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DSS Town Hall

On 1st December, DSS held a Town Hall meeting in the Special Events Room of McKeldin Library; all UMD Library staff were invited to attend. Questions were submitted prior to the meeting via an online form with the opportunity for in-person questions on the day.

The meeting began with an introduction by Trevor Munoz since Babak Hamidzadeh was unable to attend. This interactive conversation between DSS and other divisions is supported by a monthly blog: DigiStew.

Department updates followed

Robin Pike – DCMR [Digital Conversion & Media Reformatting]  

  • Digitization projects for FY17 are on track
  • Rebecca Wack, Digital Projects Librarian, will begin work in January
  • Scott Pennington continues to manage a Mellon Grant funded digitization project
  • Eric Cartier has been planning 2017 in-house digitization
  • Mary Dulaney is assisting with fundraising opportunities

Kate Dohe – DPI [Digital Programs & Initiatives]

  • The cross-divisional digital preservation team is due to report in early 2017.
  • Josh Westgard has been working on migrating content into ArchiveSpace
  • E-publishing: one faculty and one student-run journal will be published
    • Terps Publish is a new student publishing event to be piloted in 2017
  • ICDL and the Health Equity repository is near completion

Ben Wallberg – SSDR [Software Systems Development & Research]

  • An Annual Staffing Request application to replace spreadsheets will roll out next week. Andrea White will conduct training.
  • Hippo upgrades: version 10 is due in January, version 11 in the spring.  Hippo will release version 12 in the summer. This will bring us up to date; annual upgrades will follow.
  • Libi migration: development is paused while the Libi Advisory Team consult with, and get feedback from, divisions. Development work will resume in February. Two standalone applications, Student Applications and Idea Board, will be released next year.
  • Website stability has improved following work with USS on server improvements.

David Dahl – CLAS [Consortial Library Applications Support]

  • USMAI now has 17 members: Loyola/Notre Dame joined in the summer and their migration to Aleph is due for completion in January.
  • Aleph will be the ILS for the foreseeable future. CLAS is monitoring potential new systems.
  • The USMAI Data Collection and Analysis Working group will produce a report in January.
  • The pilot institutional repository is ending. Further plans are in progress.

Uche Enwesi – USS [User & Systems Support]

  • USS supports over 1000 machines and 60 printers
  • USS have have received over 7700 calls in the helpdesk and USS have closed over 5500 service requests.
  • Work continues with Div IT to manage desktop machines using SSCM to push out upgrades.
  • Makerspace: USS driven printing is decreasing while training is increasing: the trend is for self printing. Andy Horbal and Preston Tobery are working with professors to integrate 3-D printing into the curriculum.
  • The public and TLC machines have been upgraded; staff upgrades are now in line.
  • Researching VDI technology to deploy a new machine image quickly and smoothly.
  • Researching Mobile printing for smart-phones and tablets is being investigated for used with pay for print.
  • Additional training on Google Suite will take place in December.
  • Exploring the possibility of Windows 10 for staff and public use.  Asking staff if they are interested to test out Windows 10 to contact DSS helpdesk.

Trevor Muñoz – MITH [Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities]

  • Synergies among African American History and Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHUM) multi-year initiative
  • Digital Humanities incubators (part of AADHUM): training begins in January
  • Documenting the Now – social media research continues

Next, managers answered questions that were submitted ahead of time

Q Do we know everything DSS does so we can say which ones need to be discontinued? What are DSS priorities?

Judi read out Babak’s response:

We have a list of projects and all managers are aware of their initiatives and operations. Our priorities really boil down to what the units in DSS do. Much of what DSS does is driven by priorities and demand from other Divisions and is coordinated with other divisions.

Q Everything in the Libraries nowadays is technology related. Sometimes decisions are made in DSS without any input from the rest of the Libraries. Sometimes it feels as if DSS is very self-centric and makes decisions for all of us without any input.

Judi read Babak’s answer:

The bulk of what DSS does is driven by priority and demand from other divisions in Libraries. There are projects that DSS initiates, within its mandate, with other units on Campus, or on its own as part of a known DSS service. There may be cases where better communication and coordination is needed. If those cases are raised, we would appreciate it and will try to respond to them and improve communication.

Q Why is the ITD sign still on the main stairwell door?

