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Adventures in Audio Digitization

In early February 2017, Don Manildi, Curator of the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM), wrote to Eric Cartier:

“IPAM recently received four 15ips (inches per second) 10.5 inch reels from one of our most important donors, pianist Margaret Leng Tan, containing a recital she played in NY back in 1982. She is hoping we can prepare a CD-R copy of the recital for her (and retain one for IPAM, too). Presumably, this could be accomplished most efficiently here in our studio,” thus began a challenging media reformatting request.

Don and Eric agreed to meet in the Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio (PAADS) in early March 2017, to digitally reformat the magnetic tapes. PAADS had not been in use for many months, so Eric spent most of his initial visit testing playback equipment and monitors, checking software settings, and ensuring the source-to-destination chain was completely connected. Once everything was prepared and the first tape was threaded on the reel deck, however, he discovered it was affected by sticky shed syndrome. Polyester magnetic tape is susceptible to binder hydrolysis, which occurs when a tape collects water particles over time and adheres to itself. If the tape will play and is not permanently stuck, it usually squeals and can damage playback heads, or the recording layer of the tape will fall off when touching the heads, resulting in permanent loss of the sound recording. Having handled and transferred hundreds of open reel tapes in the past, Eric had never encountered tapes as severely sticky as these. Don and Eric conferred and, following standard practice in AV archives, decided to bake the tapes in a scientific oven at 120 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours, a process commonly used to dry out tapes and render them temporarily playable.

The tapes were still extremely sticky and unplayable and it was not possible to make transfers the following day. Eric added leader to the loose ends of each tape and fast forwarded them as far as possible, then rewound them and took photos of the visible deterioration (popped strands, slipped packs, resin-like ooze) to share with Don, Vin Novara, Curator of the Performing Arts Collection, and Eric’s supervisor, Robin Pike, Manager of Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting. He conducted research about the Scotch 226 tape stock, learning it is so notoriously sticky it almost single-handedly prompted the production of scientific ovens for baking tapes. The lone Memorex tape had no specific stock information, though. In fact, all four tapes lacked containers, which may have contained more descriptive or technical metadata.

Minimal metadata on the Tan Reels

An example of the minimal metadata provided with the Margaret Lang Tan reels.

Don encouraged Eric to write to the Association for Recorded Sound Collections listserv, to crowdsource information about what to do with excessively sticky tapes. The response was swift, and 12 people replied with advice, guidance, and stories. Robin wrote to George Blood, the accomplished audiovisual digitization guru and owner of George Blood Audio Video Film to solicit information to continue the endeavor in-house. The first word in his reply – “Yikes!” – followed by chemistry-based approaches to solve the problem. Eric baked the tapes a second time to see if an additional eight hours would yeild more promising results.

A photo documenting the extremely sticky residue on the tape

Extreme sticky shed syndrome

Eric found the tapes had slightly loosened, but that upon playback, all four eventually began to squeal and stopped playing despite 16 total hours of baking. He noted the exact times at which the tapes stopped, as well as distinctive problems (e.g., the Memorex reel was warped and scraped the length of one side of the flange each time it turned). Eric considered the tapes unrecoverable in-house and Robin worked with our contracted vendor to send the tapes for more involved stabilization and digitization.

GBAVF shared helpful updates via email throughout the process. After storing the tapes in a low humidity vault for a while, they rehoused them, “auditioned” them, discovered the high quality of the recording, cleaned the tapes, and then made expert transfers in late April. In early May, Eric inspected the quality of the digital files and uploaded the MP3s to ShareStream, our streaming media manager; student digitization assistants made double-disc sets for Don and the donor. Bria Parker, Head of Discovery and Metadata Services, prepared the metadata record and Josh Westgard, Systems Libraries, archived the preservation master files, then ingested the metadata and the streaming files to Digital Collections, completing the project. Later this summer, Don listened closely to the entire recording and prepared a detailed track listing, which Josh modified in the XML. After much time, effort, and collaboration, we freed the valuable content from the problematic carriers, described it in great detail, and made it available to the creator and the public.

We are pleased to provide Margaret Leng Tan’s April 1982 recital in its digital form: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/39411.

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Digitizing and Using the David C. Driskell Collection

The David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, honors the legacy of David C. Driskell. He is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector, Curator, and Philanthropist, and the Center seeks to preserve the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture.

One page of a letter regarding travel.

Document documenting travel

The African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) project brings African American studies and digital humanities together in order to expand upon both fields, making the digital humanities more inclusive of African American history and culture and enriching African American studies research with new methods, archives, and tools. Our digitization efforts have been directly focused on supplying new resources for scholarly engagement by providing digitized materials from the Driskell Center for both public use as well as use by scholars engaged with the AADHum project.

In the third digital humanities incubator hosted by the Maryland Institue for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), participants used digitized images from the pilot digitization on this project, as well as from other sources, to build narratives using the ArcGIS StoryMap Tool. StoryMap allows the integration of objects and maps, enabling rich visual explorations and analysis of a collection–for example, where was the art created, where was it collected and displayed, and by whom? In the 2017-2018 series of Digital Humanities Incubators (DHIs), participants will continue to explore Black Movement(s) and engage with the histories and resources of the local DC-Maryland-Virginia area. In some of these projects, we expect the digitized material from the Driskell collection to be highlighted.

