institutions’ intellectual vault and increase the visibility of your full text collection and the value of your investment. [Source]


CUA Web of Science search page
CUA Web of Science search page

Web of Science collectively indexes … the world’s most influential scholarly journals, providing users with complete bibliographic data, searchable author abstracts, and cited references. The unique Web of Science feature–cited reference searching–allows users to navigate forward, backward, and through the multidisciplinary literature to uncover all the information relevant to their work. Cited reference searching also allows researchers to learn who is citing their work, and the impact they, or their colleagues, are having on the global research community. [Source]

Use the Web of Science Quick Reference Card to learn how to perform a Cited Reference Search!

News & Events: April 13, 2015

Loeb Classical Library logoNEW RESOURCES: The University Libraries is excited to now provide access to the following resources:

  • Digital Loeb Classical Library – Provided by Harvard University Press, the Loeb Classical Library contains more than 500 titles in Greek or Latin with English translations. This online edition is fully searchable and includes options for annotating and extracting text.
  • American National Biography Online – Provided by Oxford University Press, the ANBO is the premier biographical reference work in the United States. Contains signed articles 2-4 pages in length about the most historically significant historical figures. A brief bibliography of books and articles follows each entry, along with information as to where primary sources associated with each individual can be found.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library – Provides electronic versions of printed dictionaries and encyclopedias in education, ethics, history (including primary source materials), religion, the sciences and social sciences. Full text is available in html and pdf format.
  • Metropolitan Opera on Demand – Delivers streaming audio and video of more than 500 full-length Metropolitan Opera performances from the ‘Live in HD’ series, the classic Met telecasts from 1977-2011, and over 250 radio broadcast performances that dating back to 1936.

Honoring Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen – The University Libraries is joining in CUA’s honoring of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in two ways! First, books by Sheen are on display in the lobby of Mullen Library. Secondly, the Religious Studies and Humanities Services department has created an information guide on Archbishop’s canonization process.  In the guide you will find biographical sources, information on the canonization process, prayers, unique CUA material, a collection of Fulton Sheen videos, works on and by Fulton Sheen, and a selection of news articles.

Graduating this May? – If you will be graduating this semester, please make sure your library account is in good standing before May 15. You may do this by logging into My Library Account to check for any outstanding library loans or unpaid fines. Unpaid fines or overdue items will result in a hold on your account and prevent graduation. If you have any questions regarding your library account, please call Access Services at 202-319-5060.

The Archivist’s Nook: Have You Been Served?

Archives Stacks
The stacks, epicenter of all reference questions.

Tucked away on the northern reaches of campus, one may expect the Archives to receive little in the way of visitors. One may imagine us as a group lost amongst stacks of record boxes, shunning outside contact. However, our little space is frequently called upon by University staff, students, and faculty, as well as scholars from across the country and world. Researchers as varied as middle school students to Yale professors to PBS documentarians grace us with visits and inquiries. But what do they ask of us and how do we handle reference questions?

Whether via phone, email, or letter, the CUA Archives receives a variety of reference questions from a spectrum of inquirers. As one can imagine, calls and email requests pour in from University offices, students, and alumni regarding the history of CUA or the broader Brookland neighborhood. But more than anything, as indicated in an earlier post, our collections dealing with the history of American Catholicism as well as labor history are a major draw for scholars outside the campus community. These two source bases provide a wealth of research material for scholars of American religious and labor history, not to mention those curious about genealogy or Catholicism in general. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Have You Been Served?”

Appy Hour: TED

App: TED  TED logo
By: TED Conferences
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on an iPad

TED, by TED Conferences, allows users to view lectures from TED conferences held around the world.

When I have 15-20 minutes to kill and nothing better to do, I like check out a TED talk lecture. I am certainly not picky as I find most of them, if not fascinating, then slightly interesting. So I open up the TED application and click the “Surprise Me” option. I’m offered a few choices, “Ingenious” and “Jaw-Dropping” are my favorites. Next I choose how much time I have to watch, some talks are as little as 3 minutes. Finally I’m asked to watch now or watch later. The latter option downloads the talk for later viewing.

TED also features playlists by notable speakers and celebrities. Do you like the television show Lost? Watch 6 talks that help Carlton Cuse to create. Fan of magic? David Blaine has 7 suggestions for you. There are also playlists curated by TED around various topics.

Of course you can star your favorite talks and watch them again later.

Overall, the TED app is a great application that delivers the content it promises.

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Scholarly Ecosystem

101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication graphic
101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication

The scholarly ecosystem gets more complicated every day. As this graphic depicts- click for larger size –  there are new tools being used by researchers every day to discover, access, and use scholarly research.

Until the Open Access movement gains ground, most researchers are beholden to content providers, services, and academic libraries for their access to scholarly research in e-content form. And that access could be better!

