Announcing Avalon at UMD Libraries!

DST is pleased to announce the public release of the Libraries’ new streaming media repository system, now available at av.lib.umd.edu with content from its first collection.

This new media repository is powered by an application called Avalon Media System, which is an open-source application for the management of audio and video collections. Avalon was developed by Indiana University and Northwestern University with supporting grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Mellon Foundation. Avalon leverages an open digital library technology framework called Samvera and is built atop the same Fedora Commons repository the UMD Libraries already uses for our newer digital collections. Avalon is specifically designed to support access and curation of audiovisual content managed by libraries and cultural heritage institutions, and is a substantial improvement in terms of access, collection management, and reliability. 

Some of the key features of this new system include:

  • A responsive, modern interface that supports playback on mobile devices, closed captioning, and access controls for restricted content;
  • Intuitive discovery and search results filtering for end users;
  • Support for robust, standards-based metadata for description and annotation of time-based media;
  • Workflow management features, so multiple library teams can be involved in creating, describing, and managing audiovisual content–reducing bottlenecks and empowering more staff;
  • Batch ingest support for managing large digital collections, with automatic transcoding of media files for streaming at various bitrates.

The first collection to be loaded into the new repository is the NEH-funded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, which features over 1100 video recordings of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange performances, rehearsals, workshops, and interviews from the Dance Exchange records at Special Collections in Performing Arts. While only a portion of this collection is publicly available at the time of this writing, this system empowers SCPA personnel to manage the collection, make corrections to metadata, and release new content directly using the application’s in-browser editing and management interface, without needing to coordinate across multiple groups. Other new collections are in the works already, including digitized basketball films that are a part of the University of Maryland Athletics collection, and Westinghouse Broadcasting Company audio tapes.

DST personnel are also actively preparing and planning for the migration of our existing AV digital collections, including UMD football films, Films@UM, the Jim Henson Works, and other archival recordings made accessible through our legacy Fedora 2 repository. We will be working closely with stakeholders across collection areas as this work gets underway in the second half of 2021.

Our journey to this point over the last three years has required the dedication and support of many people across the Libraries, and I am truly grateful to the following contributors:

  • The Avalon Domain Leads: Joanne Archer, Ben Wallberg, Josh Westgard
  • The implementation team: Porter Olsen, Mohamed Abdul Rasheed, Cindy Zhao
  • Consulting Stakeholders and Testers: Liz Caringola, John Davis, Pam McClanahan, Robin Pike, Laura Schnitker, Jennifer Wachtel, Amy Wickner, Joanne Archer, Juana Godinez, Caroline Ackiewicz, Joana Stillwell, Alexis Woolford, and Christina Gibson.

We want to acknowledge the continued support of UMD Libraries leadership, including all the members of ALT and LMG who approved our adoption of Avalon, as well as several former UMD employees who were critical to this project: Carlos Alvarado, Babak Hamidzadeh, Vin Novara, Bria Parker, and Rebecca Wack. We also appreciate the early contributions of Steve Henry, whose first experimentation with Avalon in 2013 started the Libraries on this path and helped us get where we are today.

Stew of the Month, April 2021

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

Changes to DST Leadership

Dr. Babak Hamidzadeh, Associate Dean of Libraries, Digital Services and Technologies’ last day was May 7, 2021. Dr. Hamidzadeh provided outstanding administrative and technological leadership of one of the most critical divisions in the Libraries, a portfolio that includes all digital library programs, services, and infrastructure, including support of technology needs of users. Babak also served as Interim Dean of Libraries from 2015 through 2019.

Major accomplishments during Babak’s 10-year tenure with UMD included: starting the Research Data Services program; consolidating digitization budgets and activities across the Libraries, so that they get planned and performed in a coordinated manner and according to guidelines and standards; developing a framework and structure for coordinating the work of DST on digital collections with other divisions in the Libraries; consolidating equipment procurement budget and process across the Libraries, to avoid redundancy and to save costs, as well as to manage the equipment lifecycle more effectively; and developing a digital preservation framework and requirements, and the instruments to implement them. 

Babak will be missed and we thank him for his dedication and service to the UMD Libraries and the campus community.  

David Dahl has assumed the position of Interim Associate Dean of Libraries, Digital Services and Technologies. David comes to this interim position with 12 years of extensive library systems and technology experience, including six years of successful management, budgetary, procurement, and supervisory experience as the Director of Consortial Library Applications Support for USMAI, and three years as the Information Technology Librarian at Towson University. David earned dual master’s degrees in Library Science and Information Science, and a Bachelor of Science degree in music composition and comparative literature, all from Indiana University. He holds the faculty rank of Librarian III with permanent status in the UMD Libraries and has a strong record of professional and service accomplishments at the national, regional, and state levels.  

As a library leader, David has gained a reputation for being highly strategic and collaborative, and is well respected as a colleague with strong communication and interpersonal skills. David will hold the Interim Associate Dean position until we appoint a permanent Associate Dean to replace Babak Hamidzadeh.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Work is under way with Phase 5 of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP). We have transferred materials from another content partner, Enoch Pratt Free Library, and have received the duplicate microfilm back from our vendor for the film on loan from the Maryland State Archives. Our student assistants have begun metadata collation for three titles including Jednosc Polonia (a Polish language paper published in Baltimore), Hagerstown Globe a local paper from western Maryland, and Cumberland Freire Presse (a German language paper out of western Maryland). 

On social media, HMNP participated in the monthly #ChronAmParty with our state newspaper programs for #NationalPoetryMonth and found past articles on cicadas as the Mid-Atlantic region prepares for the return of the 17 year Brood X. This month’s blog post by student assistant, Bryanna Bauer, featured cicadas in Chronicling America as well: Brood X Cicadas are on their Way: Find them in the Newspapers.

Digitization Activities

Digitization Assistants Caroline Ackiewicz, Joana Stillwell, and Alexis Woolford continued to work on digitizing and processing the Baker’s Journal newspaper project for SCUA and the MacKaye fanzine project for SCPA. Caroline and Alexis continued to provide requests for existing files to patrons while teleworking. April saw an increase in request for high-resolution files for publication as researchers restart their work.

Robin Pike and Amber Kohl (SCUA) with Dun-Yee Wong (LHR) began the search for the Digitization Services Coordinator, who will lead the Hornbake Digitization Center. In May, Robin will reach out to stakeholders to participate in the half-day interviews.

Robin continued to work with USS in troubleshooting digitization equipment in the space, ordering and setting up new computers, and calibrating the scanners and audio equipment. She hopes to have all existing digitization stations back online in the coming months before the Digitization Services Coordinator begins work.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Avalon Progress Update

DPI is pleased to announce that we’ve cleared a major milestone in our Avalon Media Repository roll-out, and we are officially “in production” with the Avalon system. This is largely a technical designation, but an important one–it means that we now expect the application to be available and fully functional at all times, and that Libraries personnel can interact in the system.

We are still working on several improvements ahead of more widespread announcements, including:

  • Handle service implementation
  • Consistent theming and branding with UMD Digital Collections
  • Finalizing the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange digital collection

DPI has ingested over 800GBs and 1100+ videos from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange collection into Avalon, a process that took nearly two consecutive weeks of transcoding and processing.

Software Development

Releases

Migrated Special Features to Digital CollectionsMoved the following specials features from the Libraries’ Website to the Digital Collections website: 1) Gateway to Digitized Maryland Newspapers, 2) Maryland Map Collection, 3) Plant Patents Image Database, 4) Prange Posters & Wall Newspapers, and 5) UMD Student Newspapers. This supports the migration of the Libraries’ Website to Drupal.

