Leave a comment

DSS Town Hall

DSS Town Hall

On 4th June, 2015, DSS held a Town Hall meeting in the Special Events Room of McKeldin Library; all UMD Library staff were invited to attend. What follows is based on fantastic notes made by Liz Caringola; Heidi Hanson held the meeting evaluation. The meeting began with an introduction by Babak giving the background to this event with the hope that it would be the start of conversations between DSS and other divisions. DSS managers then gave 3 minute ‘elevator speeches’ outlining their work in the division. The Libraries are full of acronyms and DSS is no exception:

SSDR – Software Systems Development & Research

CLAS – Consortial Library Applications Support

DPI – Digital Programs & Initiatives

DCMR – Digital Conversion & Media Reformatting

USS – User and Systems Support

MITH – Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities

Judi summarized ways in which DSS can be contacted. The floor was then opened for questions from the audience.

A recent Library-wide computer migration to make Library staff usernames and passwords comply with campus security policies prompted several questions:

  • Using Adobe Acrobat XI Pro software – this was a problem caused by the campus license having expired. To get the problem fixed on your machine, submit a ticket to the Help Desk.
  • Could DSS change the amount of time that elapses before we our computers lock themselves? (This is one side effect of the AD migration.) Uche said that we can change the setting to increase the amount of time before the computer locks; this was met with applause. (The change was carried out within 24 hours of the meeting)
  • Where did Lync go? Give the Help Desk a call to get your password reset.

What is the best way to initiate contact with DSS if you’re managing a project that will require DSS assistance, and after initial plans are made, how can you get confirmation that action is being taken and within the agreed upon timeframe?

  • Babak said that initiating projects within the Libraries in general is not a formalized process, and DSS is no exception. We had hired a DSS project manager in February 2014 to help us manage projects. This position is currently vacant. We do need better project management processes and coordination. The Digitization Initiatives Committee (DIC) is a good example of formalizing project prioritization, initiation, and managing processes. It’s something we’ll continue to work at improving.
  • Contact DSS through the Helpdesk using these guidelines on Libi. Please start the conversation with DSS early in your plans.

Is there anyone in DSS who can help our group looking into e-books & mobile access to e-books? Can someone help the committee in their task to make access easier and more seamless?

  • Uche said that he needed to learn more about the committee’s requirements in order to figure out who on his team is the right person to help.
  • Trevor offered a general observation that projects or committees get formed and then later down the road realize that someone from DSS should be involved.
  • Babak said that the sooner DSS knows about a project and can be at the table with you, the better. Often times it’s good to have a technical person at the table just to say what’s possible or not, help you deal with vendors, etc.

What is the best way to orient new employees to what DSS does?

  • Babak: orientation for new Libraries employees should include a sheet or a packet that has technical problems information and describes DSS services.
  • Nathan: this problem is systematic across the Libraries. People in one division don’t know what people in another division do. A broader conversation might be needed to address this.
  • Trevor: the answer to this problem should be Libi, but we all acknowledge Libi isn’t in the best shape to do that presently. The Libi Sub Group has been looking into how to improve Libi so that we can use it for this purpose.

Should questions for units other than USS should go through a tracking system?

  • Babak and Uche: feel free to send any DSS-related question to the Help Desk, and it will get routed to the right group or person within DSS.

What can DSS do for Libraries patrons? What level of support is given to patrons versus internal staff? Should we ever refer patrons to DSS? Can we have more information about DSS’ strategy for working with campus partners?

  • Uche: USS will work with patrons, but they won’t open up non-Libraries computers.
  • Babak: Aside from general services, the Libraries get a lot of visibility, credibility, and profitability if we collaborate with campus partners. They get to know us and will start depending on us for certain tasks. Example of HIPAA compliance. No one else on campus wants to touch it, so why not us? We write also write proposals with partners. By getting involved in collaboration, we might be able to identify software, for example, that is needed but doesn’t exist. Whether we gain financially or contribute to an open effort, it gets our name out there and adds to our brand.
  • Trevor described MITH’s perspective. It is part of their strategy to work with patrons and campus partners. It is true that they don’t have an identified service point, but they are happy to hear from people about their ideas or possibilities for working together, and they try to be very responsive with those things, whether it’s by continuing the conversation or directing the person elsewhere. They have to be strategic about what activities they get involved in as a unit, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to talk to people outside the Libraries.
  • Robin addressed Kelsey’s questions as they pertain to digitization. Any patron or staff member can request that something from the Libraries holdings be digitized, provided that there is funding to pay for it. Depending on what it is, could be digitized in-house or go out to a vendor. For SCUA materials, these requests can be made through the new Aeon system. If non-UMD affiliated patrons have something from their own personal collection that they need digitized, we’re not doing that right now. DCMR is currently working on developing personal digitization services only for the UMD community, and it’s for a fee. However, Robin is happy to provide vendor information for those non-UMD patrons that are seeking digitization services on non-UMD materials.

A follow-up question for Robin regarding the digitization of Libraries materials on patron request. For requests to digitize out of copyright materials, do you put these materials in Hathi Trust? And do you make sure they aren’t digitized and available online before filling the request?

  • Robin: requests to digitize out of copyright materials reach her after it’s clear they are not already available on Hathi Trust or elsewhere. After digitization, these materials are provided to the patron, but they are also uploaded to the Internet Archive. Robin and Nathan (and Jennie Levine Knies before him) are discussing taking all of our digitized material from the Internet Archive and also putting it into Hathi Trust.

Revisiting an earlier conversation on projects and communication. It’s quite an ad hoc process, and while hesitant to add a layer of administrative process, there is a need to formalize project reporting/management.

  • Babak said that DSS’ general approach to improving process around the Libraries has been to implement it within DSS first. This allows us to work out the bugs and to try new things on a small scale in case they don’t work out. That’s why the DSS project manager was just for DSS, and why DSS has ownership of the Libraries Basecamp account. If these tools are successful, and other divisions want to use them, then they are implemented on a wider scale. It’s more effective if new tools/processes spread this way instead of forcing people to adopt them, which can be met with resistance. An example of something DSS is currently testing is digital signatures. This will allow people to sign documents digitally and will cut down on printing paper forms. If successful within DSS, it could spread to other divisions as requested.

What roles do DSS play in projects that extend beyond the Libraries?

