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 and Conversion Activities
The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent two additional batches (approximately 10,000 newspaper pages each) to the digitization vendor in May. In those batches were pages from Der Deutsche Correspondent, the St. Mary’s Beacon, and the St. Mary’s Gazette, as well as the remaining pages of the Catoctin Clarion. Digitization of Der Deutsche Correspondent, a German-language newspaper published in Baltimore from 1841-1918, began during our first grant cycle for the years 1858-1913. In collaboration with the Maryland Historical Society, the remainder of the run through 1918 will be completed during this grant. The combined runs of the St. Mary’s Beacon and Gazette (Leonardtown, MD) will span 1852-1922.
Liz Caringola and the HMNP students continue to add to the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project on Pinterest. Please follow us if you’re on Pinterest!
Eric Cartier and digitization assistants Ryan Jester and Massimo Petrozzi completed quality assurance inspections of 190 WAMU audio files and 39 Arthur Godfrey sound recordings, received in April and May, accordingly. Both projects were funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process.
Digitization assistants Brin Winterbottom and Rachel Dook explored CD-ripping software and developed procedures for capturing born-digital audio content on optical discs in-house. They converted 200 CD-Rs from the WMUC Collection containing in-studio, live Third Rail Radio shows.
GAs Alice Prael and Amy Wickner (SCUA) have begun a case study to test the workflow using a one terabyte hard drive containing born-digital records of the National Labor College obtained from the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive. Although the disk imaging process moved smoothly, they now face challenges accessing the disk image. This is due to an issue connecting network drives in the BitCurator environment. They hope to resolve the problem soon.
Digital Programs and Initiatives
In addition to routine file preservation activities, Josh Westgard has been focused on the launch of additional instances of the single-table Solr-backed Hippo database system previously piloted with the SCPA Scores Database. Two additional databases using this system will lauch in June. Josh is also assisting with the MD-SOAR shared institutional repository by handling batch loads of existing content into the new system, and has been involved in a number of recent exploratory meetings regarding new collections and future projects, including an exciting collaboration with members of the Digital Humanities team from the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies on the creation of a TEI-encoded corpus of Persian texts. Stay tuned for more on this and other new intitiatives in future postings!
Karl Nilsen and the Research Data Services team began working with Ann Wylie, professor of geology, to curate and preserve a variety of data related to the identification of asbestos. Accurate identification of asbestos is not only a matter of basic research, but also an important factor in industrial regulation, health policy, and legal proceedings. The team is reviewing the structure and formatting of Dr. Wylie’s data files, examining publications related to these data for information that will aid curation, and creating data documentation files. To support long-term access, the team will create CSV versions of the original Excel spreadsheets. These data will be uploaded to DRUM as open data and contribute to public and private research on asbestos.
Design and planning for the Responsive Web Design project continued with several rounds of feedback and improvements for Static HTML Mockups between DSS and the Web Advisory Committee. Coding for the new templates in Hippo is scheduled to begin over the summer, with the home page and subsite pages implemented first.
The improved Exhibit website templates have been completed and installed into production. Dependencies between the existing Beyond the Battle: Bladensburg Rediscovered content, the new Hippo Exhibit code, and the new Unify 1.7 bootstrap template turned out to be more complex than anticipated but with some extra effort the new template has come together. Content for the new exhibits is still under construction so look for these coming soon: from the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies the Persian Digital Humanities website and from Special Collections the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation website and new exhibit Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll.
Development of the new online student application submission form and supervisor database is nearing completion. In June we will be working with Human Resources and student supervisors to test the application, fix bugs, tweak the features, and release into production.
As part of standing up a DSpace instance for the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) we created a GitHub based code repository forked form the core DSpace code repository. The production instance will come online using DSpace version 5.1 with customizations to the XMLUI/Mirage2 interface for the MD-SOAR theme and for a institutional branding based on each top-level community per participating institution.
The Wufoo Connector enterprise integration tool for submitting WuFoo forms into SysAid and AlephRx has proven buggy in the production environment. Given very light demand for the application and alternatives for existing forms we have deferred working on a bug fix and have the removed application from production use. Since beginning work on the Wufoo Connector we have become aware of existing tools for enterprise messaging, such as Apache Camel, so rather than fixing the bug we may abandon this custom code for an established framework.
DSS has entered into a partnership with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) with DSS providing software development services and open data expertise in support of their mission to accelerate scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Development is underway on a new Integrated Discovery Platform for automating the ingest and cataloging of socio-environmental data.