Under Development

Website Redesign Project Began analysis of content migration techniques from Hippo to Drupal in support of the redesign project.

Avalon – Setup the production and began batch load of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange content; continue UMD Libraries branding/theming.

Handle Service – Began work on a new Handle Service for administering and resolving persistent URLs using the Handle System. This new application will replace the one currently used for Fedora 2 and ArchivesSpace, and will additionally support Avalon and Fedora.

Exhibitions Website – Continued working on a new exhibitions.lib.umd.edu website to house the SCPA and SCUA online exhibitions. This supports the migration of the Libraries’ Website to Drupal.

Bento Search Updates – Investigated using Google Programmable Search API to restore the Libraries’ Website search target. OUI has approved moving forward on this update along with additional improvements to the Bento Search.

Kubernetes – Continued work on migrating the Fedora and Plastron applications to the Kubernetes cluster. This migration also includes major architecture and bug fixes to improve the reliability and performance of Fedora and prepares the way for resumption of batch loads, beginning with the Diamondback Sports Photos. We also spent some time tuning and expanding the cluster to accommodate the growing number of applications in the cluster, including the upcoming Fedora and Avalon deployments.

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

The CLAS team responded to 49 Aleph Rx submissions and 9 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in April.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests. Please use our regular support channels if you need any assistance.

EAST

CLAS’ work on loading EAST commitments has been completed. Commitments have been registered in both Aleph and WorldCat. More information about the participation of many USMAI libraries in EAST is available in the USMAI Member Portal.

New Ticketing System

Work on the new USMAI Support Service Desk continued in April with the planned configuration, nearing completion. In parallel, complex work to migrate the USMAI Member Portal (which integrates with the Service Desk) into the Libraries’ Kubernetes infrastructure is underway.

CLAS team members continue to learn the Jira Service Management system in preparation for a planned go-live in late June / early July.

Next, we’ll be doing some user testing of the new ticketing system. We’ll be in touch with some of the “power users” of our current ticketing systems and look forward to getting their input!

ILS Migration Project

In April, the migration project entered the Procurement sub-phase that will see USMAI through the evaluation and selection of the consortium’s next ILS. CLAS team members participated in meetings of the Core Project Team as the consortium transitions from “planning” to “doing”.

Conferences

Pam McClanahan along with student assistants, Bryanna Bauer and Sarah McKenna, and Joyce Phelps of the Maryland State Archives (MSA) presented a poster (Collaborative Social Media Campaign to Celebrate Centennial of 19th Amendment in Maryland) at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference’s (MARAC) virtual conference on the joint social media campaign led by HMNP and MSA for cultural heritage institutions throughout the state to celebrate the centennial of the 19th amendment.

Robin Pike and Pam McClanahan presented a session on UMD’s Liz Lerman Dance Exchange video digitization project at the Association of Moving Image Archivist’s (AMIA) virtual conference on April 15: Overcoming Challenges in Scaling Up Digitization Projects During the Pandemic.

Staffing

Data Services Librarian Dave Durden is leaving UMD Libraries for a position as Digital Collections Specialist at the Library of Congress. His last day with the Libraries will be June 4th. Dave will of course be missed by many of us, and we wish him the best as he advances to the next stage of his career. Dave has worn a number of hats at UMD and in the Libraries during his nearly six years here – first as a graduate assistant in Digital Programs and Initiatives, as well as a student worker in the Hornbake Digitization Center, and a Digital Curation Intern with MITH. He started in his current role as Data Services Librarian in 2017, and in that time he has led and contributed to many important projects for the Libraries and the UMD campus–far too many to name here.

Thanks for everything, Dave, and best of luck in the next adventure!

Stew of the Month, February/March 2021

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

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Pam McClanahan and assistants Bryanna Bauer, Sarah McKenna, and Alexis Woolford continued to make progress on finalizing Phase 4 batches for delivery to the Library of Congress. Sarah also prepared the microfilm from Phase 4 for delivery to the Library of Congress. We also received microfilm for Phase 5 from the Maryland State Archives, which includes German and Polish titles as well as military titles and other titles in English; these reels were sent to the duplication vendor.

Alexis also wrote a feature blog post on how to search for Black History in Chronicling America for Black History Month on the SCUA blog in February and Sarah wrote a featured post for Women’s History Month.

Digitization Activities

Digitization Assistant Joana Stillwell has made significant progress in independent digitization in the Hornbake Digitization Center. She has completed patron requests and is splitting her time on the Baker’s Journal and MacKaye fanzines digitization. Digitization Assistants Caroline Ackiewicz and Alexis Woolford continue to perform QC and post-processing on MacKaye, QC on Baker’s Journal, and have completed numerous requests for existing files from UMD and external patrons over the past two months.

Robin continues to work with USS on refreshing the audio digitization and camera copystand workstation computers, which she expects will be back online in the coming months once she is finished testing and calibrating the equipment. Sandra, Lola, Victoria, and Uche have been invaluable with getting the workstations back online after OS upgrades in December took the computers out of commission, and the new computers were not immediately compatible with other pieces of hardware and software in the digitization chain!

Assistant Cecilia Franck completed the Greenbelt Archive Project digitization in coordination with their project lead to conclude the project in April. This community project has added over 4,300 newspaper issues to the Internet Archive.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Drive to DX Initiative Update

The Drive to DX (Digital Transformation) is a multi-year strategic initiative that aims to extend the Libraries capacity to responsibly manage large volumes of digital content. Over the past decade, the Libraries collection of digital assets has seen dramatic growth. With the current size of our collection and the volume of new digital content we create or accession every year, our previous workflows of exchanging files on hard drives, tracking them in spreadsheets, and communicating about them in tickets are no longer efficient or even manageable. Before the pandemic, DST staff from various departments collaborated with partners in the Division of IT on a migration project to move our entire collection of digital assets from tape backups into the Amazon Web Services cloud. In the process, we were able to deaccession about 7 million duplicate copies and unneeded files, leaving us with assets under management weighing in at 3.35 million files and 240 trillion bytes (~240TB). To date, we have successfully accounted for and migrated 99.97% of our assets, and Drive to Dx is now into the “long tail” phase of this migration, sorting out the last ca. 1,000 missing or corrupted files from our tape backups. At the same time, we are moving to the next phase of our effort, which will include developing a digital asset management tracking database, and creating robust and reliable workflows for depositing large volumes of content into both AWS and Academic Preservation Trust, a consortium of universities collaborating on the practice of digital preservation. As the project continues to move forward we anticipate it will expand into collaboration with other divisions and units in the Libraries and across campus to extend the Libraries’ digital preservation services and consulting, offer training to staff on digital preservation best practices, and to enlist the expertise and input of other Libraries’ personnel on the direction of our digital preservation endeavors for the next decade.

Data Services

REDCap was successfully migrated to Kubernetes in early February. Additional security improvements were implemented in late February.

Avalon Progress Update

UMD Libraries’ new media repository system is fast approaching its official launch date in May. DPI is heavily engaged in application testing, user training, collection ingest planning, and continued interface refinement in preparation for this important milestone.

The first collection scheduled for ingest into Avalon is the NEH-funded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange collection, which will consist of more than 1100 digitized archival videos from the Special Collections in Performing Arts. Josh Westgard successfully completed a 10% test ingest of this content to our internal quality assurance server in March and April, and DPI continues to coordinate with collection stakeholders and software developers to plan this significant collection ingest. Content from the Westinghouse Broadcasting Audio Tapes collection from Special Collections & University Archives has also been successfully tested in Avalon’s QA instance, and collection ingest will proceed once the project is transitioned to DPI.

