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Stew of the Month: August 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.

New Technologies

This past summer, User Services and Systems (USS) initiated a project with the Public Services Division to convert the former Reference desk space in the front of McKeldin Library into a “Laptop Bar” to provide seating and power for students using their personal laptops in the library.  USS acquired power surge protectors in the shape of pyramids to be placed on the tables for student use. PSD acquired bar-style chairs for the area. The Laptop Bar was completed by the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester and has been a major success. Students started using the space immediately. Below are before and after photos:

Before:

 b41b43 b42

After:

aft1 a2  a3af4

Collection-building

Statistics

In the process of gathering our ARL statistics for FY2014, we can note the following increases in our Digital Collections and DRUM holdings since June 30, 2013 (2013 numbers in brackets):

  • Images/Manuscript records in Digital Collections: 17,376  [13,990]
  • Film Titles in Digital Collections: 2,673 [2232]
  • Audio Titles in Digital Collections: 356 [200]
  • Internet Archive titles: 4,382 [3,906]
  • Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection: 7,936 [4,450]
  • DRUM (e-theses and dissertations): 9,511
  • DRUM (technical reports & other): 5,581
  • DRUM TOTAL: 15,092

Those numbers are the result of hard work from staff throughout DSS, as well as content selectors and creators from throughout the Libraries.

ArchivesSpace

ArchivesSpace is the open source archives information management application for managing and providing web access to archives, manuscripts and digital objects.The UMD Libraries has been running a sandbox version of ArchivesSpace for use by Special Collections and University Archives for many months.  In August, DSS completed a Service Level Agreement for the production version of ArchivesSpace, and Paul Hammer (SSDR) converted the existing sandbox server to a production instance.

Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection

We are proud to announce that all of the Prange Digital Children’s Books (8082 of them) have been loaded into our Fedora Digital Collections repository.  However, as is often the case, the final cleanup takes the longest amount of time.  Paul Hammer (SSDR) and Jennie Levine Knies (DPI) worked together with Amy Wasserstrom  and Kana Jenkins in the Prange Collection to troubleshoot the final 200 books that have load issues. Graduate Assistant Alice Prael (DPI) also assisted in cleaning up duplicates and comparing data lists in order to help identify the problem records.

Aeon

On August 1, Special Collections and University Archives officially began using a hosted version of Atlas System’s Aeon software. Aeon is automated request and workflow management software specifically designed for special collections, libraries and archives. Jennie Knies and Paul Hammer worked with Special Collections staff to implement request buttons in both ArchivesUM and Digital Collections to pass metadata to Aeon forms to automate the patron request process.

Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with vendors and collection managers to solidify digitization contracts for materials that will be sent to digitization vendors during FY15. The formats represented in the digitization projects include books, serials, pamphlets, photographs, microfilm, open reel audio tape, wire recordings, VHS tape, and 16mm film. The collection areas represented in the projects include Special Collections and University Archives (labor collections, university archives, mass media and culture, rare books, Prange collection materials), Special Collections in Performing Arts, Library Media Services, and Hebrew language materials from the general collection.

Digitization assistants completed projects for the campus community. Audrey digitized Athletics media guide covers that will be used to produce posters, which will be gifts for an upcoming alumni event. Several assistants digitized photos of Terrapin football players, which will be used in the new Terrapins in the Pros interactive exhibit at the Gossett Team House.

Abby digitized Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference programs. Additional MARAC publications will be digitized this year, both in-house and through the Internet Archive, making this regional resource more available to archivists everywhere.

Software Development

Working with the Web Advisory Committee, Shian Chang and Cindy Zhao completed a refresh of the Libraries’ Website interface.  The update includes addition of the new UMD responsive wrapper, as required by a new campus brand integrity program (see http://brand.umd.edu/websitepresentation.cfm), change of the main menus seen on every page to a new “mega menu” dropdown style, enabling users to view more options with integrated explanatory text, and new social media image bar on the bottom of homepage.  This refresh is part of a general plan for constant, iterative improvements to the website and a specific plan to ultimately convert the entire site to a responsive design.

SSDR has been planning on adding Solr client capabilities to Hippo CMS for some time, but discovered recently that Hippo CMS 7.8 comes with a  Solr Integration feature out-of-the-box, supporting both index/search for internal Hippo documents and search for external documents.   Mohamed Abdul Rasheed reviewed the functionality and determined the external search feature capable of handling our needs.  He started work migrating our existing Digital Collections interfaces (Digital Collections, Jim Henson Works, World’s Fair) to the new Solr based search as well as adding new database searches for Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) scores and recordings databases. The databases will continue to be maintained by SCPA staff in FileMaker Pro but exported to CSV, imported into Solr, and exposed through the Libraries’ Website for search and discovery.

Services

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions Consortium)

Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) implementation: Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team members have been participating in weekly teleconferences with University of Pennsylvania staff who are working on UPenn’s OLE implementation. Both groups are discovering that key implementation documentation necessary for bringing up a test instance is missing. At present, we have OLE software installed on a local server, but it is populated with demo data. We have not yet been able to load our own data for testing. We are hopeful that forthcoming teleconferences will provide the information and guidance we need to proceed.

USMAI Advisory Groups: As interim Chair of the Digital Services Advisory Group, Mark Hemhauser completed a first meeting with the Reporting and Analytics Subgroup and the Metadata Subgroup, where he shared the information from CLD about Advisory Group funds and reporting plans. Mark also shared information on membership terms and the group chairs with the USMAI Executive Director. The CLAS team also compiled a list of current email lists and reflectors supporting USMAI communications and sent it to the Executive Director. Linda Seguin revised the Groups page on the USMAI staff web site, added new group pages, and created and distributed editing logins to each advisory group/subgroup.