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Stew of the month: September 2017

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.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Rebecca Wack submitted batch cumberland to the Library of Congress and through batch j to the digitization vendor; two more batches will be submitted to the vendor in October.

Wack and Robin Pike submitted the second interim report to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress detailing the grant progress and outreach accomplishments over the past six months.

Wack formed a Twitter group of NDNP state awardees for monthly campaigns to occur the second Tuesday of the month under the hashtag #ChronAmParty. The first campaign will be #CreepyNews and will highlight Halloween historic news.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

Scott Pennington completed quality assurance on the deliverables from batch 1 and the 15 audiotapes from the David C. Driskell Center. He will share the enhanced metadata from all batches with SCUA and Driskell Center staff to enhance current collection guides.

Other Digitization Activities

Rebecca Wack worked with Vin Novara (SCPA) to write and submit a Letter of Inquiry for a Grammy Museum Foundation Preservation Implementation Grant to preserve and digitize a portion of “The Listening Room,” a radio program from the Robert Sherman Collection.

Robin Pike and other Digitization Initiatives Committee members revised the procedures and proposal form for FY19 digitization project proposals to account for an increased emphasis on the staff and financial resources required of preservation activities before digitization. These revisions will be presented at the October 19 Library Assembly meeting when the call for proposals opens.

Pike shipped the following digitization projects to vendors, beginning the FY18 digitization cycle: Spiro Agnew audio recordings, Athletics videotapes, The Black Explosion student newspaper, Arthur Godfrey films, and serials from the Mass Media and Culture collection area.

Eric Cartier began meeting with SCPA and SCUA collection managers to begin planning the 2018 calendar year in-house digitization projects. He also worked with experienced student assistants to train new and returning student assistants to begin in-house audio digitization, enabling the completion of more requests and projects in-house.

Cartier and Digitization Assistants also completed digitizing materials for the physical and virtual Labor Exhibit, which opened October 6.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Digital Collections

Now that the Diamondback Student Newspapers project is well underway (with the FY 2016 data having been loaded and released), Joshua Westgard has begun work on the data handler for the Katherine Anne Porter Correspondence. Because of the modular design of the batchload client developed by DPI and SSDR, the only section of the code that needs modification is the piece that interprets the original data and assembles it into repository objects. Work on the FY2017 Diamondback data continues in parallel to the work on the KAP project.

New Additions to DRUM

Almost 300 theses and dissertations from UMD summer 2017 graduates have recently been deposited in DRUM bringing the total to more than 13,000. Here’s the breakdown of new entries by college:

82 – A. James Clark School of Engineering
21 – College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
41 – College of Arts & Humanities
46 – College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
67 – College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences
18 – College of Education
3 – College of Information Studies
4 – Philip Merrill School of Journalism
6 – Robert H. Smith School of Business
2 – School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation
6 – School of Public Health
2 – School of Public Policy

Check out the latest research from UMD grads at the UMD Theses and Dissertations Collection in DRUM.

Reports from the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) have recently been deposited in DRUM (http://hdl.handle.net/1903/19607). Administered by the National Center for Smart Growth Research & Learning, PALS is designed to provide low-cost assistance to local governments while creating real-world problem-solving experiences for UMD students. Faculty incorporate the jurisdiction’s specific issues as part of their course and students use the classroom concepts to complete these sustainability-focused projects. Students gain experience while working with a real client and produce a useful product for the partner city or county. Currently all reports in DRUM are restricted to campus-use only but, as permissions are obtained, the access restrictions will be lifted.

Open Journal Systems Upgrade Planning

DPI Graduate Assistant Carlos Alvarado is investigating updating our electronic journal publishing platform to the latest software version, in close collaboration with Terry Owen, Josh Westgard, and Kate Dohe.  Open Journal Systems (OJS) 3.0 represents a significant upgrade effort, with substantial changes to the user interface for editors and authors, as well as modernized, responsive journal templates for readers.

Software Development

Fedora Content Repository

The UMD Student Newspapers public interface is now available, with digitized versions of The Diamondback student newspaper from 1910-1971.  This interface is built using Fedora Content Repository, IIIF, Mirador, Solr, and Hippo CMS technologies.


We have deployed ArchivesSpace 2.1 which contains the overhauled Public User Interface.  Planning is now underway for the changes necessary to release this as the preferred public access to Archival Collections beginning in January.


Work continued on the Libi staff intranet replacement and the upgrade to Hippo version 11. Hippo 11 is planned for release at the end of October.

Reciprocal Borrowing

We added new features in Reciprocal Borrowing 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 which are currently in the user testing pipeline.  These support a change from using Shibboleth affiliation attributes to a reciprocal borrowing specific entitlement attribute for checking member eligibility to participate in the program.

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium

The CLAS team responded to 122 Aleph Rx submissions and 35 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

Aleph Session Fixation Issue Resolved

One of the oldest, unresolved Aleph Rx tickets, #11311, was resolved in September. This fixed a longstanding security issue in the Aleph OPAC.