Porter Olsen has led acceptance testing and documentation efforts for this initiative, and hosted a training session for work groups that will need to manage and create items in Avalon. Couldn’t make it? Email DPI for access to the recording!

Software Development

Releases

WHCA Pool Reports Collection – Launched the new Drupal 8 demonstration website into production.

Kubernetes – Migrated the REDCap application to the Kubernetes cluster:

Under Development

Avalon – Implementated campus Single Sign On using CAS/SAML with Grouper integration for authorization management, UMD Libraries branding/theming, and setup the quality assurance site for stakeholder testing.

Handle Service – Began work on a new Handle Service for administering and resolving persistent URLs using the Handle System. This new application will replace the one currently used for Fedora 2 and ArchivesSpace, and will additionally support Avalon and Fedora.

Exhibitions Website – Continued working on a new exhibitions.lib.umd.edu website to house the SCPA and SCUA online exhibitions. This supports the migration of the Libraries’ Website to Drupal.

Migrate Special Features to Digital Collections – Move the following specials features from the Libraries’ Website to the Digital Collections website: 1) Gateway to Digitized Maryland Newspapers, 2) Maryland Map Collection, 3) Plant Patents Image Database, 4) Prange Posters & Wall Newspapers, and 5) UMD Student Newspapers. This supports the migration of the Libraries’ Website to Drupal.

1856 Project on Slavery Website – Setup the initial Drupal 8 website for content creators to begin filling out their content.

Kubernetes – Continued work on migrating the Fedora and Plastron applications to the Kubernetes cluster. This migration also includes major architecture and bug fixes to improve the reliability and performance of Fedora and prepares the way for resumption of batch loads, beginning with the Diamondback Sports Photos. We also spent some time tuning and expanding the cluster to accommodate the growing number of applications in the cluster, including the upcoming Fedora and Avalon deployments.

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

The CLAS team responded to 134 Aleph Rx submissions and 44 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in February and March.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests. Please use our regular support channels if you need any assistance.

EAST

Participating USMAI libraries are approaching the final stages of officially becoming a part of EAST. Of course, the final stages are also where a lot of the technical work of loading retention commitment statements into Aleph and registering commitments in WorldCat. Linda has begun, and will continue in April, to coordinate with participating libraries and work diligently to reflect this partnership in our online systems. These types of projects also have a way of surfacing data issues; this project is no different, and these are being addressed along the way.

New Ticketing System

It’s official! We will be migrating systems used to submit service requests (e.g., Aleph Rx, Wufoo forms, etc.) to Jira Service Management (JSM) as the application behind our new USMAI Support Service Desk.
Here are some benefits you can look forward to:

  • A one-stop shop for all of your requests
  • A single login that works for both the USMAI Member Portal and the Service Desk
  • The ability to submit new requests, and respond to existing requests, via email

CLAS team members have been working on learning the new application and configuring it for use by staff at USMAI libraries. We are targeting a late June / early July production implementation

ILS Migration Project

As other CLAS projects wind down, the work to migrate USMAI to a new (to be determined) ILS is picking up. Team members have begun participating in select project meetings, and are preparing for early project activities like eliciting requirements and cleaning up data in Aleph.

User Systems and Support

Since the beginning of September, USS has staffed the Welcome Desk on the first floor of McKeldin. We hired four new student workers last year. A few of those students will be graduating in May. Over the course of eight months, our students recommended procedures and ideas to ensure the Welcome Desk ran efficiently. For example, typically a person would make the closing announcement at the end of the day over the intercom. They suggested we purchase a recorder and record the announcement to play over the intercom. One of the benefits of this idea is that a pre-recorded announcement eliminated any missed information and everything is heard clearly throughout the Library.

We aimed to have a seamless and efficient way of serving our patrons during the pandemic while also ensuring we are protecting ourselves and the patrons. For example, simply placing a red bolded sticker on the glass divider that stated “Please show your UID card” eliminated our students and staff from having to repeat themselves several times. Displaying the gate counter on a TV on the first floor allowed us to see how many patrons were on the first floor. If we have a maximum of twenty patrons in the Library, an incoming patron could see that we’re at capacity and see the evidence of why they could not be allowed to use our services until we were no longer at capacity.

We’ve seen an influx of patrons making appointments to use our space in McKeldin to perform their work. So much so, we had to set up a third BookEye scanner on the first floor. From January of this year until the end of March, we checked in 677 patrons at the Welcome Desk. The number of walk-in visitors who had no prior appointment increased as well. From January of this year until March, we checked 71 patrons and guided them to make appointments at the desk.

We anticipate by the end of this semester we will have well over 1000 patrons checked in at the Welcome Desk.

Conferences

Dave Durden attended NISO Plus 2021 in late-February. He also volunteered to mentor a student team in the annual UMD Data Challenge competition. 

Stew of the Month, December 2020, January 2021

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

As Phase 4 wraps up for the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP), we’re moving ahead on Phase 5. Co-Directors, Doug and Robin, and Project Manager, Pam, reviewed discussion notes and survey results from the HMNP Selection Advisory Board and made the final Phase 5 title list. We’ll begin picking up these titles from our content partners throughout the state to start the digitization process for Phase 5.

Outreach for the project and Maryland newspaper content continued through the National Digital Newspaper Program’s monthly #ChronAmParty: December was #TimelessToys and January was #NationalHobbyMonth. Pam was a guest speaker in the UMD iSchool’s “Arrangement, Description, and Access for Archives” course in December sharing about digitization of archival materials and the newspaper project being an example of a large-scale digitization project.

Check out issues from 1877 to 1900 of our most recent title added to Chronicling America – The Republican of Oakland, MD. More issues will be coming soon! Also, see the latest HMNP blog posts by our student assistants on the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives blog: “Holiday Festivities in the Newspapers” and “Searching Digitized Newspapers in Chronicling America.” And don’t forget to follow us on all our social media channels – @HistoricMDNews!

Other Digitization Activities

Robin spent the majority of December and January preparing for and training new assistants on elements of digitization production so DCMR can continue to provide services to the Libraries.

Juana Godinez continued her work on the disc transfer project for Library Media Services collections. She also provided assistance in researching a/v captioning and transcription projects, which Robin will use in later research projects in the spring semester.

Assistant Jane Sonneman continued to make progress digitizing items selected for the SCUA Voting Rights Act (VRA) exhibit in December. Robin uploaded the volumes that were completed to the Internet Archive so that SCUA can link to the full volumes for their online exhibit; the remaining volumes will be uploaded in February. Jane also fulfilled new digitization requests for SCPA. Jane left the digitization center for a field study opportunity.

Assistant Alexis Woolford continued to fulfill requests for existing files for remote patrons and to perform quality control checks on the work performed by Jane. Alexis continued working in January on post-production and QC projects, primarily on the Ian MacKaye fanzine project for SCPA.

Assistant Caroline Ackiewicz continued her field study work, auditing past files on our production server and flagging folders for ingest/archive prep or deletion (if they were already ingested/archived or were intended to be temporary files not for ingest). She has continued working in DCMR past her field study for the spring semester. She is working remotely, primarily on post-production and QC projects for the VRA exhibit and the MacKaye fanzine projects.

Assistant Joana Stillwell began working for DCMR in January. She has been trained on production and QC of still image formats and will be working in the Hornbake Digitization Center 10 hours/week in the springe semester working on new production for projects and requests. She has completed work on the VRA exhibit, the MacKaye fanzine project, and has started work on the Baker’s Journal newspaper project.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Digital Preservation

In December/January, Josh Westgard continued to focus on revamping Libraries’ digital preservation procedures, including beginning to process the assets that accumulated over the course of last year’s mass data migration to AWS.  There are currently 47 hard drives of content in the queues for deposit to APTrust and AWS, and new workflows are being devised to manage the processing and transfer of such a large amount of data in the context of remote work. This work is happening under the umbrella of the Libraries’ strategic initiative, “Drive to DX” (i.e. Digital Transformation), an outline of which was presented to LMG in January.

