Stew of the Month: November-December 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.

Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with Joanne Archer, at UMD Special Collections, to coordinate sending 40 wire recordings from the Arthur Godfrey Collection, 160 open reel audio tapes from the WAMU Archives, and 229 volumes from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) archives, labor collections, university publications, broadcasting serials, political serials, and Maryland state documents to multiple vendors for digitization. Eric Cartier and students in the Hornbake Digitization Center digitized and uploaded a batch of 83 volumes of the MARAC newsletter to the Internet Archive.

Software Development

DSS has joined as a development partner in the creation of the DuraSpace supported Fedora 4, which we will used to replace our existing Fedora 2 based architecture for Digital Collections.  Though late arrivals to the multi-year development effort we intend to participate in the ongoing development of the core Fedora 4 platform in parallel with our own implementation.  Fedora 4.0.0 was released on November 27.  We have begun the process of setting up our own development server and investigating the technology options available to us.

User and System Support

The year 2014 was a very productive year for User and Systems Support (USS). This year, 7,155 service requests were created in Sysaid. The following projects were accomplished during the year:

  1. During this period, USS was involved with various major projects such as the creation of the Makerspace, & Laptop bar to the replacement of over 100 staff computers and public access computers.
  2. USS supported the Terrapin Learning Common (TLC) spaces in various branch libraries from the specification of the type of equipment to purchasing of equipment such as video cameras, Google Glass and Oculus Rift. Working with library TLC staff, USS has increased the loaner laptops from 45 to over 100 laptops. The additional laptops have significantly helped reduce student wait time.
  3. USS was able to convert a one-button studio created by the staff of Princeton University into a one-button cart for UMD. The one button cart is a portable recording station for students and faculty to create videos. It can be used anywhere by just plugging it into a power outlet. Once plugged, the students can use it without assistance
  4. Last year, USS experimented with a 3D printer from Makerbot. They expanded their horizons and worked with other departments such as Public Services to open 3D printing services to the student community. In the beginning, students sent in requests to print souvenirs such as shot glasses but are now using the 3D printers for class assignments and projects. In this year alone, USS has successfully printed over 300 items, which equates to over 2,274 hours of printing. USS staff also provided over 25 consultations to students that needed assistance with creation and printing of their items. Our next task is mastering 3D scanning and how to provide needed support to our patrons who need help scanning 3D objects.
  5. USS also compiled statistics from Sysaid for 2014. As previously mentioned, 7,155 service requests were created in Sysaid. This number includes all departments that used Sysaid too. The service requests ranged from installation, troubleshooting, and resolving of problem reports from different services such as Researchport issue, catalog issues and various online database related problems. Of the 7,155 opened requests, USS closed 5,665 service requests, which is 79% of all service requests opened this year. In comparison to 2013, that is a 28% increase.
  6. In 2014, USS also expanded its community outreach initiatives. On April 26th, 2014, better known as Maryland Day, USS showcased many of our new gadgets in the Presidential Suite, which included the 3D printer and Google Glass. Students and alumni were very excited and engaged by the opportunity to see and experiment with our newest technology offered by the Libraries. For UMD’s homecoming, we were selected to showcase some of the Libraries newest technology available to the campus community. We were a big hit among attendees and experienced a lot of interest and excitement about our various services.
  7. On December 13, 2014, USS hosted ProjectCSGirls, a national nonprofit, dedicated to closing the tech gender gap by cultivating a love for technology and introducing computer science to girls starting from adolescence. This program attracted over 55 girls of various ages and from different schools. USS staff provided technical support that made the program run smooth and was certainly a success.

We want to thank everyone for their support and we look forward to an impactive, collaborative and innovative 2015 as we move USS to the forefront library sphere/services.

I will like to thank all User and System Support staff for all their hard work in accomplishing the projects list above.

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

OLE status: The Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team put a lot of effort into the OLE project in the period from mid-October to mid-November, and at the CLD meeting on November 20 delivered a detailed report of what the team had learned and accomplished to that point. Work on OLE continues: Mark Hemhauser has focused on identifying the necessary data elements for requisitions to advance to encumbered purchase orders, for invoices to appear paid in the ledger/budget summary report, budget structure functionality, and initial investigation of consortial use of acquisitions. Hans Breitenlohner and David Steelman have been working closely with the systems librarians to analyze and address problems as they are uncovered. David has been collaborating with Mark to document problems with purchase orders and invoices, and has taken the initiative to file a number of specific issue reports in the Kuali organization’s JIRA feedback portal. David and Hans have both worked on the problem reported by Linda Seguin regarding display of bibliographic records with Hebrew characters.

