Stew of the Month, August 2021

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

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project received the first batch back for quality review for this grant phase. It finishes up The Republican from Oakland, Maryland that was started in the previous phase. Metadata collation continues for additional titles for this phase as well.

The Library of Congress has created a new, dedicated Twitter account for Chronicling America (@ChronAmLOC). Follow along there to see more historic news content. They’ve featured titles Maryland digitized in previous grant phases including Der Deutsche Correspondent, a German language paper published in Baltimore in one of their posts, and Czas Baltimorski, a Polish language paper published in Baltimore in another.
The August #ChronAmParty theme was #GoestotheFair – take a look at what we found in the papers! Also, check out this post from Book Lover’s Day!

Digitization Activities

Digitization Assistant Alexis Woolford complete QC review of the historical agriculture publications for the Project Ceres grant. Robin Pike prepared and ingested the completed materials from the microfilm (2021) and print (2020) phases of the project and they are now available in the Internet Archive. Many thanks to Liz Caringola, Jen Doherty, Bobbie Mallett, Lisa Shiota, and others from cataloging and metadata to complete the metadata and MARC records needed to complete the grant deliverables. Pam McClanahan and Robin both worked with Nevenka Zdravkovska to close out the project with the funding agency.

Robin also worked with Liz Caringola and Josh Westgard to ingest the final programs from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange grant to conclude that grant-funded project in August.

Digitization Assistants Brianna Nunez, Gabrielle Puglisi, and Marcella Stranieri completed digitizing the Baker’s Journal project from 2019 (delayed due to the pandemic), with assistance from Alexis Woolford. It will be ingested to the Internet Archive next month. They also worked to digitize and QC Works Progress Administration photos, university publications, and numerous patron requests.

Alex Trim and Robin Pike met with John Davis (SCPA) to plan and receive the final batch of the Ian MacKaye fanzine project, which will begin soon.

Alex Trim also received and prepared the Mayo Oral Histories conversion project for Prange, where students will be post-processing and preparing files for ingest from an already-digital oral history project.

Software Development

Releases

MD-SOAR – Add new features to support ORCID identifiers and an updated submissions workflow.

Under Development

Website Redesign Project – Continued development of the new Drupal site; all major features are now underway.

Avalon Improvements – Add ability for Editors to edit published objects, plus miscellaneous bug fixes.

Archelon Improvements – Improve stability and reliability of the application for metadata editing and import/export of binaries via the user interface; on hold pending completion of testing and feedback.

DRUM – Added new features to support DRUM for Data; custom submissions workflow and schema.org linked data; on hold pending completion of testing and feedback.

Kubernetes – Completed migration of Archelon to the Kubernetes cluster up to QA environment; on hold pending completion of testing and feedback.

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

The CLAS team responded to 87 Aleph Rx submissions and 21 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

Support Highlights

The following are a few highlights from our support activities this month:

  • Troubleshot and resolved an issue with HS/HSL’s patron loader.
  • Updated Aleph and EZproxy to reflect new College Park IP ranges.
  • Tested new EZproxy configurations to prevent unauthorized intrusion attempts.

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

New Ticketing System

Work to implement the new USMAI Service Desk continued in June with additional setup in our QA environment. In preparation for a September launch of the new ticketing system. Our production USMAI Member Portal was migrated to the Libraries’ Kubernetes cluster and the production instance of the USMAI Service Desk was also created in Kubernetes. Additional work to migrate all Portal user accounts to the Service Desk will be done in early September. This work will allow USMAI library staff to login to both applications with the same account credentials.

ILS Migration Project

CLAS team members participated in meetings and activities of the Core Project Team. The team continues to participate in the review and revision of draft requirements for the RFP.

MD-SOAR

Changes to the submission form requested by MD-SOAR partners were moved into production. Additionally, a new field to record ORCIDs was added to the submission form.

Staffing

DCMR welcomes Alex Trim, our new Digitization Services Coordinator, who will be managing in-house digitization in the Hornbake Digitization Center!

DCMR said goodbye to Marcella Stranieri who will discontinue her work in the Hornbake Digitization Center for other obligations.

