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Job Enrichment with SSDR

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to participate in the Libraries’ Job Enrichment Program with the Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR) department in McKeldin.

After building a web site for a class I took at the journalism school, I had become more interested in the nuts and bolts of responsive design, and the Job Enrichment Program was a great opportunity to learn more.

Here are some of the key things I got to learn about:

  • The complexity of our web presence – Seeing what goes into our web site gave me an appreciation for the expertise needed to keep our web presence up-to-date, especially as our mobile presence becomes more important to both users and to Google’s search rankings. I learned about Hippo’s role as the Libraries’ CMS and how it manages the code that delivers a device-driven layout. I also learned how a feature-rich Bootstrap template helps determine a site’s look and feel.
  • Web development workflow – Having served on the Web Advisory Committee (WAC) for the last year and a half, it was very informative seeing how recommendations from our committee are prioritized and implemented by SSDR staff. During the program, I got experience 1) documenting key site features that needed to be translated to the new responsive site 2) creating site mockups for the Libraries’ main page and 3) working within SSDR’s workflow management software and process.
  • Responsive Design layout decisions – Part of my job enrichment experience also included going through Lynda.com lessons focused on designing sites within the Bootstrap framework. These lessons and exercises helped me get a hands-on understanding of Bootstrap’s grid-based system which helps determine a web site’s layout.
  • Creating a code library – I also got to help expand a code library that will support the rollout of the Libraries’ new site in 2016, particularly with the implementation of multimedia elements. The code library will allow website editors to quickly grab Hippo-friendly HTML code and  add multimedia elements – image sliders, image tiles, breadcrumbs, and more – to their web sites.
  • Future possibilities – While managing social media channels doesn’t often require the creation of new web sites, I am starting to see how a multimedia-rich responsive site could add a lot of value to our online outreach efforts. Understanding the basic building blocks of the new responsive site has helped me see the potential for projects that integrate our site with social media outreach efforts.

Overall, the Job Enrichment program was a great introduction to SSDR’s work delivering our digital resources to library users, and I’d definitely recommend the program to others.

Aaron K. Ginoza

Social Media & Community Engagement Coordinator

UMD Libraries

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Stew of the month: November 2015

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

On November 13, Robin Pike and Liz Caringola visited Frostburg State University to discuss the digitization of the Frostburg Mining Journal and other Frostburg newspapers held in print by their Special Collections. Digitization of these important Western Maryland newspapers will move forward contingent on the award of a third NDNP grant, which would begin on September 1, 2016.

Other Digitization Activities

The vendor digitization projects went out including: over 10,000 pages to the Internet Archive from SCUA collection materials and diaries from the William Kapell collection in IPAM. These projects were funded by the DIC project proposal process.

Eric Cartier worked with Cindy Frank, Director of the Visual Resources Collection in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, to arrange a Digital Data Services digitization request with an architecture professor. Digitization assistants are scanning more than 100 color slides featuring images of buildings across the French countryside.

GA David Durden completed a reference spreadsheet of the most prominent grants that support digitization and digital projects. Robin will use this resource as she meets with librarians and staff to discuss funding sources for future digitization projects.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Over the course of the fall, DPI carried out a pilot to test the technical feasibility of hosting the International Children’s Digital Library on DSS servers. ICDL is a free and open repository of Children’s Literature in various languages that was developed by faculty in the iSchool. The pilot was a success, so with Collections Strategies and Services having expressed their interest in supporting this important collection, the Libraries are now moving ahead to provide web hosting services for the ICDL. For more information on the ICDL, see http://childrenslibrary.org.

Transcribe Maryland is a pilot project to test the workflows and procedures for crowdsourced transcription of Digital Collections materials. In November, Josh Westgard carried out the migration of more than 17,000 images making up over 800 documents from our digital collections repository to a platform to support public transcriptions of those documents. The pilot project will take place in the spring semester 2016 in support of a course being offered in the English Department.

DPI, with help from DSS colleagues, is about to launch REDCap an open source web application created by Vanderbilt University for building and managing online surveys and databases. REDCap will be offered as a part of Research Data Services and available to UMD faculty and researchers. Please contact lib-research-data@umd.edu for more information.

Software Development

Hippo CMS  has been successfully upgraded to version 7.9.  The primary improvements for content creators are the new CKEditor for making HTML content changes and the channel manager options to preview pages on various device screen sizes.  Also, automatic updates for database finder and the staff directory have been restored.

The project to move the website to a Responsive Web Design template is now entering its final phases.  The majority of the template development work has been completed and being prepared for promotion to production.  We are also working with the Web Advisory Committee to test the new template and create training opportunities for staff on how to update their content in preparation for the January 18 release date.