User and System Support
On Tuesday, June 2nd, at the iSchool Alumni Chapter Annual Meeting, USS staff gave demonstrations about the equipment in the John & Stella Grave’s Makerspace.Sandra Ayensu, Victoria Quartey and Preston Tobery were asked to provide demos on 3D printing, 3D scanning, Google Glass and the One Button Studio. They demonstrated the equipment for about 2 hours. Everyone in attendance was thrilled to see what the Libraries has to offer. Uche Enwesi was asked to be one of the panelists in the meeting. He spoke about libraries and how they are using Makerspaces to transform learning and impact education.
The John & Stella Grave’s Makerspace room was flooded the night before from heavy rain. Fortunately, none of the equipment was damage. Because of the flood, the demonstrations had to happen outside the John & Stella Grave’s Makerspace room. Victoria did the demonstration for 3D printing. Attendees were amazed by the way the printers worked and liked being able to hold some of the printed models in their hands to get a closer look. Preston offered a closer look at handheld 3D scanning with the Sense 3D scanner. Preston hooked up a large screen TV to show how the scanner works in real time while he scanned a few people. They were amazed that the scan could be completed in minutes and made available for 3D printing even quicker. Sandra displayed the Google Glass; attendees naturally gravitated towards this swanky eye wear and immediately asked questions. Questions asked were: can they be worn over glasses, are they still in production, and are there any hazards such as overheating? Many attendees tried on the Google Glass but had a hard time focusing on the screen. Once they adjusted, they were ready to roll! Some played games while others recorded videos and took pictures. Our staff explained that many students and faculty of the University borrow them for up to three days. The most common question was, why is the Google Glass in the Libraries? Our staff was able to respond that,“The Libraries in the twenty-first century are defying the odds by rebranding the stereotype of a typical Library to a haven where limitless possibilities of innovation occur.”
Uche, Victoria, Preston, and Sandra enjoyed the meeting. They were able to learn about other Makerspaces in the area. It was nice to hear the different experiences panelists went through with their Makerspace. They also learned that Makerspace aren’t limited to educational campuses but are being opened up in general public areas too. One notable experience came from an elementary school librarian. She mentioned that 3D printers did not mesh well for her environment because kids lacked patience to wait for 3D printjobs to finish. She had to create a new curriculum that was not centered on 3D printing, but still fun for the children.
USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium
Support to USMAI
The CLAS team responded to 84 Aleph Rx submissions and 25 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in May. These requests include interesting campus projects like restricting access to a specific Docutek e-reserve course at TU (using EZproxy) in support of a shared syllabus collection that is being built and helping integrate EZproxy with the product Callisto for HS/HSL. The team is also working on coordinating the transitioning of USMAI libraries’ budgets into the new fiscal year – an annual process known as “Fiscal Year End Closeout“.
The migration of Metalib (the application behind ResearchPort) was completed on May 7th. This was a complicated move, which CLAS Systems Analyst Hans Breitenlohner successfully executed with minimal downtime to users. The suite of applications is now thriving in its new home!
The team continues to work with consortium members on their testing of OLE. Version 1.6 of OLE was officially released in late May. CLAS Systems Analyst David Steelman has updated the “OLE Sandbox” environment to this new version for testing.
As a possible complement to OLE, the team has been looking at a utility called the Business Intelligence Reporting Tool (“BIRT” for short), as a potential reporting tool to use alongside OLE. Keeping with the spirit of OLE, BIRT is an open source product.
The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) continues to move closer to production. Work on theming and configuring the application will be complete in June and is still on schedule to hand over to individual institutions on June 15th for their use.
The following DCMR students graduated this semester: Melissa Foge, Jordan Lee, Marlin Oliver, and Massimo Petrozzi. Melissa, Jordan, and Massimo will be working as C1s this summer. Marlin was recently hired by Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
SSDR says farewell to our Graduate Assistants Sakshi Jain and Rohit Arora. Sakshi has obtained her Masters in Information Management from the iSchool and Rohit his M.S. in Telecommunications Engineering from the ENTS program.
Conferences, workshops and professional development
David Steelman attended the Ex Libris Technical Seminar in Minneapolis on May 4th. He attended training on the Patron Directory Services (PDS) module, which is a key component of the authentication framework for USMAI libraries.
Heidi Hanson attended the ELUNA Conference from May 6th through 8th in Minneapolis.
David Dahl attended the Maryland/Delaware Library Associations 2015 Conference in Ocean City, MD from May 6th through 8th. He co-presented a poster entitled “That’s Not Relevant! Comparisons of Perceived Results Relevancy in Discovery Service Products”.
Graduate Assistants Alice Prael and Amy Wickner (SCUA) have written an article on their recent work with born digital workflows. “Getting to Know FRED: Introducing Workflows for Born Digital Content” was published in Practical Technology for Archives this month. They will also be presenting this paper at the semi-annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in Roanoke, VA in October.