Judi: a new sign has been ordered.

Q What is the status of upgrade to Fedora 4? And the upload of the backlog of materials that are ready for entry into University AlbUM?

Kate: The Diamondback has been released to DPI and will be imported into Fedora 4.

Migration of existing content is being planned for 2017; stakeholders are being consulted.

Partnering with SSDR:

  • The Fedora 4 administrative interface for collection managers, tentatively named Archelon, is due early in 2017.
  • Work continues on a newspaper viewer enabling users to clip, download a newspaper article and use OCR with the image. A demo is coming soon. The intent is to repurpose this open source software for other applications.

DPI, USS and SSDR analysed Fedora 4 storage needs and solutions: recommendations are due in 2017.

Q I’d like to know about the role of the data services librarian (i.e. Karl’s old position). This type of service is interesting and I am always looking to learn more about library/researcher collaboration/interaction.

Kate: The search is underway; this position is intended to play an active role in data management serving the needs of Maryland faculty.

Q I think DSS should help us develop a more comprehensive tool for analyzing our subscribed resources – databases and journals. The work that was led by Mark Hemhauser was great, but needed tweaking. This year’s serials review abandoned the great work that Mark started, and it was a step back. We are spending so much money on collections, and it is sad that we are not trying to do some more comprehensive evaluation of the use, cost, etc. Mark’s work was a good start. What happens after a person has left the organization?


  1. How do we support applications that are not ready to go into full production? Send in a helpdesk ticket if you would like to set up a sandbox or trial to see whether you like an application. No support or backups are provided with sandboxes; it is a quick way to see how an application works. If the sandbox test is successful, then full production is considered.
  2. Tracking applications: we write a Service Level Agreement [SLA]. This is a process for both parties to set out expectations, timelines and periodic reviews. Documentation is amended when a person leaves the Libraries.
  3. In this case the documentation shows that the application started as a pilot, moved into production, was monitored, assessed and data was downloaded. Stakeholders agreed to decommission the production application.

David: The USMAI Data Collection and Analysis working group have conducted an initial investigation of USMAI’s data needs for reporting and assessment purposes. USMAI’s new Acquisitions & Licensing Coordinator is leading an initiative to identify an ERM [Electronic Resource Management system] to aid license management and cost analysis.

Q Is Aleph here to stay? What happened with testing on circ/print functions before the upgrade to Aleph v22?

David: The short answer is yes, Aleph, is here to stay. An email update was distributed this morning with more details. CLAS team continue to maintain and enhance Aleph to support the consortium’s work.

Aleph upgrade:

  • First upgrade in 6 years; CLAS carried out a review of the migration.
  • Each USMAI campus has responsibility for testing locally
  • Future upgrades will emphasise the need for local testing, especially for printing and unique workstation setups.

Q  Messages from DSS to USMAI are not conveyed to Library staff. Only people subscribing to the USMAI reflector get to know them. Shouldn’t someone inform UMD Libraries Staff of USMAI initiatives/updates/etc?


  • The CLAS team communicate with USMAI; each USMAI campus communicates with its staff
  • UMD Campus Contacts are Angie Ohler and Tim Hackman
  • Circulation, electronic resources, and other functional contacts should use judgement to forward to Library staff as necessary. Any staff member may join USMAI Communities of Interest, which are listed on the USMAI Staff Site (usmai.umd.edu/groups)
  • CLAS is looking at our systems for facilitating communication and collaboration within the consortium

Q When will you transfer the conference rooms from Exchange to Google Calendar?

Uche: this has already happened. Room owners have been contacted by USS.

Q I would like you to confirm times for on-site and/or virtual Help Desk visits (re: troubleshooting, software updates, hardware replacement)

Uche: USS contact staff via email and leave a phone message if necessary. In cases where Div IT inform of a security issue, USS will take control immediately.  In case where we do not need the user input, USS staff will take control and fix the problems.

Q I would like you to make sure staff images have up-to-date versions of software (ILLiad, Ares, etc.) so that we don’t need to submit upgrade tickets for new machines / new staff.

Uche: We are working with Div IT to use SSCM which will push out upgrades so that all machines have the same image.

Q Why do you close helpdesk tickets before confirming that the problem has been resolved?

Uche: Let Uche or Cece know if this happens to you. Re-open the helpdesk ticket if necessary.

