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Stew of the Month: May 2014

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting (DCMR)

Henry Borchers accepted the Preservation Project Manager position with the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco, CA. His last day at UMD was June 9.

Sarah Ostrye, a digitization assistant in DCMR, was awarded an honorary mention for the Outstanding Student Libraries Award for her stellar work.

Three digitization assistants in DCMR earned MLS degrees from the UMD College of Information Studies: Sarah Ostrye, Vanathy Senthilkumar, and Abby Yee. Senthilkumar began working as a processing archivist at the National Park Service in May; Ostrye and Yee plan to continue in DCMR through the summer.

Robin Pike and Eric Cartier attended the 48th Association for Recorded Sound Collections conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on May 14-17. The sessions discussed research on collections, individual and institutional collection development, collections maintenance and management, and digitization. Incorporating collections goals into the National Recording Preservation Plan remained a popular topic, continuing a dialog from last year’s conference.

On May 23, Cartier attended the “Katherine Anne Porter in Letters and Life” program in Hornbake Library, which featured talks about the correspondence digitization project. Cartier performed quality assurance on more than 4000 pages of correspondence and metadata records for the project.

Pike began FY15 digitization project meetings with collection managers to discuss the components of the upcoming projects—volume, scope, bibliographic description, preservation issues, copyright and access issues, technical specifications, and a project timeline. Many of these projects were proposed through the Digitization Initiatives Committee’s process and will be outsourced to digitization vendors.

Borchers and Cartier collaborated to set up an audio digitization workstation in the re-branded Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. They also worked together to finalize procedures Borchers began for DVCAM, VHS, and Betacam digitization through a limited pilot project. Pike and Cartier will continue to develop video digitization capacity and establish in-house digitization production in the coming months.

Cartier, Ostrye, Special Collections and University Archives, and Metadata Services collaborated to digitize and make available via UMD Digital Collections the entirety of the UMD Libraries incunabula collection, which a graduate field study student was researching. The student’s first post of several will be featured on the Special Collections blog.

Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI)

In May the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project submitted the final batch of newspapers to be digitized during the 2012-2014 National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant award. In total, the project was able to digitize 107,341 pages of Maryland newspapers, exceeding the requirement of 100,000 pages.

Audrey Lengel  and Donna King have recently completed training on the Michigan Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) as part of the CRMS-World project.  They join the ranks of individuals from 18 other institutions who are busily making copyright determinations  for books in HathiTrust published outside the United States, specifically in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.  To date, more than 230,700 records have been reviewed for the project (more than 7,900 have been reviewed by UMD) with approximately 71% of these placed in the public domain.

With the fiscal year drawing to a close, funds for the UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund (http://www.lib.umd.edu/oa/openaccessfund) have been exhausted and we are no longer accepting applications.  The fund was launched in September 2013 with an initial balance of $10,000 and an additional $7,500 was added over the course of the year.  Thirteen  applications were approved for an average of $1,350 per article.  A majority of the applications were submitted by faculty and graduate students from the College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences but applications were also received from ag and natural sciences, education, and sociology.  For fiscal year 2015, we will be evaluating how best to proceed and an announcement will be made once a decision has been reached.

Karl Nilsen and Robin Dasler gave a presentation on NSF data management plans to faculty and graduate students. The presentation was designed to help researchers understand the requirements, design their plan, and deal with special situations. The response from attendees was positive and their questions and comments highlighted some of the data management issues faced by researchers.

Karl Nilsen completed a MOOC on the R programming language called “Getting and Cleaning Data². The course introduced various techniques for acquiring and reading diverse types of data and carrying out common data wrangling tasks. The course is part of the Data Science Specialization offered by Johns Hopkins University via Coursera.

On Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31, Jennie Knies attended a meeting of the BitCurator Professional Experts Panel. The BitCurator project is a joint effort led by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (SILS) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) to develop a system for collecting professionals that incorporates the functionality of many digital forensics tools. The UMD Libraries are currently exploring the use of BitCurator to aid in the curation of born-digital content in Special Collections and University Archives. At the meeting, representatives from approximately fifteen institutions discussed how they use BitCurator, and the research team discussed new features, and future directions of the Mellon-funded project.

In May, Jennie Knies and Josh Westgard worked together with Ben Wallberg, Irina Belyaeva and Paul Hammer (SSDR), Robin Pike (DCMR) and Joanne Archer, Beth Alvarez and Liz DePriest (Special Collections) to finalize a batch ingest of over 2000 pieces of correspondence from American author Katherine Anne Porter into Digital Collections. This ingest is one part of a process that involved creating a new content type in our Fedora-based digital repository for correspondence and integrating support for both OCR (optical character recognition) text and hOCR (OCR with page location information) XML.  This project also prompted investigation and development of a new type of loading process for digital content. The correspondence is not yet publicly available, however, the ingest is complete and the content and metadata are safely in the repository!

Jennie Knies and Ben Wallberg worked together to participate in a test phase of the Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust), of which the UMD Libraries is a member.  Jennie compiled several “bags” of data from Digital Collections and DRUM. A “bag,” which is created according to a specification called “BagIt,” is essentially a collection of files and metadata, compiled in a standardized way. It enables uniform transfer of digital content from one system to another.  In this test, Jennie and Ben created several bags and then submitted them to the APTrust to ensure that the APTrust’s submission mechanisms were operating correctly.

On May 20, Liz Caringola, Jennie Knies, and Josh Westgard presented to the UMD Libraries’ internal “Emerging Technologies Discussion Group (ETDG) on XML and its use in libraries. In the presentation, they discussed some of the important types of data that are frequently serialized into XML (particularly metadata schemas such as EAD, METS, or MODS, and TEI for marking up text). In addition, they introduced some useful software tools for working with XML documents, and briefly discussed the role of namespaces, and the difference between well-formedness and validity.  Finally, they ended the presentation with a discussion of two use-cases: Liz Caringola described the role of XML in the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, and Josh Westgard walked through an example of how XML can be generated programmatically using Python’s lxml module.

DPI’s very own Josh Westgard was awarded the “Outstanding Graduate Assistant of the Year,” award at the UMD Libraries  in appreciation for his outstanding service as a graduate assistant to Digital Systems and Stewardship. As noted in the citation, his work has demonstrated our need for a suite of services and skills not previously found in our staff. Through his innovation, enthusiasm, and expertise, we have identified new ways that Digital Programs and Initiatives should serve the UMD Libraries and improve access to our collections. Congratulations, Josh!

Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR)

Completed Projects

  • Ingest of Katherine Anne Porter correspondence objects into Digital Collections

Ongoing Projects

  • Special Collections and University Archives Hippo based Exhibit feature
  • DRUM upgrade to DSpace 4.1.
  • Prange Collection performance improvements for Zoomify creation on ingest into Digital Collections
  • New Workstation Availability feature on the website
  • WuFoo to SysAid integration middleware

New Projects Underway

  • Website upgrade to Hippo CMS 7.8
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