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Digitization and Digital Projects Grants

In the fall 2015 semester, DCMR/DPI Graduate Assistant David Durden compiled a list of national and state grants that could be used for digitization or other types of digital projects. Many of these grants also allow for processing or description work in preparation of digitization. Though this list is not exhaustive, and does include some Maryland-specific or UMD Libraries collection-specific grants, we have used it to identify a grant that we will apply to in mid-July to describe and digitize the audiovisual portion of a theater performance collection.

We would like to share this resource so that others may benefit from our research: link to Google spreadsheet.

Please comment on this blog post if you would like us to add any grants or awards to the list.

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Stew of the month: May 2016

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

On May 2, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project held a newspaper-themed edit-a-thon in partnership with the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis. The edit-a-thon also featured a behind the scenes tour of the State Archives and their extensive collection of Maryland newspapers. Attendees received a tutorial on how to edit Wikipedia and how to use Chronicling America, and then got down to editing. Fifteen articles were improved by attendees in just a couple of hours. For more information about the event, see our meet up page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/MD/UMD_MSA_Newspapers

Thanks to Amy Wicker for organizing this event as part of her iSchool Field Study, Kerry Huller for her assistance—not to mention driving us to Annapolis—and Allison Rein and Maria Day at the Maryland State Archives for hosting us and pulling wonderful examples of Maryland newsprint for the attendees to admire!

Digitization efforts continue as Phase 2 of the project comes to a close on August 31. Additional titles should be available in Chronicling America in June. A decision regarding a third NEH grant, which would extend the project through August 2018, is expected in late July.

Other Digitization Activities

Pedro Gonzalez-Fernandez completed his iSchool field study in the Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio. Working with the Tanglewood Symposium music educators collection, he made an inventory of the open reel tapes and digitized more than four dozen of them. They will be available in UMD Digital Collections later this summer.

DCMR assistant Cecilia Franck completed the quality inspection of 9,258 Diamondback photos; 240 recordings from WAMU primarily featuring Bluegrass and folk music; 82 video interviews of prominent American theatre figures from the Jackson Bryer Collection; 45 oversize historic Maryland maps; 10 oversize bound volumes from the general circulating collections; and began the review of 164 volumes send to the Internet Archive. Cecilia and David Durden inspected 15 pre-revolution Persian textbooks, and completed the review of diaries, concert programs, and photographs from the William Kapell collection in IPAM. These projects were funded through the DIC project proposal process.

Robin Pike and Kate Dohe began meeting with collection managers planning the approved FY17 digitization projects. Meetings will continue through the beginning of June.

Robin has also held meetings with Kate Dohe, Eric Cartier, Uche Enwesi, and other members of USS to begin refining digitization production and staging processes and workflows.

Other Projects

GA David Durden completed an analysis of the SCPA, SCUA, and DCR Local Area Network drives to identify files to be ingested into digital collections or deleted. This is part of a larger effort to reduce drive space usage in preparation for future migrations and for digital preservation. David, Kate Dohe, and Robin Pike met with collection managers to discuss the results of the reports and to advise which folders and file types to target.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

GA David Durden continued work on the VIVO pilot, in preparation for the pilot going live this summer.

Josh Westgard has contributed to the community-source Fedora Commons Repository project by working on a script to restore repository from backups previously serialized to disk. This work will be useful in our own implementation of a Fedora repository, but will also benefit the wider community.

The UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund closed out 2015-2016 in early June.  Thirty-two applications were processed for a total $48,000 – an average of $1,500 per article.  This summer we will be reevaluating the program and modifying the criteria for accepting and processing applications.  We will start accepting applications for 2016-2017 in the fall.

Software Development

Development of the new Annual Staffing Request application has gotten underway in collaboration with Administrative Services.  The web-based application will replace the current staff budgeting process performed using Excel spreadsheets, with the goal of having the new application in place for use this Fall.  The application is using our newly adopted Ruby on Rails technology with development continuing once we have hired a new Contingent-I Ruby on Rails developer.

Implementation of the improvements to the Staff Directory and Subject Specialists pages on the Libraries’ website is nearly complete.  Look for them in the website in June.