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African American History and Culture and Digital Humanities

The Libraries began their involvement in the Mellon Foundation grant project Synergies Among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture in May 2016. This project is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Humanities, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), the Libraries, and the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora. In July, Scott Pennington was hired as the Digitization Project Manager for the project, working with the AFL-CIO collection in SCUA and the David C. Driskell papers, a collection of the artist, scholar, curator, collector, and philanthropist, in the Driskell Center. The project seeks to digitize primary source materials for study by post-doctoral students and other researchers examining the intersection of African American History and Culture.

Scott Pennington, Jen Eidson (SCUA), Stephanie Smith (Driskell Center), Purdom Lindblad (MITH), and Jovonne Bickerstaff (MITH) went through materials looking for items of interest to researchers involved in the upcoming Digital Humanities Incubator sessions to be hosted as part of the larger project. Approximately 1,000 pages were selected for a pilot digitization project and were shipped to the vendor for digitization on November 1, 2016. These materials will be available to researchers and to the public through the Digital Humanities Incubator projects in January, as well as through UMD Digital Collections.

Scott Pennington is currently working with Jen Eidson, Stephanie Smith, and MITH to select an additional 39,000 pages for the full project, to be shipped to the digitization vendor in April.

Samples of content selected for digitization are featured below:



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Big Ten Academic Alliance: Reciprocal Borrowing

We are pleased to announce that as part of our software services program DSS is building and hosting a Reciprocal Borrowing application on behalf of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA).  BTAA institutions, plus the University of Chicago, provide reciprocal borrowing privileges to current faculty, emeritus faculty, students, and staff at the other member libraries. Borrowing privileges are governed by the lending library based on local circulation policies established for guest borrowers. To make use of this service, visiting borrowers must present an institutional photo ID, and verify their current affiliation by authenticating through the Reciprocal Borrowing application.  This web application will replace the existing paper based process.

Development work began in November and is expected to be released in production in time for the Spring 2017 semester. The application is built with the Ruby on Rails web framework and Shibboleth federated identity management technologies. Guest borrower attribute release is made possible via common membership in InCommon and registration in the research and scholarship category. The source code is released under an Apache License Version 2.0 and is available from GitHub under umd-lib/reciprocal-borrowing.

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Stew of the month: October 2016

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

Robin Pike and Doug McElrath (SCUA) began planning a meeting with the Advisory Board and content partners for November 17. Two major changes to the Advisory Board were made in October–Maria Day will take over for Allison Rein from the Maryland State Archives and Kent Randell will replace Katherine Ryner from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Pike wrote the RFQ and selected the microfilm duplication vendor. Pike selected the first half of the microfilm to be duplicated and digitized, based on information compiled by students Kerry Huller and Sara Horn. She also wrote a detailed timeline and created a Google Calendar for the project which was shared with both the Maryland State Archives and Frostburg State University Library contacts. Students Huller and Horn continued to collate the titles on microfilm. McElrath (SCUA), Judi Kidd, and Amy Wickner (SCUA) continued to research microfilm copyright.

Synergies Among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture

Scott Pennington worked with Jen Eidson (SCUA), Stephanie Smith (Driskell Center), and Purdom Lindblad and Jovonne Bickerstaff (both MITH) to select and prepare approximately 1,000 pages for the Mellon Grant pilot. Pennington will continue to work with Eidson on the selection of approximately 39,000 for the full project to be sent to the vendor in April 2017.

Other Digitization Activities

Pike worked with Joanne Archer, Elizabeth Caringola, Amanda Hawk, and Ben Blake (all SCUA) to send videotapes from the Athletics and Gymkana collections, and the CIO News to digitization vendors in October. The Preservation and Conservation Department was instrumental in disbinding and preparing the CIO News for digitization. These projects are funded by the DIC digitization project proposal process.

