CARA Fall Meeting Highlights Resources for Digital Photo Collections

CARA Fall Meeting

The CARA Fall Meeting took place November 7, 2019 at St. James Commons, thanks to the hospitality of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and their historiographer & CARA member, Newland Smith. In addition to approving the revised by-laws, CARA members took in two presentations related to planning, implementing, and sharing collections of digitized photographs.

Virginia Jung, OSB and Kristin Gravelin take note of Malachy McCarthy's talk on best practices for digitization.

Malachy McCarthy shared his experiences over the years in the Claretian Missionaries Archives USA-Canada, particularly what works well and what does not when it comes to digitizing photos. Moving forward in this initiative, has led him to write a well developed Digitization Philosophy Statement. The October 2019 Statement includes points on the Value of Digitization, Presuppositions, Selection, Best Practices, and more. The Statement is educational for archivists and especially can be used as talking points when meeting with leadership and members of the archives' sponsoring religious institutions.

Andrew Bullen, of the Illinois State Library, introduced meeting attendees to the Illinois Digital Archive, an initiative which currently houses 170 individual collections of material related to Illinois and Illinois history.

CARA members learn from Andrew Bullen how their organizations can participate in the Illinois Digital Archive.
When CARA members decide to get involved in IDA, they will be able to refer to the technical information provided in the papers Andrew discussed and distributed in his talk - Illinois Digital Collection Development Policy, Illinois State Library Digital Imaging Program-Best Practices, and Illinois Digital Archives: Metadata Guidelines.

Since 2000, the Illinois Digital Archives has been providing access to collections of local cultural heritage organizations.

As Technology Coordinator for the Illinois State Library, Andrew Bullen shared how he was able to include sound files for sheet music from World War I, which you can read more about in his article in Code4Lib Journal, Issue 3 | 2008-06-23 Bringing Sheet Music to Life: My Experiences with OMR. OMR is the acronym for Optical Music Recognition. If you are deep into CONTENTdm, you can learn more about its Application Programming Interface (API) in his online book A Cookbook of Methods for Using CONTENTdm's APIs, available at

Rebekah McFarland and all of CARA benefit from our colleagues like Andrew Bullen who bring their enthusiasm for their work to our gatherings.

Upcoming Event at Newberry Library

Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar

Nuns in the World: U.S. Catholic Sisters and Education for Social Justice in the Postwar Decades

Darra Mulderry, Providence College

Friday, December 6, 2019

3 pm to 5 pm

Sponsors:  Albion College; the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame; University of Illinois at Chicago; and Wheaton College.

In the mid-1950s, a national committee of Catholic sisters with Ph.Ds launched a grassroots movement to educate all U.S. sisters in Catholic social teachings. The committee dreamed that the 90,000 sisters who were teaching in U.S. Catholic schools, if better educated, would form a learned army of “sister apostles” well prepared to motivate the laity to strive for economic justice according to a liberal Catholic social vision. In 1956, the committee wrote – and disseminated to all 377 women’s orders - a bachelor’s curriculum for young nuns that highlighted instruction in the social sciences and Catholic ethics. Darra Mulderry will share an excerpt from her book manuscript about the origins of this sisters’ curriculum for social justice, chronicling the curriculum’s impact on U.S. sisters’ pre- and post-Vatican II guiding ideals and ministry.

Respondent: Kathy Cummings, University of Notre Dame

Newberry Scholarly Seminars papers are pre-circulated electronically. If you plan to attend, contact for a copy. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend. 

CARA Steering Committee Meets

CARA Steering Committee Meets

The entire CARA Steering Committee met by phone on Friday, October 25, 2019. Committee members confirmed the roles for 2019-2021:
  • Chair - Doris Cardenas
  • Vice-Chair - Andrew Rea
  • Secretary - Audra Adomenas
  • Treasurer - Malachy McCarthy
  • Communication Coordinator - Virginia Jung, OSB
We also revised the CARA by-laws and discussed plans for the coming year. You will learn more about that at the Fall Meeting and/or in the next edition of this blog.

2020 Dues are due

Dues remain constant at $10.00 for the membership year which runs January through December. Look forward to receiving a personal email from treasurer, Malachy McCarthy. We encourage you to pay dues at the Fall Meeting which is November 7, 2019 at St. James Commons, 65 E. Huron St., CHicago, IL  1:30-3:30 p.m. Please contact Doris Cardenas to RSVP. Space is limited.


For Your Wishlist

A new book about an early Chicago historian, Juliette Augusta Magill Kinzie is just out. In January, you can attend a book signing at The Seminary Co-op/57th Street Books where local author Ann Durkin Keating will discuss her new book - The World of Juliette Kinzie: Chicago before the Fire. Durkin Keating is a professor of history at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. For more details or to register, visit the website 
Another book to look forward to is due to be published by UIC Press in February 2020. Chicago Católico: Making Catholic Parishes Mexican by Deborah E. Kanter. To learn more about how she uses the lens of parish life to study the Mexican-American experience in our city, visit the UIC press webpage The author is a professor of Latin American and Latino history at Albion College in Albion, Michigan.

Open House Chicago at Benedictine Sisters of Chicago

270 people visited St. Scholastica Monastery in Rogers Park for Open House Chicago on October 19-20, 2019. Many of them visited the exhibit Seven Times a Day Did I Praise Thee: S. Celestine Fischer, OSB (1872-1953) that S. Virginia Jung, OSB prepared using material from the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archive. S. Celestine  designed the stained glass windows, which portray the liturgy of the hours, for the monastery chapel. The exhibit complemented the architectural tour by presenting  S. Celestine's work as an artist, teacher, and novice director in the community. 

Illuminations, photos, books, and cards tell visitors the story of the prayer and work of Benedictine artist, S. Celestine Fischer, OSB (1872-1953).

CARA Fall Meeting

CARA's Fall Meeting will focus on digitization basics and how to share your digital materials on the Illinois Digital Archives.

Malachy McCarthy of the Claretian Archives will provide a brief summary of digitization concepts.

Andrew Bullen and Sandra Fritz of the Illinois State Library will provide information about the Illinois Digital Archives and how as a cultural heritage facility, your materials can be posted internationally. Both Andrew and Sandra will provide resource materials to assist you in your digital journey.

Digitization Primer and Access to State of Illinois Resources 

Saint James Commons

65 East Huron Street

Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, November 7, 2019

1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Attendance is limited to fifteen participants and initially limited to CARA members. Register immediately! To reserve your spot, contact Doris Cardenas at

For those who have not renewed their $10 annual membership, we will be sending you a reminder before the meeting!

Hope to see you on the 7th!

Of interest: Sinsinawa Dominicans, Inc. seeks an Assistant Archivist.  Their motherhouse is located in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.