Following up from the November CLD meeting, Heidi Hanson and Ben Wallberg (DSS) met with Lea Messman-Mandicott and Betty Landesman of the USMAI Next Generation ILS Working Group, along with Chuck Thomas and David Dahl, to discuss strategies that will support the USMAI in understanding and evaluating the OLE system. Specifically, we are looking into how to give members of the Next-Gen ILS Working Group (and/or its sub-groups) access to our local “OLE sandbox” for testing at some time early in 2015.

Aleph support: From mid-October to mid-December, David Wilt has responded to requests for 20 ad hoc reports for 8 different campuses, 4 parameter change/notice text changes for 3 different campuses, and a request for a RapidILL extract for College Park. David also wrote specifications for multiple recurring reports for College Park, which Hans has now added to the reports schedule.

Linda Seguin worked on a number of requests related to bibliographic record loading and clean-up. For brittle Hebraica items that College Park is having digitized for HathiTrust, Linda created a new item process status (IPS), modified the HathiTrust extract program, updated items, loaded bibs and suppressed holdings/bibs as appropriate. For Health Sciences (HS), Linda loaded Springer ebook records using their old special loader. Since practices have changed since the last time this loader was used, considerable data cleanup was needed post-load. Since HS reported that this would be their second-to-last load of Springer records, we decided it was not worth updating the loader program itself. Linda also worked on Ebrary record cleanup for Towson, deleting all Ebrary PDA records that were for unpurchased titles. Catching up on a backlog of updates to the Ebrary Academic Complete collection, Linda loaded 27 files of new records and processed 22 files of deleted records. A complex deletion specification had to be developed in order to avoid deleting ebook titles that TU also holds in other packages.

Mark Hemhauser worked on creating a licensing database report for USMAI licenses; modification of serials claim letter address for College Park; continuing to advise Towson and UMBC on their move to shelf ready and loader issues related to it; update of USMAI page on the shelf ready loader. Mark also did some maintenance support for the College Park journal review web tool.

David Steelman, responding to an Aleph Rx request from UMBC, created a new version of the Equipment Availability page that would allow UMBC to generate their own page with any equipment that they want, by providing the system numbers for the equipment in the page request.

ResearchPort, SFX (FindIt), EZProxy support: In November, we upgraded EZproxy to the newly released version, 5.7.44, allowing us to disable SSL v3, which is vulnerable to Poodle attacks (the security exploit, not the dog). Ingrid Alie worked on correcting A-Z targets list for the Center for Environmental Science (CE) Research Port journal section so that it is in alphabetical order. Ingrid also worked on correcting the ScienceDirect database cross search for Health Sciences, Towson, UM Eastern Shore, Bowie, UM College Park, Salisbury, UM Law, Morgan State, and UMBC, because Elsevier is retiring their Federated Search platform. Cross search is now working for all of these campuses. Ingrid also generated a list of all database configurations from the proxy server for Towson.

Support for USMAI Groups and Committees: Linda established 13 new Listserv email lists in support of USMAI advisory groups and subgroups, and communities of interest/practice.

Mark Hemhauser served as Chair and Heidi Hanson served as a member of the search committee for the Director of the CLAS team. We were busy with interviews in October and early November, and were very fortunate to bring the search to a successful conclusion. David Dahl will begin as the new Director for CLAS on January 12, 2015.

CLAS team gets a nod: Elaine Mael at Towson wrote an article about the merger of Baltimore Hebrew University into Towson’s collection. “ITD” (DSS’s former name) gets mentioned quite a bit:


Peter Eichman joined SSDR as our new Senior Software Developer.  Peter’s academic background is in linguistics and philosophy. He is a UMD alumnus (B.A.s in Linguistics and Philosophy), and also holds an M.A. in Philosophy from USC. He is very familiar with UMD, not only as a student but also as a staff member, having worked for the ARHU Computing Services office and the National Foreign Language Center as a web application developer.  Peter’s first project will heading the major Digital Collections upgrade to Fedora 4.

Stew of the Month: October 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

Peter Eichman led a DSS brown bag introducing and demonstrating Vagrant.  Vagrant is a developer tool to “Create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments.”. DSS developers have already begun using Vagrant to support development of Libraries’ applications.

Josh Westgard has been focused primarily on setup and support of various web applications, including Omeka and ArchivesSpace, as well as digital preservation and file management tasks.



Theses and dissertations from the 2014 summer sessions are now available in DRUM ( bringing the total number to 9,799.