Student assistants Kelsey Hughes and Cecilia Franck completed a 100% quality review of 87 Hebrew and Yiddish books totaling 22,421 pages, the final FY16 batch. Suzy Wilson and Shiyun Chen completed a 100% quality review of 12 general collection books on microfiche, totaling 3,410 pages. The digitization project, initiated by Interlibrary Loan patron-based requests, allows the Libraries to make popular public domain materials available in the Internet Archive, and was funded by the FY17 DIC project proposal process.
Eric and Joanne Archer (SCUA) met with collection managers from University Archives, Historical Manuscripts, and the Labor in America Collection to formally identify and prioritize in-house digitization projects including
Maryland Agricultural College early photos, Board of Regents minutes, Athletics team photos, Works Progress Administration photos from Maryland, small family manuscript collections, Martha Tabor collection photos, and AFL-CIO Executive Council minutes throughout calendar year 2017.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

On October 31, issue 3.0 of “A Colony in Crisis” was released.  A Colony is Crisis is a digital exhibition that addresses a colonial flashpoint, the moment when failed grain harvests in France fueled escalating political tensions between white planters in Saint-Domingue and political elites in the metropole.  This issue of documents features a set of six new translations introduced by Marlene L. Daut (University of Virginia) that delve into the lives of the enslaved and peoples of color in colonial Saint-Domingue.  A Colony in Crisis is a project of the Libraries’ e-publishing program.

Working with staff from DCMR and Metadata Services, DPI worked to make available dozens of new audio and video files in digital collections, using a custom command-line batch XML generator for audio and video content going into our Fedora repository.

Software Development

We had only a few minor releases this month.  The bulk of our efforts have been continuing development on existing projects:

Diamondback Newspaper Collection – Development continues on the administrative interface and backend newspaper/image delivery services.  Work on initial Newspaper Viewer development is wrapping up.

DRUM and MD-SOAR – Some minor version and feature releases, combined with developer training for the new CLAS Applications Developer, Dinesh Mendhe.

Annual Staffing Request – Release 1.0 scheduled for November 28 for managers to begin entering their staffing requests for FY18.  We will then work on completing the administrative functionality for release in January.

Student Applications – Development on the new Rails application got underway.

Hippo CMS Version 10 – Development on the upgrade continues, with initial user testing likely beginning in December.

Hippo implementation of new Libi – Development continues.


User and System Support

For the past two years, the staff of User and System Support staff have provided technology support for returning and incoming students using the libraries.  We usually provide this type of in person support and on site support for the first week of school 9am – 5pm.  During this time, we help with questions ranging from where is the bathroom to how can I print or use the computers.  Interestingly, this year,  we saw a lot of students wanting to use their own laptops and devices to print and do school work. Even with many students wanting to use their own equipment, demand for our public access computers has not decreased.  User and System Support staff also assist by locating free computers for those waiting.

This on site student support has been so successful that we are thinking of increasing our frequency of support.

Below is a table of stats collected during the first week of school.  It is clear that we need to improve our instructions and signage on how to use the printers. We also need to work with Dining Services to open Terrapin Express accounts for incoming and returning students.

USS Printer Support to Students   8/29/16 – 9/2/16

Type of assistance Totals
Bookeye 26
Terrapin Express 226
Downloading printer drives 141
Printing 326
Card issues 46
Directing people to printers 49
Copying 42
Other (bathroom, water fountain, etc.) 85
Printer jams 0

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 101 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.

OCLC Batchload Projects

OCLC has transitioned to using a function called “DataSync Collections” within their WorldShare Collection Manager product as a replacement to their Batchload projects. USMAI had been using the OCLC Batchload project to set WorldCat holdings for USMAI libraries. Linda set up new DataSync Collections for existing Batchload projects, and Hans developed a new upload program to deliver files to a new FTP site. OCLC has begun processing these files, and Linda has been working with them on a few issues, including some files not getting processed.

Loyola Notre Dame Library

The other half of LNDL’s ILS data was delivered in October. This includes their patron records, circulation transactions, and hold/recall requests. An initial analysis revealed that the initial extract of data was not properly scoped. This has been resolved and the data is now being analyzed for mapping and loading into USMAI’s Aleph development environment. Analysis, mapping, and review of LNDL’s MARC data was performed in October.

Communication and Collaboration Platform Analysis

Heidi, Joseph, and David reviewed and began analyzing information obtained from September’s focuse groups and other data collection activities. The analysis and requirements development are currently scheduled for completion in November, with delivery of a final report on activities and findings expected by the end of the calendar year.MDsoarLOGO


Results from the survey of MD-SOAR partners was shared in October. The results will help inform DSS’ proposal for continuing the repository service beyond the end of its two-year pilot (scheduled to end in June 2017).


