Stew of the month: August 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

Robin Pike continued to make progress on the preparatory work for the FY16 mass-digitization vendor contracts, including adding new projects to the FY16 list since donors have approached collection managers with new sources of funds for time-sensitive projects.

DCMR staff worked on quality assurance, archiving, and ingest preparation of several FY15 projects digitized through the DIC project proposal process:

  • Eric Cartier and assistants performed QA on dissertations, monographs and serials from the Hebraica project, and finished QA on the Diamondback photos.
  • Digitization assistants inspected 228 UMD Schedules of Classes that a vendor digitized from microfilm, and Eric uploaded the files to the Internet Archive. With the recent addition of born-digital schedules, the collection spans 1919-2015.

This month the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent the first two batches (containing about 10,000 pages of newsprint each) of the 2014-2016 grant cycle to the Library of Congress (LC). Quality review is underway for the third batch, and microfilm for the fourth batch was sent to the digitization vendor. The project is on track to meet the grant milestone of 25% of the required 100,000 pages of digitized newsprint submitted to LC by September 30. In July and August, student assistant/C1 Melissa Foge also created several Wikipedia articles related to Maryland newspapers that were digitized by the project.

Digitization assistants scanned 127 historical French pamphlets, which Eric Cartier uploaded to the growing collection on the Internet Archive.

Alice Prael completed her final progress report and recommendations on the born-digital workflows. The work will continue in DPI and SCUA.

Digital Programs and Initiatives

Joshua Westgard, along with staff from SSDR, USS, and Metadata Services, as well as interested colleagues from neighboring institutions, organized and hosted a meeting of the regional Code4Lib group for the greater Maryland, DC, and Virginia area in UMD Libraries’ special events room on August 11-12. The meeting also received sponsorship support from the USMAI consortium of libraries.  Nearly 50 people were in attendance for two days of formal presentations, workshops, and unconference sessions on a variety of topics related to technology in libraries.

Josh Westgard also participated in Fedora 4 development work, acting as a community stakeholder for the Web Access Control (WebAC) feature development effort, as well as participating in the initial discussions for the Fedora API Extension Architecture (API-X).

Josh Westgard and Terry Owen assisted with the MD-SOAR project, developing documentation, carrying out testing and loading of legacy content, and advising the staff from partner institutions on the use of this new DSpace-based institutional repository.

Software Development

The bulk of the development work for the upgrade to Hippo CMS  version 7.9 has been completed.  Work is now underway to promote the new code into the staging site for user testing with promotion to production planned for the end of September.

User testing for the Online Student Application improvements were completed. These improvement were promoted to production following additional fixes based on user feedback.

Peter Eichman completed a second development sprint with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) working on a new Integrated Discovery Platform for automating the ingest and cataloging of socio-environmental data.

Along with the Fedora 4 user community the Libraries have decided that we need to develop a Fedora 4 authorization module based on the emerging Web Access Control (WebAC) standard for  RDF based Access Control.  Peter Eichman and Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed participated in the first of two planned development sprints.

Research and Learning Librarians have been piloting the Guide on the Side application from the University of Arizona Libraries and decided to put the service into production.  We worked with them to setup a new production server and to add basic Libraries branding to the site which is now available at

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 90 Aleph Rx submissions and 41 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

The team contributed to several reports related to the consortium’s discussions about library management systems. In collaboration with the USMAI Shared Platforms & Applications subgroup, a report was produced to summarize and prioritize Aleph enhancement requests that were submitted by individuals in the consortium. CLAS also participated in conference calls with current customers of “next generation” library management systems.

With the approval of CLD, Google Analytics was configured for the consortium’s shared platforms, including Aleph OPAC, Research Port, SFX, and the USMAI Staff Site. Access to analytics has been distributed to co-chairs of the Reporting & Analytics Subgroup and will be made available to individual USMAI libraries in the coming weeks.

Kuali OLE

Working with the consortium’s testing group, CLAS helped develop a report about OLE’s current fit for the consortium’s needs as identified in the previously-created Next Gen ILS RFI document. The report was shared with CLD as an information piece for discussion at their September meeting. CLAS continued to attend weekly implementation meetings with other Kuali OLE adopters.


The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) now boasts a collection of 45 items and growing! DSS developers configured the DSpace search and browse indexes according to the repository partners’ specifications, creating additional limiters like “Description” and “Language” to facilitate advanced searching. Several partners are beginning to introduce the repository to their faculty. If you work for a USMAI library, consider creating an account and adding your publications to MD-SOAR.


SSDR is pleased to welcome three new Graduate Assistants.  Aditya Gadgil (Smith School of Business, Marketing Analytics) and Ramesh Balasekaran (iSchool, Information Management) are performing general Software Development while Xiaoyu Tai (iSchool, Human-Computer Interaction) is filling our brand new position of Front End Developer.  All three will be spending this Fall learning Hippo CMS and participating in building the new Reponsive Web Design site.

DCMR and DPI are pleased to welcome their new shared Graduate Assistant, David Durden (iSchool, MLS). His fall projects will explore and compare researcher profile applications, compiling digitization grants, and analyzing digital collections usage statistics.

DCMR and DPI said farewell to Graduate Assistant Alice Prael, who graduated on August 22. She is moving to Boston, MA for the National Digital Stewardship Residency at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Congratulations Alice!

DCMR Quality Assurance Assistant Quinn Smith also graduated in August, earning her MLS. and is seeking permanent employment. She will continue as a C1 through the fall semester, training a new student on quality assurance procedures. We wish you the best, Quinn!

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project student assistant/C1-for-the-summer Melissa Foge’s last day was August 25. Melissa earned her MLS this past spring and is seeking employment as a librarian, ideally in a music library or working with music collections. We wish you the best, Melissa!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Eric Cartier, Robin Pike, and Alice Prael attended the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting in Cleveland, OH from August 17-22.

Robin co-lectured the SAA pre-conference workshop “Managing Audiovisual Digitization Projects” with George Blood (George Blood Audio Video and Film) and Joshua Ranger (AVPreserve) on August 17. She ended her term as the Chair of the Recorded Sound Roundtable and began her term as a Steering Committee member of the same roundtable, a nationally-elected position.

Eric presented the poster “Establishing the In-house Internet Archive Digitization Workflow” at the Research Forum on August 18, and began his term as the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Recorded Sound Roundtable, a two-year, nationally-elected position.

Alice Prael and Amy Wickner (SCUA) presented their poster “Getting to Know FRED: Introducing Workflows for Born-Digital Content” about their work on the developing born-digital workflows at the graduate student poster sessions on August 20-21.


Special Collections staff members from the Maryland State Archives met with Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, Judi Kidd, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) on August 13 to continue discussions of the future of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, including funding options, required features for a Maryland newspapers digital repository, and what was learned from the digital initiative meetings organized around the state by Digital Maryland this summer.