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Stew of the month: April 2015

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

We have received files for the 159 1/4″ open reel audiotape recordings from the WAMU Archives that were digitized by a vendor as part of the DIC digitization project proposal process; quality assurance will be completed over the next month and the recordings will be uploaded to UMD Digital Collections.

More than 300 recordings from Arthur Godfrey’s 1949-1950 radio shows are now available online in UMD Digital Collections (restricted to campus or VPN log-in from off campus due to copyright restrictions). These recordings are a small part of the Arthur Godfrey collection held by Special Collections, Mass Media and Culture. In 2012, Robin Pike worked with Chuck Howell, Carla Montori, and other support staff to prepare the wire recordings for digitization by a vendor; Joanne Archer, her GAs, and Bria Parker enhanced the minimal metadata after all the files were received in 2014; and Eric Cartier and Josh Westgard recently completed the ingest. The same vendor is currently digitizing 40 additional recordings as part of the FY15 DIC digitization project proposal process.

Digitization assistants digitized and provided images for the student posters presented in the Hornbake Library lobby on Maryland Day, as part of an assignment about the history of campus for the “MAC to Millennium: History of the University of Maryland” class taught by Anne Turkos and Jason Speck.

Historic Maryland Newspaper Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent its first production batch to the digitization vendor earlier this month. The Catoctin Clarion, first published in 1871 in Mechanicstown (modern-day Thurmont), Maryland, is the first title to be digitized during this grant cycle. We will digitize the run ending in 1922.

Several representatives from DSS and Doug McElrath from Special Collections met with staff at the Maryland State Archives on April 6 to discuss the future of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project and to begin making plans for digitizing content outside of the current National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Software Development

The project to update the Libraries’ Website to a Responsive Web Design based interface is progressing through the initial design phase.  We have completed wireframing and are now creating static HTML mockups using the Unify template.  These mockups are used as prototypes to select and refine the features and layout of the new site, in close coordination with the Web Advisory Committee.  You can follow our progress on the Website RWD Mockups page hosted in GitHub.

The first of two sprints to refactor the Exhibit website is complete.  We are converting the  Beyond the Battle: Bladensburg Rediscovered special collections exhibit into a generic Exhibit template which can be used to create multiple websites.  New, hosted websites for the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation and the Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities project are scheduled for release on June 1 using the new template.

After review of the Wufoo technical limitations we encountered for use in the online student application project, we have decided that trying to create a workaround using Wufoo will be too costly to create and maintain so we will implement the form in Drupal.  The disadvantages of this implementation are the increased developer time necessary to create the form and the inability of Human Resources staff to update the form at will.  This technical problem has put the project behind schedule so to make up time we will pull additional developers off of the Fedora 4 implementation in order to make up some ground.  Release of the production Fedora 4 instance will be delayed until June.  We did however fulfill our commitment to participate in community development of the new Fedora 4 Audit Service core feature.

User and System Support

Victoria Quartey with 3D printer

Victoria Quartey with 3D printer

User & Systems Support (USS) staff volunteered on Maryland Day 2015, showing Library visitors the “Maker” services that are available in the Libraries. In the lobby of Mckeldin, USS demonstrated 3D printing and 3D scanning. When visitors came into Mckeldin Library, they were welcomed by seeing miniature testudos printing from a 3D printer.  Many visitors were amazed and wanted to learn more about 3D printing. The printed testudos were handed out to the visitors which brought huge smiles to both parents and children. Many students were amazed that 3D printing is available in the Libraries. While some students started thinking about what they can send to have printed, other students were eager to learn how to get certified to use the Library 3D printers on their own.

3D scanning demo with Preston Tobery.

3D scanning demo with Preston Tobery.

The 3D scanning demo in the lobby was also very popular with the visitors of the library. Using a laptop and Xbox Kinect camera, approximately 80 visitors had 3D scans taken of them. Visitors were able to watch how the 3D scans were made, in real-time, on one of the lobby’s TV screens. Each visitor that was 3D scanned will receive a copy of their 3D scanned file through email. Another TV screen in the lobby featured a short video on the process of creating a 3D printed replica of the Jim Henson & Kermit statue that’s outside Stamp Student Union. A huge 3D printed model of the statue was displayed for all visitors to see.