User and System Support

In early February, Uche Enwesi met with are a student group called Terrapin Development and Consulting, or TerpDAC.  TerpDAC is an organization that enables UMD students to give back to the University of Maryland community through technology development and consulting. The organization offers services exclusively to the University of Maryland community – this includes university departments (such as the Libraries), student organizations, and other organizations affiliated with UMD. TerpDAC consults with an organization to determine their challenges, suggests solutions, and follows through by implementing technical solutions – from software to hardware. TerpDAC members include both under-graduate and graduate students from various disciplines for example, engineering, computer science and finance.

TerpDAC met with User Systems and Support staff in March to discuss potential projects and ideas.  They proposed creating a technical solution to show their fellow students where there is overcrowding in McKeldin Library so students don’t waste their time trying to find a space to study.  As one of the student put it, “One day, I spent an hour looking for an open space. But if we have an app that will inform you of where there are open spaces, I will just go there”.

One of the goals is to try and reduce traffic through a visual display of crowd levels displayed to library patrons. The crowd levels would be determined from various sources of data. Currently, TerpDAC is developing a microphone sensing device to use ambient noise as a way of potentially measuring crowd levels in the library. Using various prototyping boards and sensors, as well as McKeldin’s 3D printing technology, TerpDAC was able to build an initial prototype for the idea.

At the end of the semester, TerpDAC tested the prototype to determine if it could reliably sense sound levels. They are now working with Preston Tobery, the USS Makerspace lead, to continue improving their prototype.


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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 86 Aleph Rx submissions and 20 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in May.

Fiscal Year End Closeout

The end of June brings the end of the fiscal year, which means that budgets for USMAI libraries need to be transitioned into the new fiscal year. Joseph has reached out to campuses to begin collecting necessary information and scheduling the rollover for each campus. Details about the Fiscal Year End Closeout Process can be found on the USMAI Staff Site.

Aleph Upgrade

Progress on the project to upgrade Aleph to version 22 continued in May. Testing and issue resolution were performed. The next steps in the process are to rerun the upgrade in the team’s development environment and then upgrade Aleph TEST. This will require some downtime for Aleph TEST and will mean that Aleph TEST and LIVE will be running different Aleph versions until the upgrade is complete. The downtime is scheduled to begin June 11th and estimated to be complete by June 17th. The team will be reaching out to select USMAI members to perform initial testing on Aleph TEST.

Loyola Notre Dame Library to Join USMAI

The team is excited to welcome Loyola Notre Dame Library (LNDL) as the newest member of USMAI. In anticipation of their membership beginning July 1, the team has developed an internal project schedule for moving LNDL to the consortium’s shared systems (e.g. Aleph, etc.). The project will begin in earnest on July 1, 2016 with the CLAS team visiting LNDL on July 15th for an official project kickoff.



The MD-SOAR work to add Creative Commons licensing options and Google Tag Manager for Google Analytics integration was released this month. The repository received over 2,000 visits in May. The second year of the 2-year pilot will begin June 15th.


Amy Wicker’s last day as a Student Assistant/Field Study Student for the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project was May 19. In addition to organizing the aforementioned edit-a-thon, since January Amy has completed Wikipedia training (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Training/For_students) and determined priorities for creating and enhancing articles related to Maryland newspapers—creating 4 pages and improving 12 herself. Amy also created documentation that can be added to and reused by other National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) projects, including a user page template and getting started guide. Thank you, Amy, for your hard work this semester!

Digitization assistants Caroline Hayden and Brin Winterbottom graduated with their Masters in Library Science from the College of Information Studies. Caroline will remain as a C1 employee at the Libraries this summer, while Brin accepted a full time position with National Public Radio’s Research, Archives, and Data Strategy department.