Dinesh Mendhe joined DSS as an Applications Developer in SSDR working on CLAS/USMAI initiatives.Tyree Smith join DSS as an IT Support Assistant working on User and System Support initiatives.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Dahl attended the Ex Libris Northeast User Group meeting at SUNY New Paltz on October 27th and 28th.
David Dahl attended the MDREN/Internet2 Research and Education Day on October 14th.Uche Enwesi and Brandon Eldred attended Dell World in Austin, Texas, on October 18th – 20th.


Robin Pike, Bria Parker (MSD), and Vin Novara’s (SCPA) published the article: “”Is This Enough?” Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives Media,” Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists 34 no. 1 (2016). The article is available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/provenance/vol34/iss1/11 .

Eric Cartier published the podcast: “University of Maryland Madrigals Singers 1964 Tour” in Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists. For this article, Eric performed research in SCPA’s collections. The podcast is available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/provenance/vol34/iss1/9/

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National Digital Newspaper Program: 2016-2018 Selection


The UMD Libraries were awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) $250,000 grant for the third phase of the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, beginning September 1, 2016. Between 2016-2018, the project will digitize approximately 100,000 pages of newspapers published in the State of Maryland, adding to the over 200,000 pages from Maryland already in Chronicling America, the Library of Congress digitized newspaper database. The state partners contributing content for the third grant are the Maryland State Archives, also a partner on the second grant, and Frostburg State University Library. UMD’s theme for the third award is to include newspapers of greater diversity, including one Polish language paper and several labor papers, as well as newspapers with contrasting political viewpoints of those digitized during the first two grant cycles.

Title Selection

Project staff consulted with the Advisory Board to select the list of titles that may be selected during the 2016-2018 phase:

  • The Baltimore County Union (1865-1909), Towsontown, MD
  • Catoctin Clarion (1923), Mechanicstown, MD
  • The Citizen (1895-1922), Frederick, MD
  • Czas Baltimorski (1940-1941), Baltimore, MD
  • Democratic Messenger (1881-1922), Snow Hill, MD
  • Evening Capital, Evening Capital and Maryland Gazette (1884-1922), Annapolis, MD
  • Frostburg Mining Journal (1871-1917), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Forum (1897-19??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Gleaner (1899-19??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Herald (1903-19??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg News (1897-18??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Spirit (1913-1915), Frostburg, MD
  • Greenbelt Cooperator (1937-1943), Greenbelt, MD
  • Maryland Independent (1874-1934), Port Tobacco, MD
  • The Midland Journal (1885-1946), Rising Sun, MD
  • Voice of Labor (1938-1942), Cumberland, MD
  • Worcester Democrat and Ledger-Enterprise (1921-1953), Pocomoke City, MD

The list may be modified as the project student assistants collate the microfilm and discover that the images may be of too poor quality for digitization.

Mutilated pages from the Maryland Independent

Mutilated pages from the Maryland Independent

Copyright Research

In July, NEH announced the expansion of date ranges for the NDNP program, to include 1690-1963. For newspapers published between 1923-1963, project staff need to perform copyright research to determine whether the newspaper issue was registered with the copyright office, and if it was registered, whether the copyright was renewed 28 years later, according to the law. Project staff decided to utilize the resources available through the Copyright Office to determine whether these titles are in the public domain:

  • Catoctin Clarion (1923), Mechanicstown, MD
  • Czas Baltimorski (1940-1941), Baltimore, MD
  • Greenbelt Cooperator (1937-1943), Greenbelt, MD
  • Maryland Independent (1874-1934), Port Tobacco, MD
  • The Midland Journal (1885-1946), Rising Sun, MD
  • Voice of Labor (1938-1942), Cumberland, MD
  • Worcester Democrat and Ledger-Enterprise (1921-1953), Pocomoke City, MD

With guidance from the Library of Congress on how to perform copyright research, Doug McElrath (SCUA) and Robin Pike developed instructions for Doug, Robin, Judi Kidd, and Amy Wickner (SCUA) to perform the research and track their results, providing evidence to the Library of Congress and NEH that the titles are in the public domain. The project staff will primarily be searching in the pre-1978 Catalog of Copyright Entries, but may also have to search in the Copyright Catalog (1978-Present) for renewed registrations. Unlike a book which is a single entity, newspapers are copyrighted by the issue, so project staff will have to ensure that they do title searches across the entire date range of publication to ensure the issues are in the public domain.