Data Services

Dave finalized a draft roadmap for building a shared data services model as part of the Libraries strategic planning. This document highlights how data services expertise is distributed throughout the Libraries and presents a vision for how these services can reinforce one another.

With Jodi Coalter and Leigh Dunewood, Dave has been developing a new workshop for equity in data management and research design. These forthcoming workshops will be delivered to selected GEMSTONE honors teams. The first workshop in the series is scheduled for early March.

Avalon Progress Update

The Avalon implementation team continues progress towards a planned production release of the new AV media repository this spring. Testing workflows and upload procedures for new content is underway in the internal test environment, and DPI anticipates beginning test ingest of select files from the Lerman Dance Archive project in the coming weeks. 

Software Development

Releases

Libraries’ Website – Released the new Search All feature offering a Bento style of search.

Kubernetes – Migrated these applications to the Kubernetes cluster:

  • Libi Staff Blog
  • Hippo Websites and CMS
  • MD-SOAR
  • Workstation Tracking
  • Autonumber
  • Student Applications

Under Development

WHCA Pool Reports Collection – Preparing the content and interface updates for a production launch of the website.

Avalon – Upgraded to version 7.2.0 and configured the dropbox and batch upload features.

Exhibits Website – Working on a new exhibits.lib.umd.edu website to house the SCPA and SCUA online exhibits. This supports the migration of the Libraries’ Website to Drupal.

Kubernetes – Continued work on migrating applications to the Kubernetes cluster: Fedora w/ Plastron and REDCap.

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

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium
The CLAS team responded to 152 Aleph Rx submissions and 28 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in December and January.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests. Please use our regular support channels if you need any assistance.

Application Upgrades

CLAS completed a number of upgrades in December and January to keep USMAI applications running on supported software versions:

  • Aleph v23: Completed on Sunday, January 31st. While there are not any major changes to functionality, the upgrade puts the consortium in good position for sustained use of Aleph, minimizing the need for disruptive maintenance during the ILS migration project.
  • USMAI Member Portal: The Portal was upgraded to Confluence v7 on Wednesday, January 27th. There are no major changes in functionality in this version.
  • EZproxy v7.0.16: Completed on Thursday, December 16th. The upgrade positions us for a future upgrade this Spring to v7.1. After August 2021 previous versions of EZproxy will no longer be supported by OCLC.

Upcoming Work

Here are a couple of items to look forward to hearing more about in the coming months:

  • Data Warehouse additions: Work is nearing completion to add more acquisition attributes to our “Collections (Current)” reporting topic.
  • New Ticketing System: Internal planning and investigation continue on this initiative to consolidate and improve the system for making service requests. Once procurement has completed, expect to hear more about this.

Conferences

Robin taught the online workshop “Project Management Fundamentals for GLAM Institutions” for Lyrasis on January 28, 2021. Lyrasis will offer the workshop again later in the summer.

Stew of the Month, November 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Library of Congress has accepted another batch for the newspaper project and quality review continues on the few remaining batches for HMNP Phase 4. Title selection is being finalized for Phase 5 with the HMNP Advisory Board. November’s National Digital Newspaper Program #ChronAmParty shared puzzles, games, and coloring pages from the historic newspapers on Twitter for #NovemberDistractions. Here’s a puzzle example from HMNP!

Pam gave an HMNP update during the lightning talk session at the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative virtual meeting co-hosted by UMD Libraries and Columbia Maryland Archives on November 9. Additionally, she shared about searching in Chronicling America and using newspapers as primary sources in historical research with future social studies teachers in HMNP Advisory Board Member and UMD College of Education Professor Lisa Eaker’s course on November 12.

See this month’s HMNP post on UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives blog: “It’s the Holiday Season: Shopping and Advertisements in Historic Maryland Newspapers” written by Sarah McKenna, HMNP Student Assistant. Follow us on Instagram (@HistoricMDNews) to see more HMNP newspaper content!

The Library of Congress shared access statistics for July 2019-June 2020 for Maryland newspapers and users from Maryland. The statistics mirrored overall Chronicling America statistics, which saw a notable increase in February/March which remained high until May/June. Maryland newspapers saw a huge spike in March of 212,480 pages used (which then went down to ~70K pages used in April).

Robin and Pam also worked with Jane Zhu in the Business Office to get the vendor contracts finalized for Phase 5 microfilm duplication and digitization.

Other Digitization Activities

Assistant Jane Sonneman continued to make progress digitizing items selected for the SCUA Voting Rights Act exhibit. She also fulfilled new digitization requests for SCPA. Assistant Alexis Woolford continued to fulfill requests for existing files for remote patrons and to perform quality control checks on the work performed by Jane.

Assistant Caroline Ackiewicz continued her field study work, auditing past files on our production server and flagging folders for ingest/archive prep or deletion (if they were already ingested/archived or were intended to be temporary files not for ingest). She will be continuing in DCMR past her field study next semester.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Data Services

Revisions to the Collection Policy for Research Data were approved by CDC/CSAC last week. The policy is now available on Libi as well as the Libraries website (https://www.lib.umd.edu/data/preservation/collection-policy).

David Durden and Milan Budhathoki presented on GIS and Data Services to University Libraries Council. David’s presentation included updates regarding current services and forthcoming work on the Shared Data Services strategic initiative.

Software Development

Under Development

Kubernetes – Continued work on migrating applications to the Kubernetes cluster: Libi Staff Blog, Hippo Websites and CMS, Fedora w/ Plastron, REDCap, MD-SOAR, and miscellaneous PostgreSQL databases.

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

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium
The CLAS team responded to 56 Aleph Rx submissions and 15 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in November.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests. Please use our regular support channels if you need any assistance.

Aleph v23 Upgrade

Progress on the upgrade to Aleph v23 continues. The upgrade of our Aleph TEST environment is scheduled for the first week of December and a new TEST client for v23 is now available for USMAI library staff to download and install. Once the TEST upgrade is completed, we’ll be asking staff at all USMAI libraries to do some testing. Your efforts during this stage will help ensure a smooth transition to the new version of Aleph! Please visit the Portal’s v23 project page for the latest information and updates.

New Ticketing System Exploration

CLAS team members completed a speedy and rigorous assessment of an identified product to consolidate the multiple avenues for submitting service requests. The product (which will remain nameless until procurement is completed) meets the critical requirements and offers several beneficial features for staff at USMAI libraries, including integration and a single user account between the Member Portal and ticketing system. While we await the procurement process, CLAS team members are in the early stages of planning the implementation.

Shibboleth Upgrade

The Shibboleth Identify Provider software that enables logins to the OPAC and e-resources for campuses that use barcode logins was upgraded to version 4. Thanks to careful planning by Tiffany and Hans, the upgrade was executed with no noticeable disruption to USMAI library services. With version 3 reaching end of life at the end of December, this upgrade fulfilled our commitment to remain on supported versions of all software that we run – a commitment that certainly keeps us busy!

Conferences

Robin Pike attended the virtual Digital Library Federation (DLF)/Digital Preservation conference from November 9-13. As outgoing Chair of the DLF Project Managers Working Group, she led a discussion session of the working group the next week on November 17.

