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Stew of the month: August 2015

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

Digitization Activities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Programs and Initiatives

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

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

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

Software Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support to USMAI

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

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

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

Kuali OLE

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

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

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

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


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

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Reusing Newspaper Data from Chronicling America

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from newspaper reads

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

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

The Cultural Observatory, Harvard University

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

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

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

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

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

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Stew of the month: July 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 submitted a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundations grant proposal to hire a consultant company to perform an assessment survey of all the audiovisual materials in the Libraries. Dan Mack (CSS), Gary White (PSD), Steve Henry (MSPAL), Laura Schnitker (SCUA), and Trevor Munoz contributed to the narrative and final application. Tonita Smith Brooks provided much assistance in preparing the application for submission through the Office of Research Administration. The results of the audiovisual assessment survey will assist us in prioritizing monetary and financial resources in planning future digitization projects. We will find out if we received the grant in March 2016.

DCMR staff performed quality assurance on the remaining vendor projects funded through the DIC project proposal process: Hebraica (300 Hebrew and Yiddish volumes) and the Diamondback Photo Morgue. They hope to complete the work in August.

Digitization assistants Rachel Dook and Caroline Hayden digitized the Victor E. Delnore Papers, a manuscript collection within the Gordon W. Prange Collection. Prange staff and DCMR undertook the project to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, where Lt. Colonel Delnore oversaw rebuilding efforts as a commander of the U.S. Occupational Forces. 

Digitization assistant Audrey Lengel digitized materials for Associate Professor of English and Associate Director of MITH Dr. Matthew Kirschenbaum’s upcoming book Track Changes: The Literary History of Word Processing. Kirschenbaum used some of the images in his plenary session at the Archival Education and Research Institute.

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project staff began quality review of the newspaper titles sent to the digitization vendor earlier this year. They continued to add content to the Pinterest boards.

Alice Prael reviewed usage statistics on UMD Digital Collections gathered through Google Analytics with the goal of using the data to make informed decisions about the prioritization of digital projects and promoting our holdings; a report is forthcoming.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New DRUM Interface

Thanks to everyone in Software Systems Development and Research, DRUM has been upgraded and now has a new interface: http://drum.lib.umd.edu/.  Frequent users of DRUM have access to the same features as before but in a different layout.  All of the navigation appears in the right column and the structure for individual records has been totally revamped.  Take it for a test drive and we hope you enjoy the new layout.

Spring 2015 ETDs Now Available in DRUM
All of the electronic theses and dissertations from the spring 2015 semester have been loaded in DRUM. Researchers now have access to 10,460 UMD theses and dissertations dating back to 2003. Of the 405 documents deposited in DRUM from the spring semester, 196 students or 48% requested either a 1-year or 6-year embargo; an all-time high since we started tracking embargo requests in 2006. On average, 39% of UMD students have requested an embargo since 2006. Subject librarians can contact Terry Owen (towen@umd.edu) for a breakdown of embargo requests for their departments.

Gemstone Projects
Eleven Gemstone projects from the spring 2015 semester have recently been added to DRUM bringing the total to 84. Many of our subject librarians provided support to the Gemstone teams throughout the 4-year project. More information about the Gemstone program is available here. Check out some of their current research:
Evaluating the Feasibility of Implementing a Green Roof Retrofit on Pitched Residential Roofs
A Kinect Based Indoor Navigation System for the Blind
Fabrication of Poly (D,L-Lactic-Co-Glycolic Acid) microparticles for Improved Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Delivery

Open Access Fund
The UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund closed out another successful year in June. We funded 31 articles with an average cost of $1,240 per article. A majority of the 2014-2015 applicants were faculty and all disciplines were represented. Most of the applicants were from either the School of Public Health or the College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences. Depending on the availability of funds for 2015-2016, we anticipate that the fund will reopen in September.

CRMS Project Update
Last year the University of Maryland Libraries joined a prestigious group of institutions to assist in making copyright determinations for books in HathiTrust. Using the Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) developed at the University of Michigan, UMD has determined the copyright status for more than 1,850 books since January 2015. We would like to thank the library staff that volunteered to participate in the program: Paul Bushmiller, Leigh Ann DePope, Donna King, Yeo-Hee Koh, Audrey Lengel, Terry Owen, and Loretta Tatum. And special thanks to Tonita Brooks for processing monthly reports for the grant.

