Stew of the month: January 2016

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

The following DIC-funded digitization projects were sent to vendors in the months of December and January: LMS vinegar syndrome films across multiple subject areas, general collection books and serials, Persian textbooks, Maryland historical maps, posters from the Gordon W. Prange collection, and Djuna Barnes correspondence on microfilm. Working with LMS and Preservation and Conservation staff, three reels of film of Florence Days of Destruction were also sent to a digitization vendor.

DCMR staff began quality assurance on files delivered from digitization vendors for SCUA books and serials mass digitization and School of Music audio recording digitization projects. Both projects were funded through the DIC project proposal process.

Student digitization assistant Caroline Hayden scanned 82 University of Maryland campus maps and added them to UMD Digital Collections. The Assistant University Archivist put together this small project to illustrate how the campus has changed over time. 

Student digitization assistant Brin Winterbottom digitally converted 200 WMUC “Third Rail Radio” CD-Rs. These recordings will be added to 180 other WMUC live concert recordings that she and Rachel Dook transferred last fall.

DCMR staff digitized 55 photographs and programs for the upcoming Gymkana exhibit, which will be featured in the ground floor cases and Portico Room in McKeldin Library. 

Chair Balancing: Part of the Gymkana exhibition to be hosted in McKeldin Library
Chair Balancing: Part of the Gymkana exhibition to be hosted in McKeldin Library

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Two new titles digitized by the project went live on Chronicling America ( in late December. The St. Mary’s Beacon and Gazette from Leonard Town have been added and span from 1852 to 1921. Some scattered issues were microfilmed separately and will be digitized in a future batch. Additional issues of the Catoctin Clarion from Thurmont were also added, expanding coverage through 1922. (Issues from 1871 to 1918 were digitized earlier this year.)  Visit to browse all available Maryland titles.

Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, and Doug McElrath (SCUA), with assistance from Tonita Brooks and Andrea White in the Business Office, submitted a proposal to NEH that, if awarded, will extend grant funding from the National Digital Newspapers Program through August 2018 and allow UMD Libraries to digitize and contribute 100,000 additional pages of historic Maryland newspapers to Chronicling America. A decision is expected in late July.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

As part of the Digital Scholarship and Publishing program, the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction ( has recently been launched and the first issue was released in late January.  Developed in collaboration with the Museum of Science Fiction in Washington, DC, the journal is published three times per year and explores the myriad facets of science fiction.  Check out the first issue at

Caitlin Carter joined Digital Programs and Initiatives as the new graduate assistant for DRUM, which we share with Collection Development.  Caitlin will assist in the day-to-day operations of DRUM and also MD-SOAR, the two-year pilot project for a shared digital repository for eleven Maryland institutions.  Caitlin is located in B0293 and can be reached at or 5-9432.  Stop by and welcome Caitlin to the Libraries!

Save the date!  Our next speaker for the Future of the Research Library Speaker Series will be Mike Furlough, Executive Director of HathiTrust.  His presentation is scheduled for 19 April at 10:00 am in the Special Events Room of McKeldin.  More details to follow!

Software Development

The new theme for a Responsive Website Design has been launched for the Libraries’ Website (and also Integrated Research Resources on Campus, and Open Educational Resources).  This allows a single website to be delivered to all browsers (desktop, tablet, mobile) with these advantages:

1) mobile devices have access to all website content, unlike the previous separate mobile site

2) improved discovery due to improved search engine rankings from mobile devices

3) reduced developer time to maintain two separate websites

We would like to thank all members of the Web Advisory Committee and all Hippo content editors for their support during the Responsive Website implementation.  They were not able to put their hands on many of the planned changes until relatively late in the process, but waited patiently (even with some slight anxiety), and were willing to react quickly to make necessary changes for the production release.  Thank you very much, the successful launch could not have happened without you.

We have also introduced improvements to Database Finder in conjunction with turning off ResearchPort for College Park.  Discovery of databases is enriched using the Subject Category and SubCategory information attached to each database.  The home page contains a list of all available Subject Categories with their counts.  Subject Categories and SubCategories have also been added to the search filters available on the search results pages.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 112 Aleph Rx submissions and 28 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in January.

In January configuration of the Aleph sublibrary for Towson’s “TU in Northeastern Maryland” site was completed, allowing the site in Harford County to house and loan collections for their patrons. The team also assisted College Park in its transition from SFX to the WorldCat link resolver.

As part of its work plan for this calendar year, we will be planning an Aleph upgrade to version 22. More information will be shared as plans develop.

Ex Libris News

Ex Libris has launched a new platform called the Knowledge Center, which houses all of their product documentation, as well as training materials, knowledge articles, and developer network. This information is now open and available for anyone to access. A link to the Knowledge Center is available on the USMAI Staff Site

The team also attended an Ex Libris & ProQuest webinar, which addressed the merged company’s product strategy moving forward. Key to the consortium is confirmation that Aleph and other Ex Libris products will be supported and developed for the foreseeable future.



With over 1300 user sessions and 7000 downloads during the month of January, the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository, has been a successful collaboration between DSS, USMAI libraries, and other library partners in Maryland. The repository currently provides access to nearly 2000 items and is growing as libraries promote MD-SOAR to their campus communities.


In December DCMR Digitization Assistant Audrey Lengel graduated with an MLS and began work as the Historic Collections & Communications Intern at NPR in January. DCMR Quality Assurance Assistant Quinn Smith also graduated with an MLS in December. Both Audrey and Quinn joined DCMR in 2013.

In January, iSchool graduate student (and SCUA GA) Amy Wickner began a Field Study position with the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project and will be contributing content related to Maryland newspapers, as well as links to our newspapers in Chronicling America as appropriate, to Wikipedia. The project also hired an additional Student Assistant, iSchool graduate student Sara Horn, to assist with metadata collation and quality control.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, Doug McElrath (SCUA), Ben Wallberg, and Trevor Munoz met with staff from the Maryland State Archives, Digital Maryland (, and WHILBR ( at the end of January to discuss the expansion of newspaper digitization efforts in the state beyond the NDNP. Work will continue with these, and possibly additional, partners throughout 2016.

Heidi Hanson attended the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston.