Stew of the Month: April 2014

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.

General Announcements

Karl Nilsen put together the forum “Doing Digital: Skills, Knowledge, and Roles in Libraries and Archives” to discuss roles of digital technology and skills librarians and archivists use at work for the School of Information students at UMD. Robin Pike participated as a panelist on the forum.

Robin Pike presented “Managing and Maneuvering Mass Digitization” at the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference (MARAC) spring meeting in Rochester, NY (April 24-26, 2014). She discussed the management of in-house and outsourced digitization projects, and the workflows her department has created to improve efficiency for specific processes.

Department Updates

Consortial Library Application Services (CLAS)

On April 25th, the CLAS team received a report that that USMAI web site was down, and found both the public and staff side USMAI sites were down. When the sites were brought back up, it was discovered that the public-facing site,, had suffered a spam attack, and had to be taken back down for a short while for repairs. Kudos to Ben Wallberg and the Software Systems Development and Research staff for analyzing the situation and quickly restoring the site.

Hans Breitenlohner and Linda Seguin have implemented Aeon request links in the Aleph TEST catalog for College Park special collections locations. Aeon is automated request and workflow management software specifically designed for special collections libraries and archives, providing improved patron service as well as item tracking, statistics, and security features.

Linda has also extracted College Park’s bound serials bibliographic and item records and sent them to CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation) for analysis.

Coppin State and UMUC alerted the CLAS team to the fact that 53 titles had been dropped from the netLibrary/EBSCO Ebooks free collection that we had originally acquired under netLibrary. Linda and Ingrid Alie deleted the records from the catalog and deactivated the titles in all 16 SFX instances.

In April the CLAS team spent some time on analyzing and creating a Kuali OLE test project plan. Each team member has created some initial testing criteria related to specific functional areas (circulation/resource sharing; acquisitions and serials; electronic resource management; cataloging/metadata management; system user management). OLE version 1.5 had been scheduled for release at the end of March, but the schedule has been revised and the release is now targeted for July. For now, the team will work on becoming familiar with available OLE documentation, terminology, and configuration. We will also begin testing to the extent possible using sample data, and/or manually created test data.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting (DCMR)

On April 11, Special Collections and University Archives hosted the Saving College Radio Symposium, which complemented the ongoing WMUC exhibit in the Hornbake gallery. The event balanced the importance of college radio culture and the value of such collections in academic libraries and archives. Eric Cartier presented “Preserving the WMUC Audio Collection,” and Cartier, Henry Borchers, and student audio digitization assistant Emily Rainey provided tours of the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Borchers, Cartier, and Pike all attended the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference (MARAC) spring meeting in Rochester, NY from April 24-26. The keynote session by Kathleen Roe focused primarily on one theme of the conference—advocacy in the profession. Cartier found the three sessions on audiovisual materials to be the most valuable, to learn what other individuals and institutions are doing to sustain our sound and moving image cultural heritage.

DCMR collaborated with Jen Eidson of Special Collections and Stephen Henry from MSPAL to digitize five posters (two in-house and three through a local vendor) so the scans could be enlarged and displayed at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library’s exhibit as part of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s presentation of Mexican Revolution, a multimedia performance. An online exhibit is also available.

DCMR also collaborated with Interlibrary Loan staff in Access Services and Special Collections staff to create a new workflow to digitize public domain and university publications from Hornbake Library, requested through ILL. While the process will take slightly longer than regular ILL for patrons, this new workflow will ensure that the publications are uploaded to the Internet Archive, making them accessible to future patrons.

Cartier was appointed as the co-chair of Emerging Technologies Discussion Group (ETDG) for one year. He will coordinate future sessions with Neil Frau-Cortes, highlighting the technological interests of Libraries’ staff and faculty. Cartier also coordinated the second annual Edible Book Festival on April Fool’s Day with Eric Bartheld and Aaron Ginoza, which boasted nearly 20 entries.

Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI)

Jennie Knies, Ben Wallberg, and Ann Levin have been meeting to discuss development of a questionnaire that will enable us to quickly generate Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) with UMD Libraries staff interested in testing or piloting various software products in a timely and systematic way. SLAs define and set expectations related to things like server space, backups, application support, and upgrades.

In April, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project hired a Wikipedian-in-Residence for the summer months. Donald Taylor is currently a Master’s student of Economic History at UMD and has been an active contributor to Wikipedia since August of 2008. Donald’s first day is Monday, May 5. Welcome, Donald!

There are now nearly 54,000 pages of Maryland newspapers available on Chronicling America.  All are from the German-language newspaper Der Deutsche Correspondent and range in date from 1858 thru 1900. English titles coming soon!

