Stew of the month: February 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

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Issues of Der Deutsche Correspondent (Baltimore) from 1914, 1915 (Jan. – March), 1916, and 1917 (Jan. – Sept.) are now available on Chronicling America: These issues were digitized in partnership with the Maryland Historical Society and expand upon the years digitized during our first National Digital Newspaper Project grant, 1858-1913. Remaining issues will be digitized before the end of the current grant to complete the newspaper’s run, which ceased publication in 1918.

Other Digitization Activities

DCMR staff performed quality assurance on the second batch of books and serials digitized by the Internet Archive, which came from the general collections, William Kapell diaries, microfilmed correspondence from the Djuna Barnes papers, AFL-CIO News, and vinegar syndrome films from the Library Media Services collections, and finished QA on the School of Music audio recordings. All of these project were funded through the DIC project proposal process.

The following digitization projects were sent to vendors in February: Diamondback photos (shipment 1), Diamondback microfilm, Kapell photos, Kapell programs, Bryer videotapes, and an additional batch of SCUA publications to the Internet Archive.

Robin Pike met with Nevenka Zdravkovska, Josh Westgard, and Ben Wallberg to discuss moving the Plant Patent Database from a pilot project to production. EPSL staff will continue to scan the color images and Josh Westgard will continue to update the database.

Eric Cartier worked with DCMR students and Jen Eidson, Labor Collections Archivist, to digitize photos, documents, physical artifacts, and audio recordings for the 60th Anniversary of the AFL-CIO Merger exhibit.

David Durden worked with Josh Westgard to adapt a web-scraper script to pull and analyze usage statistics from UMD’s collection in the Internet Archive. David also continued to work on analyzing usage statistics from UMD Digital Collections between 2013-2015. This work may be used to inform future digitization priorities.

Software Development

We experienced problems with website performance and stability during January and February for a number of reasons, some of them related to outstanding technical issues with the server environment and some to new bugs in the code.  We’ve been working to upgrade the server infrastructure and eliminate those bugs, resulting in some improvements with additional work continuing through March.  These improvements will not only resolve the current problems but prepare for continued growth of website traffic.

We have started work on upgrading DRUM from DSpace version 4.1 to 5.4.  The basic benefits are to keep up-to-date with fixes and improvements.  In addition the upgrade sets the stage to explore new features like ORCID integration, report Google Analytics from admin UI, and SHERPA/RoMEO lookup during submission.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 111 Aleph Rx submissions and 34 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in February.

Service Evaluation

As part of the CLAS team’s effort to make sure we’re meeting the consortium’s needs satisfactorily, we began soliciting feedback on your service requests starting in October 2015. Thank you to all who have responded to these requests for feedback! Responses have been overwhelmingly positive to date, and your comments are helpful in ensuring that we continue doing what you value and look for opportunities in other areas.

Aleph Upgrade

As part of the CLAS’ work plan for 2016, the team began planning for upgrading the consortium’s Aleph instance from version 20 to version 22. Team members reviewed release notes for versions 21 and 22 in order to assess the work involved in upgrading. Project details can be found on the USMAI Staff Site Version 21 & 22 Update page and will be updated as the project progresses.

CLAS Notes

Wondering how to reply to an Aleph Rx so that your response gets recorded, how to use Research Port URLs to link to databases, how Aleph fines are configured and calculated, or what to do if you find a problem with another USMAI campus’ record in Aleph? Lucky for you, these are all covered in the team’s CLAS Notes series, which you can find on the USMAI Staff Site.

Site Visits

Joseph Koivisto made visits to St. Mary’s, UMD Center for Environmental Science, and College Park to learn more about their needs and workflows related to library acquisitions. A few more visits are in the works in the coming months.

David Dahl, along with Chuck Thomas, visited with library staff at Frostburg.



The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository was upgraded to version 5.4 of DSpace in February. The repository has seen over 1300 sessions from 800+ viewers with an average session duration of more than 25 minutes and over 8300 items downloaded. Users find the repository in a number of ways, including Google, Google Scholar, and direct links from MD-SOAR partners’ library websites (even a few via social media posts!). We have some work in progress to help MD-SOAR partners gain even more insights about the repository’s use; we hope to share more about that soon!


David Durden expanded his service to DCMR by accepting an hourly position in the Hornbake Digitization Center.