Karina Hagelin, a student in the iSchool Masters of Library Science program, joined DCMR as a digitization assistant. Welcome Karina!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

In May, Liz Caringola completed the 2015-2016 ADVANCE Program for Professional Track Faculty. The cohort met once a month throughout the academic year to discuss topics such as gracious self-promotion, time management, life-work integration, strategies to identify and address ranks, and getting to know your college policies for promotion. ADVANCE is currently accepting applications for the 2016-2017 cohort on a rolling basis through July 1. For more information, see the call: http://www.advance.umd.edu/sites/default/files/2016%20Advancing%20Professional%20Track%20Fac%20Call.docx

Eric attended the 50th annual Association for Recorded Sound Collections conference in Bloomington, Indiana from May 11-14. As a member of the Membership Committee, he assisted with the production of digital video interviews intended to attract more collectors and archivists to the organization.

Joseph Koivisto attended Ex Libris’ ELUNA Conference and Technical Seminar in Oklahoma City from May 2-6.

David Dahl attended the 2016 Maryland/Delaware Library Associations Joint Annual Conference in Ocean City, MD from May 4-6 where he led a workshop on Google Analytics.

Heidi Hanson and David Dahl, along with several other USMAI libraries staff, attend EBSCO’s first EDS User Group meeting in Boston from May 10-11.

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Stew of the month: March/April 2016

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

In March the following Maryland newspapers were uploaded to Chronicling America:

We’re also excited to announce that we’ll be co-hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the Maryland State Archives on May 2, 2016. For more details and registration information, please visit the event page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/MD/UMD_MSA_Newspapers

Other Digitization Activities

DCMR staff continued to review files for the William Kapell collection, Football films, Library Media Services films, and Djuna Barnes microfilm. They began the review of the Jackson Bryer videos.

The Digitization Initiatives Committee, chaired by Robin Pike, presented its FY17 budget to the Resources Group for approval on March 21. Pike contacted project managers whose projects were approved, modified, or rejected (due to the amount of proposals received), and will be presenting this information to the Libraries in the coming months. She will also be working with collection managers on project planning meetings.

Graduate Assistant David Durden completed his analysis of UMD Digital Collections usage statistics from 2013-2015 and has compiled annual reports of his findings. David has also begun an analysis of targeted LAN locations for SCUA and SCPA to begin to analyze what files are saved on the LAN that should be described and moved into UMD Digital Collections for access and preservation.

Digitization Assistant Brin digitally transferred a specially curated box set of compact discs. The University of Maryland Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s “Live Performance Project, Wakefield Years 1983-2005” was compiled by Professor John E. Wakefield with the assistance of University Archivist Anne Turkos and Curator of Special Collections in Performing Arts Vin Novara. Metadata Librarian Bria Parker described the music at track level. The streaming files will soon be available in Digital Collections.

Robin, Eric, Digitization Assistants David Durden, Caroline Hayden, Brin Winterbottom and iSchool students Amanda Brent, Monique Libby, and Maya Riser-Kositsky digitized Filipino family documents and photographs as part of the 2016 Maryland Day community archives digitization event for the “Preserving Your Family Treasures & D.C. Filipino Americans Before the Beltway” event. Digitized items will be added to UMD Digital Collections through the end of May and will be a part of the Filipino American Community Archives collection in SCUA.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

UMD Libraries Supports Open Library of Humanities

We are pleased to announce that the UMD Libraries has recently joined the Open Library of Humanities (OLH) as a supporting institution.  OLH is dedicated to support and extend open access to humanities scholarship and provides an alternative for humanities researchers who are interested in making their research widely available.  UMD authors can submit an unlimited number of articles for publication each year without any article processing charges.  Submissions are accepted for a wide range of humanities subject areas and undergo a double-blind peer-review process. OLH’s editorial policies are available online if you are interested in learning more.  Also read the complete UMD press release.