Software Development

The Database Finder feature in the Libraries’ Website has been updated to include database categories.  The categories are for now only visible on the database detail page and can be used as search terms.  Future enhancements are planned to use the categories for improved discovery: a) faceted browse by category and sub-category; and b) context sensitive linking to Subject Specialists.

The migration to the new XMLUI/Mirage2 theme for DRUM was completed and has been installed in production.  This theme provides a Responsive Web Design which allows all device sizes to view and use DRUM.  It also allows us to more easily add newer DSpace features which were unavailable in the old interface implementation.

We’ve made progress in upgrading Hippo CMS  to version 7.9 and plan to begin user testing and promotion to production in August.  The major new features for users are a much improved HTML Editor and a new Channel Manager feature for previewing your pages in desktop, tablet, and phone sizes, which will be important as we implement the new Responsive Web Design Libraries’ website this Fall.

Improvements have been completed for the Online Student Application system, based on initial staff feedback.  User testing and promotion to production will take place in August.

User and System Support

User and Systems Support (USS) participated in several 3D printing events. On July 20, 2015 and July 30, 2015, the Discovering Engineering Summer Program visited the John & Stella Graves Makerspace. USS demonstrated the different equipment that’s available in the Makerspace. The two groups were a mixture of rising 11th and 12th grade students who attended a week-long program to learn more about the University of Maryland and the Clark School of Engineering. A total of 60 students attended two events. They all had a strong interest in the field. Some have even been involved in engineering-related coursework, research and extracurricular activities. Each group that came through had lots of really great questions about 3D printing and seemed to thoroughly enjoy learning about the equipment.

On July 28, 2015, USS participated in the “LKA’s Teens in Technology Workshop Series” program. This program was organized by LKA Computer Consultants and was held at LKA’s office. The program was limited to 15 teens with the goal to expose the teens to the world of C++ Programming, Cyber Security, Web Development, and Project Management. In addition, they also provided the teens with desktop fabrication (3D printing). Sandra, Victoria, and Preston took three 3D printers and a hand help 3D scanner to the workshop. . The students were shown how 3D scanning works by scanning one of the teen students in real time. They were also guided through the creation of their very own 3D nametag model using an online program called TinkerCad. From start to finish, the students were very engaged in creating their nametag model.  Soon after, they were split into small groups and started 3D printing small models on the provided printers. Victoria’s group strategically picked small shurikens where each group member would be able to get one. Preston’s group printed the batman symbol. And Sandra’s group printed a red and black Porshe. The two 3D prints from Preston and Sandra’s groups were raffled to a teen in their respective groups.  The students were clearly excited to see the entire process from a 3D model on a computer to it being printed and able to hold in their hands in very little time. At the end of the event, the teens were left inspired and grateful for the opportunity to learn and create 3D prints that they were also able leave with.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 122 Aleph Rx submissions and 43 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in July. Who said summer was slow?

The consortium began subscribing to two new resources this fiscal year: Academic Search Complete and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. CLAS configured EZproxy, ResearchPort, and SFX to work with both of these collections.

The team has also been reviewing the submitted responses for the Aleph enhancements initiative and will be meeting with the USMAI Shared Platforms & Applications subgroup in early August to discuss the list and develop recommendations for the Council of Library Directors.

Kuali OLE

CLAS is finishing its work with the consortium’s testing group. The combined groups have started working on a report for the Council of Library Directors about their testing experiences. While that work develops, CLAS has also continued to attend weekly imlementation meetings with other Kuali OLE adopters.


Partners in the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository were given the “green light” this month to begin loading content into the shared repository. Each institution has the flexibility to establish their own implementation timeline. Many campuses have set up their repository structure and begun loading materials. MD-SOAR is a 2-year pilot funded by the consortium. DSS is the service provider for the repository, making use of our DRUM experience and DSpace expertise to help the consortium build out their vision for a shared institutional repository.


Alice Prael leaves in August; her last day in the office is August 13th. She will be leaving for Boston to join the National Digital Stewardship Residency at the JFK Presidential Library.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike attended the International Council on Archives-Section on University Archives (ICA-SUV) conference from July 13-15 in Chapel Hill, NC with Bria Parker (MSD) and Vin Novara (SCPA); they presented a paper titled “‘Is This Enough?’ Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives Media.”

Robin gave a guest-lecture for The Catholic University of America’s CLSC 747 “Special Collections” on July 20 titled “Management of Digital Programs in Special Collections.”