  • Babak described the process of becoming involved in large initiatives, such as Kuali OLE. The Dean of the Libraries is the first person approached. She consults with the associate deans to determine if we want to get involved. If we do, then people from around the Libraries will sit on various committees to contribute to the development of the tool/community. Sometimes we may take part in testing tools, even if we aren’t involved with community leadership. In terms of actual software development, we’re spread pretty thin to complete internal projects, so we try to contribute back to development communities, such as Fedora, when it coincides with internal projects.

Here’s Heidi’s evaluation capture:

Things that went well with this meeting:

  • Learned a lot
  • Great for DSS folk to hear what is on folks’ minds
  • Thank you Will & Uche for help with computer/remote access
  • Q&A was the best part
  • Elevator talks → add to new Libraries’ hire orientation
  • Glad project management was addressed
  • Thanks for streaming

Things you’d like to change for next time?

  • Throw your questions in a box
  • Other Divisions should do this too
  • Let people submit questions beforehand
  • If this is done again, it would be good to include a brief ppt of each group so that we know what they do.
  • Possibly an opportunity for DSS to address some issues that would make our jobs easier e.g. Such as when submitting help-desk tickets to be more descriptive
  • Break-out sessions for each group in DSS to answer questions
  • Q&A with front line staff
Leave a comment

Stew of the month: May 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 and Conversion Activities

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent two additional batches (approximately 10,000 newspaper pages each) to the digitization vendor in May. In those batches were pages from Der Deutsche Correspondent, the St. Mary’s Beacon, and the St. Mary’s Gazette, as well as the remaining pages of the Catoctin Clarion. Digitization of Der Deutsche Correspondent, a German-language newspaper published in Baltimore from 1841-1918, began during our first grant cycle for the years 1858-1913. In collaboration with the Maryland Historical Society, the remainder of the run through 1918 will be completed during this grant.  The combined runs of the St. Mary’s Beacon and Gazette (Leonardtown, MD) will span 1852-1922.

Liz Caringola and the HMNP students continue to add to the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project on Pinterest. Please follow us if you’re on Pinterest!

Digitization assistants digitized 130 UMD sports media guides and 125 more historical French pamphlets, which Eric Cartier batch-uploaded to the Internet Archive.

Eric Cartier and digitization assistants Ryan Jester and Massimo Petrozzi completed quality assurance inspections of 190 WAMU audio files and 39 Arthur Godfrey sound recordings, received in April and May, accordingly. Both projects were funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process. 

Digitization assistants Brin Winterbottom and Rachel Dook explored CD-ripping software and developed procedures for capturing born-digital audio content on optical discs in-house. They converted 200 CD-Rs from the WMUC Collection containing in-studio, live Third Rail Radio shows.

GAs Alice Prael and Amy Wickner (SCUA) have begun a case study to test the workflow using a one terabyte hard drive containing born-digital records of the National Labor College obtained from the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive. Although the disk imaging process moved smoothly, they now face challenges accessing the disk image. This is due to an issue connecting network drives in the BitCurator environment.  They hope to resolve the problem soon.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

In addition to routine file preservation activities, Josh Westgard has been focused on the launch of additional instances of the single-table Solr-backed Hippo database system previously piloted with the SCPA Scores Database. Two additional databases using this system will lauch in June. Josh is also assisting with the MD-SOAR shared institutional repository by handling batch loads of existing content into the new system, and has been involved in a number of recent exploratory meetings regarding new collections and future projects, including an exciting collaboration with members of the Digital Humanities team from the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies on the creation of a TEI-encoded corpus of Persian texts. Stay tuned for more on this and other new intitiatives in future postings!

Karl Nilsen and the Research Data Services team began working with Ann Wylie, professor of geology, to curate and preserve a variety of data related to the identification of asbestos. Accurate identification of asbestos is not only a matter of basic research, but also an important factor in industrial regulation, health policy, and legal proceedings. The team is reviewing the structure and formatting of Dr. Wylie’s data files, examining publications related to these data for information that will aid curation, and creating data documentation files. To support long-term access, the team will create CSV versions of the original Excel spreadsheets. These data will be uploaded to DRUM as open data and contribute to public and private research on asbestos.

Software Development

Design and planning for the Responsive Web Design project continued with several rounds of feedback and improvements for  Static HTML Mockups between DSS and the Web Advisory Committee.  Coding for the new templates in Hippo is scheduled to begin over the summer, with the home page and subsite pages implemented first.

The improved Exhibit website templates have been completed and installed into production.  Dependencies between the existing Beyond the Battle: Bladensburg Rediscovered content, the new Hippo Exhibit code, and the new Unify 1.7 bootstrap template turned out to be more complex than anticipated but with some extra effort the new template has come together.  Content for the new exhibits is still under construction so look for these coming soon: from the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies the Persian Digital Humanities website and from Special Collections the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation website and new exhibit Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll.

Development of the new online student application submission form and supervisor database is nearing completion. In June we will be working with Human Resources and student supervisors to test the application, fix bugs, tweak the features, and release into production.

As part of standing up a DSpace instance for the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) we created a GitHub based code repository forked form the core DSpace code repository.  The production instance will come online using DSpace version 5.1 with customizations to the XMLUI/Mirage2 interface for the MD-SOAR theme and for a institutional branding based on each top-level community per participating institution.

The Wufoo Connector enterprise integration tool for submitting WuFoo forms into SysAid and AlephRx has proven buggy in the production environment.  Given very light demand for the application and alternatives for existing forms we have deferred working on a bug fix and have the removed application from production use.  Since beginning work on the Wufoo Connector we have become aware of  existing tools for enterprise messaging, such as Apache Camel, so rather than fixing the bug we may abandon this custom code for an established framework.

DSS has entered into a partnership with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) with DSS providing software development services and open data expertise in support of their mission to accelerate scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems.  Development is underway on a new Integrated Discovery Platform for automating the ingest and cataloging of socio-environmental data.

User and System Support

On Tuesday, June 2nd, at the iSchool Alumni Chapter Annual Meeting,  USS staff gave demonstrations about the equipment in the John & Stella Grave’s Makerspace.Sandra Ayensu, Victoria Quartey and Preston Tobery were asked to provide demos on 3D printing, 3D scanning, Google Glass and the One Button Studio. They demonstrated the equipment for about 2 hours. Everyone in attendance was thrilled to see what the Libraries has to offer. Uche Enwesi was asked to be one of the panelists in the meeting. He spoke about libraries and how they are using Makerspaces to transform learning and impact education.