DRUM Upgrade

DRUM was recently upgraded to DSpace version 5.4, bringing it in line with the same version running on MD-SOAR.  No major differences are visible to users but we were able to consolidate the DRUM statistics with this upgrade.  Prior to the upgrade we were gathering two sets of DRUM statistics and we decided it would be more efficient to use one system moving forward.  With the upgrade, which was just completed 28 March, we moved over to a newer statistics system that has been running on DRUM since June 2014.  What this means is that you might have noticed a drastic drop in the number of downloads currently displayed for records.  The number currently displayed only reflects downloads from June 2014 onward.  But no need to panic, we plan to add the number of downloads from the older system, so no numbers will be lost.  Thanks to SSDR, we hope to have this completed by the end of April. The upgrade also sets the stage to explore new features like ORCID integration, which is timely given the new University of Maryland ORCID premium membership brokered through the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

Digital Collections

DPI’s work on a new digital collections repository based on Fedora 4 continues, with various components of the system slated to go into production service later in 2016.  Toward that end, at the 2016 Code4Lib conference in Philadelphia, Josh Westgard took part in two pre-conference Hydra training workshops, and also helped to organize a post-conference “birds of a feather” session on Fedora. He also represented the University of Maryland Libraries at the DuraSpace Summit in Washington, DC.  He is a regular participant in the community effort to develop an API extension architecture for Fedora 4 (API-X, see https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/Design+-+API+Extension+Architecture).

OA Publishing Fund Update

The UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund closed out the fiscal year 12 April.  With additional funds from the Office of the Provost and many of the deans, 32 applications were processed for a total of $48,000; an average of $1500 per article.  Here’s breakdown of the number of applications from each college/school:
3 – A. James Clark School of Engineering
3 – College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
1 – College of Arts & Humanities
7 – College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
10 – College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences
2 – College of Education
1 – College of Information Studies
5 – School of Public Health
We anticipate applications will open up again in early fall for the next fiscal year.  Contact Terry Owen (towen@umd.edu) if you have any questions.


DPI staff have been working behind the scenes on several forthcoming e-Publishing projects. One such project is The Early Americas Digital Archive, a collection of open-access primary materials written in or about the Americas between 1492 and 1820, which has been relaunched as a project of the Libraries’ e-Publishing Initiative. Originally developed at MITH in the early 2000s, the EADA site has been entirely redesigned and updated by the application owners for this relaunch. One often-mentioned critique of open digital scholarly publications is that they lack the durability and longevity of traditional print publications.  One goal of our e-Publishing initiative is to combat technical obsolescence and neglect and to ensure the continued viability and availability of legacy digital projects as they mature.

Backfile Theses and Dissertations

April also saw the release of a backfile of electronic versions of some 600 dissertations from the early to mid-20th century through DRUM.  A custom metadata extraction and batch-loading workflow was created to handle the records supplied by the digitization vendor.

Software Development

We have selected Ruby on Rails as a new core tool for use in creating web applications. Ruby on Rails is gaining wide spread adoption in the Academic Libraries community and there are a number of existing applications and toolkits we are interested in supporting (eg, Hydra, ArchivesSpaceAvalon).  Ruby on Rails also will make it much easier to build certain types of web applications from scratch and rapidly prototype new applications.  Three of our developers have completed four weeks of training and are beginning work on migrating some of our existing applications.  We will also be hiring a Contingent-I Ruby on Rails developer to assist in this effort.

SSDR developers have been learning about the Apache Camel tool for implementation of enterprise integration patterns, which we first learned of from the Fedora Commons Repository development community, for use in message passing from the repository to various indexing tools. Implementation of the replacement for our Wufoo to SysAid connector is underway as well as investigation into integrations between our selected document store (Box.com or Google Drive) and Apache Solr for use in the new Hippo CMS based staff intranet.

The Web Advisory Committee has worked with SSDR to complete the wireframes and mockups for improvements to the Staff Directory and Subject Specialists pages on the Libraries’ Website.  The pages will receive visual improvements and more consistent presentation of contact information.  We will also add the capability for photographs and profiles for each staff member, to be initially populated for Subject Specialists.  Development work will begin in May.

User and System Support

Last year, the University of Maryland took notice of the 13 separate email and calendar systems in use across the campus. Maintaining all 13 systems is costing the university a lot of money. As a big cost savings, the university decided it was best for the university to consolidate to one email, calendar and collaboration platform across campus. Last fall, a committee composed of IT leaders from across campus was formed to evaluate and recommend a common email solution. The committee worked diligently for five months and recommended to the IT Council that the university should move forward with Google Apps for Education (GAFE). The GAFE suite of core services are Gmail, Calendar, Classroom, Contacts, Drive, Docs, Forms, Groups, Sheets, Sites, Slides, Talk/Hangouts and Vault. The IT Council reviewed this recommendation and decided to move forward. Those departments that were using the Division of IT supported Exchange email and calendar system would be the first to be moved to GAFE.