Eric Cartier attended the seventh annual Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI) from July 13-17, an international conference held at the UMD Libraries.

Robin and Eric wrote articles for the Society of American Archivists Recorded Sound Roundtable newsletter Recorded Sound

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project team visited colleagues around the state to speak about the project at regional meetings organized by Digital Maryland. Attendees at these meetings were from a variety of institutions that hold cultural heritage materials, including public libraries, local historical societies, museums, and churches. The goal of the meetings was to share information about digital initiatives across the state and to hear what the priorities and needs are for making collections available digitally. Liz Caringola attended meetings in Ellicott City and Hagerstown, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) attended the meeting in Easton. Two additional meetings in Aberdeen and Prince Frederick are scheduled in August.


Eric Cartier gave three tours of the Hornbake Digitization Center to 20 attendees during the Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI).

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FRED Update: Facing Challenges with Born-Digital Media

Last September, Graduate Assistants, Amy Wickner from SCUA and myself from DSS, began working with the Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device (FRED), with the goal of creating a workflow for processing born-digital media. Since born-digital material is still fairly new to libraries there is no widely accepted ‘way of doing things’ and there are few case studies on how libraries and archives have handled the issue. Ours was a process of trial and error, informed by the literature and online forums. We kept a daily log, which featured the word ‘failed’ regularly, but we have continued to make progress despite these challenges.

Our first question – which disk imaging program is most effective; BitCurator or Forensic Toolkit (FTK) Imager? BitCurator is an open source Linux-based environment for creating and analyzing forensic disk images, which are bit-by-bit copies of digital media. FTK Imager creates both forensic images and logical images (only containing the logical volume, excluding deleted and orphan files) and is the free imaging component of the larger proprietary FTK.

We began with a small flash drive containing 6 files, including many file types (jpg, xls, doc, pdf). Since the item was so small there was little difference in imaging time, but BitCurator won by 14 seconds. Next we imaged a much larger item, a hard drive containing a terabyte of data. This is where we faced our first major hurdle, one we continue to struggle with: mapping the local area network (LAN). Since this hard drive was too large to image directly to FRED, we needed the LAN to store the disk image. Since FRED is partitioned to include Linux and Windows we needed to connect both sides to the LAN. This Windows partition connected fairly easily, however the Linux partition requires the user to connect via the terminal. Since neither of us are Linux experts we relied on a script provided by the original Born-Digital Working Group. Although this script was unsuccessful, it was a good starting point and after a self-led crash course in Linux and Bash scripting we were able to connect BitCurator to the LAN and we began disk imaging. Surprisingly, FTK was faster in imaging the larger volume; 2- 4 hours faster depending on if the image was forensic or a logical image.

The next step was in analyzing the images. Although FTK can provide some information about the image, BitCurator has a more robust reporting tool which scans for Personally Identifying Information (PII), reports on file types, and shows paths for deleted files. The first report matched what we already knew about the original media. When we ran the reporting tool a second time on the same disk image we discovered inconsistencies with the previous report. We are currently in communication with the BitCurator team, but this problem has not yet been resolved. Until we have consistent reports we cannot rely on this tool for analyzing disk images.

After the most recent update to BitCurator we had to re-connect the Linux partition of FRED to the LAN. Although we thoroughly documented our previous work with the issue, this new attempt was more problematic and we ultimately failed in fixing the problem ourselves. We are currently working with User Systems and Support to resolve the problem, but in the meantime we cannot access disk images stored on the LAN for analysis in BitCurator.

These challenges show how much the success of one project relies on a network of experts both internal to UMD Libraries and external groups like the BitCurator team and other users who posted their experiences online. All of these groups have been vital to continuing our work. Although there were challenges, many of which are still problematic, we continue to make progress and hope to have a revised workflow complete by the end of the summer.

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Introduction to SSDR

I provided the following introduction at the recent Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) Town Hall meeting and thought I would redistribute it as a blog post.


Hello, my name is Ben Wallberg and I manage the Software Systems Development and Research department, or SSDR.  The department has 5 software developers, 1 web developer, and 3 Graduate Assistant software developers devoted to supporting College Park specific services.  We also have 2 systems analysts who support consortial services, with joint membership in the Consortial Library Application Support (CLAS) department.

The best way to understand what we do is to break down the department name into its four component words.