Initial development of the Fedora 4 authorization module based on the emerging Web Access Control (WebAC) standard for RDF based Access Control has been completed.  This new feature is being incorporated into the design for our Fedora 4 repository instance and the new Digital Collections administrative interface based on Hydra.


Barbara Percival joined DCMR in November. A first-year iSchool student, she is currently producing digital files, and she’ll take over quality assurance inspections in 2016.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Liz Caringola was appointed to the MARAC Web Editing Team, effective January 1, 2016, for a two-year term.

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Stew of the month: October 2015

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

Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) are writing a grant application to extend NDNP funding for the project through August 2018. The application is due to NEH by mid-January 2016 and a decision should be reached by the end of July.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked on the estimates for the FY16 vendor digitization contracts, to digitize the projects funded by the Digitization Initiatives Committee (DIC) project proposal process to include:

  • Approximately 53,000 pages and 460 volumes through the Internet Archive
  • Over 350 volumes of other book digitization
  • Approximately 350 oversize flat maps and posters
  • Approximately 21,000 pages from The Diamondback newspaper (from microfilm and print)
  • Approximately 9,000 photos from The Diamondback photo morgue
  • Diaries and correspondence from three archival collections
  • Over 2,000 audio reels from the School of Music archives and the WAMU radio archives
  • Over 70 U-Matic tapes of interviews with music experts from the Bryer collection
  • 42 deteriorating films

Robin Pike also presented at the Library Assembly meeting on behalf of the DIC to open the project proposal process for FY17 projects.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Theses and dissertations from the 2015 summer semester, totaling 261, have been deposited in DRUM bringing the total number of ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations) in the repository to 10,750.  Percentage of embargo requests climbed to 54% for the summer semester; an all-time high since we started tracking requests in 2006.

Terry Owen was invited to speak as part of Catholic University Library’s program on institutional repositories for International Open Access Week, 19-25 October.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Liz Caringola attended the Fall 2015 MARAC meeting in Roanoke, VA, October 8-10. Liz was co-chair of the conference program committee, which also included several colleagues from SCUA. Many others from SCUA, SCPA, and MITH participated in the conference as workshop instructors, session moderators, and speakers. Former DCMA/DPI GA Alice Prael presented at a student session with current SCUA GA Amy Wickner.


On October 22, Robin Pike and Eric Cartier guest-lectured and provided a tour of the Hornbake Digitization Center for LBSC 784Q, Digital Preservation, regarding digitization and digital preservation activities at the UMD Libraries.

Liz Caringola was a guest speaker in LBSC731: Special Collections on October 26 and spoke about digitization and project management in Special Collections.

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Stew of the month: September 2015

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 first batch of newspapers for the 2014-2016 grant was accepted by Library of Congress and are now available on Chronicling America. The Catoctin Clarion from Mechanicstown (modern-day Thurmont), Maryland, is available from 1871-1919. Additional issues through 1922 will be uploaded in a later batch.

Other Digitization Activities

The sole source for the FY16 digitization vendor was approved. Robin Pike will contact collection managers to begin digitization after additional steps are completed (negotiating technical specifications, receiving quotes for estimates, sending signed quotes back, scheduling projects).

Robin worked with Vin Novara (SCPA) to submit a Letter of Inquiry to the Grammy Grant Foundation to apply for an Archiving and Preservation Projects grant to digitize the audio recordings in the Contemporary Music Project Archives.

Eric Cartier worked with Josh Westgard and Bria Parker (MSD) to make 98 digitized videos from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives (SCPA) and 39 digitized audio recordings from the Thirteen/WNET Arthur Godfrey Collection (SCUA) available in UMD Digital Collections. Both projects were digitized as part of the FY15 Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process.

Eric and assistant Cecilia Franck performed quality assurance on 137 digitized football films from the University Archives collections, which will be ingested into Digital Collections. Cecilia also performed sampled quality assurance on 590 digitized historic dissertations that will be ingested into DRUM.

Software Development

During internal testing of the new Hippo CMS  version 7.9 upgrade process we discovered some holes in our upgrade procedure and have been working on filling out the missing code and re-testing.  Unfortunately, progress on this issue was interrupted by instability problems in the production Hippo system which we tracked down to a conflict between several of our batch content loaders (Database Finder, Staff Directory) and a Hippo system architecture change we put into place in August.  As an interim step the instability problem has been fixed by disabling the batch loaders.  We are working with Hippo support staff to determine the root cause of the problem.