Uche Enwesi’s title has changed to Director of Information Technology and Facilities Operations. As part of this, facilities management will be added to Uche’s portfolio, ensuring that space and technology infrastructural needs are considered in a holistic, integrated way.

DST also welcomes Catherine Roach, Library Facilities Manager, to the division as part of the incorporation of facilities management into the division’s operations.

Stew of the Month, July 2021

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

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

As the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project continues to prepare newspaper titles for digitization in the current phase, we’re doing outreach on some of the titles from the previous phase that are available online now. 

On social media, we’ve been sharing some of the recent titles that have been added to Chronicling America from Maryland: the Montgomery County Sentinel, the Hammond Gazette, and the Trench and Camp. Several more pages have been added to the Montgomery County Sentinel with more to come. The Sentinel was a weekly newspaper out of Rockville that began publication in 1855 and just ended print publication in 2020. 

Two Maryland military base titles, the Hammond Gazette and the Trench and Camp, are available online now also. The Hammond Gazette was published between 1862 and 1864 for the staff and patients at the Hammond General Hospital, a Civil War military facility at Point Lookout. A WWI era title, the Trench and Camp was published from 1917-1919 for military personnel at Fort Meade and covered war news, promoted base activities, included inspirational content, and shared other news including the influenza outbreak of 1918, which affected many at camp. 
Don’t forget to check out the monthly #ChronAmParty where all of the state newspaper projects share from their state’s titles around a specific theme on Twitter. July’s theme is #NationalIceCreamMonth!

Digitization Activities

Digitization Assistants Brianna Nunez, Gabrielle Puglisi, and Marcella Stranieri continued to digitize the Baker’s Journal in between numerous patron requests. Assistant Alexis Woolford continued to to fulfill requests for existing files and perform quality control on newly-digitized materials. We have received a substantial uptick in requests since SCUA opened up requests to external researchers after Memorial Day. Digitization Assistants are now able to digitize audio cassettes and reels, having been trained in audio digitization processes over the last month.

Robin Pike worked with Amy Wickner and Liz Caringola to prepare born-digital university publications for upload to the Internet Archive; Josh Westgard provided support in getting the Python batch-load script to work again so DCMR can continue this work.

Robin also worked with Liz Caringola and John Davis to prepare the finalized metadata for Josh Westgard to upload the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange programs for ingest to Archelon. This will conclude the final upload of the material relating to this grant.

Robin and Pam also worked to conclude the Project Ceres grant. Alexis Woolford performed quality control on the files, Nevenka and Pam began working on the final report, and Robin worked with Liz Caringola, Lisa Shiota, Jen Doherty, and Neil Frau-Cortes on metadata/cataloging cleanup, per the deliverables required by the Center for Research Libraries.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Digital Collections Content Available

DPI is pleased to announce the release of several new digital collections in our repositories.

The University of Maryland Athletics collection in Avalon consists of over 100 films documenting the the University’s athletic teams over the years. Currently, this material consists of basketball films from the 1950s-1970s but we will be continuing to expand to other eras and sports. The majority of this material comes from the University of Maryland Intercollegiate Athletics department as well as individual donations to the University Archives.

Also in Avalon, the Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting Company) audio tapes collection provide a comprehensive look at worldwide events delivered over the radio from 1957-1982. The content of the tapes consists of national news feeds, programs and interviews produced by the Group W Washington bureau. It includes voice cuts and speeches from politicians and activists during events of national and international significance such as the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War and the Space Race, the Vietnam War, the anti-war movement and the Watergate crisis. Nearly 600 of these tapes have been digitized and made available to the public.

In addition, the Diamondback Photos collection adds more than 16,000 photographs taken for the University of Maryland student newspaper, The Diamondback. Photographers took multiple shots at various campus events, athletic games, and of general campus life. Some images were printed in the newspaper, others were kept on file. This collection covers the period from the early 1970s to the late 1990s.

Software Development

Releases

Website Redesign Project – Launched new Drupal site for staff content updates; setup authorizations for Web Facilitators, Web Managers, and Content Updaters; migrated initial existing content.

Under Development

Website Redesign Project Continued development of the new Drupal site; Computer and Equipment Availability, Library Hours.