In preparation of the Libraries move to GAFE, the User and System Support (USS) team became early adopters in January of this year. As an early adopter, USS was able to experience the migration process and use GAFE so that they could provide local help to staff when the rest of the Libraries migrated. USS planned and provided two “Google Migration Show and Tell” sessions, as well as sent multiple emails to staff in order to provide as much information to make the migration as painless as possible.

Division of IT planned to migrate the Libraries between April 1, 2016 – April 4, 2016. On Monday, April 4, USS staff visited departments and library branches across campus to provide any assistance that may have been needed from staff. The migration proved mostly successful, with most staff being migrated without incident. Unfortunately, as with any large and complex technical change, small problems cropped up that needed to be addressed.

Library staff can use any of the 13 core services in GAFE. Although the Libraries currently uses Microsoft Lync for chat services, library staff can also use Google Talk/Hangouts. A determination will be made in the future regarding the decommissioning of Lync in favor of Google Talk/Hangouts.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 120 Aleph Rx submissions and 16 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in March.

SFX Database Upgrade

Ex Libris ended SFX support for MySQL, requiring a migration to MariaDB. Hans Breitenlohner performed the migration on March 18th.

Aleph Upgrade

As noted in the February 2016 Digistew post, CLAS is upgrading Aleph from version 20 to version 22. Version 22 has been installed in a development environment and is currently being tested by team members. Once initial testing is complete, Aleph TEST will be upgraded and made available for testing by USMAI constituencies. The upgrade is planned for completion prior to the Fall semester.

Kuali OLE

David Dahl participated in weekly meetings of the OLE Technical Council. The group’s last meeting was March 24th and has been disbanded as the project transitions to a new governance model. A regularly-occurring “community forum” is currently being developed as a mechanism to gather input from project partners. David will continue to monitor the project for USMAI as it starts its new phase of development.



Joseph Koivisto explored Google Tag Manager (GTM) as a mechanism to deploy Google Analytics to the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) and collect more detailed usage data from the repository. GTM will be added to MD-SOAR in the May upgrade release. An option for users to add a Creative Commons license to their repository submissions will also be included in the upgrade.


Kate Dohe started as the Digital Programs & Initiatives Manager on March 21st. She comes to UMD Libraries from Georgetown University, where she was the Digital Services Librarian in the main campus library for nearly three years. Prior to working at Georgetown, she was the digital librarian for an academic publishing company in California. She earned her MLISc. from the University of Hawai’i, and also holds a BSEd. in Speech and Theater from Missouri State University, and still considers herself a debate coach at heart.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

In late April, Josh Westgard attended the DC area Fedora Users Group meeting at the National Library of Medicine, where he, together with Ben Wallberg and Peter Eichman, presented on the Libraries’ progress in implementing a Fedora-4-based repository system.  http://umd-lib.github.io/dcfug2016/

Liz Caringola, Eric Cartier, and Robin Pike attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference from April 14-16. On April 15, Eric moderated a debate in a panel session with the topic “Should Archivists Be Required to Take Continuing Education Courses?” Also on April 15, Robin presented in the session “Archival Impact: Increasing Connections to Collections through Digitization,” discussing how UMD Libraries prioritizes digitization projects.

On April 28th, Kate Dohe presented with Laura Leichum, Georgetown University, to the Digital Initiatives Symposium in San Diego, CA on library support models for student publishing initiatives.

On May 6th, Kate Dohe co-presented a workshop on using improv techniques in library collaborations to LOEX in Pittsburgh, PA with Erin Pappas, Georgetown University.

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You’re Invited to the Historic Maryland Newspapers Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on May 2!

Today’s post is by Amy Wickner, student assistant and iSchool field study for the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project.