We are now in full implementation mode for the new Responsive Web Design template for the website.  This has involved some rapid design and decision making, as well as training for four developers new to Hippo CMS.  Once we complete our first draft of the core templates we will begin a process to promote the templates to the staging site for Libraries staff to get their first look their existing content rendered in the new site.  This will help them to make an assessment on how much work will be involved when it comes time to begin updating their content for the new site.

User and System Support

This summer, the Libraries embarked on a project to renovate the technology in classrooms 6103 and 6107 in Mckeldin Library. User Systems and Support (USS) and Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) worked together on the project to find a new way to use current technology along with different teaching methods in the classrooms so the rooms would be more dynamic and flexible. USS and TLS chose to try to have everything mobile. Since the furniture, Mac desktops, projector screens, and projector wouldn’t be able to support this new mobile initiative, they were all removed. Power outlets in the room were rearranged to go from supporting a static room to a more dynamic room.

USS evaluated and designed the technology, suggested furniture, and determined power outlet locations. To replace the projector, four 60 inch Sony Aqous TVs were purchased. sitting on mobile Peerless AV stands. The TVs weren’t installed on walls, but were installed on Peerless AV stands so the TVs can be rolled anywhere in the room (or outside the room). The main instructor laptop has an ActionTech wireless HD Video Transmitter installed on it. The transmitted video will go to an ActionTech wireless HD Video Receiver on each cart. This will allow an instructor the ability to show the same content to all the TV carts at the same time. The idea is to allow the students to be able to crowd around any TV so everyone can clearly see what the instructor is presenting, instead of the people close to the back of the room straining their eyes.   However, another purpose is to allow the students to split off in groups, each screen displaying different content so students can collaborate the assignments they are given. Each TV also has multiple inputs so students can connect and display what’s on the screen of their laptops, iPads, tablets, and other devices.

A special thanks goes to those in USS involved in getting the new room configurations and technology changed and installed — Alex Guzman, Brandon Eldred, Chamisa Carson, Francis Ifeacho, Grace Derbyshire, Pancratius Chuba, Preston Tobery, Sandra Ayensu, Stephanie Karunwi, Victoria Quartey. Also, thanks goes out to Rachel Gammons and the rest of Teaching and Learning Services for working with us to successfully renovate and add new technology in classrooms 6103 and 6107.


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

The CLAS team responded to 92 Aleph Rx submissions and 23 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.


CLAS Notes

In an effort to keep consortium members informed about important information and procedures, the CLAS team has started a weekly publication called CLAS Notes. Weekly notes are targeted at specific audiences (as determined by mailing list membership), but you can always view all the notes on the USMAI Staff Site at http://usmai.umd.edu/category/news-categories/clas-notes.


David Steelman moved from a System Analyst position to a Software Developer position. David received his Bachelor of Science, Comprehensive, from Villanova University and his Master of Science, Computer Science, from the University of Maryland, College Park.  Before coming to work at College Park, he worked at Raytheon Solipsys Corporation where he worked as a Senior Software Engineer, working on projects such as the Tactical Display Framework (TDF), a Java-based object-oriented Command and Control Battle Management package.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Liz Caringola and Robin Pike attended the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. September 16-18. Liz gave a lightning talk on the Gateway to Digitized Maryland Newspapers, a database using Hippo/Solr that will allow users to easily identify sources for digitized Maryland newspapers. The gateway should be online after the next Hippo upgrade. Look for an announcement and additional information at that time.

Robin also attended the one-day Digital Maryland AV Conference held at the University of Baltimore on September 25.

Chronicling America surpasses 10 million pages!

The University of Maryland Libraries joins the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities in celebrating a major milestone for Chronicling America, a free, searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers. The Library of Congress announced on October 7 that more than 10 million pages have been posted to the site. This number includes 117,082 pages of Maryland newspapers digitized by the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project and its content partners, the Maryland State Archives and Maryland Historical Society, from the following titles:

Titles are added on a rolling basis, so check back often, or subscribe to Chronicling America’s RSS feed to receive alerts when new titles are added.

For more information about the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, please visit our website: http://ter.ps/newspapers.

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Stew of the month: August 2015

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

Robin Pike continued to make progress on the preparatory work for the FY16 mass-digitization vendor contracts, including adding new projects to the FY16 list since donors have approached collection managers with new sources of funds for time-sensitive projects.