Roger Schonfeld writes of the stumbling blocks to this access in Dismantling the Stumbling Blocks that Impeded Researchers’ Access to e-Resources:

To adapt, publishers, libraries, and intermediaries need to examine not only the usability of their own platforms and how they can continue to be improved, but also how they are in practice used in scholarly research alongside other platforms and services. To do so, they cannot bring researchers into their usability labs, but instead they must engage researchers in their workplaces, in campus offices, labs, libraries, and dorms, and equally in off-campus homes and housing.

At the main information desks of research libraries, desktop workstations are used to test access and services to e-resources; while our researchers are living in a multi-device digital world of mobile, laptop, and tablet access. We will be examining parts of this scholarly ecosystem in the coming months and its impact on our users.

Tools to use:  Today, ProQuest (content provider) announced a partnership with Google Scholar to provide journal and conference connections through Google Scholar. The University of Pittsburgh University Library System provides this helpful Scholarly Communications glossary; and the graphic above is from the  101  Innovations in Scholarly Communications project and begins to congregate the new tools and workflows our researchers are using.

News & Events: April 6, 2015

Rare Books Complete Special Cataloging Project – The Rare Books & Special Collections division of the University Libraries recently completed the cataloging of approximately 1,000 pamphlets once owned by the Albani family of  Rome and Urbino. For more information, please read the RBSP blog post

Happy Easter! – Mullen Library will resume normal hours at 11 a.m. today, Monday, April 6. Campus Libraries will reopen at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7.

Graduating this May? – If you will be graduating this semester, please make sure your library account is in good standing before May 15. You may do this by logging into My Library Account to check for any outstanding library loans or unpaid fines. Unpaid fines or overdue items will result in a hold on your account and prevent graduation. If you have any questions regarding your library account, please call Access Services at 202-319-5060.

News & Events: March 30, 2015

Tom Cohen and Joan Stahl explain the process of digitizing materials from the library. Image courtesy of CUA Office of Public Affairs.

Oliveira Lima Library Highlighted in Feature Article – A large portion of the Oliveira Lima Library was recently made available online through Gale Cengage Learning. The careful process of turning the collection of 19th and early 20th century manuscripts, pamphlets, and other historical documents into a digital library was recently highlighted in a feature article by CUA’s Office of Public Affairs.

WRLC Newsletter – The March issue of the Washington Research Library Consortium Newsletter is now available. To subscribe to the newsletter via email, please click here.

Holiday Hours – In observance of Holy Week and Easter, Mullen Library will close at 5 pm on Wednesday, April 1 and be open 9 am to 5 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (April 2-4). We will be closed Sunday, April 5, and will resume normal hours at 11 am, Monday, April 6. Campus Libraries will close at 5 pm on Wednesday, April 1 and will reopen at their regular times the morning of Tuesday, April 7. For more information, visit our hours page.

Graduating this May? – If you will be graduating this semester, please make sure your library account is in good standing before May 15. You may do this by logging into My Library Account to check for any outstanding library loans or unpaid fines. Unpaid fines or overdue items will result in a hold on your account and prevent graduation. If you have any questions regarding your library account, please call Access Services at 202-319-5060.

Newest in Popular Reading: Strong People, Monopolists, Flashpoints, Italians, Blue Stars, Marriage Game

The popular reading collection is located on the 1st floor of Mullen Library.
The popular reading collection is located on the 1st floor of Mullen Library.

What a great year so far at The Catholic University of America. As the semester continues, we wanted to let you know of some of the great books that we have here in Mullen Libraries’ Popular Reading Program located on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room. If you need something to take your mind off your classes, come to the library.

Some of our newest titles are listed below. Hold your cursor over the Title to see a short description of the book, or click to view the catalog record. The status of the book is shown beside the call number.

Looking for more options? You can always see a full list of our Popular Reading books in the catalog, by searching under keyword, “CUA Popular Reading.” Happy reading!


Title Author Status
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success Morin, Amy
The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society Zelizer, Julian E.
The Work: the Search for a Life that Matters Moore, Wes
The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game Pilon, Mary
The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission Bell, Jim
Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe Friedman, George
My Father’s Wives Greenberg, Mike
To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science Weinberg, Steven
Trust No One Krentz, Jayne Ann
The Italians Hooper, John
The Internet Is Not the Answer Keen, Andrew
Inside a Silver Box Mosley, Walter
Blue Stars Tedrowe, Emily Gray
A History of Loneliness Boyne, John
The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I Weir, Alison
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Harari, Yuval Noah
Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most Weisinger, Hendrie & Pawliw-Fry, J. P.
Getting to Yes With Yourself: (And Other Worthy Opponents) Ury, William
Power Forward: My Presidential Education Love, Reggie
West of Sunset O’Nan, Stewart

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