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.
Historic Maryland Newspapers Project
The Historic Maryland Newspaper has published two more batches totaling 22,565 pages to Chronicling America. These batches include The Midland Journal, a title published in Rising Sun, MD, a small town in far northeast Maryland, providing researchers and history enthusiasts a unique perspective into Maryland’s diverse history, focusing on agriculture. One more batch has been approved by the Library of Congress and will be online soon, with another batch currently at LC. The remaining six batches are in progress at the digitization vendor or are back at UMD for quality review.
Rebecca Wack reached out to partners for the next grant cycle, which will include the Maryland State Archives, the Greenbelt Cooperator office, the Montgomery County Historical Society, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument museum in Washington, DC for the fourth grant application. She is currently exploring additional partnerships for additional non-English titles. The fourth application will focus on strengths in local Maryland news, non-English titles, a Maryland suffrage paper written by women (digitized in time for the centennial of its publication and Women’s Suffrage), papers of record in Maryland, and titles expanding into the 1923-1963 period.
Rebecca, Robin Pike, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) began writing the fourth grant application; Rebecca and Doug will be Co-Principal Investigators and Robin will be moving into an advisory role.
Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)
We received the files for batch 2 back from the vendor. Robin Pike is managing assistant Cecilia Franck in performing quality control of the files.
Other Digitization Activities
Robin Pike worked with Joanne Archer and Laura Schnitker to ship one large batch containing the Arthur Godfrey wire recordings and the Maryland Public Television videotapes to the audiovisual digitization vendor. She received back two shipments from one digitization vendor–the first containing the Athletics videotape digitization project and the Spiro Agnew audiotape digitization project, and the second containing Library Media Services films, the American Bandmasters Association audiotape recordings, and Woody’s Children audiotape recordings. All of these projects were funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee Process.
Robin worked with collection managers to refine project ideas for the Digitization Initiatives Committee proposal process.
Robin met with Rebecca, Mary Dulaney (Development), and Joanne Archer (SCUA) to debrief about the October grants workshop and begin planning future grant-writing workshops for 2018.
Robin and Rebecca also met with Liz Novara, Eric Stoykovich, and Joanne Archer (all SCUA), and Mary Dulaney to discuss and plan an application for the third round of the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant application to digitize a few hundred audiotape recordings from the Spiro Agnew collection. The application is due in February.
Robin met with Mary Dulaney and Joanne Archer separately to assist with National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant application planning for a potential project to further support the National Federation of Community Broadcasters audio collection.
To plan for Eric Cartier’s departure in January, he began working on updating digitization center procedures, and Robin began managing daily operations of the Hornbake Digitization Center.
Digital Programs and Initiatives
Fedora Community Contributions
Over the past two months, UMD Libraries contributed back to the Fedora community through first identifying, and then developing a solution for, a significant performance bug in Fedora. The bug in question was causing the repository to lock up with respect to write operations during large batch ingests of student newspaper content. The underlying cause was not immediately apparent, but after much trial and error and troubleshooting in both SSDR and DPI, we were able to determine that it was being caused by the repository’s internal audit module.
This experience illustrates both some costs and benefits of participation in an open-source community. During the troubleshooting process, the wider Fedora community (accessible through the weekly Fedora Tech calls) was ready to assist with debugging advice and by attempting to recreate our specific issue. Unfortunately, it proved to be a very difficult error to reproduce in a deterministic way, which made it difficult for the community to provide concrete assistance with debugging. In the end, it fell to the UMD Libraries to identify and resolve the problem, which resulted in some not insignificant costs in staff time and project delays. By contributing our discoveries and solutions back to the community, however, we hope that others can avoid encountering the same issue in the future. In turn, the UMD Libraries will benefit from future bug fixes and feature development happening at other institutions. Of course, the promise of shared solutions to common problems and needs will only be realized as long as there is a healthy community of adopters who are using the software at production scale and actively contributing back to the project.
Bento Box Search
Web Accessibility Audit
USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium
The CLAS team responded to 109 Aleph Rx submissions and 33 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in November.
Aleph Inventory Functionality
The Inventory Working Group began its testing of Aleph inventory functionality. CLAS set up permissions for testers and analyzed the four Aleph functions used for inventorying in order to optimize the inventory process.
New SFX Journal Search and Citation Linker Interfaces
Ex Libris recently released a new user interface for Journal Search and Citation Linker. CLAS has configured the new interfaces for all USMAI libraries that use SFX.
where xx = two-letter campus code.
Ebook Central DDA Support
CLAS worked with ProQuest to have files of titles for the USMAI ebook DDA collections delivered automatically for loading into SFX. ProQuest was able to set up an FTP site and is delivering CSV files of titles weekly. Linda Seguin scripted the transformation of the file data for loading into SFX. Work remains to schedule the loading of data into SFX.
DSpace Version Upgrade
Work continued on the upgrade to version 6 of DSpace. The upgrade is expect to be deployed to the Libraries internal development environment in December. After an internal review, the upgrade will be moved to the Stage/Sandbox environment for MD-SOAR partners to review.
Conferences, workshops and professional development
Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack attended the Association of Moving Image Archivists conference in New Orleans, LA from November 29-December 2. Robin also presented on a panel session titled “Preservation is Painless: A Guide to Outsourced AV Digitization Project Management.” Her segment of the presentation focused on planning projects and resources around projects in a systematic way before coordinating with the vendor for digitization.
Robin began her service on the Digital Library Federation Forum’s Project Managers Group Steering Committee. This is a two-year, self-nominated position.