Stew of the Month, October 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Doug, Robin, and Pam hosted a virtual meeting of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) Selection Advisory Board and other stakeholders for the Phase 5 grant this month. Pam presented an update on the project, and Robin shared the latest on Chronicling America from last month’s NDNP conference. Three of our board members, Maria Day of Maryland State Archives, Mary Mannix of Frederick County Public Library, and Ian Post from the Nabb Center at Salisbury University, gave examples of community building and Chronicling America case studies. Finally, Doug led our discussion on title selection for Phase 5. We’ll follow up with a survey for board members to rank titles, and then narrow down to our 100,000 pages. Production will start early next year for Phase 5 while Phase 4 continues with batch review and is slated to be completed by the end of the year.

Check out this month’s HMNP post on UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives blog, “Spooky Celebrations.” HMNP Student Assistant, Bryanna Bauer, wrote the October blog post about Halloween celebrations in Maryland state over the years as described in the historic newspapers. You can see more newspaper content on HMNPS’s Twitter account: @HistoricMDNews.

Other Digitization Activities

Juana Godinez continued to transfer videos digitized as part of previous years’ course reserves, which will be added to Films@UM next year. She has re-discovered several that relate to current social justice initiatives that will be more discoverable once they are added to Digital Collections.

Assistant Jane Sonneman continued to digitize materials for the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) Voting Rights Act exhibit, which will be made available in January. She has been focusing on pamphlets and a few books this month, which after digitization, will also be uploaded to the Internet Archive.

Assistant Caroline Ackiewicz has continued to audit the in-house produced files, to clean up files previously ingested and those to be ingested into the new Digital Collections; she is identifying which files or projects need additional metadata or access information for the future ingest.

Due to file access during the pandemic closure, DCMR put a hold on providing preservation-level files to patrons. In October, DCMR has now reopened this ability, at least for files ingested into Digital Collections (since they have been archived), since we now have the capacity to retrieve files from AWS storage. Assistant Alexis Woolford has been busy providing many more requests for existing files as SCUA has opened services to more researchers. She completed 18 requests in October, including one for a preservation file, in addition to 60 requests in September (and 12 in August), with more in the pipeline. She has also been performing QC on the first portion of files returned for the Project Ceres grant project, which is digitizing historic agriculture publications published in Maryland.

Robin has also been working with Joanne Archer (SCUA) on vendor quotes and providing digitization language for a CLIR grant application to describe and digitize AFL-CIO Social Justice Department records.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Users in DRUM

138 new users registered for DRUM between September 1 and October 31.

Software Development

Releases

UMD PACT Website – Drupal 8 website released in production at https://pact.umd.edu/, providing an informational website for the cross-campus working subgroup of the Senate-based University Library Council (ULC) called “UMD PACT” (Publishing, Access, and Contract Terms).

Kubernetes – Migrated these applications to the Kubernetes cluster:

  • Caia Integration – Integration middleware which sends items and item requests from Aleph to Caia.
  • ArchivesSpace – Archival Collections public, staff, and API interfaces.

REDCap – Upgraded to version 9.5.35 Long Term Support

Libraries’ Website – Updated the SCPA Scores Collection with new data and some improved interface elements.

Under Development

Kubernetes – Continued work on migrating applications to the Kubernetes cluster: Libi Staff Blog, Hippo Websites and CMS, Fedora w/ Plastron, REDCap, MD-SOAR, and miscellaneous PostgreSQL databases.

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

The CLAS team responded to 56 Aleph Rx submissions and 22 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests. Please use our regular support channels if you need any assistance.

Restarting Resource Sharing (a.k.a. Status 3)

The second cohort of libraries began participating in USMAI resource sharing in October. Almost all USMAI libraries are now lending and borrowing materials. The current status for each library, along with whether pickup is available only for local patrons or for all USMAI patrons, is available on the Operational and Service Status of USMAI Libraries.

Aleph v23 Upgrade

As previously shared in a blog post on the Member Portal, efforts have begun to upgrade Aleph to version 23. USMAI is currently running version 22. The upgrade will ensure long-term compatibility with external system dependencies during ILS migration activities. The new Aleph version is not expected to introduce new features that will impact local workflows, but it will require review by USMAI library staff before the production upgrade. Currently, CLAS team members have been setting up and reviewing our internal testing environment. Timelines and other important details will be provided on the Aleph v23 Upgrade page in the Portal as the project progresses.

New Ticketing System Exploration

CLAS team members have begun reviewing a ticketing system to consolidate the multiple avenues for submitting service requests to CLAS. High priority requirements have been developed and are being evaluated for the identified solution. If the identified product is determined to be a viable replacement, an implementation plan will be developed to transition current requesting methods into the new system, keeping in mind that the nature of some service requests may change as part of the migration to a new ILS. Stay tuned!

User and System Support

Cisco Jabber

With the unexpected timing of the pandemic, many University of Maryland College Park departments and units needed to rally to accommodate staff requests and smooth transition to teleworking. Over the course of the past eight months, USS has researched many applications and software to ease the transition to teleworking. Cisco Jabber, is one such application for Windows and Macs, which allows you to make and receive calls remotely as if you are on campus. Cisco Jabber functions as a virtual phone whether you are connected to the public Internet or to the University of Maryland through a virtual private network (VPN). Cisco Jabber is also available on iOS and Android devices.  The application gives you the ability to make and receive calls as though you are on campus and the number that will be displayed to the caller will be your campus phone number.  It will also allow you to check voicemail from the application.

If you’re interested in using Cisco Jabber, please complete this form and an USS technician will reach out to you. 

MacOS and Windows OS Upgrade

Beginning Monday, January 11, 2021, DIT informed that users with Windows 7 & 8 or macOS running a version below 10.13 will no longer be able to access systems that use CAS authentication. Major university systems that use CAS include UMD Google email, PHR, ELMS, Testudo, Box, and library services.

Microsoft support ended for Windows 7 in January 2020 and for Windows 8 in January 2016. With these operating systems no longer receiving security updates, running them poses computer security risks. Accessing UMD systems via obsolete operating systems in turn increases the risk to data stored on the university systems. 

USS updated most of the work issued PC desktops and laptops to Windows 10. However, there are few work-issued Mac desktops and laptops that needed to be upgraded to the latest version of macOS 10.15.7. USS compiled a list of the users of those remaining systems and sent an email instructing them to upgrade their work-issued computers by Tuesday, December 1st, 2020. 

Stew of the Month, September 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Newspaper batch review continues for the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP). We have received two more batches from our vendor and our student assistants are performing quality control on those digital files. Both batches are for the Montgomery County Sentinel title, published in Rockville, MD from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. HMNP has started a monthly guest blog post series on UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives blog. Pam McClanahan reported the exciting milestone that Chronicling America has reached 17 million newspaper pages this month in the first blog post in the series. Sharing newspaper content continues on our social media platforms @HistoricMDNews.

Earlier this month, our team attended the virtual National Digital Newspaper Program conference hosted by National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress held annually for all of the participating state newspaper programs to come together to hear updates, share progress, and learn about advances working with digital newspapers. HMNP Co-Director, Robin Pike, and Project Manager, Pam McClanahan, gave a lightning talk titled “Respecting Diverse Communities while Trying to Balance Representation in Chronicling America.” The talk shared the team’s experience working to make the content of under-represented groups a priority while respecting the wishes of these communities and beginning discussions on how to best support local newspapers who are struggling even more now due to the current economic climate during the pandemic.