As part of an ongoing initiative to connect digital collections with Wikipedia, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) will co-host a  Wikipedia Edit-a-thon (May 2, 1-4pm) focusing on Maryland newspapers. We’ve set up an event page and advance registration form (strongly recommended) with all the details.

Photo from HMNP’s last edit-a-thon on August 18, 2014, at UMD Libraries.

Liz Caringola and I are working with special collections staff at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, who have been kind enough to provide space, computers, and guided tours of their collections. Maria Day and Allison Rein from MSA will highlight historic newspapers in their collections, while Liz will introduce edit-a-thon participants to Chronicling America and HMNP’s ongoing work. I’ll give short tutorials on editing Wikipedia and adding images to Wikimedia Commons. We’re hoping to draw participants from across the state and DC / Baltimore metro areas. All are welcome, and word-of-mouth promotion would be much appreciated.

Many edit-a-thon pages have a Goals section, conventionally a list of articles needing to be drafted, added, or improved. Our page has such a list, but we’d also like to help participants depart with at least some impulse to continue editing Wikipedia. (We’ll have a day-of participant survey of some kind to get at what brings people to our event.) Sparking a lifelong passion for editing Wikipedia using archival material as evidence would of course be fire, but growing sustainable participation more realistically involves a lot of small steps. Which is why it’s exciting to see that this is just one of many DC-area Wikipedia events this spring, with themes ranging from accessibility to labor to #ColorOurHistory.

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Stew of the month: February 2016

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Issues of Der Deutsche Correspondent (Baltimore) from 1914, 1915 (Jan. – March), 1916, and 1917 (Jan. – Sept.) are now available on Chronicling America: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045081/issues/. These issues were digitized in partnership with the Maryland Historical Society and expand upon the years digitized during our first National Digital Newspaper Project grant, 1858-1913. Remaining issues will be digitized before the end of the current grant to complete the newspaper’s run, which ceased publication in 1918.

Other Digitization Activities

DCMR staff performed quality assurance on the second batch of books and serials digitized by the Internet Archive, which came from the general collections, William Kapell diaries, microfilmed correspondence from the Djuna Barnes papers, AFL-CIO News, and vinegar syndrome films from the Library Media Services collections, and finished QA on the School of Music audio recordings. All of these project were funded through the DIC project proposal process.

The following digitization projects were sent to vendors in February: Diamondback photos (shipment 1), Diamondback microfilm, Kapell photos, Kapell programs, Bryer videotapes, and an additional batch of SCUA publications to the Internet Archive.

Robin Pike met with Nevenka Zdravkovska, Josh Westgard, and Ben Wallberg to discuss moving the Plant Patent Database from a pilot project to production. EPSL staff will continue to scan the color images and Josh Westgard will continue to update the database.

Eric Cartier worked with DCMR students and Jen Eidson, Labor Collections Archivist, to digitize photos, documents, physical artifacts, and audio recordings for the 60th Anniversary of the AFL-CIO Merger exhibit.

David Durden worked with Josh Westgard to adapt a web-scraper script to pull and analyze usage statistics from UMD’s collection in the Internet Archive. David also continued to work on analyzing usage statistics from UMD Digital Collections between 2013-2015. This work may be used to inform future digitization priorities.

Software Development

We experienced problems with website performance and stability during January and February for a number of reasons, some of them related to outstanding technical issues with the server environment and some to new bugs in the code.  We’ve been working to upgrade the server infrastructure and eliminate those bugs, resulting in some improvements with additional work continuing through March.  These improvements will not only resolve the current problems but prepare for continued growth of website traffic.

We have started work on upgrading DRUM from DSpace version 4.1 to 5.4.  The basic benefits are to keep up-to-date with fixes and improvements.  In addition the upgrade sets the stage to explore new features like ORCID integration, report Google Analytics from admin UI, and SHERPA/RoMEO lookup during submission.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 111 Aleph Rx submissions and 34 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in February.

Service Evaluation

As part of the CLAS team’s effort to make sure we’re meeting the consortium’s needs satisfactorily, we began soliciting feedback on your service requests starting in October 2015. Thank you to all who have responded to these requests for feedback! Responses have been overwhelmingly positive to date, and your comments are helpful in ensuring that we continue doing what you value and look for opportunities in other areas.