SFX support: Linda revised SFX parsers to get both Romanized and vernacular text in Aeon request form for College Park’s Prange collection. Linda revised the Aleph Source Parser to get publication information from the new(ish) MARC 264 field for use in SFX linking. Linda and Ingrid Alie added the HathiTrust local target to Salisbury University’s and the UM Health Sciences and Human Services library’s SFX instances.

Circulation support for USMAI: David Wilt set up new Item Statuses in Aleph for the University of Baltimore and College Park; produced ad hoc reports for Frostburg, Bowie, Towson, University of Baltimore, College Park, Saint Mary’s, and UMBC; and completing a patron load for Eastern Shore. David also worked on setting up the booking function in Aleph for Shady Grove.

Acquisitions/serials support for USMAI: Mark exported data from the USMAI licensing database for College Park’s licensing evaluation project; produced a variety of subscription reports for College Park as part of a database clean-up project; produced a special claims report for Morgan State; and helped staff at the University of Baltimore identify a problem with dirty order data after fiscal rollover and provided training on order closing procedures and order clean-up. Mark also flipped the budget code to make corrections on 75 orders, saving UB staff a lot of manual effort.

Aleph database support for USMAI: Linda and Hans Breitenlohner ran a new extract of College Park holdings for their participation in HathiTrust. Linda sent a sample file of book records to RapidILL for UMBC. Linda also deleted withdrawn/purged items for UMBC, College Park and Health Sciences, and with assistance from Heidi Hanson, loaded bibliographic record sets for UMBC, the Center for Environmental Science, and Health Sciences.

Aleph system support: The CLAS team and DSS staff are monitoring a recent pattern of Aleph slowdowns that have been occurring this month. We are currently restarting the Aleph server manually when slowness is reported.

Staffing

Peter Eichman joined DSS as a Contingent-I Systems Analyst in SSDR, providing broad software development support for UMD and Consortial applications. Peter is a UMD alumnus (B.A.s in Linguistics and Philosophy), and has also worked for the ARHU Computing Services office and the National Foreign Language Center as a web application developer.   Peter started on August 19 and is currently working on improvements to Aleph Rx, the DSS issue tracking tool for Aleph.

On August 22, Josh Westgard, graduate assistant in DPI, graduated from the iSchool’s MLS program in Curation and Management of Digital Assets.

Ann Levin, the DSS Project Manager, left the UMD Libraries in August.  Ann made a significant impact during her time with DSS, developing documentation procedures and working on several projects, most notable the Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection.

Amrita Kaur joined the DSS staff as the Coordinator. Amrita has worked for the University Libraries for many years, and was most recently in the Architecture Library. Welcome, Amrita!

Events

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project hosted UMD Libraries’ first public Wikipedia edit-a-thon on August 18. 24 people attended, either in-person or virtually through an Adobe Connect meeting (recording available here https://webmeeting.umd.edu/p37wtrvy3iw/). We invited speakers from Wikimedia DC, the Library of Congress, as well as our own Doug McElrath, Jennie Knies, and Donald Taylor, to share information about resources to be used during the editing portion of the event. Participants enhanced and added articles related to Maryland newspapers and Wikimedia DC’s Summer of Monuments project and uploaded digitized images from our National Trust Library Historic Postcards Collection to WikiCommons.

Conferences and Workshops

Trevor Muñoz, Karl Nilsen, Ben Wallberg, and Joshua Westgard attended the Code4Lib DC 2014 conference at George Washington University on August 11-12.  Josh Westgard led a session on spreadsheets.  This was a topic he suggested at the start of the unconference planning, so the unconference protocol was for him to moderate the discussion.  The participants in the session talked about strategies and tools for managing data stored in spreadsheets, or data that must pass through a spreadsheet while migrating from one storage location to another.  One highlight of the discussion was the description of csvkit (https://csvkit.readthedocs.org), a Python module for the cleanup and manipulation of data stored in csv files. A breakout group split off in order to begin learning csvkit later in the conference.

Josh Westgard attended a one-day workshop on “Building Data Apps with Python” offered by District Data Labs (http://www.districtdatalabs.com).  The workshop covered application set up, best practices for application design and development, and the basics of building a matrix factorization application.

Jennie Knies, Liz Caringola, Robin Pike and Eric Cartier attended the Society of American Archivists annual conference in Washington, DC on August 11-16. Robin currently serves as the chair and Eric serves on the steering committee of the Recorded Sound Roundtable. Robin chaired and presented on the panel session Audiovisual Alacrity: Managing Timely Access to Audiovisual Collections. Eric contributed audiovisual clips from UMD’s collections for the first AV Archives Night, a networking event featuring content from attendees’ repositories, hosted by Audiovisual Preservation Solutions at the Black Cat. Liz Caringola was a panel speaker for the session “Taken for ‘Grant’ed: How Term Positions Affect New Professionals and the Repositories That Employ Them.” Karl Nilsen gave a talk on database curation and preservation as a part of a panel on stewarding complex objects. Download the slides from DRUM: http://hdl.handle.net/1903/15573. His talk was based on Research Data Services’ efforts to curate and preserve the Extragalactic Distance Database, an online data collection that was created by astronomers at UMD and other institutions.

Liz Caringola attended one of the weeklong Humanities in Learning and Teaching (HILT) workshops offered by MITH “Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage.”  Karl Nilsen completed the HILT digital forensics course.

Discuss!

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