Software – SSDR operates and maintains many of the DSS server based applications.
We install and configure those applications, perform upgrades, and provide development support.  Each application has an owner with whom we coordinate on changes and future directions for the application.  For consortial applications like Aleph and Metalib, the owner is the CLAS department.  For Digital Collections and DRUM it is the Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI) department and for the Libraries’ Website it is the Web Advisory Committee.  Note that Libi does not currently have an application owner, which we are working with Library Assembly to rectify.

Systems – Websites and other server based applications are generally not run in isolation but as collections of systems and services.  You are familiar with the end user facing applications but to operate, these require an unseen infrastructure.  Relational databases supporting multiple applications are an example of these backend systems.  Fedora Commons is a metadata and asset management tool behind Digital Collections.  Solr is a search platform used by DRUM, Digital Collections, and the new SCPA Scores database.  This web of interconnected services extends also to external systems such as Wufoo hosted forms which are embedded into the Libraries’ Website or the Shibboleth distributed identity management systems used for login to consortial applications.

Development – Also referred to as programming or coding.  We write some code from scratch but this is expensive work so we try to minimize the amount of original code we write by building our applications from existing applications, toolkits, and services and then using locally developed code to integrate them.  The majority of time taken on any development project is not in the actual coding; it is the project planning, requirements gathering, issue tracking, version control, testing, and documentation.

Research – In this context research primarily means mean investigation into new software and systems.  This could cover front- or back-end applications, cloud services, web service APIs, or development tools.  Adoption of new software is often constrained by the desire to get the highest return on our investment which is based on factors such as how well we can support the underlying technology and how well can reuse the tool for multiple purposes.  To learn how applications work we trial our own tools and applications as well as offer sandbox environments for Library staff to run applications they have an interest in evaluating.

Finally, these four functions: software, systems, development, and research are performed in the context of the Libraries’ strategic plans, needs of application owners, maintaining availability of critical systems, and multiple major and minor projects with overlapping timelines and dependencies.

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Stew of the month: June 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 following outsourced projects were digitized during FY15 (not including smaller patron requests); these projects were funded through the DIC project proposal process:

Internet Archive (SCUA, SPCA, McKeldin): 820 volumes, 123,365 pages, $18,619

Includes the following serial titles or genres of works, plus additional works: Mason and Root tunebooks, French pamphlets, Swing, NBC Chimes, Radio Stars, Radio Digest, Radio Doings, The Keynoter, Mid-Atlantic Archivist, Mid-Atlantic Archivist Conference programs, Biennial Reports (Maryland Agriculture College), Maryland Agriculture Experiment Station Annual Reports, UMD Media Guides, AFL-CIO Proceedings, The Lather, miscellaneous university publications, Werk, Notizie degli scavi di antichità, US Department of the Treasury publications, Reliable Poultry Journal, The Union Signal, Izvi︠e︡stīi︠a︡ Imperatorskago russkago geograficheskago obshchestva.

AFL-CIO News (oversize, bound) (SCUA): 12,874 pages, $7,080.70

Schedule of Classes (oversize, bound) (SCUA): 3,251 pages, $1,788.05

Schedule of Classes (microfilm) (SCUA): 15,282 pages, $3,265.40

Hebraica (books and serials) (McKeldin): 75,859 pages, $14,379.39

WAMU (1/4″ open audio reels), Godfrey (wire recordings)(SCUA): 154 reels, 39 wires, $12,179.87

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives (VHS tapes) (SCPA): 98 tapes, $8,279.29

Library Media Services deteriorating films (16mm film) (LMS): 40,070 feet, 42 films, $16,028

Diamondback Photo Morgue (SCUA): *digitization and final invoice still pending

Tentative FY15 Totals: 230,631 pages, 154 reels, 39 wires, 98 VHS tapes, 42 films=$81,619.70

On June 11 Babak Hamidzadeh, Robin Pike, Liz Caringola, Judi Kidd, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) met with Linda Tompkins-Baldwin of Digital Maryland to share information about our respective projects and to discuss future collaboration. As a result of that meeting, Liz, Robin, and Doug will be speaking about the newspapers project at a series of regional meetings this summer to discuss cultural heritage issues, state initiatives, and opportunities for collaboration.

Judi Kidd and Eric arranged for the setup of sturdy new shelving in Hornbake 4210V, the purpose of which is to hold audiovisual equipment. Eric and digitization assistants Rachel Dook and Caroline Hayden arranged carts, boxes, and equipment. Work on this project will continue this summer, with the goal of creating an inventory of audiovisual equipment that may be used in digitization activities on campus.