The John & Stella Grave’s Makerspace room was flooded the night before from heavy rain. Fortunately, none of the equipment was damage. Because of the flood, the demonstrations had to happen outside the John & Stella Grave’s Makerspace room. Victoria did the demonstration for 3D printing. Attendees were amazed by the way the printers worked and liked being able to hold some of the printed models in their hands to get a closer look. Preston offered a closer look at handheld 3D scanning with the Sense 3D scanner. Preston hooked up a large screen TV to show how the scanner works in real time while he scanned a few people. They were amazed that the scan could be completed in minutes and made available for 3D printing even quicker. Sandra displayed the Google Glass; attendees naturally gravitated towards this swanky eye wear and immediately asked questions. Questions asked were: can they be worn over glasses, are they still in production, and are there any hazards such as overheating? Many attendees tried on the Google Glass but had a hard time focusing on the screen. Once they adjusted, they were ready to roll! Some played games while others recorded videos and took pictures. Our staff explained that many students and faculty of the University borrow them for up to three days.  The most common question was, why is the Google Glass in the Libraries?  Our staff was able to respond that,“The Libraries in the twenty-first century are defying the odds by rebranding the stereotype of a typical Library to a haven where limitless possibilities of innovation occur.”

Uche, Victoria, Preston, and Sandra enjoyed the meeting. They were able to learn about other Makerspaces in the area. It was nice to hear the different experiences panelists went through with their Makerspace. They also learned that Makerspace aren’t limited to educational campuses but are being opened up in general public areas too. One notable experience came from an elementary school librarian. She mentioned that 3D printers did not mesh well for her environment because kids lacked patience to wait for 3D printjobs to finish. She had to create a new curriculum that was not centered on 3D printing, but still fun for the children.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 84 Aleph Rx submissions and 25 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in May. These requests include interesting campus projects like restricting access to a specific Docutek e-reserve course at TU (using EZproxy) in support of a shared syllabus collection that is being built and helping integrate EZproxy with the product Callisto for HS/HSL. The team is also working on coordinating the transitioning of USMAI libraries’ budgets into the new fiscal year – an annual process known as “Fiscal Year End Closeout“.

Metalib migration

The migration of Metalib (the application behind ResearchPort) was completed on May 7th. This was a complicated move, which CLAS Systems Analyst Hans Breitenlohner successfully executed with minimal downtime to users. The suite of applications is now thriving in its new home!

Kuali OLE

The team continues to work with consortium members on their testing of OLE. Version 1.6 of OLE was officially released in late May. CLAS Systems Analyst David Steelman has updated the “OLE Sandbox” environment to this new version for testing.

As a possible complement to OLE, the team has been looking at a utility called the Business Intelligence Reporting Tool (“BIRT” for short), as a potential reporting tool to use alongside OLE. Keeping with the spirit of OLE, BIRT is an open source product.

MDsoarLOGO

MD-SOAR

The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) continues to move closer to production. Work on theming and configuring the application will be complete in June and is still on schedule to hand over to individual institutions on June 15th for their use.

Staffing

The following DCMR students graduated this semester: Melissa Foge, Jordan Lee, Marlin Oliver, and Massimo Petrozzi. Melissa, Jordan, and Massimo will be working as C1s this summer. Marlin was recently hired by Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

SSDR says farewell to our Graduate Assistants Sakshi Jain and Rohit Arora.  Sakshi  has obtained her Masters in Information Management from the iSchool and Rohit his M.S. in Telecommunications Engineering from the ENTS program.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Steelman attended the Ex Libris Technical Seminar in Minneapolis on May 4th. He attended training on the Patron Directory Services (PDS) module, which is a key component of the authentication framework for USMAI libraries.

Heidi Hanson attended the ELUNA Conference from May 6th through 8th in Minneapolis.

David Dahl attended the Maryland/Delaware Library Associations 2015 Conference in Ocean City, MD from May 6th through 8th. He co-presented a poster entitled “That’s Not Relevant! Comparisons of Perceived Results Relevancy in Discovery Service Products”.

Publications

Graduate Assistants Alice Prael and Amy Wickner (SCUA) have written an article on their recent work with born digital workflows. “Getting to Know FRED: Introducing Workflows for Born Digital Content” was published in Practical Technology for Archives this month. They will also be presenting this paper at the semi-annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in Roanoke, VA in October.

Leave a comment

Stew of the month: April 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

We have received files for the 159 1/4″ open reel audiotape recordings from the WAMU Archives that were digitized by a vendor as part of the DIC digitization project proposal process; quality assurance will be completed over the next month and the recordings will be uploaded to UMD Digital Collections.

More than 300 recordings from Arthur Godfrey’s 1949-1950 radio shows are now available online in UMD Digital Collections (restricted to campus or VPN log-in from off campus due to copyright restrictions). These recordings are a small part of the Arthur Godfrey collection held by Special Collections, Mass Media and Culture. In 2012, Robin Pike worked with Chuck Howell, Carla Montori, and other support staff to prepare the wire recordings for digitization by a vendor; Joanne Archer, her GAs, and Bria Parker enhanced the minimal metadata after all the files were received in 2014; and Eric Cartier and Josh Westgard recently completed the ingest. The same vendor is currently digitizing 40 additional recordings as part of the FY15 DIC digitization project proposal process.

Digitization assistants digitized and provided images for the student posters presented in the Hornbake Library lobby on Maryland Day, as part of an assignment about the history of campus for the “MAC to Millennium: History of the University of Maryland” class taught by Anne Turkos and Jason Speck.

Historic Maryland Newspaper Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent its first production batch to the digitization vendor earlier this month. The Catoctin Clarion, first published in 1871 in Mechanicstown (modern-day Thurmont), Maryland, is the first title to be digitized during this grant cycle. We will digitize the run ending in 1922.

Several representatives from DSS and Doug McElrath from Special Collections met with staff at the Maryland State Archives on April 6 to discuss the future of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project and to begin making plans for digitizing content outside of the current National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Software Development

The project to update the Libraries’ Website to a Responsive Web Design based interface is progressing through the initial design phase.  We have completed wireframing and are now creating static HTML mockups using the Unify template.  These mockups are used as prototypes to select and refine the features and layout of the new site, in close coordination with the Web Advisory Committee.  You can follow our progress on the Website RWD Mockups page hosted in GitHub.

The first of two sprints to refactor the Exhibit website is complete.  We are converting the  Beyond the Battle: Bladensburg Rediscovered special collections exhibit into a generic Exhibit template which can be used to create multiple websites.  New, hosted websites for the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation and the Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities project are scheduled for release on June 1 using the new template.