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Stew of the month: September 2016

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

In September the following Maryland newspapers were uploaded to Chronicling America:

Students Kerry Huller completed quality review of the final batches of the second grant, which Liz Caringola submitted to the Library of Congress. Kerry and Sara Horn continued metadata collation for titles selected for the third grant.

African American History and Culture & Digital Humanities

Scott Pennington coordinated with MITH personnel, Jen Eidson (SCUA), and Stephanie Smith (Driskell Center) on selecting content from the AFL-CIO collection and the David C. Driskell papers for the digitization pilot to occur in November/December, and the main digitization project to occur in 2017. He also refined the digitization project plan and timeline.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike coordinated with Joanne Archer, Liz Novara, Vin Novara, Hilary Thompson, and several students to send out four vendor digitization projects during September including, videotape interviews from the Jackson R. Bryer collection (SCPA), Contemporary Music Project audio recordings (SCPA), videotapes from the Carpenters Union archive (SCUA), and microfiche of general collection books frequently requested by patrons. All of these projects were funded through the DIC project proposal process.

Cecilia Franck began collating metadata for the Diamondback newspaper to be digitized in FY18, taking over for SCUA student Jen Wachtel (who completed collation for the FY16, FY17, and some of FY18 project phases).

Kelsey Hughes, Jonathan Lin, and Cecilia Franck completed a 100% quality review of 114 Hebrew and Yiddish books totaling 33,258 pages for batch two of the FY16 Hebraica digitization project, funded through the DIC digitization project proposal process.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

In collaboration, DPI and SSDR created a batch loading tool for extracting National Digital Newspaper Program data from its native XML serialization and loading it into a Fedora 4 repository according to a locally developed content model conforming to the community standard known as the Portland Common Data Model.

DPI loaded more than 500 new audio and video items supplied by DCMR into digital collections.

Software Development

The initial development work on the Wufoo Connector integration with SysAid is complete and the application is installed in the production server environment. The application is currently serving one form, receiving the DSS Contact Us form and mapping it into the SysAid ticketing system for handling by DSS.  Additional form handling will be added as requested.  The application is built around Apache Camel, a tool we use to handle system integrations and message routing in many of our services.

Hippo CMS

Implementation of the new Libi (Libraries’ Intranet) continues with development work on the Group and News pages.  After researching the options for indexing Hippo documents into Apache Solr we have begun implementation of an Apache Camel based solution, which is also the tool we’ll use to index Box documents into Solr.

Hippo based websites continued to be highly available and performant throughout September due to investments in code debugging, server improvements, and architecture improvements last Spring and Summer.  As both human and automated website traffic continues to increase we will be continually monitoring and reacting to issues as they arise.


Digital Collections

We have continued development of the Mirador based Newspaper Viewer and in conjunction with that effort are enhancing our backend services to support the viewer and website needs for full-text search of the scanned newspaper images as well as dynamically generated annotation lists supporting hit-highlighting and article level segmentation.  This work involves integration between the Newspaper Viewer, Fedora 4, the IIIF Image Server, and new support services.

Given that we don’t yet have a Hydra based full administrative interface to Fedora 4 we have been working on a lightweight Blacklight interface to Fedora 4 which will allow basic read-only review of our ingested Diamondback newspapers. This also provides us with Blacklight experience for later use in other applications and in determining whether we are going to implement the Diamondback discovery interface using Blacklight or Hippo CMS.

Administrative Applications

With the arrival of our new Ruby on Rails contract developer, work on the new new Annual Staffing Request application has resumed in collaboration with Budget and Business Services.  The web-based application will replace the current staff budgeting process performed using Excel spreadsheets, with the goal of having the new application in place by mid-November.