Aleph Inventory Functionality

At the request of several USMAI libraries, CLAS has been investigating Aleph’s inventory functionality in order to determine the feasibility of implementing this functionality and assessing its usefulness USMAI libraries that wish to conduct inventories of their collections. Following CLAS’ initial investigation, a short term working group will be formed to review the available functionality, document recommended workflows, and assess any gaps in functionality.

Problem Reporting Forms Migration

CLAS hosts several HTML forms for use by USMAI, mostly for submission of requests and issues by staff at USMAI libraries but also some end-user forms. Work is currently underway to migrate these forms to our form system Wufoo. This will give the forms a new look, allow us to take advantage of some more modern form functionality, and simplify the process of modifying the forms. As we migrate these, we’ll also review the forms to make sure they collect necessary information effectively. And, we’ll get feedback from form users to make sure they meet the needs of USMAI.


The development of autosuggest functionality for subjects and formats on the MD-SOAR submission form has been completed and released in production. The autosuggest feature will allow users submitting records to choose from already submitted metadata values, which will minimize variations in metadata values, resulting in better discovery.

More batch loads were completed for Salisbury in September. The remainder will be completed in early October. The process was slowed by the discovery of a bug in the DSpace process for creating thumbnails. This bug is expected to be fixed in the upgrade to DSpace v6, currently scheduled to start in mid-October. These new collections and other recently submitted items can be viewed in MD-SOAR’s list of recent submissions.


DCMR welcomed two new student assistants. Maggie McCready works for Eric Cartier in the Hornbake Digitization Center and Maya Reid began working on the Office of Research, Planning and Assessment office records digitization project; both are first semester students in the College of Information Studies specialized in archives.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Dahl attended the Maryland Research and Education Network’s annual symposium on September 29th.

Rebecca Wack, Robin Pike, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) attended the National Digital Newspaper Program Awardees Conference September 11-13 in Washington, DC. Pike presented on performing copyright research on newspapers published between 1923-1963 and McElrath presented on performing outreach to genealogical communities.

Kate Dohe’s article with Erin Pappas (University of Virginia Libraries) “The many flavors of ‘yes’: Libraries, collaboration, and improv” was published in the September issue of College & Research Libraries News. During the month of September it was among the most-viewed articles in the online issue.

On Oct. 3-4, several DSS staff members participated in the semi-annual DC Area Fedora User Group meeting held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Ben Wallberg introduced the recently released Diamondback Student Newspapers interface, and Peter Eichman gave a presentation on his work developing RDF content models for OCR text using the W3C Web Annotation Standard.  In addition to being the primary organizer of the meeting, Joshua Westgard presented on three topics: (1) the newly formalized Fedora API, and the API alignment sprints recently undertaken by the Fedora community, (2) a Python-based batchload client developed by UMD, and (3) the import/export feature and tooling developed by the Fedora community.  The meeting highlighted both the recent progress in the Fedora community toward meeting the challenges of building reliable, flexible, and scalable repository services, and also the significant contributions made by the UMD Libraries toward achieving those goals.

David Durden and Kate Dohe attended the Research Data Management Implementations Workshop in Arlington, VA on September 14-15.

David Durden presented on the topic of Data Librarianship to new UMD iSchool students in Beth St. Jean’s course, “Serving Information Needs” (LBSC 602), on October 3, 2017. He introduced concepts and skills typical to data librarian positions, and highlighted iSchool courses that would prepare students for work in data curation and management.


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Stew of the month: August 2017

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.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project has submitted its third batch of deliverables to Library of Congress, marking 30% completion of Grant Cycle 3. Outreach efforts are ongoing, and Project Manager Rebecca Wack travelled to Baltimore last month to promote ChronAm use to an audience of Baltimore City Public Schools teachers and librarians.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

Project Manager Scott Pennington continued to review the files received from batch 1 and worked with MITH Graduate Assistant Will Thomas on drafting a summary of content selected for AADHum researchers and to feature as a future DigiStew blog post.

Other Digitization Activities

DCMR Manager Robin Pike worked with collection managers to prepare FY18 DIC-funded September shipments to digitization vendors and with Preservation and Conservation on scheduling preparatory work required for digitization project shipping throughout FY18.
Pike collaborated with Joanne Archer, Mary Dulaney, and Rebecca Wack on creating a future grants writing workshop for library faculty and staff, date to be announced soon.
Wack worked with Vin Novara (SCPA) on a Grammy Museum Foundation Preservation Implementation grant letter of intent and Pike worked with Liz Novara and Joanne Archer on a potential grant draft budget and work plan to process and preserve the Association of Intercollegiate Women’s Athletics collection.
Student Digitization Assistant Shiyun Chen worked with Eric Cartier and Ben Blake, the Special Collection Librarian for Labor Studies, to make final rush request scans for the new exhibit “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America,” which opened in Hornbake Library on September 1. The future digital exhibit will feature digitized materials that Digitization Assistants Shiyun, Karina Hagelin, Becca Mena, Suzy Wilson, and Brahm Persaud produced.
Student Digitization Assistant Sydney Schneider completed scanning the Jules Bassin albums, which are promised donations to the Gordon W. Prange Collection.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Gemstone Projects Added to DRUM

Twelve new projects from the Gemstone Honors Program have recently been added to DRUM.