After review of the Wufoo technical limitations we encountered for use in the online student application project, we have decided that trying to create a workaround using Wufoo will be too costly to create and maintain so we will implement the form in Drupal.  The disadvantages of this implementation are the increased developer time necessary to create the form and the inability of Human Resources staff to update the form at will.  This technical problem has put the project behind schedule so to make up time we will pull additional developers off of the Fedora 4 implementation in order to make up some ground.  Release of the production Fedora 4 instance will be delayed until June.  We did however fulfill our commitment to participate in community development of the new Fedora 4 Audit Service core feature.

User and System Support

Victoria Quartey with 3D printer

Victoria Quartey with 3D printer

User & Systems Support (USS) staff volunteered on Maryland Day 2015, showing Library visitors the “Maker” services that are available in the Libraries. In the lobby of Mckeldin, USS demonstrated 3D printing and 3D scanning. When visitors came into Mckeldin Library, they were welcomed by seeing miniature testudos printing from a 3D printer.  Many visitors were amazed and wanted to learn more about 3D printing. The printed testudos were handed out to the visitors which brought huge smiles to both parents and children. Many students were amazed that 3D printing is available in the Libraries. While some students started thinking about what they can send to have printed, other students were eager to learn how to get certified to use the Library 3D printers on their own.

3D scanning demo with Preston Tobery.

3D scanning demo with Preston Tobery.

The 3D scanning demo in the lobby was also very popular with the visitors of the library. Using a laptop and Xbox Kinect camera, approximately 80 visitors had 3D scans taken of them. Visitors were able to watch how the 3D scans were made, in real-time, on one of the lobby’s TV screens. Each visitor that was 3D scanned will receive a copy of their 3D scanned file through email. Another TV screen in the lobby featured a short video on the process of creating a 3D printed replica of the Jim Henson & Kermit statue that’s outside Stamp Student Union. A huge 3D printed model of the statue was displayed for all visitors to see.

USS staff were also present in the John & Stella Graves Makerspace, on the 2nd floor of Mckeldin Library, which was open from 10am -4pm during Maryland Day. Approximately 90 visitors stopped by that day. Many visitors were undergraduates in varying majors, such as special education, mechanical engineering, digital media and computer science. The diverse crowd of students, and other visitors, continued to support the idea of the non-exclusivity environment that’s in in the Libraries. The visitors were also interested in the other technologies and services the Libraries offered to the students and local community. There were discussions about the vinyl cutter, desktop 3D scanner, 3D printer and Oculus Rift that’s in the Makerspace. However, other services like the TLC Loner Program were discussed to let the visitors know that students could rent laptops, camcorders, iPads, and other equipment for their desired reason. Even though the Google Glass wasn’t included in the planned showcase, many visitors were still interested in it and wanted to try the device on. Many were amazed by the opportunity. Since, the 3D printer in the Makerspace was printing miniature testudos, some visitors were treated with a small training session and demo on the 3D printer. USS staff briefly showed them how to unload and reload the plastic filament, used the Makerbot desktop application, and how 3D prints are removed from the build plate.

The USS volunteers expressed that they enjoyed showing these Library services on Maryland Day. And the Library visitors seemed to enjoy it as well. Throughout the day, visitors and alumni not only expressed how surprised they were that the Libraries have these 3D Maker services, they also were surprised that they were currently available to all students. One visitor who works at a Library in California was surprised to see how advanced our Library is. And, one alumni even stated, “ I wish I would have stayed in school longer”.

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

MD-SOAR

The setup of the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) continues to progress. DSS created a DSpace “sandbox” for the MD-SOAR institutional partners to begin getting familiar with the DSpace repository solution. Initial configuration of the production instance of DSpace was completed after two weeks of work by software developers. The completed repository is expected to be ready for individual institutions by June 15th for their own local “launches” of the repository. This is a 2-year pilot project that will provide a repository solution to many of the libraries within the consortium plus a few other Maryland academic libraries. It is very encouraging to see so many libraries working together in support of providing access to their collections in an open environment and for DSS to be able to support this kind of initiative based on our technical expertise and DSpace experience.

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 88 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in April. Amongst the service requests were continued work on setting up YBP shelf-ready orders from YBP and working with Morgan State on getting EBSCO Discovery Services configured for use at their campus.

Kuali OLE

Six members of USMAI libraries were nominated, and graciously agreed, to help with testing and evaluating Kuali OLE. The testers met with CLAS on April 23rd to begin discussing OLE and creating a plan for evaluating it on behalf of the consortium. The group will prepare a report to be presented to, and discussed with, the Council of Library Directors at their September meeting. Thank you to Audrey Schadt, Austin Smith, Betty Landesman, Conrad Helms, Virginia Williams, and Vicki Sipe for their participation.

CLAS continues to monitor and contribute to the progress of version 1.6 of OLE. Seven OLE tickets are currently assigned to members of the team. Once released, the team will install and configure the new version for local testing. Team member continue to attend weekly implementation meetings with other OLE partners as those institutions move closer to implementing OLE. There is a lot to be learned from these shared experiences!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

ETDG news: Eric Cartier will be rotating off as co-chair in May, having completed his one-year term. Eric and Liz solicited self-nominations for the next co-chair and will announce the new co-chair at the May 20 ETDG meeting.

Edible Book Fair: Hornbake Plaza

Edible Book Fair: Hornbake Plaza

Eric helped to organize the 3rd Annual Maryland Edible Book Festival on April Fool’s Day. The popular event occurred in front of Hornbake Library. DCMR staff contributed the following edible books: Things Fall Apart, Beer and Loafing in Las Vegas, and The Pound and the Curry

Heidi Hanson attended a program sponsored by USMAI’s User Experience subgroup. The program featured EBSCO’s VP of User Experience Kate Lawrence. She discussed UX tips and observations based on EBSCO’s ethnographic research on college students. Among the observations was “results are the new black”. Ask Heidi for details…

David Dahl presented at a Google Analytics program sponsored by the USMAI Reporting & Analytics subgroup. The program was well-received and also included a good discussion and lightning presentations from several others in the consortium. There is a lot of interest in making better use of web analytics amongst the consortium’s libraries.

1 Comment

Stew of the Month: March 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

We have received files for the remaining volumes of the University of Maryland Schedule of Classes that were digitized from microfilm; quality assurance will be completed over the next month and they will be uploaded to the Internet Archive. Eric Cartier uploaded 24 volumes of the AFL-CIO News (see photo below for an example with interesting metadata) and 29 volumes University of Maryland Schedules of Classes to the Internet Archive, both held in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), and digitized from print and received back last month. These digitization projects were funded through the DIC proposal process.