Other Digitization Activities

The University of Maryland was awarded a Project Ceres grant last year “to support the ongoing preservation and digitization of collections in the field of agriculture.” Project Ceres is a partnership between the Center for Research Libraries, United States Agriculture Information Network, and the Agriculture Network Information Collaborative. Working with Stephanie Ritchie, Agricultural and Natural Resources Librarian, in UMD’s STEM Library, we’re digitizing approximately 40,000 pages of agricultural publications from UMD’s collections primarily on microfilm, but some print as well, which will be uploaded to the Internet Archive and made accessible through the Center for Research Library’s online catalog. Our vendor has completed digitization of the print materials and digitization student assistant, Alexis Woolford, is currently completing quality review of the digital files. Digitization Assistant Jane Sonneman continued working to digitize materials selected for the SCUA Voting Rights Act exhibit; Alexis is performing quality review of these materials, as well. Robin worked with Bryan Draper and Sarah Hesler to conclude review of the FY20 Hebraica digitization project, which was delayed due to digitization delays from Covid closures. Juana Godinez continued to transfer additional films digitized previously for course reserves. She compiled a list of films around topics of social justice and civil rights to share with the IDEA Committee.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

DPI is currently engaged in planning activities in support of several strategic projects, including the Drive to DX initiative, the Avalon media repository roll-out, and Distributed Data Services. As these plans become more formalized and Libraries leadership provides further direction and guidance, we will begin reaching out to stakeholders across the Libraries for feedback, contributions, and further refinement.

Software Development

Releases

Kubernetes – Completed the initial deployment of our Kubernetes cluster as the container orchestration system for our Docker-based applications.  We also promoted these applications through to production in the Kubernetes cluster:

DRUM – Updated our DSpace templates for improved Web Accessibility and Search Engine Optimization.

Under Development

Kubernetes – Continued work on migrating applications to the Kubernetes cluster: Caia Integration, Libi Staff Blog, UMD PACT, ArchivesSpace, Hippo CMS, Fedora w/ Plastron, REDCap, and MD-SOAR.

UMD PACT Website – Completed the switch to SAML for authentication and Grouper for access control. Production release of the PACT website is pending completion of the website content.

Avalon – Setup initial deployment of the Avalon Media System in our test server environment.

Plant Patents Image Database – Migrated the PDF content hosting from the Libraries’ website server into Fedora.

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

The CLAS team responded to 138 Aleph Rx submissions and 22 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests. Please use our regular support channels if you need any assistance.

Restarting Resource Sharing (a.k.a. Status 3)

On September 28th, six USMAI libraries restarted their participation in consortial resource sharing. In addition to a fair amount of configuration work, putting this together also required doing some customizations to allow libraries to restrict their locations for pickup by local patrons only. This was a key condition for many libraries to be able to begin sharing resources; many thanks go to Hans for devising a solution to make this happen in Aleph! Setup for the next cohort of libraries will begin in early October.

“No Fines” Policy Implementation

In consultation with USMAI’s Subgroup for Access Services, CLAS updated Aleph tables to zero out overdue and recall fines for all USMAI libraries. Additionally, we have advanced the due dates on currently checked out items as specified by each library. These efforts are part of the implementation of CLD’s decision to waive fines for the remainder of the calendar year.

EAST

As part of the recent decision by 13 USMAI libraries to join the Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) retention program, extracts of eligible items were sent to EAST on September 28th. They will be analyzed in order to determine which items will have retention commitments applied. Linda worked with contacts at the thirteen libraries to create specifications for the extracts, as well as providing reports to help work through individual and group-wide decisions that needed to be made.

Quarter 4 Work Plan

September brings with it the end of the third quarter of the calendar year and planning for the fourth quarter. Here are some of the items we’re preparing to tackle in the final quarter of 2020:

  • Aleph v23 upgrade: This will be a “technical upgrade” to ensure support for underlying technologies (and the Aleph software) throughout the ILS migration project.
  • Shibboleth IdP upgrade: This will be upgraded to v4 since v3’s support ends soon.
  • EZproxy upgrade: This will be upgraded to v7 to ensure compatibility with licensed resources.
  • Continuous improvement
    • OPAC: We’ll continue to address identified accessibility issues.
    • Member Portal: The Confluence software will be maintained, and we’ll pursue identified opportunities as capacity allows.
    • Data Warehouse: The Jaspersoft software will be maintained, and we’ll add new data as capacity allows.
  • New ticketing system exploration: As identified in LMS feedback sessions, we’ll investigate ticketing system options and work towards implementation/consolidation as the ILS migration timeline allows.

Stew of the Month, August 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) continues with quality review of newspaper batches as we receive them from our vendor. An additional two batches have been submitted to the Library of Congress for approval. Also, you can now access all of our digitized issues of the Telegraf (a Czech language title published in Baltimore in the early 20th century) through Chronicling America.

Along with the Maryland State Archives, HMNP hosted a social media campaign to celebrate women’s suffrage in Maryland as this month marked the centennial of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. We advertised the campaign to other libraries, archives, and museums and several cultural heritage institutions from throughout the state participated in the week-long campaign by tagging their posts with #MDSuffrage and #MarylandWomenVote. HMNP student assistants, Sarah McKenna and Bryanna Bauer compiled the posts for our participation in the campaign, and you can learn more about it from their blog post on the topic. Follow @HistoricMDNews on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see more content from the Maryland historic newspapers.

HMNP Project Manager, Pamela McClanahan, has started to do a data analysis of the Maryland newspapers in Chronicling America including looking at the number of titles, issues, and pages by county and region of the state. She has prepared map data visualizations with this data utilizing Tableau. Pam presented her initial research findings at two conferences this month – the Society of American Archivists Research Forum on August 5 and the Towson Conference for Academic Libraries on August 12. Check out her SAA poster and TCAL Talk to see more about her research and the newspaper collection.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin has sent DCMR reopening plans for Phase 2-3 to the Reopening Taskforce, which are posted to Libi. This is an evolving document and may change if the university changes its reopening schedule. She has focused her time on creating documentation for students coming onsite, changes in workflows to account for staff that is partially onsite and remote, and training new staff.

Juana Godinez has nearly completed the second batch of at-home DVD transfers to add to the Films@UM collection. She is also editing some of the videos to make the viewing/listening experience more enjoyable.

Digitization Assistants Natalia Grajewski, Amanda Scott, and Jane Sonneman completed their review of the FY20 Hebraica, Basketball Film, and Student Newspaper vendor projects; Preservation staff who are examining the physical volumes still have additional work to complete on Hebraica where the volume may have printing irregularities. Natalia, Amanda, and Jane, along with Robin Pike contributed to Archelon testing which resulted in the MVP release by DPI.

Jane continued to go to Hornbake one day/week to complete new digitization requests. Jane is focusing on creating digital files on campus and doing post-production processes at home to expedite what she can digitize and to create a backlog if we need to be 100% remote again. Natalia, Amanda, and Robin fulfilled requests for existing files; with Natalia’s and Amanda’s departures at the end of August, Robin trained Alexis Woolford to do this work. She has also begun performing QC on Jane’s projects.

MLIS graduate student Caroline Ackiewicz began her field study. She will be performing an audit of DCMR’s production server, assessing what files have been ingested into Digital Collections or the Internet Archive and archived and what files should be staged. Due to staff turnover in the past 2.5 years, we need to create a comprehensive list and clear the drive of projects that have already been completed.

Cecilia Franck, Greenbelt Archive Project Digitization Technician began going to campus to digitize the newspapers as part of Phase 2+. This is a community archiving project that DCMR was hired to digitize and upload to the Internet Archive, and is moving on campus from Greenbelt to ensure staff safety. Much like our in-house digitization requests, Cecilia is focusing their hours onsite on digitization and at home on post-production. We have front-loaded the number of hours onsite at the beginning of the semester to hopefully complete digitization more rapidly.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Announcing Archelon at UMD Libraries!