Now in it’s seventeenth year, Gemstone is a unique multidisciplinary four-year research program for selected undergraduate honors students of all majors. Guided by faculty mentors, along with the support of subject librarians, teams of students design, direct and conduct significant research. Check out the recent submissions in the collection.

OA Fund Now Accepting Applications

The UMD Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund is now accepting applications for 2017-2018. As in previous years, the Libraries only pays 50% of the article processing charges. If researchers have any questions regarding details of the program, or whether specific journals qualify for funding, they can contact Terry Owen.

Software Development

Fedora Content Repository

During loading of the new OCR annotations for the Student Newspaper collection we discovered another bug which caused the repository to crash when we there were too many rolled back transactions. After modifying our load procedures we were successful in loading the 596,715 new annotations to support full text search and display for newspapers.  We are now working with the fedora community to test and release a fix for this problem.  Full annotation functionality is available in the newly released Archelon 1.1 and coming to the UMD Student Newspapers public interface in September. (Though not formally announced you, the faithful reader, can get a sneak peek of the new interface).


Deployed ArchivesSpace 2.0 in production and began work on the 2.1 release which contains the overhauled Public User Interface which will eventually replace the ArchivesUM interface to our finding aids. Version 2.1 is expected to be deployed in September.


Released version 10.2.5-4 in support of the  switch over to use HTTPS for digital.lib.umd.edu, which encrypts traffic between the website server and the browser.  This brings the websites into standard practice for providing patron privacy and improved security for the user and the server.  ArchivesUM and The Jim Henson Works were successfully migrated, but unfortunately the Digital Collections and Treasury of World’s Fair Art & Architecture websites had to be rolled back due to problems delivering images via the old flash based viewer.  This problem has bumped up our timeline to convert from the old flash viewer to a newer IIIF solution using Mirador, which will allow us to roll out HTTPS and also cleanup the infrastructure on our older Fedora backend server. We will begin this project at the beginning of October.

We have continued to investigate and plan for the upgrade to Hippo version 11, which we are now confident will present minimal end user disruption and can be rolled out in an October/November timeframe.

Broadcast Content Management

Stood up a version of the Avalon Media System for use in our pilot project to manage broadcast audio content.  Avalon 5 is part of the Fedora Content Repository and Samvera ecosystem of open source, community developed applications.

Reciprocal Borrowing

Released Reciprocal Borrowing 1.1.0 for use by the Big Ten Academic Alliance reciprocal borrowing program between member institutions.  This release includes 1) the ability to select and log the lending institution for statistical purposes; and 2) additional checks for user eligibility for borrowing.

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium

The CLAS team responded to 138 Aleph Rx submissions and 38 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in June.

OCLC Control Number reaches 1 billion!

On August 8th, OCLC announced the one billionth OCLC control number (OCN). CLAS had been largely prepared for this momentous occasion for several years. At the risk of jinxing things, only one correction had to be made after the one billionth number. All seems well now. USMAI libraries should let CLAS know, though, if they encounter any problems.

WorldCat Discovery Availability Issues

In early August, CLAS became aware of increasing issues with the retrieval of availability information from Aleph in WorldCat Discovery/Local. Some expert log analysis by Hans Breitenlohner helped CLAS work with OCLC to identify the root cause of the issue. OCLC has planned several system updates that are expected to result in significant improvements to the retrieval of availability information in early to mid September.


Work continued on the development and implementation of autosuggest functionality in the MD-SOAR submission form. This is expected to be available for MD-SOAR partners to review in mid-September. The autosuggest functionality will help improve the consistency of metadata in MD-SOAR.

Joseph Koivisto has worked with Salisbury to prepare a number of batch loads for MD-SOAR. Several of these collections have been loaded, with the remainders expected to be completed in September. The new collections can be viewed in Salisbury’s repository.


Digital Programs & Initiatives is happy to welcome Fiona Jardine as the new ePublishing Graduate Assistant. Fiona is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland’s iSchool, having graduated with a Master of Library Science with a specialization in Information and Diverse Populations in 2014. Her research focuses on the experiences and information behavior of those who exclusively pump breast milk. In addition to her position in DPI, she is the Graduate Assistant for Faculty Writing with the iSchool’s Research Support Team, and has been a Graduate Writing Fellow at the Graduate School Writing Center since 2014. As ePublishing GA, Fiona is responsible for supporting the Ada journal’s technical operations. Welcome, Fiona!

Maggie McCready, a first semester College of Information Studies student, joined DCMR as a Student Digitization Assistant.
Becca Mena left DCMR to accept a Graduate Assistant position with the Division of Information Technology.
Digitization Assistants Brahm Persaud, Kelsey Hughes, and Marisa Gilman returned to DCMR after working summer jobs. Brahm worked as a teacher for privately-owned science and technology summer camp Club Scikidz. He taught three classes with 10-15 students between the ages of 9-12 on basic coding for kids using MIT’s Scratch, using Java to create Minecraft worlds, and 3D printing. Kelsey was a Junior Fellow in the Educational Outreach department at the Library of Congress, helping the team execute their Summer Teacher Institutes, five week-long conferences where teachers learn strategies for incorporating primary sources into the classroom; designing an activity book that guides students through analyzing the symbolism of the bald eagle; and collaborating on STEM/maker projects with the Library’s Young Readers Center.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Terry Owen attended ETD2017, the 20th international symposium on electronic theses and dissertations, in Washington, D.C. on August 7-9. Terry served on the Local Organizing Committee for this conference, with over 225 participants.