GeorgeMeaneyJerryLewis1967

Jerry Lewis presenting a plaque to AFL-CIO president George Meaney in 1967

Elizabeth Caringola submitted the sample batch of digitized microfilm for the 2014-2016 NDNP grant. After this sample is approved, she will start production batches of around 10,000 pages. Babak and Liz also submitted the first grant report for the 2014-2016 cycle to NEH and the Library of Congress detailing the progress with the project.

Liz has also been working with her students to promote interesting digital images from digitized Maryland newspaper pages available on Chronicling America by starting a Pinterest board.

Robin worked with Joanne Archer, Anne Turkos, and other SCUA staff to ship 3,446 photographs from the Diamondback newspaper photo morgue to a digitization vendor. This shipment is the first half of the first phase of the two-year project to digitize nearly 18,000 photographs. The project is funded through the DIC proposal process.

Digital Programs and Initiatives

Alice Prael has begun work on updating the current Best Practices for Digital Collections. The new Best Practices will improve the organization and functionality by moving from a standard document to a wiki platform and will be updated to include our newest projects, initiatives, and processes.

Early in the month, Josh Westgard attended the DuraSpace summit in Washington, DC, where discussion focused on Duraspace’s three main products, Fedora, DSpace, and VIVO, all of which are of interest to, or currently in use by the Libraries. He also participated in the community-driven Fedora 4 development process, including helping to draft the requirements for an audit service, and attending, along with colleagues from SSDR and Metadata Services, the DC Area Fedora Users Group meeting at the National Agricultural Library.

Software Development

Development of the new online student application submission form and supervisor database has continued. We have hit a technical snag in our new Wufoo form caused by a limit of 100 fields per form and the way that “fields” are counted so will need to create a workaround.  Implementation has begun on the supervisor database and workflow implemented in the Staff Intranet, Libi, implemented in Drupal.

Working with the Library Web Advisory Committee, we have established high-level objectives and major milestones for the Responsive Web Design (RWD) project for the Libraries’ Website. The timeline calls for planning during the Spring, implementation over the Summer, final testing and content updates in the Fall, and release scheduled for January, 2016. We have completed selection of Bootstrap as the RWD framework and Unify as our starting template, based in part on our successful use of both tools in the Beyond the Battle: Bladensburg Rediscovered special collections exhibit. The next step of creating wireframes for key page layouts is in progress.

Hippo CMS received improvements to its Solr Database feature, currently used only by the  SCPA Scores Database, laying the groundwork for several new databases, such as SCPA Recording, Maryland Digitized Newspapers, and Plant Patents.  Databases are in general chosen to be disseminated using this feature when they have simple metadata and little to no content requirements.  This is a lighter weight alternative to full ingest into Digital Collections.

We are finalizing preparations for bringing online the new Fedora Commons Repository version 4.  This soft release will target minimal services only, with no data migrated from the existing Fedora 2. By bringing the service up in production well before the full release, we will be able to incrementally test and add new procedures. This will increase reliability and confidence in the service when it comes time to bear the full weight of our digital collections.

User and System Support

In late February, the John and Stella Graves MakerSpace was asked to assist with making a few 3D printed items for an exhibit at the Shady Grove (Priddy) Library in March. Eileen Harrigton requested the 3D printed models of human and hominid skulls as a part of an interactive exhibit on evolution. By 3D printing actual scans of the fossils, attendees were able to pick up the models and get a better and closer look at the skulls.

Interestingly, Archeology and 3D printing/scanning have some things in common. Both utilize careful planning on removal of debris from the item. For 3D printed item, sometimes supports are printed and need to be removed after the printing is finished, a lot like the removal of debris and dirt around fossils.

1

Preston removing supports and rough edges on the 3D printed skull

3D scanning is also used in archeological dig sites. It is used to quickly record accurate positional details and measurements before removal, and full 3D scans after the item is removed from the ground.

2

A technician 3D scanning a human skeleton using a handheld 3D scanner

3

The actual 3D scan of the skeleton above

After the scan is complete, it can be imported into a modeling program like Autodesk Design to clean up the scan and make it ready for 3D printing. After the initial cleanup, the file can be exported to a .stl file (stereolithography) and printed.

4

A 3D scanned Homo Erectus skull being processed in Autodesk Design

 

The files that were requested came from a website that has many 3D scanned fossils. (http://africanfossils.org/) The models took approximately 20 hours in total to print and one hour to do finishing details like support removal.

5

The finished 3D printed skulls for the event. From left…Homo Sapien, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus.

 

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

DSS has been working on an exciting opportunity with the consortium and a few other Maryland academic libraries to put together a shared institutional repository (IR). DSS presented a proposal to the consortium for a 2-year pilot, which was accepted. The IR will be named Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MDSoar, for short). The partners of the shared IR will rely on DSS’ 10+ years of experience managing DRUM. Similar to DRUM, MDSoar will use DSpace as its repository platform. DSS staff are currently working with the IR partners to configure the IR with an anticipated launch date of June 15, 2015.

The CLAS team continues its work on the Kuali OLE initiative, participating in weekly meetings with other OLE implementation partners from around the world and developing a sandbox environment in support of College Park’s and USMAI’s testing and evaluation of OLE. In April, the team will welcome in six consortium volunteers to test and evaluate OLE for its potential as the next ILS for the consortium.

Members of the team also attended the USMAI Next Gen ILS Working Group meeting on March 11th to discuss OLE, Aleph, and the next steps for moving to a new ILS over the course of the next several years.

The CLAS team responded to 101 Aleph Rx submissions and 32 e-resource requests. Additionally, members of the team have worked with campuses on such initiatives as implementing single sign-on at Salisbury, enhancing workflows for reporting library fines and fees to the Bursars’ Office at University of Baltimore, and assisting with the UMBC’s transition to shelf-ready orders from YBP.

Staffing

Mark Hemhauser’s last day in the office was March 13th. He is heading to University of California at Berkeley to fill a role as Head of Acquisitions. We wish him the best and hope that he’ll send some good weather our way!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Eric Cartier was interviewed by the hosts of Lost in the Stacks, “the one and only Research Library Rock’n’Roll show” on WERK 91.1 FM at Georgia Tech. The episode discussing audio digitization, the WMUC radio station and digitization project, and personal digital archiving aired on April 3.