DST is pleased to let you know that we’ve crossed an important milestone: Archelon’s “minimum viable product” (MVP) is now completed and available for use by Libraries personnel. Archelon is the staff interface for Fedora, and it’s an important piece in our long term plan to migrate away from Fedora 2 and upgrade our digital library infrastructure. It is essential for our digital asset management and digital preservation programs, and is designed to support the large-scale digital initiatives that UMD has led for the last decade.

New features, next steps, and what this means for digital initiatives at UMD is covered in more detail in this blog post.

We would like to recognize the efforts of a considerable group of stakeholders across the Libraries:

  • The implementation team: Peter Eichman, Josh Westgard, Bria Parker, David Steelman, Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed, Cindy Zhao, Porter Olsen, Kate Dohe, and Ben Wallberg
  • Consulting stakeholders and testers: Joanne Archer, Liz Caringola, John Davis, Jennifer Doherty, David Durden, Kana Jenkins, Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, Robin Pike, Amy Wickner, Amy Wasserstom, Jennifer Wachtel, Natalia Grajewski, Mary Scott, Jane Sonneman, and many other former student workers, graduate assistants, and personnel who contributed their time and effort over the years.

New Collection in DRUM

UMD-PRC Reports and Briefs is a collection of reports and briefs created by the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC), a CDC-funded research unit in the Behavioral and Community Health Department of the School of Public Health. Technical reports summarize original analyses, research briefs translate academic articles published by UMD-PRC investigators, and policy briefs communicate the implications of proposed or enacted policy based on scientific evidence.

DRUM user registrations from 17 June to 31 August: 98.

Software Development

Releases

Archelon – Released Milestone 6 “Browser-based Item Update”.  This is also the Minimum Viable Product release.

Libraries’ Website – Minor release to provide: a) new Hornbake Library hours entry, and b) remove all target=”_blank” from HTML templates, per Web Accessibility best practice.

Under Development

UMD PACT Website – Continued implementation of a new Drupal based website for UMD PACT (Publishing, Access, and Contract Terms), a subgroup of the University Senate’s University Library Council (ULC).  Work primarily focused on migrating to SAML for authentication and Grouper for access control.

White House Correspondents (WHCA) Association Pool Reports Archive – Completed work on a proof-of-concept Drupal based website for the WHCA Pool Reports Archive.  This archive will initially be populated with current pool reports which are distributed via email and later with older digitized paper pool reports. The content will be stored in our Fedora Content Repository as part of Digital Collections.

Kubernetes – Continued work on migrating applications and setting up the production cluster.

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

The CLAS team responded to 103 Aleph Rx submissions and 26 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests. Please use our regular support channels if you need any assistance.

Preparing for Reopenings

We continue to work with USMAI libraries as they begin to make their library collections available again. Eight member libraries reopened access to their collections this month. A few other libraries are set up in Aleph TEST and awaiting testing/review before “going live”. Special kudos go to David Wilt for keeping on top of all of the service requests and configuration changes that go along with this!

We are also tracking which libraries are ready to resume resource sharing in the consortium (a.k.a. “Status 3”). Please visit the Aleph Configurations for Reopening Scenarios page for more details about options for Status 3 and how to indicate that your library is ready.

OPAC Redesign for Accessibility (ORA)

Changes for the redesign of the Aleph OPAC were released in the Aleph LIVE OPAC on August 13th. This set of changes provides a foundation for incremental improvements in the coming years. (We already have a backlog!)

Marcive Authority Control Service Implementation

Reviewers completed the review of Marcive’s sample set of processed records. There were a number of issues identified. These have been shared with Marcive, and Marcive has provided responses/follow-up. The review group and Metadata Subgroup are currently working to formulate next recommended steps. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped review the sample records!

MD-SOAR

We’re pleased to report that CLD has approved an additional 3-year commitment, which will keep MD-SOAR running on DSpace hosted by UMD Libraries through at least the end of fiscal year 2024. MD-SOAR is currently used by 10 academic libraries in Maryland and is available to any USMAI library in need of an institutional repository platform.

User and Systems Support

USS (User Support and Systems) 

The USS team responded and closed 236 Sysaid service requests in the month of August. 

COVID-19 Support

USS continues to provide support to Library employees who are onsite or teleworking. Please continue to submit problems and/or inquiries to lib-helpdesk@umd.edu. Be sure to check our Telework Technology Guidelines and Procedures on Libi weekly for any updates. 

Preparing for Re-openings

Over the last couple of weeks, USS took steps to ensure a smooth transition back into the Libraries and to ensure safe operations during reopening. We have removed several machines from the 1st floor to ensure social distancing. 

Before the start of every semester, we re-image all of the TLC loaner laptops including the 6th floor classroom laptops. Last week, a few of us gathered at McKeldin to reimage 136 laptops (PCs and Macs).

Over the last week, we’ve hired 4 new student workers to assist with staffing the First Floor of McKeldin during Phase 3 of reopening. Appropriate training on how to assist patrons, social distancing mandates, procedures on what is expected during the re-opening of McKeldin was done with the student workers and staff.

On the remaining 13 public machines we have on the First Floor, we’ve installed a chat button on the desktops. The chat function allows students and UMD patrons to chat with our USS staff to resolve any issue they may have.

Arrivals/Departures

Natalia Grajewski and Amanda Scott, both Digitization Assistants in DCMR completed their C1 contracts at the end of August. We wish them the best in their job searches!

Caroline Ackiewicz, graduate student in the library program, began her field study for DCMR, which will be one semester.

Announcing Archelon at UMD Libraries

DST is pleased to let you know that we’ve crossed an important milestone: Archelon’s “minimum viable product” (MVP) is now completed and available for use by Libraries personnel.

As some in the Libraries may know, our Digital Collections program uses an open-source repository application called Fedora. What is less commonly known is that we currently run two Fedoras to support Digital Collections–one is our older, end-of-life Fedora 2 repository, and one is the newer Fedora repository intended to replace it (yes, we think this is confusing, too). These Fedora repositories require additional user interfaces for staff outside the technology groups to manage content and metadata within them. Archelon is that interface for Fedora, and it’s an important piece in our long term plan to migrate away from Fedora 2 and upgrade our digital library infrastructure. It is essential for our digital asset management and digital preservation programs, and is designed to support the large-scale digital initiatives that UMD has led for the last decade.

Some of the key features of this repository management system include:

  • In-browser metadata editing for existing objects;
  • Bulk downloads of files and/or metadata;
  • Batch processes that use spreadsheets, like new item ingest and metadata updates;
  • Controlled vocabularies derived from ArchivesSpace for data validation;
  • Generic repository “Item” modeling that should speed up collection processing and increase throughput, while still allowing for rich descriptions of page-based content.
  • Single use “capability URLs” for one-time downloads to fulfill reference requests;

Already, we are using these improvements to load a subset of the Diamondback Photos collection and test the application under real-world circumstances. In the coming weeks, DST will be working with various stakeholders on training, workflow refinement, and documentation needs. We hope to have more announcements of digital collections updates soon. 

Archelon will be used alongside the Avalon Media System, which will be launched at UMD Libraries in 2021. Archelon will be used to manage image-based, paged, and generic file (e.g. data) collections, while Avalon will be used to manage time-based media collections (audio and video). Both Archelon and Avalon are interfaces to manage content stored in Fedora repositories.

