Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Services and Technologies (DST) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DST Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.
Historic Maryland Newspapers Project
HMNP continues to work on newspaper batches remotely. We’re currently reviewing digital files for our print newspapers – Maryland Suffrage News and Greenbelt Cooperator. Up next, we’ll be looking at some of our foreign language titles including papers in German and Italian. Our student assistants, Sarah and Bryanna, continue to work on promoting the project on social media and completing the state digitized newspaper survey for the grant project.
Hornbake Digitization Center
Digitization Assistants Vanessa Barker, Natalia Grajewski, Amanda Scott, and Jane Sonneman continue to review and create derivative files for the Ian MacKaye fanzine project for Special Collections in Performing Arts. They have completed 205 of 613 fanzines.
Other Digitization Activities
Assistant Alexis Woolford continued the review of files produced for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange digitization project, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has nearly completed her review of the first two batches of video files. The second batch has had some quite unusual artifacts, in addition to the typical temporary tracking problems, or audio or video dropouts due to degradation. Both Robin Pike and Juana Godinez have had to assess issues to determine whether the issues were inherent from creation or degradation or were an artifact of the digitization process; so far all issues are inherent.
Assistant Liz Holdzkom has completed her review of the rework of the FY19 Diamondback project and has progressed to performing fixes in the XML files, correcting misspelled important words in the OCR of titles or mislabeled page numbers in the metadata.
Assistant Cecilia Franck has been making steady progress downloading and post-processing born-digital files of the Greenbelt News Review in a cooperative project with the Greenbelt Archive Project. They have prepared files and metadata from 2002-2019, noting when the PDFs need to have additional pages scanned from the print and which ones are complete, and have begun work preparing PDFs for previously-digitized early issues. All files will be loaded to the Internet Archive.
Juana Godinez continued to copy and make derivatives for files previously created on-demand for Films@UM. She has also been learning Premiere Pro and experimenting with editing some of the footage to make it more watchable for patrons, which will come in handy when we’re able to set up a refreshed video digitization station.
Robin Pike has been working on project administration and planning for current and future projects. She has updated DCMR’s Libi page with information concerning digitization production and an updated work plan. Please watch those spaces as there are developments in the opening of services in the Libraries.
Digital Programs and Initiatives
Archelon – continued implementation of MVP Milestone 4 – Batch Import: Metadata. Provides batch import of metadata for repository objects, through uploaded CSV or Turtle files. Begin planning for Milestones 5 and 6.
UMD PACT Website – Begin implementation of a new Drupal based website for UMD PACT (Publishing, Access, and Contract Terms), a subgroup of the University Senate’s University Library Council (ULC).
Continued planning and testing for an implementation of Kubernetes as the container orchestration system for our Docker-based applications.
USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium
The CLAS team responded to 69 Aleph Rx submissions and 52 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in April.
Changes in USMAI member libraries’ operations has led to a “rebalancing” of the types of requests that CLAS receives.
As the ticket counts above indicate, e-resource requests have increased dramatically since mid-March as libraries attempt to maximize the resources available to their users remotely. Many thanks go to Ingrid as our point-person for e-resources requests for supporting the increased demand with her usual highly-responsive turnaround time and diligent accuracy. We have expanded our coverage so that additional staff can respond to e-resource requests.
While Aleph Rx submissions have decreased from their typical levels, the types of requests have changed, with an increase in “non-standard” requests, as libraries look for data and configuration changes that will support their new modes of operation and plans for the months ahead. Requests for reports with patron data have increased as libraries look to get in touch with their users and better understand the status of items in their collections. We will continue to update the Portal’s “COVID-19 Continuity of Operations” page as new reports and configuration procedures are developed.
User and Systems Support
We have been discussing ways to streamline installing and updating approved software on library employees’ assigned computers. The usual way is to have a technician remote into their computers to install or upgrade the requested software, or to request limited admin rights for a period of time.
During the pandemic, we decided to fast track the testing of various software for this purpose to see which one will work best for our environment.
We tested a new administrator management software called Admin by Request. Admin by Request gives library staff the ability to request permission to install or update the software on the library owned devices they are using without having to send an email or call the helpdesk physically. When the user is ready to install software, they will proceed as usual. Once it gets to the point of where admin access is needed, Admin by request will pop up on the client computer and ask for some more information about what the user wants to do and contact info. Once the staff completes the pop-up, a service request will be created, and a technician will receive an alert to permit the user to install the software. After reviewing the request, a technician can approve or deny the request. Once the request is approved, the staff can proceed with updating or installation of the new software. For example, if a user is trying to install BoxSync on their computer but needs admin rights. With Admin By Request, it will notify DST Helpdesk that the user needs to install BoxSync, and a technician will approve the request faster than remoting into the user’s computer. Once the request is approved, the user will have 15mins from the time of approval to install the software.
The major benefit of Admin by Request is that it allows for fast response to staff requests for software updates or install. It also gives the technical group the ability to see what needs to be updated and the kinds of software library staff are requesting.
If we notice that a particular software has been requested by many staff, we can easily deploy it to everyone using a different tool. We can also add the software to the approved software list, so in the future, if a Library staff wants to install that particular software, they will not need to ask for admin rights to install it. All of these functions are performed through the management website for Admin by Request.
Admin by Request eliminates the need for technicians to remote into devices and gives users the autonomy to install and update software.