Archelon Improvements – Improve stability and reliability of the application for metadata editing and import/export of binaries via the user interface.

MD-SOAR – Add new features to support ORCID identifiers and an updated submissions workflow.

DRUM – Added new features to support DRUM for Data; custom submissions workflow and schema.org linked data.

Kubernetes – Completed migration of Archelon to the Kubernetes cluster up to QA environment; Began migration of DRUM to the Kubernetes cluster.

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

The CLAS team responded to 83 Aleph Rx submissions and 18 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in July.

Support Highlights

The following are a few highlights from our support activities this month:

  • Worked with EBSCO to resolve an issue with the loading of our full EDS extract.
  • Proactively updated 19 database stanzas in EZproxy based on OCLC’s EZproxy database stanza list.
  • Batch removed an Item Processing Status from approximately 900,000 College Park items as part of deactivating HathiTrust’s Emergencey Temporary Access Service.

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

New Ticketing System

We’re still planning for a September launch of the new USMAI Service Desk. July’s efforts focused on stabilizing and setting up our QA environment, including integrating the Service Desk with the QA version of the USMAI Member Portal. Work is also underway on revising how user accounts are managed for the Portal and Service Desk (remember: only one login!) and investigating the migration of open and old tickets from our current ticketing systems.

ILS Migration Project

CLAS team members participated in meetings and activities of the Core Project Team. Along with others across USMAI, the team has been reviewing and providing feedback on draft requirements for the RFP.

Data Warehouse

Two new loan attributes have been prepared for addition to the “Collections (Current)” reporting topic:

  • Past Month Loan Count – A count of loan transactions that occurred in the month prior to the current data snapshot.
  • Current FY Loan Count – A count of loan transactions that have occurred in the current fiscal year (July to June).

Both attributes will be available for use starting with the August DW refresh.

One new report is now available to all USMAI libraries in the Data Warehouse Reporting Environment:

  • Active HOLs with Invalid OWN Fields

This report can be found in the Repository at Public -> Reports -> Collections (Current).

User Systems and Support

As the Fall semester approaches the staff and students of USS have been busy ensuring all of our libraries are up and running.

In a USS meeting we thought about all of the projects that needed to be completed before the Fall semester. We knew that there would be a lot of projects and moves for USS to do before the Fall semester so we created a spreadsheet to track these items. The list of projects included testing all digital signage, checking all microfilms, reimaging the 6th floor classroom laptops, ensuring Bookeye stations are working, calling UBT and Medi (our vendors for the Canon printers and Microfilms) for service of the devices and much more. We replaced our aging BookEye scanners in ART and ARCH and installed a new BookEye in PAL.

Our first major project for the Fall semester was installing solid state drives (SSDs) in all of the branch libraries and staff PCs. SSDs are hard drives that make the experience of using a computer better because data access is much faster.  We have installed about 350 512GB SDDs in our computers.

We partnered with a lot of other library and campus departments for our projects. Over the course of summer, we created and deployed the image for public desktops and laptops (PCs and Macs). This project is a work in progress as we are working with the TLC group to ensure that there are laptops available for loan.

We worked with DIT to change our public area computers from a public IP address to a private IP address. This allows for better management and security. We are working with staff to change their networks as well. 

While working on our summer projects, we managed our service requests and closed out quite a few. As campus was moving into the next phase of opening on August 2nd we knew that there would be an influx of tickets. From June 1st to August 12th of 2021, we’ve completed 1,106 service requests compared to last year on the same dates when there were only 462 requests.  

We plan to continue to stay on course with our projects for the upcoming semester and provide a seamless experience to welcome back our students and patrons. 

Staffing

DPI is pleased to welcome Ben Bradley to the department as UMD Libraries’ Discovery Strategies and Systems Librarian. Ben has been UMD’s Discovery Librarian since August 2017 in the Collection Strategies and Services division, and this shift reflects both the increasingly technology-centric role Ben occupies in the Libraries, as well as an expansion of his portfolio to include broader discovery responsibilities across our platforms. DPI is happy to welcome him to our basement lair!