Aleph Upgrade

As part of the CLAS’ work plan for 2016, the team began planning for upgrading the consortium’s Aleph instance from version 20 to version 22. Team members reviewed release notes for versions 21 and 22 in order to assess the work involved in upgrading. Project details can be found on the USMAI Staff Site Version 21 & 22 Update page and will be updated as the project progresses.

CLAS Notes

Wondering how to reply to an Aleph Rx so that your response gets recorded, how to use Research Port URLs to link to databases, how Aleph fines are configured and calculated, or what to do if you find a problem with another USMAI campus’ record in Aleph? Lucky for you, these are all covered in the team’s CLAS Notes series, which you can find on the USMAI Staff Site.

Site Visits

Joseph Koivisto made visits to St. Mary’s, UMD Center for Environmental Science, and College Park to learn more about their needs and workflows related to library acquisitions. A few more visits are in the works in the coming months.

David Dahl, along with Chuck Thomas, visited with library staff at Frostburg.



The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository was upgraded to version 5.4 of DSpace in February. The repository has seen over 1300 sessions from 800+ viewers with an average session duration of more than 25 minutes and over 8300 items downloaded. Users find the repository in a number of ways, including Google, Google Scholar, and direct links from MD-SOAR partners’ library websites (even a few via social media posts!). We have some work in progress to help MD-SOAR partners gain even more insights about the repository’s use; we hope to share more about that soon!


David Durden expanded his service to DCMR by accepting an hourly position in the Hornbake Digitization Center.

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Stew of the month: January 2016

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

The following DIC-funded digitization projects were sent to vendors in the months of December and January: LMS vinegar syndrome films across multiple subject areas, general collection books and serials, Persian textbooks, Maryland historical maps, posters from the Gordon W. Prange collection, and Djuna Barnes correspondence on microfilm. Working with LMS and Preservation and Conservation staff, three reels of film of Florence Days of Destruction were also sent to a digitization vendor.

DCMR staff began quality assurance on files delivered from digitization vendors for SCUA books and serials mass digitization and School of Music audio recording digitization projects. Both projects were funded through the DIC project proposal process.

Student digitization assistant Caroline Hayden scanned 82 University of Maryland campus maps and added them to UMD Digital Collections. The Assistant University Archivist put together this small project to illustrate how the campus has changed over time. 

Student digitization assistant Brin Winterbottom digitally converted 200 WMUC “Third Rail Radio” CD-Rs. These recordings will be added to 180 other WMUC live concert recordings that she and Rachel Dook transferred last fall.

DCMR staff digitized 55 photographs and programs for the upcoming Gymkana exhibit, which will be featured in the ground floor cases and Portico Room in McKeldin Library. 

Chair Balancing: Part of the Gymkana exhibition to be hosted in McKeldin Library

Chair Balancing: Part of the Gymkana exhibition to be hosted in McKeldin Library

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Two new titles digitized by the project went live on Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/) in late December. The St. Mary’s Beacon and Gazette from Leonard Town have been added and span from 1852 to 1921. Some scattered issues were microfilmed separately and will be digitized in a future batch. Additional issues of the Catoctin Clarion from Thurmont were also added, expanding coverage through 1922. (Issues from 1871 to 1918 were digitized earlier this year.)  Visit http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/?state=Maryland&ethnicity=&language= to browse all available Maryland titles.

Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, and Doug McElrath (SCUA), with assistance from Tonita Brooks and Andrea White in the Business Office, submitted a proposal to NEH that, if awarded, will extend grant funding from the National Digital Newspapers Program through August 2018 and allow UMD Libraries to digitize and contribute 100,000 additional pages of historic Maryland newspapers to Chronicling America. A decision is expected in late July.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

As part of the Digital Scholarship and Publishing program, the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction (http://publish.lib.umd.edu/scifi) has recently been launched and the first issue was released in late January.  Developed in collaboration with the Museum of Science Fiction in Washington, DC, the journal is published three times per year and explores the myriad facets of science fiction.  Check out the first issue at http://publish.lib.umd.edu/scifi/issue/current/showToc.