David Durden attended REDCapCon 2017 in New York City from August 13-16.

Kate Dohe, Joseph Koivisto, Dinesh Mendhe, Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed, Terry Owen, and Ben Wallberg attended the North American DSpace User Meeting at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. on August 22-23. Kate Dohe and Ben Wallberg presented a lightning talk about Digital Data Services, and led a discussion about repository strategy and cost-benefit analysis of supporting multiple platforms or investing in a monolithic solution.

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Stew of the month: July 2017

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.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Project manager Rebecca Wack delivered the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project’s phase three first batch to Library of Congress. The batch contains approximately 10,000 high-resolution images and metadata of newsprint from the Frostburg Mining Journal and the Greenbelt Cooperator, with contents spanning 7 decades of Maryland news.

In other Greenbelt news, Rebecca and student assistant Sydney Schneider held a metadata collation workshop at the offices of the Greenbelt News Review. Five volunteers, each assigned their own decade of Greenbelt papers to index, learned the ins and outs of LCCNs (Library of Congress Control Number, a newspaper title identifier), date verification, and physical condition reporting, as they generated the data necessary for Greenbelt’s eventual participation in the forthcoming Maryland Newspaper Repository.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

The AADHum team finalized document selections for the second large shipment. Coordinating with the Driskell Center, SCUA, and MITH’s team for selection and metadata creation, that shipment of just over 25,000 pages was delivered to the vendor in mid-July. The team continues to collaborate with MITH on their upcoming Incubator sessions and is preparing for the return, QA, and ingest of the first shipment. Project manager Scott Pennington is preparing the final shipment for the AADHum grant–a selection of speeches and oral histories on audio cassette from the Driskell Center.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike continued to meet with collection managers, establishing firm timelines for tasks involved with FY18 vendor digitization projects, funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee, and liaised with vendors to receive project quotes.

Robin worked with Vincent Novara (SCPA) to rewrite and resubmit a grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program to digitize over 2,000 video recordings of rehearsals and performances and programs documenting the performances of The Dance Exchange Company, under the direction of renowned choreographer and educator Liz Lerman.

Robin worked with Laura Schnitker, Joanne Archer, and Graduate Assistant Caitlin Rizzo (all SCUA) to submit a Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant application to digitize 600 open reel audiotapes from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection. The 600 tapes selected for the project focus on programs that feature voices of underrepresented communities in the U.S. and music cultures around the globe and will be invaluable to international researchers from a wide range of disciplines including ethnomusicology, anthropology, media studies, sociology, political science, African-American history, and women’s studies. Digitizing the 600 tapes, approximately a tenth of the collection, will serve as a pilot for a large grant or fundraising initiative.

Robin and Rebecca began preliminary work on two processing and digitization grants (from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Grammy Foundation) due in the fall with collection managers Joanne Archer, Elizabeth Novara, and Vincent Novara.

Eric worked with Dr. Laura Schnitker, Curator of Mass Media and Culture, to deliver a digitized file from the WMUC Collection to a production company creating a documentary about Don McLean’s American Pie for the BBC. The documentary is scheduled to air in fall 2017.

Digitization assistants Karina Hagelin and Shiyun Chen continued to prioritize and digitize materials for modules in the forthcoming Labor in America exhibit.

In June, Robin and Liz Novara worked with an art digital photography company to digitize the oversize “Riversdale Demesnes and Rossburg Farm Situated in Prince George’s County (1853)” map in the Maryland Room. In July, Shiyun and Eric inspected and approved the digital files. After Liz supplied the appropriate metadata, the final image was ingested into UMD Digital Collections and is now publicly available.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Announcing the Ada Journal at UMD

Digital Programs and Initiatives is adding Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology to its e-Publishing program. Originally published with support from the University of Oregon, Ada is an open-access peer reviewed journal featuring scholarship on gender, new media and technology. The journal is particularly interested in contributions that exemplify Ada’s commitments to politically engaged, intersectional approaches to feminist media scholarship. In collaboration with Dr. Carol Stabile, Chair of the Women’s Studies Department, DPI will provide support of the technical infrastructure required for the journal.

Fedora API Specification Contributions

Joshua Westgard is a contributor to the draft Fedora API Specification, released on June 30. The specification “refines the semantics and interaction patterns of LDP [Linked Data Platform] in order to better serve the specific needs of those interested in implementing repositories for durable access to digital data.” The Fedora API is a foundational component of the Libraries’ digital asset management and digital preservation strategies, and provides the framework under which the software systems supporting our digital asset workflows are being constructed. An outgrowth of a design originally developed at Cornell University and described in a 1998 article, the Fedora project is today supported primarily by monetary contributions and in-kind development support from academic research libraries, and is shepherded by the DuraSpace organization.

Software Development

Fedora Content Repository – During load testing of the new OCR annotations for the Diamondback Newspaper collection we discovered a bug which caused the repository to crash.  After debugging and working with the community we discovered that a fix was included in version 4.7.4 of the repository and have included the upgrade along with the new OCR features.