Hathi Trust
Several of our colleagues in the Libraries are now assisting us in making copyright determinations for books in HathiTrust.  As part of the CRMS-World grant with the University of Michigan,   Johnnie Love, Leigh Ann DePope, Loretta Tatum, Paul Bushmiller, and Yeo-Hee Koh join Donna King, Audrey Lengel, and Terry Owen as representatives of the University of Maryland Libraries on the project.

Historic Maryland Newspapers

In October the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project asked their Advisory Board to recommend newspaper titles for digitization during the 2014-2016 National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant cycle. Board members suggested titles from all over the state and ranked them in order of importance. After tallying and reviewing the results, Doug McElrath and Liz Caringola narrowed down the results to the following titles:

  1. Aegis & Intelligencer, Bel Air, 1864-1922 (published 1864-1923)
  2. Catoctin Clarion, Mechanicsville (Thurmont), 1871-1922 (published 1871-1942)
  3. Cecil Whig, Elkton, 1841-1922 (published 1841-current)
  4. Daily Banner, Cambridge, 1902-1922 (published 1902-1960)
  5. Democratic Advocate, Westminster, 1865-1922 (published 1865-1972)
  6. Montgomery County Sentinel, Rockville, 1856-1922 (published 1855-1974)
  7. Port Tobacco Times, and Charles County Advertiser, Port Tobacco, 1845-1898 (published 1845-1898)
  8. Prince George’s Enquirer and Southern Maryland Advertiser, Upper Marlboro, 1882-1922 (published 1882-1925)
  9. St. Mary’s Beacon/Gazette, Leonardtown, 1852-1922 (published 1845-1983)

The microfilm of these titles will be evaluated for technical quality and bibliographic completeness before making the final decision to digitize. In addition to these titles, the project will also complete digitization of Der Deutsche Correspondent from 1914 to 1918 in partnership with the Maryland Historical Society. Digitization for the second NDNP grant should begin in early 2015.

Plant Patents

Jennie Knies and Robin Pike met with staff of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library (Nevenka Zdravkovska, Robin Dasler, Alex Carroll, and Jim Miller) to discuss a process and workflows for digitizing color plates from U.S. Government plant patents.  The pilot project is underway and the patents should be available via the Libraries’ website in early 2015.  The project will complement similar efforts at other institutions, for example, the New York Public Library, who has digitized the color plates from 2012-2014.

Digitization Activities

Fifty volumes were included in the monthly shipment of books and serials for digitization by the Internet Archive, and 46 deteriorating films from the Library Media Services collection were sent to a film digitization vendor.

Abby Lee digitized Harmony or Chord formation, relation and progression: being introductory to the art of Musical Composition to which is prefixed by a brief view of Musical Notation, circa 1871-1872, an unpublished, handwritten manuscript from the Lowell Mason Collection from SCPA. This document will be transcribed by SCPA staff to make this document searchable for their patrons.

Twenty-one historical French pamphlets and 121 university publications were digitized in-house and submitted to the Internet Archive as part of an ongoing effort to make additional unique materials in both of these collection areas available to the public.

Software Development

Peter Eichman promoted the latest AlephRx improvement into production for use by USMAI staff.

No other projects were completed but progress toward completion was made on:

Digital Scholarship and Publishing

The UMD Libraries Open Access Fund ( is now accepting applications.  Dean Steele was able to acquire additional funds from the Provost’s office, the Division of Research, and other deans on campus for 2014-2015.

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

The Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team continued meeting with Ben Wallberg (DSS) through October, working on the process of installing and testing Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) for UM College Park. Our initial OLE test installation was populated with demonstration data from other OLE partner institutions and proved to be difficult to work with. In early October, we installed OLE version 1.5.3, and started to have more success with loading our own local data for testing purposes.  CLAS team members are also participating in weekly online meetings of the OLE Implementation Group, which includes representatives from various OLE partners including Duke, Villanova, and Indiana University (among others). We plan to continue testing the OLE system to demonstrate its capabilities to USMAI for more informed decision making.

Peter Eichman (DSS) recently lent his programming skills to the CLAS team to make some improvements to the AlephRx problem reporting system. The updated version of AlephRx was rolled out on October 13. Improvements include:

  • a new functional area for reports—Password Reset—which we hope will make submitting these requests easier;
  • improved consistency of terminology throughout the AlephRx website (titles, labels);
  • a new format for email messages, to encourage replies through the AlephRx web site and help keep the comments related to each Rx together;
  • a fix to the “Active” filter on the list of reports, so it now correctly includes any reports not “closed”, and the filter buttons at top of summary list of reports have been rearranged in more logical order; and
  • a new “from” e-mail address, to ensure reliable delivery of emails to DSS.