Robin Pike co-proposed a pre-conference workshop called “Managing Audiovisual Digitization Projects” with consultant Joshua Ranger from AV Preserve and vendor George Blood from George Blood Audio, Video, and Film to the Society of American Archivists. She received confirmation that the workshop will be held on Monday, August 17, 2015 in Cleveland, OH as part of the annual conference pre-conference program.

Graduate Assistants Alice Prael (Digital Programs and Initiatives) and Amy Wickner (SCUA) found out they will be presenting their student poster “Getting to Know FRED:  Introducing Workflows for Born Digital Content” at the Society of American Archivists annual conference in August.

Liz Caringola recently achieved certification as a Digital Archives Specialist, a program is administered by the Society of American Archivists. Over the past two years, Liz has taken a variety of workshops and webinars on different aspects of digital archives and sat for the cumulative exam on February 24 in College Park.

Peter Eichman, Bria Parker, Ben Wallberg, and Joshua Westgard attended the Washington D.C. Fedora User Group Meeting on March 31 and presented to the group on the status of our Fedora 4 implementation.

Eric Cartier and Liz Caringola attended the Spring 2015 MARAC/NEA Joint Meeting in Boston from March 19-21.

David Dahl attended the ACRL 2015 Conference in Portland, OR from March 25-28. He presented as part of a panel entitled “A Tree in the Forest: Using Tried-and-True Assessment Methods from Other Industries”.

 

2 Comments

Stew of the Month: February 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 received back from digitization vendors 98 digitized video recordings from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange collection in from Special Collections in the Performing Arts (SCPA), and 25 volumes of AFL-CIO News and 29 volumes of the Schedule of Classes, both held in Special Collections in University Archives (SCUA). Eric Cartier will perform and manage quality assurance and ingest processes on these shipments over the next few months.

Eric Cartier and Josh Westgard collaborated to make more than 140 Madrigal Singers sound recordings available in UMD Digital Collections, digitized by a vendor in 2014. The Madrigal Singers collection is held in SCPA, and contains recordings from the UMD musical group who performed “vocal and instrumental music dating from the pre-Renaissance period to twentieth-century America” between 1958-1983.

Rachel digitizing_AliceinWonderland

Digitization Assistant Rachel Dook scanning books.

Rachel_cropping_quality checking_AinW

Rachel Dook rotating and cropping scans, and then doing a quality control inspection.

Digitization assistants began scanning covers, title pages, inscriptions, and selected illustrations for the upcoming Hornbake Library exhibit Alice 150 and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll – Selections from the Collection of August and Clare Imholtz.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Graduate Assistants Alice Prael (Digital Programs and Initiatives) and Amy Wickner (SCUA) presented at the Emerging Technologies Discussion Group (ETDG) February meeting about their work with born digital workflows.  They have been testing the forensic workstation (FRED) and tools including BitCurator and the Forensic Toolkit Imager to determine the best process for handling born digital content. The attendees posed questions and incited a compelling conversation on legacy media and the challenges in working with born digital media.

A DRUM Roll Please! With the addition of 247 electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) from the fall 2014 semester, there are now more 10,000 ETDs in DRUM dating back to 2003. Check out some of the most recent research by UMD graduates here. Also, the Archive of Immigrant Voices from the Center for the New History of the New America has recently been added to DRUM. The Archive currently contains eleven recordings and transcripts of immigrant oral histories with many more scheduled to be added in the new future.

Software Development

WuFoo Connector enterprise integration tool for submitting WuFoo forms into SysAid and AlephRx was completed and released to production.

Hippo CMS 7.8.8-1 was released to production with several bug fixes and performance improvements, along with a slight refresh for the Digital Collections home page.

We have embarked on a year long effort to overhaul the Libraries’ Website, consolidated with the Libraries’ Website, Mobile, to provide a new Responsive Web Design based interface.  This new interface will allow for access to all website content on any device (desktop, tablet, and mobile) with navigation and display optimized for the particular screen size on each device.  Working with the Web Advisory Committee we established high level objectives for the project and major milestones.  Look for the new interface in January, 2016.

User and System Support

Since September 2014, The John and Stella Graves Makerspace has garnered a lot of interest and offers for events and demonstrations.  Recently, we were contacted by Professor Kari Kraus, an associate professor in the iSchool (College of Information Studies) and the Department of English.

Professor Kraus was interested in incorporating 3D printing into both her graduate and undergraduate classes. She is teaching ENGL 467: Computer and Text, an undergraduate English course with twenty-five students. She is also teaching INST 644: Introduction to Digital Humanities, an iSchool graduate course with eleven students. Both classes are reading a short story, written by Philip K. Dick’s, Pay for the Printer. The science fiction short story is based in a war-ravaged future, humanity has come to depend on an alien species known as the Biltongs, possessed of the ability to replicate items identically – although the copies only last for a short time. When the Biltongs become decrepit, the humans are forced to rediscover the skill of building. She wanted her classes to recreate some objects from the story using modeling software with a warping tool on our 3D printers.

Sandra and Preston demonstrating the 3D printer.

Sandra and Preston demonstrating the 3D printer.

On March 3rd and March 11th, 2015, Preston and Sandra gave an introductory course on 3D printing and scanning to both her undergraduate and graduate courses. They spoke about the different tools and devices on the Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer, introduced Makerbot Desktop software, and other fundamentals teachings of 3D printing. Although, most of the students did not have any experience with 3D printing, they were engaged and eager for more knowledge. At every mention of different websites such as thingiverse, tinkercad, and mesh mixer, students followed along on their laptops. Even though Preston and Sandra talked about new-age technology, one student continued to use good ole’ paper and pen to write her notes. Preston and Sandra gave numerous opportunities to ask questions, re-explain a concept, or even become interactive with the printer by unloading and reloading the filament. There was a little bit of hesitation at first but students eventually warmed up and soon everyone wanted a turn. There was a slight issue with the printer which inhibited a student from doing one of the exercises. However, the problem was resolved and it became a teachable moment. Most students were amazed about the real-world applications of 3D printing such as producing prosthetic limbs. Sandra spoke about a certified user of the John and Stella Graves Makerspace, Luke, and his ability to print prosthetic hands for children who do not have them. A certified user is a patron who has proven their proficiency through a skill test.

Let me take a closer look at this 3D printed car. What can I do with the 3D printer?

Let me take a closer look at this 3D printed car. What can I do with the 3D printer?