We have also met with Human Resources for the kickoff meeting of the project to migrate Online Student Applications out of the current Libi and Drupal based implementation to a standalone Ruby on Rails application.  This application is expected be available by mid-December for students to  begin submitting applications for work in the Spring semester.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 102 Aleph Rx submissions and 21 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

Loyola Notre Dame Library

Work continued on migrating Loyola Notre Dame Library (LNDL) from Voyager ILS to USMAI’s Aleph instance as part of their membership within USMAI. LNDL staff were give access to a development environment for early testing and training activities. CLAS and LNDL have been in communication about configuration decisions in Aleph. The first half of LNDL’s Voyager data was delivered by Ex Libris in late September and is currently being analyzed for mapping and loading to Aleph. The current window for migrating LNDL to Aleph is January 3rd to 17th.

Communication and Collaboration Platform Analysis

Four focus groups with staff at USMAI libraries were held in September to learn more about consortium members’ use of available systems for communication and collaboration. Heidi Hanson and Joseph Koivisto facilitated the sessions. The results of the focus groups along with information obtained from interviews and surveys will be analyzed to inform a list of system requirements that will guide the future direction of our collaboration tools. Thank you to all who participated in the focus groups!



The group began plans to evaluate the two-year MD-SOAR pilot. DSS will review evaluation information from MD-SOAR partners in order to put together scenarios/proposals for continuing the service beyond the pilot.

MD-SOAR partners reviewed the results of user testing performed by the USMAI User Experience Subgroup. Joseph Koivisto created prototype mock-ups of proposed changes for the partners to consider.


Shiyun Chen, Kelsey Hughes, Becca Mena, and Suzy Wilson, all first year graduate students in the iSchool, began working as Student Digitization Assistants in DCMR.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Josh Westgard attended the DC Fedora Users Group meeting at the National Agricultural Library, where he presented on our latest Fedora 4 adoption efforts.  He also attended the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative update meeting at Indiana University where he learned about IU’s efforts to preserve at risk audio and visual materials, and the infrastructure and collaborations they have developed to support mass digitization.

Robin Pike and Doug McElrath (SCUA) attended the NDNP Awardees Conference at the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress on September 14-16, 2016. Robin presented on a panel titled “NDNP Work in State Context” where she discussed how UMD is using the expertise gained during the NDNP project on the Diamondback newspaper digitization project and in building the Maryland Newspaper Repository.

Eric Cartier, Kate Dohe, Robin Pike, and several others from SCUA attended “Play/back” a symposium on preserving audiovisual heritage hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities on September 30, 2016.

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Stew of the month: August 2016

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 National Endowment of Humanities awarded University of Maryland $250,000 for the third phase of the National Digital Newspaper Program grant. Robin met virtually with the two state content partners for this grant phase–the Maryland State Archives, a partner from grant phase 2, and Frostburg State University Library, a new partner.

Elizabeth Caringola and student assistant Kerry Huller continued to review batches of digitized Maryland newspapers and submitted the files to the Library of Congress. No new Maryland titles were made public on Chronicling America during July.

Student assistant Sara Horn began reviewing and collating microfilm for the third NDNP grant.

Other Digitization Activities

Working with campus Procurement and vendors, Robin Pike finalized FY17 vendor quotes and the Lyrasis digitization sole source agreement. She began planning the FY18 Digitization Initiatives Committee timeline and meetings. Pike also investigated vendor conversion services for born-digital media, also through the Lyrasis Digitization Collaborative.

Digitization Assistant Caroline Hayden completed quality assurance work on batch one of three for the FY16 Hebraica project, and Assistant Cecilia Franck worked to review the first of three annual batches of the Diamondback newspaper digitization project, both of which extend from the previous fiscal year.

Digitization Assistants Caroline and Jonathan Lin transferred open reel audio tapes and scanned QSL cards, which are cards verifying the one-way reception of an AM, FM, television, or short-wave radio signal by a listener, for a forthcoming Library of American Broadcasting Foundation web exhibit.

Eric Cartier and the University Archivist Anne Turkos worked to create a digital version of the analog 2002 Maryland Room exhibit “From Vision to Reality: The Life and Career of Harry Clifton Byrd”. Caroline scanned and digitally photographed certificates, correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia.

Digitization Assistant Dave Durden organized, updated, and enhanced DCMR Digitization Center Procedures documentation in Confluence, a wiki, for the purpose of training current and future assistants.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Summer 2016 ETDs Added to DRUM

More than 300 theses and dissertations were recently deposited in DRUM from the summer 2016 semester.  Check out the latest research from UMD graduates at http://hdl.handle.net/1903/3.