Even as we welcome Ben to the team, we have to say farewell and congratulations to Porter Olsen, DPI’s Graduate Assistant since August 2019. Porter has accepted a position as a lecturer in UMD’s English department, and we are sure he will be as much of an asset to them as he has been to us (and, just saying, close enough to drop by for lunch once in a while). We are incredibly grateful for Porter’s work with DPI over the last two years, especially his efforts to shepherd Archelon and Avalon over their respective finish lines, train our users, perform application testing, and develop documentation that will sustain us going forward. The yard looks pretty good right now.

Stew of the Month, June 2021

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

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Work continues on the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) with metadata coalition of Phase 5 newspaper titles and promoting the project through social media channels. 

Our student assistant Alexis is working on collation for The globe-independent, a weekly published in Hagerstown during the 1940’s. Along with The Hagerstown globe, this will expand our coverage into Washington County during this phase and provide more 20th century content, which has been requested by K-12 teachers. Recently graduated student, Benny is continuing to assist with the project and is working on collation for the Maryland gazette. The gazette is the first newspaper published in Maryland and will help us meet our goal to provide early coverage of state newspaper history and provide resources as Maryland prepares for its 400th anniversary.

Check out our announcement about the Trench and camp, a WWI era newspaper published for the troops at Fort Meade, that has just been added to Chronicling America! Sarah, who also recently graduated, but is continuing to assist with the project, prepared our social media content for the National Digital Newspaper Program June #ChronAmParty with the theme #GreatOutdoorsMonth. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Digitization Activities

Robin began training new MLIS students Brianna Nunez, Gabrielle Puglisi, and Marcella Stranieri on in-house digitization procedures and still image scanning equipment–they are now proficient with the flatbed and Zeutschel scanners and will be learning additional technologies in July.

With the recent expansion in reference requests in Special Collections and University Archive, the Digitization Center has been much busier with patron requests as well as working on long-term projects–just in time to give the new students lots to work on! Assistants Alexis Woolford, Gabrielle, and Marcella have been completing patron requests for books, photographs, maps, and existing files throughout the month of June. They have also been working on boxes of the Baker’s Journal newspaper, nearly completing two more boxes. Assistants Brianna and Alexis have also been working to perform QC and JPEG generation on the MacKaye fanzines for SCPA. We are nearly ready to receive the second batch for rescanning.

Software Development

Releases

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

Bento Search Updates – Released updates to the Libraries’ Website search target and moved the search interface to new search.lib.umd.edu domain

Avalon – Released Avalon in production mode for public access; includes Handle Service integration, Aeon integration, and additional branding/theming updates.

Handle Service – Released new Handle Service for administering and resolving persistent URLs using the Handle System. This new application replaces the one currently used for Fedora 2 and ArchivesSpace, and will additionally support Avalon and Fedora.

Maryland History and Culture Bibliography (MDHC) – Released new implementation of MDHC backed by a Solr Database.

Kubernetes – Completed upgrade of the Kubernetes cluster from 1.17 to 1.21.

Under Development

Website Redesign Project Continued development of the new Drupal site; access control, content migration.

Archelon Improvements – Improve stability and reliability of the application for metadata editing and import/export of binaries via the user interface.

Kubernetes – Began migration of Archelon to the Kubernetes cluster.

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

The CLAS team responded to 66 Aleph Rx submissions and 14 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in June.

Support Highlights

The following are a few highlights from our activities this month:

  • Troubleshot and reported an SFX error caused by an Ex Libris software upgrade.
  • Investigated permissions for Aleph inventory functionality to enable use by USMAI libraries.
  • Completed annual Patron Purge and Fiscal Year-End Rollover processes

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

New Ticketing System

Progress continues on the setup of the new USMAI Service Desk with the majority of work in June focused on bringing up Jira Service Management alongside Confluence (the USMAI Member Portal software) in the Libraries’ Kubernetes infrastructure. Both applications are now running in our quality assurance (QA) environment and going through further testing and setup to prepare for our production release. We are now planning a go-live for the USMAI Service Desk in September, after the start of the Fall semester.