DCMR staff worked on quality assurance, archiving, and ingest preparation of several FY15 projects digitized through the DIC project proposal process:

  • Eric Cartier and assistants performed QA on dissertations, monographs and serials from the Hebraica project, and finished QA on the Diamondback photos.
  • Digitization assistants inspected 228 UMD Schedules of Classes that a vendor digitized from microfilm, and Eric uploaded the files to the Internet Archive. With the recent addition of born-digital schedules, the collection spans 1919-2015.

This month the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent the first two batches (containing about 10,000 pages of newsprint each) of the 2014-2016 grant cycle to the Library of Congress (LC). Quality review is underway for the third batch, and microfilm for the fourth batch was sent to the digitization vendor. The project is on track to meet the grant milestone of 25% of the required 100,000 pages of digitized newsprint submitted to LC by September 30. In July and August, student assistant/C1 Melissa Foge also created several Wikipedia articles related to Maryland newspapers that were digitized by the project.

Digitization assistants scanned 127 historical French pamphlets, which Eric Cartier uploaded to the growing collection on the Internet Archive.

Alice Prael completed her final progress report and recommendations on the born-digital workflows. The work will continue in DPI and SCUA.

Digital Programs and Initiatives

Joshua Westgard, along with staff from SSDR, USS, and Metadata Services, as well as interested colleagues from neighboring institutions, organized and hosted a meeting of the regional Code4Lib group for the greater Maryland, DC, and Virginia area in UMD Libraries’ special events room on August 11-12. The meeting also received sponsorship support from the USMAI consortium of libraries.  Nearly 50 people were in attendance for two days of formal presentations, workshops, and unconference sessions on a variety of topics related to technology in libraries.

Josh Westgard also participated in Fedora 4 development work, acting as a community stakeholder for the Web Access Control (WebAC) feature development effort, as well as participating in the initial discussions for the Fedora API Extension Architecture (API-X).

Josh Westgard and Terry Owen assisted with the MD-SOAR project, developing documentation, carrying out testing and loading of legacy content, and advising the staff from partner institutions on the use of this new DSpace-based institutional repository.

Software Development

The bulk of the development work for the upgrade to Hippo CMS  version 7.9 has been completed.  Work is now underway to promote the new code into the staging site for user testing with promotion to production planned for the end of September.

User testing for the Online Student Application improvements were completed. These improvement were promoted to production following additional fixes based on user feedback.

Peter Eichman completed a second development sprint with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) working on a new Integrated Discovery Platform for automating the ingest and cataloging of socio-environmental data.

Along with the Fedora 4 user community the Libraries have decided that we need to develop a Fedora 4 authorization module based on the emerging Web Access Control (WebAC) standard for  RDF based Access Control.  Peter Eichman and Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed participated in the first of two planned development sprints.

Research and Learning Librarians have been piloting the Guide on the Side application from the University of Arizona Libraries and decided to put the service into production.  We worked with them to setup a new production server and to add basic Libraries branding to the site which is now available at http://tutorials.lib.umd.edu/.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 90 Aleph Rx submissions and 41 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

The team contributed to several reports related to the consortium’s discussions about library management systems. In collaboration with the USMAI Shared Platforms & Applications subgroup, a report was produced to summarize and prioritize Aleph enhancement requests that were submitted by individuals in the consortium. CLAS also participated in conference calls with current customers of “next generation” library management systems.

With the approval of CLD, Google Analytics was configured for the consortium’s shared platforms, including Aleph OPAC, Research Port, SFX, and the USMAI Staff Site. Access to analytics has been distributed to co-chairs of the Reporting & Analytics Subgroup and will be made available to individual USMAI libraries in the coming weeks.

Kuali OLE

Working with the consortium’s testing group, CLAS helped develop a report about OLE’s current fit for the consortium’s needs as identified in the previously-created Next Gen ILS RFI document. The report was shared with CLD as an information piece for discussion at their September meeting. CLAS continued to attend weekly implementation meetings with other Kuali OLE adopters.


The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) now boasts a collection of 45 items and growing! DSS developers configured the DSpace search and browse indexes according to the repository partners’ specifications, creating additional limiters like “Description” and “Language” to facilitate advanced searching. Several partners are beginning to introduce the repository to their faculty. If you work for a USMAI library, consider creating an account and adding your publications to MD-SOAR.


SSDR is pleased to welcome three new Graduate Assistants.  Aditya Gadgil (Smith School of Business, Marketing Analytics) and Ramesh Balasekaran (iSchool, Information Management) are performing general Software Development while Xiaoyu Tai (iSchool, Human-Computer Interaction) is filling our brand new position of Front End Developer.  All three will be spending this Fall learning Hippo CMS and participating in building the new Reponsive Web Design site.