Hippo – Released version 10.2.5-3 containing a few bug fixes and the switch over to use HTTPS for www.lib.umd.edu and oer.umd.edu, which encrypts traffic between the website server and the browser.  This brings these websites into standard practice for providing patron privacy and improved security for the user and the server. We have also begun investigating and planning for the upgrade to Hippo version 11.

Annual Staffing Request – After a break in work for ArchivesSpace development, we continued on version 1.2 which features fiscal year rollover, allowing for all current requests to be archived for later viewing and reporting (read-only), and clearing out the tables of new requests for the next fiscal year.

User and System Support

Windows 10

The deployment of Windows 10 to staff computers has been going successfully. We still have some machines to do, as well as laptops. As we work on other projects, getting ready for the fall semester, we will continue to upgrade the rest of the small group of computers and laptops that needs to be upgraded.

Windows 10 for the public computers have been a little trickier, especially with the amount of time it was taking for the students to log into the workstations. But, fortunately, after many hours and tests, we have the login time down from 40 secs to 15 secs. We will be pushing out this new image of Windows 10 to all public areas starting this week.

Canon MFP

All Canon multifunction printers (MFP) in the public and staff areas have been replaced. The new printers are updated versions of the previous MFPs, so the interface and function of the staff MFPs should be very close to the old MFPs. The public MFPs interface is also similar with updated graphics and a slight name change of the Pharos plugin. The replacement of the MFPs was very quick and successful. To see new features available on the MFPs, click here.


The Digital Programs & Initiatives department is pleased to welcome two new Graduate Assistants, Carlos Alvarado and Anne Kendrick. Carlos is an incoming student in the History and Library Science dual-degree program, with a focus on Archives and Digital Curation, and will be serving as the new DPI Graduate Assistant. Anne is pursuing her MLIS with an interest in Human-Computer Interaction, and is the new Collections & Digital Scholarship GA. Please help us welcome both of them to our basement lair!

Software Systems Development and Research is pleased to welcome Siddharth Bhagwan, new Graduate Assistant Front End Developer.  Siddharth is a second year student pursuing his Masters in Human Computer Interaction.  His first project will be to learn and begin improving our Newspaper Viewer based on Mirador IIIF client.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe, Ben Wallberg, Joshua Westgard, Peter Eichman, and Jeremy Gottwig attended the local Code4Lib MD/DC/VA meetup on July 13 at George Washington University.  One major topic for the day was planning for the Code4Lib conference to be held in DC around February of 2018.  We also shared information on our Digital Data Services program as well as our IIIF Services for digital collections and had an informative discussion of the future plans for Samvera and Fedora.

Eric Cartier attended the Society of American Archivists conference in Portland, Oregon from July 26-29. As Chair of the Recorded Sound Section, Eric led its annual meeting, which featured a special presentation from copyright expert Peter Hirtle who discussed the use of copyrighted audiovisual materials in libraries and archives.

Kate Dohe, David Durden, and Joseph Koivisto attended the “Collections as Data: IMPACT” event at the Library of Congress on July 25th.

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Stew of the month: June 2017

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.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project was presented to librarians, archivists, and educators, at the June 14 Maryland Newspapers Conference, held in June at Goucher College. Robin Pike, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) represented UMD Libraries. Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack spoke at length about using Chronicling America as a research tool, digitizing newspapers from microfilm, and creating a freely available and fully searchable Maryland Newspaper Repository. The conference yielded fresh partnership opportunities for the project and provided statewide exposure for HMNP’s efforts.

Rebecca coordinated with the digitization vendor and shipped three more batches (belair, cumberland, delmar). She received batch annapolis, the first batch, back from the vendor and has begun QR with the students.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

Scott Pennington continued to work with MITH fellows to select materials for digitization, to be shipped to the vendor in July; they have selected over 13,000 pages from the AFL-CIO records in SCUA. In coordination with Stephanie Smith at the David C. Driskell Center, the project has also selected interviews and lectures on audio tape.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike began working with Vin Novara (SCPA) on a National Endowment for the Humanities Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant application to digitize videotapes from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange collection, a collection documenting a regional dance group. She also began working with Laura Schnitker (SCUA) on a Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant application to digitize audiotapes from the National Federation of Community Broadcaster’s collection, a collection of radio programming from non-commercial stations across the country.

Robin submitted estimates and project details to vendors to receive digitization quotes for the FY18 Digitization Initiatives Committee funded projects. She also solidified details of the selected projects and completed the project plans.

Eric Cartier and digitization assistant Jonathan Lin collaborated with a PhD student and a Communications Department professor to digitize a rare three-inch open reel audio tape from the Arab American National Museum collection. The PhD student is collecting speeches for her work on the Recovering Democracy Archives project. The three-inch reel was notable not only for its size, but because the content didn’t match the descriptive metadata, and there were separate recordings on both the left and the right channel. See the student’s tweet for an action shot.

Digitization assistant Brahm Persaud transferred two open reel audio tapes for a researcher who is producing a documentary about the year 1968 in the United States. The documentary is set to air on Netflix in 2018.