Caitlin Carter joined Digital Programs and Initiatives as the new graduate assistant for DRUM, which we share with Collection Development.  Caitlin will assist in the day-to-day operations of DRUM and also MD-SOAR, the two-year pilot project for a shared digital repository for eleven Maryland institutions.  Caitlin is located in B0293 and can be reached at ccarter1@umd.edu or 5-9432.  Stop by and welcome Caitlin to the Libraries!

Save the date!  Our next speaker for the Future of the Research Library Speaker Series will be Mike Furlough, Executive Director of HathiTrust.  His presentation is scheduled for 19 April at 10:00 am in the Special Events Room of McKeldin.  More details to follow!

Software Development

The new theme for a Responsive Website Design has been launched for the Libraries’ Website (and also Integrated Research Resources on Campus, and Open Educational Resources).  This allows a single website to be delivered to all browsers (desktop, tablet, mobile) with these advantages:

1) mobile devices have access to all website content, unlike the previous separate mobile site

2) improved discovery due to improved search engine rankings from mobile devices

3) reduced developer time to maintain two separate websites

We would like to thank all members of the Web Advisory Committee and all Hippo content editors for their support during the Responsive Website implementation.  They were not able to put their hands on many of the planned changes until relatively late in the process, but waited patiently (even with some slight anxiety), and were willing to react quickly to make necessary changes for the production release.  Thank you very much, the successful launch could not have happened without you.

We have also introduced improvements to Database Finder in conjunction with turning off ResearchPort for College Park.  Discovery of databases is enriched using the Subject Category and SubCategory information attached to each database.  The home page contains a list of all available Subject Categories with their counts.  Subject Categories and SubCategories have also been added to the search filters available on the search results pages.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 112 Aleph Rx submissions and 28 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in January.

In January configuration of the Aleph sublibrary for Towson’s “TU in Northeastern Maryland” site was completed, allowing the site in Harford County to house and loan collections for their patrons. The team also assisted College Park in its transition from SFX to the WorldCat link resolver.

As part of its work plan for this calendar year, we will be planning an Aleph upgrade to version 22. More information will be shared as plans develop.

Ex Libris News

Ex Libris has launched a new platform called the Knowledge Center, which houses all of their product documentation, as well as training materials, knowledge articles, and developer network. This information is now open and available for anyone to access. A link to the Knowledge Center is available on the USMAI Staff Site

The team also attended an Ex Libris & ProQuest webinar, which addressed the merged company’s product strategy moving forward. Key to the consortium is confirmation that Aleph and other Ex Libris products will be supported and developed for the foreseeable future.



With over 1300 user sessions and 7000 downloads during the month of January, the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository, has been a successful collaboration between DSS, USMAI libraries, and other library partners in Maryland. The repository currently provides access to nearly 2000 items and is growing as libraries promote MD-SOAR to their campus communities.


In December DCMR Digitization Assistant Audrey Lengel graduated with an MLS and began work as the Historic Collections & Communications Intern at NPR in January. DCMR Quality Assurance Assistant Quinn Smith also graduated with an MLS in December. Both Audrey and Quinn joined DCMR in 2013.

In January, iSchool graduate student (and SCUA GA) Amy Wickner began a Field Study position with the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project and will be contributing content related to Maryland newspapers, as well as links to our newspapers in Chronicling America as appropriate, to Wikipedia. The project also hired an additional Student Assistant, iSchool graduate student Sara Horn, to assist with metadata collation and quality control.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, Doug McElrath (SCUA), Ben Wallberg, and Trevor Munoz met with staff from the Maryland State Archives, Digital Maryland (http://www.digitalmaryland.org/), and WHILBR (http://whilbr.org/) at the end of January to discuss the expansion of newspaper digitization efforts in the state beyond the NDNP. Work will continue with these, and possibly additional, partners throughout 2016.

Heidi Hanson attended the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston.

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Job Enrichment with SSDR

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron K. Ginoza

Social Media & Community Engagement Coordinator

UMD Libraries


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