ILS Migration Project

CLAS team members participated in meetings and activities of the Core Project Team. The team’s major effort was in pulling together a draft Current State Summary based on information provided by USMAI libraries. The goal of the Current State Summary is to inform potential vendors about the current state of USMAI’s operations and setup as they apply to the ILS, including unique structural aspects of USMAI, consortial and library operations that interact with the ILS, potential sources from which data will be loaded into the next ILS, and current and future integrations. The draft is now out for feedback from staff at all USMAI libraries.

New Data Warehouse Reports

Three new reports are now available in the Data Warehouse Reporting Environment:

  • Patron Purge Items Report
  • Retention Items with Lost, Missing, or Withdrawn IPSs Report
  • BIB Records with Invalid OCLC Numbers Report

Reports can be found in the Repository at Public -> Reports -> Collections (Current).

Staffing

In June, DCMR welcomed graduate MLIS students Brianna Nunez, Gabrielle Puglisi, and Marcella Stranieri to work in the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Stew of the Month, May 2021

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

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Robin Pike, Doug McElrath, and Pam McClanahan hosted the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) selection advisory board for a virtual meeting this month to provide an update on Phase 5 and discuss a Phase 6 application. The meeting focused on locating titles of underrepresented groups and discussing ideas for outreach in the community.

This month’s blog post was written by our student assistant, Sarah and examines the Maryland crab industry in the newspapers: A Decade of Maryland Crabbing History in Chronicling America. The Brood X cicadas have arrived in the region: we continue to find mention of them in the historic newspapers and have shared articles on Twitter. See more from the Maryland newspapers on our Instagram account too!

Digitization Activities

Working with USS, Robin was able to complete the refresh of the audio and camera digitization stations in the Hornbake Digitization Center. She tested digitization workflows and software and cleaned and calibrated select audio digitization equipment. After a hiatus of a few months, the Hornbake Digitization Center is now able to digitize multiple audio formats and use the camera to digitize objects and bound materials at a higher resolution again.

Digitization Assistants Caroline Ackiewicz, Joana Stillwell, and Alexis Woolford continued to make progress with digitizing the Baker’s Journal (completed 4 of 7 boxes so far) and performing QC and creating derivative files for the MacKaye fanzine collection, in addition to completing patron requests.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Announcing Avalon at UMD Libraries!

DST is pleased to announce the public release of the Libraries’ new streaming media repository system, now available at av.lib.umd.edu with content from its first collection. This new media repository is powered by an application called Avalon Media System, which is an open-source application specifically designed to support access and curation of audiovisual content managed by libraries and cultural heritage institutions, and is a substantial improvement in terms of access, collection management, and reliability. Check out our Digistew post for full details, including a list of features and information about current and forthcoming collections.

Congratulations to the entire project team!

2021 Undergraduate Research Day Posters in DRUM

For the second year in a row, the Undergraduate Research Day posters are now available in DRUM at http://hdl.handle.net/1903/27016. The annual event allows students to share their work with the campus community and showcases current research, scholarship, and artistic endeavors.

Software Development

Releases

Avalon – Released Avalon in production mode for staff access only.

Kubernetes – Completed migration of the Fedora and Plastron applications to the Kubernetes cluster. This migration also includes major architecture and bug fixes to improve the reliability and performance of Fedora and prepares the way for resumption of batch loads; completed batch load of Diamondback Photos.

Under Development

Website Redesign Project Setup new Drupal site to begin configuring the site and developing content migration workflows.

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

Bento Search Updates – Completed updates to the Libraries’ Website search target and moved the search interface to new search.lib.umd.edu domain; Released to OUI and stakeholders for testing.

Avalon – Completed the batch load of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange content; completed final development requirements for an initial launch of the application, including Handle Service integration, Aeon integration, and additional branding/theming updates.

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

Archelon Improvements – Improve stability and reliability of the application for metadata editing and import/export of binaries via the user interface.

Kubernetes – Began migration of Archelon to the Kubernetes cluster.

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

The CLAS team responded to 55 Aleph Rx submissions and 7 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in May.

New Ticketing System

CLAS team members began introducing the USMAI Service Desk to select USMAI library staff in May as a part of our user testing of the planned system configuration. The feedback has been helpful and has given us some areas to investigate further and refine. Additionally, the CLAS team participated in multiple training sessions to become more familiar with using Jira Service Management.