Numerous digitization assistants, including Becca Mena, Shiyun Chen, and Karina Hagelin, continue to digitize materials for modules in the forthcoming Labor in America exhibit.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Additions to DRUM

More than 300 theses and dissertations from the spring 2017 semester have recently been deposited in DRUM bringing the total to 12,766. Fifty percent of the students requested embargoes for an overall average of 41% for all theses and dissertations since 2006. Subject librarians interested in receiving a breakdown of embargoes for their departments can contact Terry Owen.

Software Development

ArchivesSpace – Began preparing for the upgrade to ArchivesSpace 2.0 in anticipation of the 2.1 release which contains the overhauled Public User Interface which will eventually replace the ArchivesUM interface to our finding aids.

Fedora Content Repository – We completed our design for the content and indexing model to support OCR text, based the Web Annotation Protocol, which will provide full text search and display of newspapers and more.  We have started the loading, testing, and promotion process and anticipate releasing it to Archelon and to the UMD Student Newspapers public interface in August.

Hippo – Released version 10.2.5-2 containing: 1) New search/browse interface for the Top Textbooks program with real-time lookup of textbooks available on reserve in Aleph; and 2) Context sensitive linking from Database Finder to Subject Specialists; when browsing Subjects or viewing a database detail page, we add the Subject Specialists matching the current Subjects, for example see Aerospace Engineering.

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium

The CLAS team responded to 126 Aleph Rx submissions and 40 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in June.

Sustainable Collection Services (SCS)

Linda Seguin completed the SCS extracts for all 17 USMAI libraries. The extracts will now be processed by the SCS ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) team for loading into their GreenGlass application. This will be made easier due to the quality and consistency of the extracts. Said the ETL Team, “I’d like to pass on a thank you and kudos for whoever made the exports for each USMAI library. Each file was pristine, predictably named, and easy to work with.”

Aleph Annual Maintenance Activities

On an annual basis, CLAS performs two maintenance activities to keep the Aleph database neat and tidy. The first, is the process of transitioning Aleph budgets to the new fiscal year – known around here as “Fiscal Year End Closeout“. Joseph Koivisto completed this process for all USMAI libraries during the last week of June, saving each library from needing to manually close out last year’s budgets and create new budgets for this year. The second activity is our annual “patron purge“, which removes patron records and corresponding transactions that have been expired for at least three years. This process began in June and will be completed in early July.

Making Life Easier

Several activities were undertaken for specific campuses to automate processes. Bowie State’s lost and fine notifications were configured so that they would be emailed automatically to patrons. Work is underway to receive regular loads of Morgan State patrons, removing the need for their library staff to enter new patrons manually. The ordering process was streamlined for Bowie State by setting up a YBP Gobi loader for them.


David Durden began work as the Data Services Librarian in DPI on June 26. David received his Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland in 2017 and a Masters of Arts in Musicology from Brandeis University in 2014. He was previously the graduate assistant for DPI and DCMR where he took on key data management roles as research lead for the Libraries’ VIVO pilot and administrative duties for REDCap. Welcome back, David!

Sydney Schneider, an undergraduate English major, and Rayanne Weigel, pursuing a dual major in English and Journalism, began working on the HMNP project in June. With digitization efforts well underway, the HMNP is lucky to have such enthusiastic new members to the team.

Sydney Schneider also began working as a digitization assistant in the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Eric Cartier, Kate Dohe, and Joseph Koivisto helped to coordinate the third annual Libraries Research and Innovative Practice Forum, held in McKeldin Library on June 8. Many members of DSS delivered presentations including Eric Cartier, David Dahl, Kate Dohe, Peter Eichman, Heidi Hanson, Joseph Koivisto, Terry Owen, Robin Pike, Rebecca Wack, Ben Wallberg, Joshua Westgard. Many of these presentations are available in DRUM.

Kate Dohe attended the CLIR/EDUCAUSE Leading Change Institute in Washington, DC from June 11-17. A successor to the highly regarded Frye Leadership Institute, LCI brings together librarians, information technologists, and others who seek to further develop their skills for the benefit of higher education.

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Stew of the month: May 2017

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.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Library of Congress has accepted the sample batch for the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, and the project is marching forward with digitization for the first two full batches–over 20,000 pages of newsprint in progress with the digitization vendor.

Title research for future HMNP representation is underway, with an eye towards representing underserved, minority, and immigrant communities across the state. So far, evidence of papers representing African-American, Polish, German, and Jewish interests have been located, though whether the physical newspapers or microfilm remains intact and accessible for digitization remains has yet to be examined

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

While waiting on the first large shipment to return from the vendor, the AADHum team has been working on selections for the second shipment. Coordinating with SCUA and MITH’s team, we have begun selecting materials for the early July shipment for batch two. Materials proposed for digitization include Labor’s involvement with busing in the early 1970s and school desegregation from areas as diverse as Boston, Massachusetts to Montgomery, Alabama.

Other Digitization Activities

Manager, Robin Pike met with collection managers to begin the FY18 vendor digitization project funded by the Digitization Initiatives Committee (DIC). She presented the project progress and FY18 budget at the May 24 Library Assembly meeting.

Digitization Projects Assistant Cecilia Franck began quality review work of the first batch of the FY17 Diamondback Digitization Project, the second annual project phase. This project is funded by a UMD Launch campaign and the DIC project proposal process.