Several presentations from the 2013 fall meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Philadelphia have recently been deposited in DRUM (  MARAC was founded in 1972 to address archival issues of concern to archivists and manuscript curators in the mid-Atlantic states New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  Presentations from past conferences are also available in DRUM (

Terry Owen was re-elected as a member of the University Senate Executive Committee ( for 2014-2015.

Jennie Knies has been working with Joanne Archer and Cassie Schmitt in Special Collections to develop policies and procedures for born-digital content workflows.  The trio gave a presentation to the Special Collections Collaborative in mid-April with an overview of our status, and a discussion of the UMD Libraries’ current and near-future capabilities.

Josh Westgard participated in the open government wikihack at the Sunlight Foundation, sponsored by Wikimedia DC ( on April 5-6.  Back in the office, he worked on various file management tasks, and in that context developed a general purpose file-system-traversal script that can be used to facilitate inventorying, analyzing, and manipulating large collections of files.  He continues to participate in the Libraries’ Coding Workshop, which provides a platform for interested staff from throughout the libraries to learn programming and support each other in working on small coding projects.  The group previously worked through the Python course offered by Codecademy, and is now using a Python training course through

Alice Prael has been investigating the functionality of Microsoft’s Sharepoint software by using it to collage and gather material to assist with the implementation of the Digital Preservation Policy. She also is assisting in a project to reconvert a portion of JPEG images created for the Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection to match current requirements and specifications.

Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR)

Shian Chang attended the Kuali Community Workshop to get the latest information on the development of Kuali OLE.  OLE 1.5 is scheduled for release in July;  SSDR and CLAS are putting together plans to test the 1.5 release once it is available.

Cindy Zhao and Shian Chang worked with Heather Foss in the Development Office to put the finishing touches on the new Legacy Bookplate website feature to highlight contributions to the Libraries.  They also continued planning with Laura Cleary for the Special Collections and University Archives Hippo based Exhibit feature and together selected the Bootstrap based Unify theme for the basis of the Exhibit theme.

Work has continued on the upgrade of DRUM to DSpace 4.1. Irina Belyaeva completed the initial review of the code base and migration to new GitHub hosted DRUM repository forked from the base DSpace repository.  Mohamed Abdul Rasheed joined Irina Belyaeva on the upgrade and they have moved on to configuring and testing the new version, with an eye toward releasing for testing in May.

In the area of Digital Collections, Paul Hammer led an effort to analyze our current loader program for Prange Collection objects.  Analysis began with monitoring the server performance under various loads to determine where the bottlenecks were for creation of Zoomify access derivatives for images.  It was determined that the load process performance could be improved by running multiple zoomification processes in parallel.  Paul began work on modifications to the loader program.  Paul also worked with the team to iteratively test and modify the loader program for Katherine Anne Porter correspondence objects as feedback from DPI arrived.  Mohamed, Paul, and Irina worked together to iron out the wrinkles on changes to the Admin Tools application for use with our new Solr search and discovery tool.

DSS uses WuFoo for its hosted webform solution and SysAid for our Helpdesk ticket tracking system.  Using the APIs available with each system, Joshua Robusto created a prototype for a middleware software component, which will allow us to map WuFoo form submissions into SysAid tickets.

User Systems and Support

The Maryland Day Experience:

April 26th, 2014, better known to Terps as Maryland day, was a wonderful experience for Maryland Students, Staff and guests alike. DSS and Public Services had the opportunity to showcase the 3D Printer and the Google Glass in the presidential suite.
Students and guests were very excited and engaged by the opportunity to see and test out some of the newest technologies offered.

The 3D Printer demo was done by Preston Tobery and Victoria Quartey, who gave a number of  very informative demonstrations on the 3D Printer, allowing patrons to see and have a basic understanding of how the printer turns plastic filaments into the desired printed object. Guests received 3D printed mini testudo as Memorabilia that was printed from the 3D printer.

The Google Glass demonstrations were done by: Neha Rao, Sandra Ayensu, and Stephanie Karunwi. The Google glass was a favorite with Maryland day guests! Everyone from Alumni, to current students, President Loh and Provost Mary Ann Rankins got a chance to test out the functionalities of google’s newest wearable computer, and more importantly, take a selfie with it on.
Maryland day was a great opportunity for the Libraries to show the University of Maryland community the technological advancements that continue to be made.


President Loh trying out Google Glass


Preston setting up the 3D printing lab for demo



Prospective UM student testing Google Glass


DSS staff with President Loh


Preston presenting a 3D printing of Testudo