Alice Prael is reviewing analytics data on our Digital Collections to determine the most popular holdings and how our patrons are finding them. This research will help inform future decisions on digital projects and how we can best promote them.

Software Development

In partnership with WAC and the Discovery group, the website search tabs have been modified to begin submitting searches to the WorldCat Discovery interface.

The Persian Digital Humanities website, implemented using our Hippo CMS based Exhibit template, is now available.  The UMD Libraries are hosting the website on behalf of the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies.  We are also exploring, along with MITH, additional collaborations with the Roshan Institute in the areas of digitization, text mining, and social media and web archiving.

Initial development of the new online student application submission form and supervisor database is completed and the application has been put into production. Student submissions are already being received and Human Resources and student supervisors are providing feedback for requested changes which we will review and install before the Fall semester.

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 from the core DSpace code repository.  The production instance came online using DSpace version 5.1 with customizations to the XMLUI/Mirage2 interface for the MD-SOAR theme and for institutional branding based on each top-level community per participating institution.

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 May 29, 2015, User and Systems Support migrated the Windows infrastructure from the Libraries’ LIBLAN active directory to DivIT’s AD.UMD.EDU active directory. The migration was successful and only had few a problems, which we were expecting. When changing a complete infrastructure that’s been in place for approximately 15 years, there will be hidden problems. User and Systems Support quickly resolved all problems.

The migration to DivIT’s AD.UMD.EDU active directory solved a few issues.  First, by migrating to the new active directory, staff no longer have to keep two passwords. The password used for email, timesheets, VPN, and other university resources is now the same password used for logging into the Windows workstations. Secondly, the LIBLAN domain was only created because of a need of the Libraries that DivIT didn’t provide at that time. Now, DivIT has their own stable active directory which contains accounts every librarian, staff, and student that’s on campus. And, their active directory security policies have been reviewed by IT auditors. There is no longer a need for the Libraries to create duplicate accounts or spend time copying the same security polices as DivIT.

Along with the change of passwords, there were other changes that were a result of the migration.  All network staff printers were renamed, and all printers were installed on every computer so staff now sees every network staff printer in their printer list. The new naming convention for the staff printers changed from department/unit name to BLDG_FL_PR# (Building_Floor number_Printer number). All the printers were labeled to match the same names as the printers shown on the staff workstations printer list. This change to the network printers allows for greater flexibility. Staff no longer need to contact the DSS Helpdesk to have a network printer installed. Printers do not need to be renamed if a department’s name changes. And it allows staff that float around the ability to print no matter where they are.

Also, because of the new security policies, staff can no longer have admin rights to their workstation. Anything that requires admin rights in ordered to be installed, now must be installed by User and System Support. Likewise, because of audited securitiy policies, DivIT does not create generic accounts in their active directory. So, departments can no longer have a generic account for their students to share. Each student must have their own username and password to be able to log into the workstations.

The entire domain migration took part in 3 major steps using scripts—premigration, ADmigration, and postmigration.  These scripts made it possible for USS to automate the process as much as possible, eliminating the need to touch all staff Windows desktop computers. The scripts didn’t run automatically on Windows laptops because most would either be away from campus, using wireless (which has its own problems), or simply turned off.  And also, the method of removing and adding Mac desktops and laptops to the new domain used an entirely different process.

The goal of the premigration script was to copy user data to try to make the migration as painless as possible. Since some of the user data could only be accessed when staff were logged in, this script had to be initiated by the staff before the migration. When initiated, the script copied over Firefox configurations, Internet Explorer Favorites, and Chrome configurations to a server. It also copied over the Microsoft Outlook configurations and data from a few specialized applications.

On Friday, May 29, 2015, DSS remotely pushed the ADmigration script to every staff Windows desktop that was powered on and had network connectivity. The script kicked off a 3 step process that rebooted the computers after each step was completed. These steps automatically removed the computers off the LIBLAN domain, renamed the computers to meet DivIT naming conventions, and added the computers to the AD.UMD.EDU domain, ready for the staff to login on Monday. It took weeks of planning, testing, and work to do these 3 steps without any human intervention at all. Each and every USS staff and student employee contributed in some way on this project.