Digitization assistant Shiyun Chen finished scanning documents related to the writing of the Japanese Constitution, from the Charles L. Kades papers. The documents are now available in the Internet Archive to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the constitution’s enactment. More information about the 70th anniversary can be found on the Prange Collection blog.

For the upcoming Irmgard Bartenieff/Institute of Movement Studies exhibit in Special Collections in Performing Arts, digitization assistant Becca Mena digitized oversize charcoal sketches, which had been flattened and stabilized by Preservation and Conservation staff, and digitization assistants Jonathan Lin and Shiyun transferred 36 reel-to-reel audio tapes.
All digitization assistants continued to digitize high-resolution scanning of photographs and posters for the upcoming Labor in America exhibit for Special Collections and University Archives.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Josh Westgard participated in a Fedora sprint focusing on building import/export functionality for Fedora systems. The tools developed in this sprint provide a way to serialize content from a Fedora repository onto disk, to verify the accuracy and completeness of the serialization, and to import previously serialized content back into Fedora. A particular focus during this sprint was a feature to package exports in BagIt bags, including bags that conform to the profile of Academic Preservation Trust, of which the Libraries are a member. This feature will allow the Libraries to package assets in our Fedora repository in a self-contained way for transmission to off-site preservation storage, and to restore that content losslessly in the future.

Software Development

ArchivesSpace – Released several new features requested by Special Collections and University Archives, including Single-Sign-On using the campus directory, a new payments module, and improved search results display.

AutoNumber – This small web application is used by digitization staff to assign unique file names and numbers to digitized files.  We have migrated this app to Ruby on Rails in this 1.0 release of the new codebase.

Hippo – Released version 10.2.5-0, which contained security and bug fixes, and 10.2.5-1 which contained two major new features: 1) Database Finder has removed the Categories/Sub-Categories for browse/search and added Subjects which are aligned with the Subject Specialists. Also, databases are maintained directly in Hippo CMS and are no longer synchronized from Metalib. 2)  UMD Student Newspapers is available as a soft release (staff review only for now) and being prepared for public release by University Archives staff.  This interface provides access to digitized issues of the Diamondback (1910-1971).

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium

The CLAS team responded to 123 Aleph Rx submissions and 30 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in May.

LNDL EZproxy/Shibboleth Transition

The switch to Shibboleth authentication and USMAI-hosted EZproxy for Loyola Notre Dame Library (LNDL) was completed on May 25th. The switch to Shibboleth authentication allows LNDL patrons to login in to e-resources and OPAC services with their campus credentials. The move to USMAI-hosted EZproxy enables LNDL staff to focus on other local priorities.

Sustainable Collection Services

USMAI has selected OCLC’s Sustainable Collection Services (SCS) to analyze and coordinate print collection management. The service uses a web-based application called GreenGlass to facilitate the analysis. This involves extracting data from Aleph to load into GreenGlass. CLAS has been working with OCLC and staff at USMAI libraries to create specifications for the data extract for each USMAI library. The extract process is now underway and scheduled for completion in mid-June.

Report on USMAI Communication and Collaboration Platforms

Following the collection of data through surveys, interviews, and focus groups in the fall of 2016, CLAS has submitted an analysis of USMAI’s communication and collaboration platforms. Proposed actions based on the analysis include (1) consolidating USMAI’s web platforms into a unified web portal, (2) revising the information architecture for public and staff web content, (3) creating new areas of content, including materials for orienting new staff at USMAI libraries, (4) establishing an informal communication channel for the consortium, and (5) identifying recommended tools to facilitate USMAI communication and collaboration. The report has been shared with USMAI library directors. In early FY18, CLAS will begin investigating technical solutions for a unified web portal.


Cecilia Franck, DCMR Digitization Projects Assistant, won the “Outstanding Student Assistant” award, particularly for her phenomenal work on the Diamondback Digitization Project and other vendor digitization projects.

DCMR hired two new student assistants. Rayanne Weigel and Sydney Schneider will be assisting with metadata collation and batch quality review for the HMNP.

DPI graduate assistants David Durden and Caitlin Carter graduated with their Masters in Library Science from the College of Information Studies. We are grateful to both of them for their exceptional contributions to the department over the past two years. Caitlin has accepted a full-time librarian position with another university, and we wish her luck in her future endeavors.

We are pleased to announce that David Durden will (re)join DPI as the Data Services Librarian in June.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Joseph Koivisto attended the Maryland & Delaware Library Associations Joint Annual Conference on May 11. He co-presented a poster on MD-SOAR with representatives from other MD-SOAR partners. Robin Pike also presented at the conference on May 12, in collaboration with Molly Olney-Zide, the project manager for the Delaware Digital Newspaper Project. They presented a one-hour workshop about the National Digital Newspaper Program, the two statewide projects, and how to use Chronicling America. Kate Dohe co-taught the workshop “Starting with ‘Yes, And…’: Improv Fundamentals for Collaboration in Libraries” with Erin Pappas, Arts and Humanities Librarian at the University of Virginia.

Linda Seguin attended the ELUNA 2017 Conference and Ex Libris Technical Seminar from May 8-12 in Chicago.