DCMR and DPI are pleased to welcome their new shared Graduate Assistant, David Durden (iSchool, MLS). His fall projects will explore and compare researcher profile applications, compiling digitization grants, and analyzing digital collections usage statistics.

DCMR and DPI said farewell to Graduate Assistant Alice Prael, who graduated on August 22. She is moving to Boston, MA for the National Digital Stewardship Residency at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Congratulations Alice!

DCMR Quality Assurance Assistant Quinn Smith also graduated in August, earning her MLS. and is seeking permanent employment. She will continue as a C1 through the fall semester, training a new student on quality assurance procedures. We wish you the best, Quinn!

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project student assistant/C1-for-the-summer Melissa Foge’s last day was August 25. Melissa earned her MLS this past spring and is seeking employment as a librarian, ideally in a music library or working with music collections. We wish you the best, Melissa!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Eric Cartier, Robin Pike, and Alice Prael attended the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting in Cleveland, OH from August 17-22.

Robin co-lectured the SAA pre-conference workshop “Managing Audiovisual Digitization Projects” with George Blood (George Blood Audio Video and Film) and Joshua Ranger (AVPreserve) on August 17. She ended her term as the Chair of the Recorded Sound Roundtable and began her term as a Steering Committee member of the same roundtable, a nationally-elected position.

Eric presented the poster “Establishing the In-house Internet Archive Digitization Workflow” at the Research Forum on August 18, and began his term as the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Recorded Sound Roundtable, a two-year, nationally-elected position.

Alice Prael and Amy Wickner (SCUA) presented their poster “Getting to Know FRED: Introducing Workflows for Born-Digital Content” about their work on the developing born-digital workflows at the graduate student poster sessions on August 20-21.


Special Collections staff members from the Maryland State Archives met with Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, Judi Kidd, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) on August 13 to continue discussions of the future of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, including funding options, required features for a Maryland newspapers digital repository, and what was learned from the digital initiative meetings organized around the state by Digital Maryland this summer.

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Reusing Newspaper Data from Chronicling America

The National Digital Newspaper Program’s (NDNP) goal in digitizing U.S. newspapers from microfilm isn’t to simply create digital copies of the film—it’s to make the content of the digitized newspapers more usable and reusable. This is made possible through the creation of different kinds of metadata during digitization. (You can read my post from 2013 for the nitty gritty details of NDNP metadata, or go straight to the source.) The addition of robust metadata means that the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website isn’t just a digital collection of newspapers—it’s a rich data set—and our project’s contributions to Chronicling America represent Maryland in this data.

Newspaper data is being used in exciting ways by scholars, students, and software developers. Here are a few of my favorite examples:

Data Visualization: Journalism’s Journey West
Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University

This visualization plots the 140,000+ newspapers that are included in Chronicling America’s U.S. Newspaper Directory. Read about the history of newspaper publication in the U.S., and watch as newspapers spread across the country from 1690 through the present.

An Epidemiology of Information: Data Mining the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Virginia Tech

Excerpt from newspaper reads

The 1918 influenza pandemic, or Spanish flu, killed 675,000 in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide. An Epidemiology of Information used two text-mining methods to examine patterns in how the disease was reported in newspapers and the tone of the reports (e.g., alarmist, warning, reassuring, explanatory). Visit the project website for more information, or read the project’s January 2014 article in Perspectives on History.

Image from http://www.flu1918.lib.vt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/NLM-Presentation-Ewing-30April2013.pdf

The Cultural Observatory, Harvard University

Bookworm is a tool that allows you to “visualize trends in repositories of digitized texts,” including Chronicling America. In the graph above, Tom Ewing of the aforementioned Epidemiology of Information project used Bookworm to visualize instances of the word “influenza” in the New York Tribune between 1911 and 1921. You can create your own visualizations of Chronicling America data using this tool.

Viral Texts: Mapping Networks of Reprinting in 19th-Century Newspapers and Magazines
NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, Northeastern University

In the 19th century, the content published in newspapers was not protected by copyright as it is today. As a result, newspaper editors often “borrowed” and reprinted content from other papers. This project seeks to uncover why particular news stories, works of fiction, and poetry “went viral” using the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) text of the newspapers in Chronicling America and magazines in Cornell University Library’s Making of America.

Everyone is welcome to use Chronicling America as a dataset for their research. There’s no special key or password needed. Information about the Chronicling America API can be found here. For additional projects and tools that use Chronicling America data, see this list compiled by the Library of Congress.

If you reuse Chronicling America data, especially from Maryland newspapers, in your research, please leave a comment or drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!


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