The CLAS team extends its thanks to our USMAI colleagues who were tapped to do testing of the form in the week before the rollout—your help in quality assurance testing is much appreciated. Many thanks also to Linda Seguin, who spearheaded the internal testing of the revised AlephRx system and took care of many details necessary to make the changeover to the new version go smoothly.


DCMR welcomed two new digitization assistants: Rachel Dook and Brin Winterbottom. Rachel is also the Graduate Assistant in Preservation and Conservation and Brin is also an hourly student in the Art Library. Both are students in the iSchool.

Francis Kayiwa joined USS as a System Analyst and will be providing System Administration and User Support. He received his Bachelor from St. Bonaventure University and his Master of Library Science from State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY at Buffalo).  He is coming to us from Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago where he worked as a Library Systems Coordinator.


On Saturday, October 18, 2014, Sandra, Preston, Victoria and Uche from USS was asked to provide a 3D printing demonstration for alumni before the homecoming football game. The event was located in the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. USS displayed two of our 3D printers, the Makerbot Replicator 5th generation and Makerbot Replicator 2. Throughout the event, we printed miniature copies of Testudo similar to the statue in front of the McKeldin Library. We gave away over 100 miniature Testudo statues in assorted colors. The red Testudo miniature statue was popular for obvious reasons. We were easily the busiest table and experienced a lot of interest and excitement about 3D printing from all age groups. People were so excited, that some of our 3D models we had on display mysteriously walked away. Also, someone at the event was even willing to pay for a larger red Testudo statue we had on display. We communicated that 3D printers can produce prosthetic limbs but can also produce everyday household items, such as a wrench or cup. Many alumni were pleased to know how applicable 3D printing could be. We received many questions on why 3D printing is available in the Libraries, but not in other places on campus, specifically Engineering and Architecture We received many questions on why 3D printing is available in the Libraries, but not in other places on campus, specifically in the Engineering and Architecture programs. We explained that libraries are no longer centered on books, but now provide more of an innovative and technology driven environment for creative thinking and entrepreneurship. Many alumni were pleased to know that this service is available in the Libraries for all campus students. And even though we cannot be 100% certain, USS feels that the successfulness of our 3D printing demonstration was the reason why Maryland won the homecoming football game later that day.  Go Terps!

Conferences, Workshops and Professional Activities

Eric Cartier attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Baltimore on October and delivered a presentation entitled “Creating Digitization Workflows That Work at UMD Libraries.”

Liz Caringola joined Eric Cartier as co-chair of the Emerging Technologies Discussion Group.Liz Caringola attended MARAC and presented on the impact that links and citations in Wikipedia articles have on driving traffic to the digitized newspapers of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) and suggested next steps for NDNP participants that wish to pursue activities related to Wikipedia.

Jennie Knies and Babak Hamidzadeh attended the Fall Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust) meeting in Washington, DC.  Jennie gave a presentation on the University of Maryland Libraries’ high-level preservation ecosystem and discussed potential uses for APTrust services within that context.

Ben Wallberg, Paul Hammer, Mohamed Abdul Rasheed, and Joshua Westgard along with Bria Parker from Metadata Services attended the DC Area Fedora Users Group meeting where they connected with other local Fedora users and received a nice overview of new features in Fedora 4.  Paul Hammer attended the second day of the meeting to receive Fedora 4 developer training.

Josh Westgard attended the IEEE conference in Bethesda, MD on Oct. 27-30, where he presented a poster describing his work to improve an upload bot currently being used by the National Archives to upload digitized materials from its collections into Wikimedia Commons.  The poster was summarized in a short article published in the proceedings of the conference: “The Bot Will Serve You Now: Automating Access to Archival Materials,” Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Oct. 27-30, Washington DC, ed. Jimmy Lin, et al. (ISBN 978-1-4799-5665-4), pp. 73-74.

With leadership from Josh Westgard and Bria Parker, the Libraries Coding Workshop began meeting on a weekly basis on Oct. 13, and is going strong.  The participants are working through CodeAcademy lessons, and on collaborative projects, using Python, shell scripting, and XSLT.  Karl Nilsen gave a brief demonstration of natural language processing in the UMD Libraries Coding Workshop using 108 volumes of The Carpenter, a periodical produced by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The periodical is part of the Libraries’ collections in labor history, and digitized issues are available from the Internet Archive.

Karl Nilsen completed a one-day course on natural language processing taught by District Data Labs.