Come to me 3D printed elephant, let me take a closer look...

Come to me 3D printed elephant, let me take a closer look…

For those who sat in on the class as an observer, most thought it was a very approachable learning experience. The content was deep but they were impressed to see their ability to stay in the moment to get the students to understand the concept of 3D printing.

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

The CLAS team responded to 94 Aleph Rx submissions (including keeping track of all those weather-related closings!) and 32 e-resource requests. Of note, David Wilt has been working with University of Baltimore to improve the process of getting fines and fees information out of Aleph and into their bursar’s financial system. Hans Breitenlohner has been working with Salisbury University to implement single sign-on (SSO) using Shibboleth.

Testing of Kuali OLE continues and February marked an important time as College Park’s implementation group got their first look at the “sandbox” OLE environment set up by CLAS. The sandbox environment is currently running version 1.5.6 and the team is looking forward to the release of version 1.6 soon. Team members participate in weekly implementation meetings where they learn from and help out other institutions working towards the implementation of OLE.

The migration of the Metalib application to a new virtual machine environment continues and is still on schedule for a production cut-over at the end of March.

Staffing

Nathan Putnam has now taken on the role of Acting Manager of Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI) in the DSS Division; he will continue to be the manager of MSD in the CSS Division.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike attended The Library Collective Conference in Knoxville, TN February 19-20, and presented on the panel “Finding a Way: Negotiation Tips and Tactics” about working with digitization vendors.

Publications

Graduate Assistant Alice Prael co-proposed a paper with SCUA GA Amy Wickner on their recent work with born digital media and workflows, which was recently accepted to the Practical Technology for Archives journal.

Visits

Pam Mitchem and her team from Appalachian State University Libraries, Boone, NC, are planning a digital scholarship center.  They identified the University of Maryland’s digital programs and initiatives as a model to investigate and visited College Park on a fact-finding expedition. Trevor Muñoz, Terry Owen and Josh Westgard met with the ASU team for a productive exchange.

Four members of the technology team at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore arranged a visit to us; they are planning to develop their traditional library into a Digital Media Resource Center. They were due to meet with Robin Pike, Eric Cartier, Carleton Jackson and Uche Enwesi on Friday 6th March but our Snow Day intervened and the visit was canceled. Perhaps they’ll be able to visit another day.

Leave a comment

Stew of the Month: January 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

With Jennie Knies’s departure, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project has moved from Digital Programs and Initiatives to Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting.

Our film digitization vendor delivered the files for 47 deteriorated films from the Library Media Services collection, which will be ingested into the Films @UM collection next month. This project was funded through the work of the Digitization Initiatives Committee.

In December, Neil Frau-Cortes and Robin packed 300 books from the brittle Hebraica collection, to be shipped to a digitization vendor. This is the first digitization shipment of a multi-year project to digitize the unique books and serials in this collection.

Eric trained student digitization assistants Rachel Dook, Massimo Petrozzi, and Brin Winterbottom how to digitize open reel audio tapes by transferring episodes of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” from the 1970s. Their new capabilities will provide us more flexibility when scheduling in-house audio digitization.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

The new year started out on a difficult note for DPI, with the official announcement that our fearless leader, Jennie Knies, would depart before the end of the month to take up the position of head librarian at the library of Penn State University, Wilkes-Barre campus. While we wish Jennie all the best in her new endeavors, and look forward to continued contact with her on the conference circuit out there in library land, her departure — after nearly 15 years of service to the UMD Libraries and more than two years as founding manager of our department — leaves a big hole in the division that will not be easily filled.  After we spent much of the month repeatedly attempting to execute the following command to no avail:

    mysqldump -f jennies_brain.db > filingcabinet/knowledge.sql

Jennie mercifully agreed to write it all down. ;-)  Thanks, Jennie, for everything!

January also saw the adoption of our first official (non-journal) publication associated with our nascent e-publishing program. A Colony in Crisis: The Saint-Domingue Grain Shortage of 1789 (http://colonyincrisis.lib.umd.edu), is a series of “primary sources from an episode in the history of Saint-Domingue,” translated and curated by Abby Broughton, Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, and Nathan Dize. We say ‘adoption’ rather than ‘release’ or ‘publication’ because the Colony in Crisis website has been around for a while already, associated with a larger effort to make freely available a series of French Pamphlets from the Libraries’ Rare Books collection, the fruits of which can be browsed in the UMD French Pamphlets collection on the Internet Archive. By adopting the site into the e-publishing program, the Libraries are taking responsibility to support and ensure the continued accessibility of the authors’ work into the future.  Additional e-publications are in the works.

Software Development

The upgrade to Hippo CMS 7.8 has been completed.  We have taken advantage of the new Solr integration feature in 7.8 to migrate Jim Henson Works to Solr and, working with Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) staff, to add the new Score Collections Database.  Hippo CMS 7.8 also provides new application architecture features which will be implementing to increase performance and reliability.

Libi, the staff intranet,  was upgraded to Drupal 6.33 and a number of minor bugs were fixed.  This completes the first round of changes in response to coordination with the Libi subcommittee of the Library Assembly Advisory (LAAC).  The subcommittee is currently soliciting Libraries staff feedback on the future of Libi which will inform our future plans for Libi, which may include an upgrade from the outdated Drupal 6 to Drupal 7/8 or possibly a new implementation.

We have begun a project, along with Libraries’ HR,  to develop an online student application submission form and supervisor workflow integrated with the Libi.  This system will replace the current paper workflow for students to submit their applications and supervisors to review the entries for matching skills and available hours, which is a manual, time-intensive processing of reading through stacks of paper entries.

Database Finder was released roughly one year ago as an easier to use alternative to databases in Research Port, providing un-authenticated access to database information and improved search and discovery.  Working with Nevenka Zdravkovska, the Web Advisory Committee, and Subject Specialists we have specified a second round of improvements for Database Finder: 1) Research Port categories and sub-categories will be added to the database information along with a faceted browse, and 2) Categories will be linked to Subjects for contextual help and links from Database Finder to Subject Specialists.  The implementation project is still to be scheduled.