Repositories are the cornerstone of UMD Libraries’ digital strategy, and Archelon will allow broader cross-section of stakeholders to be involved directly in content management and content creation. This project is the result of nearly two years of sustained effort by many stakeholders and implementers across our Libraries, who created wireframes and mock-ups, organized project milestones, wrote code, hosted and attended Town Hall meetings, conducted usability studies, sat down for interviews, ran through application testing (so much testing!), and committed to tackling a complex and challenging project together. I would like to extend my genuine gratitude to the following contributors to this project:

  • The implementation team: Peter Eichman, Josh Westgard, Bria Parker, David Steelman, Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed, Cindy Zhao, Porter Olsen, and Ben Wallberg
  • Consulting stakeholders and testers: Joanne Archer, Liz Caringola, John Davis, Jennifer Doherty, David Durden, Kana Jenkins, Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, Robin Pike, Amy Wickner, Amy Wasserstom, Jennifer Wachtel, Natalia Grajewski, Mary Scott, Jane Sonneman, and many other former student workers, graduate assistants, and personnel who contributed their time and effort over the years.

We built something exceptional together, and I believe we have taken a huge step in the evolution of our digital library program.

This post was written with contributions from Josh Westgard and Porter Olsen in Digital Programs & Initiatives.

Stew of the Month July, 2020

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Services and Technologies (DST) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DST 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 been awarded a Phase 5 National Digital Newspaper Program grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities! We’re so excited to continue this project making historic Maryland newspapers freely accessible on Chronicling America through the Library of Congress website. We’re continuing to process the titles from the current phase and will have that completed by the end of the year. In addition, this fall, we’ll begin work on Phase 5 finalizing title selection with our advisory board. Phase 5 will run from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2022.

In partnership with the Maryland State Archives, we’re hosting a social media campaign the week of August 17th to promote Maryland historic newspapers and celebrate the centennial of the passing of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Learn more here if you’d like to join in the campaign to honor women’s suffrage in Maryland. Follow @HistoricMDNews on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see our content and watch #MDSuffrage and #MarylandWomenVote to see posts from other organizations across the state!

Other Digitization Activities

Quality review for the digital files for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange video digitization grant has been completed. Student assistant, Alexis Woolford, continues a literature review for the project and will write a blog post about her experience working on this digitization grant. John Borstel from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange will continue metadata enhancement for the project, and UMD Libraries staff will begin scholarship and outreach work to share about this large-scale video digitization project. With contributions from John Davis, Steve Henry, and Bria Parker, Robin Pike submitted the mid-grant progress report.

Digitization Assistants continued their review of vendor-produced files for the delayed FY20 projects. Jane Sonneman worked on the Student Newspapers, Natalia Grajewski worked on Hebraica, along with assistance from staff from Preservation and Conservation, and Amanda Scott worked on audiovisual projects including on-demand requests and Basketball Films. The assistants and Pike also provided comments for Archelon testing.

Pike has also been working with Joanne Archer, Amber Kohl, and Doug McElrath to create coordinating Phase 2 and 3 reopening plans for SCUA and DCMR, which are now posted on Libi. Limited DCMR staff will be entering Hornbake to complete digitization requests when necessary in Phase 2 and will be working one at a time on a more regular schedule in Phase 3.

Juana Godinez began work to edit audio digitization procedures while brushing up on the latest version of Adobe Audition and continued to clean up previously-digitized content for Films@UM.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Archelon Progress Update

DPI is working closely with SSDR and stakeholders across the Libraries on completion of Milestone 6: Browser-based metadata editing. This milestone is the last substantial requirement  for Archelon’s Minimum Viable Product, and we anticipate this release will be completed in early August. A more formal announcement will follow release.

New Additions to DRUM

The electronic theses and dissertations from the 2020 spring semester are now available in DRUM.

DRUM is also now the home for documents from the iSchool Digital Curation Fellows program. The program is a collaboration with the National Agricultural Library (NAL) to match iSchool students with digital curation research opportunities at NAL.

Software Development

Releases

Archelon – Released Milestone 5 “Batch Import/Export: Binaries”.

CaiaSoft Integration – Caiasoft is a storage management solution that integrates with Aleph, ILLiad, Aeon, and other systems used at UMD. It has replaced the homegrown Severn Library database and should improve efficiency related to intake, delivery, etc. Worked on the middleware integration to support sending hold requests, new items, and item updates from Aleph to CaiaSoft.

Under Development

Archelon – Began implementation of Milestone 6, titled “Browser Based Item Read/Update”.  This is the final milestone to complete the Minimum Viable Product, planned for release in early August.

UMD PACT Website – Continued implementation of a new Drupal based website for UMD PACT (Publishing, Access, and Contract Terms), a subgroup of the University Senate’s University Library Council (ULC).

White House Correspondents (WHCA) Association Pool Reports Archive – Continued work on the Drupal based website for the WHCA Pool Reports Archive.  This archive will initially be populated with current pool reports which are distributed via email and later with older digitized paper pool reports. The content will be stored in our Fedora Content Repository as part of Digital Collections.

Kubernetes – Completed setting up the Kubernetes test cluster as the container orchestration system for our Docker-based applications.  This cluster will run all of our dev, test, quality assurance, sandbox, and pilot applications.  We will begin migrating applications and setting up the production cluster in August.

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

The CLAS team responded to 79 Aleph Rx submissions and 21 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in July.

COVID-19 Support

CLAS continues to be available to respond to your support requests.

Preparing for Reopenings

We continue to work with USMAI libraries as they begin to make their library collections available again. In July, three member libraries reopened access to their collections using curbside pickup or other special procedures. A few other libraries are set up in Aleph TEST and awaiting testing/review before “going live”. Other USMAI libraries who are planning to reopen access to their collections should review “Aleph Configurations for Reopening Scenarios” and put your request in early; reconfiguring Aleph to accomplish your goals does take some time, and you’ll want to do some testing first.

OPAC Redesign for Accessibility (ORA)

Changes for the redesign of the Aleph OPAC were released in the Aleph TEST OPAC on July 21st. The release in the Aleph LIVE OPAC is planned for Thursday, August 13th. The ORA project’s goals are to improve the accessibility of the OPAC and modernize the user interface. More details can be found in the USMAI Member Portal blog post about the project and its release schedule.

Marcive Authority Control Service Implementation

Significant progress was made on the implementation of Marcive’s Authority Control Service in July. CLAS developers modified the programs that extract and load records from/in Aleph. A full extract of records in Aleph was sent to Marcive for processing. We have received back a sample set, which is currently being reviewed by volunteers from USMAI libraries. The review will be completed on August 7th, at which point feedback on any issues will be sent to Marcive. Once Marcive resolved any issues, they will provide a full set of processed records to load in Aleph. From that point on, new records will be sent monthly for processing. The Marcive service will improve the quality of USMAI’s bibliographic records, creating a better discovery experience for patrons of USMAI libraries.

User and Systems Support

About three years ago, USS initiated the installation of sensors throughout McKeldin. The original intent of the sensors was to monitor traffic in the building.  The sensors would also give us a better account of the occupancy. During the last few months of the pandemic, we realized that knowing the occupancy is more important now than ever. In our current climate we wanted to ensure that we are abiding by the occupancy limits in each phase.  A new sensor was installed in an additional location to improve accuracy of accounting for occupancy in the building. 

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Durden completed a four week session in the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research. David actively participated in two courses and received a grade equivalency for a third. The ICPSR summer program is offered as a methodological compliment to the data services provided by ICPSR. David will use his new skills to further develop data services for the Libraries and advertise one of the significant benefits of UMD’s membership in ICPSR to the campus community.

Note: This year provided a unique opportunity to participate in the Summer Program as all courses and lectures were moved entirely online instead of in-person in Ann Arbor, MI. Additionally, as institutional members of ICPSR, UMD faculty, staff, and students are eligible to register at a significantly discounted rate.

Kate Dohe (in collaboration with Erin Pappas, University of Virginia), virtually delivered “Delay, Distract, Defer: The Saboteur in the Academic Library” as the keynote presentation for the Virginia Libraries Association’s College and Research Libraries Spring Program on August 5th.