The postmigration script was automatically ran when the staff logged into the computer for the first time. This script copied all the user data that was copied from the premigration script, and placed them in their correct locations on the computer. However, as with any process that involves so many computers, not all the scripts or steps ran successfully on every computer. Some staff didn’t have the opportunity to run the premigration script, and some desktops were able to run all 3 steps of the ADmigration scriptes. These machines had to be migrated individually by USS staff. The week following the migration was used to individually migrate all Windows laptops and Mac laptops/desktops.

The Library staff cooperated wonderfully throughout the migration.  By them doing the premigration steps, the number of potential problems were significantly reduced. And the staff that did have problems, they were patient and gave User and Systems Support staff the necessary time to resolve the issue. If not for the cooperation of the staff, the migration could have been unsuccessful with many frustrated staff.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 75 Aleph Rx submission and 28 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in June. This included projects like configuring EZproxy for UM HS/HSL’s investigation of Callisto and modifying loan rules for SU’s iPad checkout service.

Fiscal Year End Closeout

June brings the end of one fiscal year and the beginning of the next. The CLAS team assisted USMAI campuses with the fiscal year transition, closing out FY2015 budgets, creating FY2016 budgets, and rolling encumbered orders from the old budget to the new budget.

New User Request Forms

In an effort to make the submission of Aleph user creation/deletion requests as simple and accurate as possible, the CLAS team has streamlined the input of information on the four user request forms (Circulation, Cataloging, Acquisitions, and Cross-Functional) and migrated the forms to a new survey platform (Wufoo). The new forms offer a number of hints when the requester hovers over corresponding fields. These hints along with the display of condition-specific fields should help guide requests.

Kuali OLE

CLAS continued work on OLE, meeting with USMAI testers to facilitate the consortium’s evaluation of OLE. The team also implemented an authentication method on their development server in order to test loading real data (i.e. patrons, financial, etc.) in OLE.



The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository moved into production status on June 15th. The repository is available and ready for participating campuses to begin loading repository items and collections.


Student assistant turned C1 Jordan Lee’s last day was June 30. Jordan accepted a full-time position with the UMD College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) Undergraduate Advising Office, where she worked as graduate administrative coordinator while earning her MLS. Congrats, Jordan!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Heidi Hanson attended ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco as Chair of LITA’s Christian Larew Scholarship Committee.

Liz Caringola was accepted into the 2015-2016 cohort for the Advancing Professional Track Faculty Program sponsored by the ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence and the Office of Faculty Affairs. This program provides access to knowledge regarding policies governing professional track faculty; offers knowledge through concrete examples and models; and expands participants’ on-campus peer networks.

On June 4, Liz Caringola moderated the session “Wikipedia: Helping Us Reach Users and Build Partnerships” at the Research and Innovation Forum. The panelists included Laura Cleary, Felicity Brown, Jen Eidson, Steve Henry, and Jessica Abbazio. Robin Pike presented “Managing Audiovisual Digitization,” Josh Westgard presented “CSV Validation for Metadata Wrangling,” Karl Nilsen presented “Comparing Data Production in Social Sciences, Area Studies, and Humanities Fields Using Terminology in Literature,” and Eric Cartier presented a poster titled “Establishing the In-House Internet Archive Digitization Workflow” at the UMD Libraries Research and Innovative Practice Forum on Thursday, June 4. Eric’s poster was also accepted for the Society of American Archivists Research Forum, part of the Annual Meeting in Cleveland, OH.

Liz Caringola and Josh Westgard from DSS and Amanda Hawk from SCUA judged projects for the National History Day competition held on campus June 15-16.

Eric and Dr. Laura Schnitker attended the Cultural Heritage Information Management Forum at The Catholic University of America on Friday, June 5, and delivered the presentation, “Saving College Radio,” during the morning session.


Robin Pike, Eric Cartier, and student assistants Audrey Lengel, Caroline Hayden, and Cecilia Franck visited the National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, DC on Thursday, June 11 to deliver files digitized over the past two years from the NPR Archives. Hannah Sommers, Director of the Research, Archives, and Data Strategy group provided a tour of the facility and operations.

Eric met with Jaime Mears, a recent iSchool graduate currently working as a National Digital Stewardship Residency resident for the DC Public Libraries, on Wednesday, June 24. Jaime’s task is to develop a personal digital archiving workstation for the public, so she and Eric spoke about all of the procedures, processes, and workflows that are the foundation of Hornbake Digitization Center (HDC) digitization operations and how they may translate to a public library setting.

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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

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