While progress continues, we have decided to delay the planned go-live of the new ticketing system. There is still a fair amount of behind-the-scenes technical work to complete, and we want to make sure there is sufficient time to test the new setup of the USMAI Member Portal and Service Desk in the Libraries’ Kubernetes infrastructure before we switch over. Stay tuned to the USMAI Member Portal for updates on when we will make the switch.

ILS Migration Project

CLAS team members participated in meetings and activities of the Core Project Team. This included reviewing sample RFPs and participating in an RFP orientation session. One of the components to prepare for USMAI’s RFP is a “current state summary”. CLAS team members identified aspects of our current state that should be included in this and will begin putting together some of the information needed for this summary in June.

Data Warehouse

Starting with the May refresh of the data warehouse, several new acquisitions attributes became available in the “Collections (Current)” reporting topic. The new attributes are now listed in the data dictionary for this reporting topic.

Conferences

Kate Dohe co-authored the poster “Precedented”: Public Health, Open Access Infrastructure, and Interrogating Power in Repository Debates with Michael Scott (Librarian at the Hispanic American Periodicals Index, UCLA), presented at Open Repositories 2021 on June 9th.

Pam McClanahan along with Molly Olney-Zide of the Delaware Digital Newspaper Project presented a workshop at the joint Maryland Library Association and Delaware Library Association virtual conference on May 7, 2021: Chronicling America and Digital Historical Newspapers

Robin Pike was a panelist on the PA Digital Rights Subgroup program “Music in Digital Collections: Copyright and Other Challenges” and presented “Exploring Access and Music Copyright Across a Varied Collection” where she discussed UMD’s solutions for digital access for some recent digitized collections containing music.

Staffing

Congratulations to HMNP student assistants, Bryanna Bauer and Sarah McKenna on graduating with their MLIS degrees this month from the UMD iSchool! We’re excited to have them both staying on to continue helping out with HMNP this summer.

Digitization Assistant Caroline Ackiewicz also graduated from the iSchool with her MLIS. Congratulations! Digitization Assistant Joana Stillwell left DCMR for a field study experience over the summer.

Announcing Avalon at UMD Libraries!

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

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

Some of the key features of this new system include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stew of the Month, April 2021

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

Changes to DST Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

Digitization Activities

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Avalon Progress Update

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

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

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

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

Software Development

Releases

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

Under Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Support

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

EAST

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

New Ticketing System

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

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

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

ILS Migration Project

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

Conferences

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

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

Staffing

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

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

Stew of the Month, February/March 2021

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

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

Digitization Activities

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Drive to DX Initiative Update

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

Data Services

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

Avalon Progress Update

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

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

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

Software Development

Releases

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

Kubernetes – Migrated the REDCap application to the Kubernetes cluster:

Under Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Support

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

EAST

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

New Ticketing System

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

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

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

ILS Migration Project

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

User Systems and Support

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

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

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

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

Conferences

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

Stew of the Month, December 2020, January 2021

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

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

Other Digitization Activities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Digital Preservation

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

Data Services

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

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

Avalon Progress Update

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

Software Development

Releases

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

Kubernetes – Migrated these applications to the Kubernetes cluster:

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

Under Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Support

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

Application Upgrades

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

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

Upcoming Work

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

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

Conferences

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

Stew of the Month, November 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

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

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

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

Other Digitization Activities

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Data Services

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

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

Software Development

Under Development

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

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

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

COVID-19 Support

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

Aleph v23 Upgrade

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

New Ticketing System Exploration

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

Shibboleth Upgrade

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

Conferences

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

Stew of the Month, October 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

Other Digitization Activities

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

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

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Users in DRUM

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

Software Development

Releases

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

Kubernetes – Migrated these applications to the Kubernetes cluster:

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

REDCap – Upgraded to version 9.5.35 Long Term Support

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

Under Development

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

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

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

COVID-19 Support

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

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

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

Aleph v23 Upgrade

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

New Ticketing System Exploration

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

User and System Support

Cisco Jabber

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

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

MacOS and Windows OS Upgrade

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

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

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