USS staff were also present in the John & Stella Graves Makerspace, on the 2nd floor of Mckeldin Library, which was open from 10am -4pm during Maryland Day. Approximately 90 visitors stopped by that day. Many visitors were undergraduates in varying majors, such as special education, mechanical engineering, digital media and computer science. The diverse crowd of students, and other visitors, continued to support the idea of the non-exclusivity environment that’s in in the Libraries. The visitors were also interested in the other technologies and services the Libraries offered to the students and local community. There were discussions about the vinyl cutter, desktop 3D scanner, 3D printer and Oculus Rift that’s in the Makerspace. However, other services like the TLC Loner Program were discussed to let the visitors know that students could rent laptops, camcorders, iPads, and other equipment for their desired reason. Even though the Google Glass wasn’t included in the planned showcase, many visitors were still interested in it and wanted to try the device on. Many were amazed by the opportunity. Since, the 3D printer in the Makerspace was printing miniature testudos, some visitors were treated with a small training session and demo on the 3D printer. USS staff briefly showed them how to unload and reload the plastic filament, used the Makerbot desktop application, and how 3D prints are removed from the build plate.

The USS volunteers expressed that they enjoyed showing these Library services on Maryland Day. And the Library visitors seemed to enjoy it as well. Throughout the day, visitors and alumni not only expressed how surprised they were that the Libraries have these 3D Maker services, they also were surprised that they were currently available to all students. One visitor who works at a Library in California was surprised to see how advanced our Library is. And, one alumni even stated, “ I wish I would have stayed in school longer”.

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

MD-SOAR

The setup of the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) continues to progress. DSS created a DSpace “sandbox” for the MD-SOAR institutional partners to begin getting familiar with the DSpace repository solution. Initial configuration of the production instance of DSpace was completed after two weeks of work by software developers. The completed repository is expected to be ready for individual institutions by June 15th for their own local “launches” of the repository. This is a 2-year pilot project that will provide a repository solution to many of the libraries within the consortium plus a few other Maryland academic libraries. It is very encouraging to see so many libraries working together in support of providing access to their collections in an open environment and for DSS to be able to support this kind of initiative based on our technical expertise and DSpace experience.

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 88 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in April. Amongst the service requests were continued work on setting up YBP shelf-ready orders from YBP and working with Morgan State on getting EBSCO Discovery Services configured for use at their campus.

Kuali OLE

Six members of USMAI libraries were nominated, and graciously agreed, to help with testing and evaluating Kuali OLE. The testers met with CLAS on April 23rd to begin discussing OLE and creating a plan for evaluating it on behalf of the consortium. The group will prepare a report to be presented to, and discussed with, the Council of Library Directors at their September meeting. Thank you to Audrey Schadt, Austin Smith, Betty Landesman, Conrad Helms, Virginia Williams, and Vicki Sipe for their participation.

CLAS continues to monitor and contribute to the progress of version 1.6 of OLE. Seven OLE tickets are currently assigned to members of the team. Once released, the team will install and configure the new version for local testing. Team member continue to attend weekly implementation meetings with other OLE partners as those institutions move closer to implementing OLE. There is a lot to be learned from these shared experiences!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

ETDG news: Eric Cartier will be rotating off as co-chair in May, having completed his one-year term. Eric and Liz solicited self-nominations for the next co-chair and will announce the new co-chair at the May 20 ETDG meeting.

Edible Book Fair: Hornbake Plaza

Edible Book Fair: Hornbake Plaza

Eric helped to organize the 3rd Annual Maryland Edible Book Festival on April Fool’s Day. The popular event occurred in front of Hornbake Library. DCMR staff contributed the following edible books: Things Fall Apart, Beer and Loafing in Las Vegas, and The Pound and the Curry

Heidi Hanson attended a program sponsored by USMAI’s User Experience subgroup. The program featured EBSCO’s VP of User Experience Kate Lawrence. She discussed UX tips and observations based on EBSCO’s ethnographic research on college students. Among the observations was “results are the new black”. Ask Heidi for details…

David Dahl presented at a Google Analytics program sponsored by the USMAI Reporting & Analytics subgroup. The program was well-received and also included a good discussion and lightning presentations from several others in the consortium. There is a lot of interest in making better use of web analytics amongst the consortium’s libraries.

Discuss!

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