User and System Support

Mobile carts for conference rooms

As User and System Support (USS) spoke to users of the Libraries conference rooms, it became apparent that these spaces are hosting both static and dynamic events. In some cases people, chairs and tables remain in place for the whole event whilst other meetings involve movement of attendees and rearrangement of furniture to facilitate discussion. When the time came for updating the technology in The Dean’s Conference Room and rooms 7113 & 7121, USS decided to provide portable and easily used equipment.

cart1

Each of the three carts have:

  • 70 inch TV
  • HDMI laptop connection with adapters for multiple types of connections: Mac, Windows, Android phone…
  • DVD/VCR player
  • high definition web camera and a high quality microphone
  • wireless keyboard and mouse
  • USB hub to transfer documents to a mini-PC (for example, take your PPT on a thumb-drive and upload it – remember to delete it from the mini-PC afterwards)
cart3

Clear instructions for users.

Back of unit: the small red box is the mini PC

Back of unit: the small red box is the mini PC

3D printing was utilized on the carts; Preston created and printed custom brackets to hold the laptop and microphone cables neatly.

The main benefit of these carts is mobility; they can be quickly unplugged and moved to another space in the library as needed. [Carts must be returned to their original room at the end of meetings.]  A battery backup keeps things powered on for up to 10 minutes while the cart is being moved or if we lose power. Other benefits include web meetings and recording using Adobe Connect. The “all-in-one” piece design makes them visually appealing and easy to use.

We have had positive feedback on their use: Tim Hackman (Director, User Services & Resource Sharing), says “they’re easy to use and self-explanatory”. Eric Bartheld (Director of Communications) reports that “It’s very easy for a presenter to plug in his or her Apple laptop – which wasn’t the case before.  Great improvement”.

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

The Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team continues to support the consortium’s existing shared systems while preparing for the next generation of systems. In January, the team responded to 113 Aleph Rx submissions and 25 e-resource requests. Timely responses to these requests have helped libraries in the consortium perform their daily operations and pursue new initiatives to make their work more effective and efficient.

David Steelman researched some workflow issues with Aleph Rx submissions and, with the team’s review, has modified the interface to make submitting requests more intuitive. No issues have arisen with request submissions since the modifications were implemented.

The team continues its investigation of Kuali OLE, participating in regular meetings with other partners and testing system functionality in all functional areas. Hans Breitenlohner and David S. developed and shared with the OLE community a PERL script for copying bibliographic import profiles, making the process of creating new bib loaders much less error prone. In anticipation of expanded testing by College Park staff and members of the USMAI Next-Gen ILS Working Group, a Zoho Projects site has been created to facilitate communication and documentation during the testing. Plans to provide a stable testing environment have also been made.

Metalib (a.k.a. ResearchPort) is in the middle of a migration from aging hardware to its new virtual machine environment. With Hans leadership, the team is currently testing and fixing bugs in order to prepare for a production cutover tentatively scheduled for late March.

Staffing

David Dahl joined us in early January as Director of the CLAS team. He has had a busy first month as can be seen from his USMAI/CLAS blog entry above.

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Projects hired two new student assistants to assist in metadata collation, quality review, and outreach. Melissa Foge and Kerry Huller are both candidates for Master of Library Science in the College of Information Studies.

The Hornbake Digitization Center welcomed three new digitization assistants, Caroline Hayden, Ryan Jester, and Marlin Olivier, all first-year students in the College of Information Sciences.

Welcome to DSS, David, Melissa, Kerry, Caroline, Ryan, and Marlin!

Aaron Ginoza has joined SSDR as a participant in the job enrichment program.  Aaron will be working roughly four hours per week for six months, with these enrichment objectives:  1) participate in the responsive design project for the Libraries’ website by increasing web technology skills (HTML/CSS/Javascript) and researching responsive design options, 2) implementing social media improvements for the website and 3) learning the software engineering workflows for web development.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

“‘Is This Enough?’ Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives Media,” a session that Bria Parker, Vin Novara, and Robin Pike proposed to the ICA-SUV conference, was accepted. They will co-present in July 2015.

Francis Kayiwa attended OCLC’s Developer House in Dublin OH from December 1-5, 2015. Developer House is a place where library technologists can gather together for five days to share their perspectives and expertise as they hack on OCLC web services. Working with other technologists from other organizations, Francis helped create a “Today in History” beta application. See for more information on Developer House Project.

Francis Kayiwa also attended the Code4lib Conference in Portland Oregon from February 9th – 12th. Francis co-taught a half day pre-conference on the use of Docker technology. Docker is relatively new software containerization software that is used to provide software as service.

Appointments

Babak Hamidzadeh has accepted an invitation to serve as Senior Advisor of Information Science for SESYNC, the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center based in Annapolis. The center is “dedicated to accelerating scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems” with projects as diverse as storm water management and North America Beavers. Babak hopes, with this appointment, to align and link directly technical development in both organizations, namely UMD Libraries and SESYNC.

Leave a comment

Fedora 4 Digital Repository Implementation Project

I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce the launch of the Fedora 4 Digital Repository project, which aims to implement a new system to replace our existing 7-year-old Fedora 2.2.2-based Digital Collections.  Fedora has come a long way in the last several years and we are very excited about the possibilities offered by the newest version.  Because the differences between our older version and the latest are so diverse, this is a more complicated project than a simple upgrade.

An initial project planning group consisting of myself, Ben Wallberg, Peter Eichman, and Bria Parker, have outlined our primary objectives for the project:

  • Leverage repository improvements provided by Fedora 4 application
  • Migrate selected existing services and applications
  • Develop new features

You may read more about Fedora 4 as an application here: http://duraspace.org/node/2394.  Our complete objectives document is also available for reading: Fedora 4 Objectives.

It is important to note that we are hoping that this new repository will reduce some silos in our portfolio, and be more than just a place to house metadata and access copies of select digital assets.   We are moving forward with an awareness of the importance of a system to not just house, but manage, our digital assets, and to allow for more flexibility over who, what, when, where, and how our staff and our users can work with our content.

At a practical level, some of the changes/improvements we hope to make include:

  • Replacement of existing Administrative Tools interface with a community-developed and maintained application, such as Islandora.
  • Batch ingest mechanisms that can be user-operated and integrated with the Administrative Tools
  • Replacement of current homegrown metadata schemas with standard schemas, such as MODS and PREMIS
  • More advanced content model, allowing description and control of objects down to the node level, rather than at the descriptive record level
  • Enhanced user-generated reporting
  • Flexible authentication and authorization controls

This is a major project, one that will take approximately a year although we have yet to set firm milestones or deadlines. In the meantime, we are ceasing any major developments on the existing Fedora repository, with exception of crucial maintenance issues. We have noted and categorized existing outstanding metadata sweeps and will handle those during the migration process.  We appreciate your patience as we work on the new system, which will be a most welcome improvement.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,900 other followers