OA Fund Update

The UMD Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund (http://www.lib.umd.edu/oa/openaccessfund) is now accepting applications 2016-2017.  For this fiscal year we are funding 50% of the article processing charges for each application.  Once an application has been accepted, we will be encouraging authors to reach out to their deans/department heads or use grant funding to make up the difference.  If you have any questions about the fund, contact Terry Owen (towen@umd.edu).

Digital Repository Update

With the launch of a production Fedora 4 repository, focus has now shifted from planning to the loading of initial content into the repository.  Because Fedora 4 is an implementation of the W3C’s Linked Data Platform recommendation, ingesting content into the repository is not as simple as exporting it from existing systems and importing it to the new one, but rather involves developing profiles for both modeling content and expressing key metadata elements in the language of the Semantic Web, the Resource Description Framework (RDF).  In August we began this migration process in earnest, focussing first on PDF files from the Plant Patents Digitization Project and images from the Diamondback digitization project that will soon arrive from the digitization vendor.

Save the Date – Future of the Research Library Speaker Series

As part of our Speaker Series (http://www.lib.umd.edu/speakerseries), Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for SPARC, has been invited to campus on Tuesday 25 October from 10:00 – 11:30 am in the Special Events Room to talk about open education and open educational resources.  Ms. Allen is an internationally recognized expert and leading voice in the movement for open education and her visit coincides with International Open Access Week (http://openaccessweek.org/).

Other Activities

Over the past month David Durden completed an analysis of digital preservation services using the NDSA and Preservica models. He also continued investigating Google Analytics for collections curators and Google Data Studio for sharing usage statistics with the campus community.

Software Development

Hippo CMS

Implementation of the new Libi (Libraries’ Intranet) continues with the addition of the Staff Directory.  We have also started implementation of Group pages, which will serve as the backbone of the Libi information architecture with much improved discoverability of Libraries’ groups including integration with the Staff Directory.

Shortly before start of the Fall semester we installed the final architecture improvements for the Hippo CMS server that have been underway since last Spring.  We are now running multiple Hippo website instances that are load balanced using a front-end proxy server. Early results under the increased workload of the start of semester show much greater performance and availability than in previous semesters.

Digital Collections

The basic Loris IIIF Image Server setup is complete in our development environment.  We have also started work on a front-end Newspaper Viewer based on the open source Mirador viewer for IIIF served images.  This work involves both development of new capabilities in Mirador and new backend Fedora 4 services.

User and System Support

It is the time of the year for User and System Support (USS) to re-image and update operating systems and applications on all our public area computers.  USS staff during this period of refresh also worked with campus Division of Information Technology to pilot System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (SCCM 2012) to manage the Libraries desktop computers. SCCM allows desktop administrators to build customized installations of software, operating system images, and configurations that can be repeated across multiple desktop systems.  This technology is new to us.

For previous refreshes we used Symantec Ghost which we scripted to do everything we needed the computer to do.  Imaging a machine using Symantec ghost was a two-step process and after two to three hours the computer was ready for the user.  The downtime using SCCM is approximately 45 minutes. Trying to replicate the same process as Symantec Ghost has been very challenging for USS staff because SCCM has a workflow that is very different and the process can be cumbersome.  Imaging over 400 desktops and 100 laptops with the new process was very demanding but also user friendly once we had the process configured. It is working in almost the way as Symantec Ghost.

During the operating system and application refresh, USS staff also upgraded the memory on over 400 desktop computers from 4GB to 12GB.  Upgrading the memory helped with the speed of massive applications such as SPSS, GIS, Adobe creative cloud software and others.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Josh Westgard traveled to Philadelphia for the meeting of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts Advisory Board, of which he is a member. The board provides guidance for a major redesign of the Schoenberg Database, which is one of the premiere digital resources for the study of medieval manuscripts and their provenance, especially those held in private collections.

Sandra, Victoria and Uche taught technology bootcamp session for two days for the Diversity immersion institutes. The class introduced the young men to technology and how technology is important to our everyday life.

Preston Tobery attended the STEM Bootcamp for Educators in Suffolk, Virginia. This was a crash course in 3D printing, CNC machining, laser cutting and 3D model design using Solidworks software all in one singular lesson plan for the classroom.