National Digital Newspaper Program: 2016-2018 Selection


The UMD Libraries were awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) $250,000 grant for the third phase of the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, beginning September 1, 2016. Between 2016-2018, the project will digitize approximately 100,000 pages of newspapers published in the State of Maryland, adding to the over 200,000 pages from Maryland already in Chronicling America, the Library of Congress digitized newspaper database. The state partners contributing content for the third grant are the Maryland State Archives, also a partner on the second grant, and Frostburg State University Library. UMD’s theme for the third award is to include newspapers of greater diversity, including one Polish language paper and several labor papers, as well as newspapers with contrasting political viewpoints of those digitized during the first two grant cycles.

Title Selection

Project staff consulted with the Advisory Board to select the list of titles that may be selected during the 2016-2018 phase:

  • The Baltimore County Union (1865-1909), Towsontown, MD
  • Catoctin Clarion (1923), Mechanicstown, MD
  • The Citizen (1895-1922), Frederick, MD
  • Czas Baltimorski (1940-1941), Baltimore, MD
  • Democratic Messenger (1881-1922), Snow Hill, MD
  • Evening Capital, Evening Capital and Maryland Gazette (1884-1922), Annapolis, MD
  • Frostburg Mining Journal (1871-1917), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Forum (1897-19??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Gleaner (1899-19??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Herald (1903-19??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg News (1897-18??), Frostburg, MD
  • The Frostburg Spirit (1913-1915), Frostburg, MD
  • Greenbelt Cooperator (1937-1943), Greenbelt, MD
  • Maryland Independent (1874-1934), Port Tobacco, MD
  • The Midland Journal (1885-1946), Rising Sun, MD
  • Voice of Labor (1938-1942), Cumberland, MD
  • Worcester Democrat and Ledger-Enterprise (1921-1953), Pocomoke City, MD

The list may be modified as the project student assistants collate the microfilm and discover that the images may be of too poor quality for digitization.

Mutilated pages from the Maryland Independent
Mutilated pages from the Maryland Independent

Copyright Research

In July, NEH announced the expansion of date ranges for the NDNP program, to include 1690-1963. For newspapers published between 1923-1963, project staff need to perform copyright research to determine whether the newspaper issue was registered with the copyright office, and if it was registered, whether the copyright was renewed 28 years later, according to the law. Project staff decided to utilize the resources available through the Copyright Office to determine whether these titles are in the public domain:

  • Catoctin Clarion (1923), Mechanicstown, MD
  • Czas Baltimorski (1940-1941), Baltimore, MD
  • Greenbelt Cooperator (1937-1943), Greenbelt, MD
  • Maryland Independent (1874-1934), Port Tobacco, MD
  • The Midland Journal (1885-1946), Rising Sun, MD
  • Voice of Labor (1938-1942), Cumberland, MD
  • Worcester Democrat and Ledger-Enterprise (1921-1953), Pocomoke City, MD

With guidance from the Library of Congress on how to perform copyright research, Doug McElrath (SCUA) and Robin Pike developed instructions for Doug, Robin, Judi Kidd, and Amy Wickner (SCUA) to perform the research and track their results, providing evidence to the Library of Congress and NEH that the titles are in the public domain. The project staff will primarily be searching in the pre-1978 Catalog of Copyright Entries, but may also have to search in the Copyright Catalog (1978-Present) for renewed registrations. Unlike a book which is a single entity, newspapers are copyrighted by the issue, so project staff will have to ensure that they do title searches across the entire date range of publication to ensure the issues are in the public domain.

Stew of the month: September 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

In September the following Maryland newspapers were uploaded to Chronicling America:

Students Kerry Huller completed quality review of the final batches of the second grant, which Liz Caringola submitted to the Library of Congress. Kerry and Sara Horn continued metadata collation for titles selected for the third grant.

African American History and Culture & Digital Humanities

Scott Pennington coordinated with MITH personnel, Jen Eidson (SCUA), and Stephanie Smith (Driskell Center) on selecting content from the AFL-CIO collection and the David C. Driskell papers for the digitization pilot to occur in November/December, and the main digitization project to occur in 2017. He also refined the digitization project plan and timeline.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike coordinated with Joanne Archer, Liz Novara, Vin Novara, Hilary Thompson, and several students to send out four vendor digitization projects during September including, videotape interviews from the Jackson R. Bryer collection (SCPA), Contemporary Music Project audio recordings (SCPA), videotapes from the Carpenters Union archive (SCUA), and microfiche of general collection books frequently requested by patrons. All of these projects were funded through the DIC project proposal process.

Cecilia Franck began collating metadata for the Diamondback newspaper to be digitized in FY18, taking over for SCUA student Jen Wachtel (who completed collation for the FY16, FY17, and some of FY18 project phases).

Kelsey Hughes, Jonathan Lin, and Cecilia Franck completed a 100% quality review of 114 Hebrew and Yiddish books totaling 33,258 pages for batch two of the FY16 Hebraica digitization project, funded through the DIC digitization project proposal process.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

In collaboration, DPI and SSDR created a batch loading tool for extracting National Digital Newspaper Program data from its native XML serialization and loading it into a Fedora 4 repository according to a locally developed content model conforming to the community standard known as the Portland Common Data Model.

DPI loaded more than 500 new audio and video items supplied by DCMR into digital collections.

Software Development

The initial development work on the Wufoo Connector integration with SysAid is complete and the application is installed in the production server environment. The application is currently serving one form, receiving the DSS Contact Us form and mapping it into the SysAid ticketing system for handling by DSS.  Additional form handling will be added as requested.  The application is built around Apache Camel, a tool we use to handle system integrations and message routing in many of our services.

Hippo CMS

Implementation of the new Libi (Libraries’ Intranet) continues with development work on the Group and News pages.  After researching the options for indexing Hippo documents into Apache Solr we have begun implementation of an Apache Camel based solution, which is also the tool we’ll use to index Box documents into Solr.

Hippo based websites continued to be highly available and performant throughout September due to investments in code debugging, server improvements, and architecture improvements last Spring and Summer.  As both human and automated website traffic continues to increase we will be continually monitoring and reacting to issues as they arise.


Digital Collections

We have continued development of the Mirador based Newspaper Viewer and in conjunction with that effort are enhancing our backend services to support the viewer and website needs for full-text search of the scanned newspaper images as well as dynamically generated annotation lists supporting hit-highlighting and article level segmentation.  This work involves integration between the Newspaper Viewer, Fedora 4, the IIIF Image Server, and new support services.

Given that we don’t yet have a Hydra based full administrative interface to Fedora 4 we have been working on a lightweight Blacklight interface to Fedora 4 which will allow basic read-only review of our ingested Diamondback newspapers. This also provides us with Blacklight experience for later use in other applications and in determining whether we are going to implement the Diamondback discovery interface using Blacklight or Hippo CMS.

Administrative Applications

With the arrival of our new Ruby on Rails contract developer, work on the new new Annual Staffing Request application has resumed in collaboration with Budget and Business Services.  The web-based application will replace the current staff budgeting process performed using Excel spreadsheets, with the goal of having the new application in place by mid-November.

We have also met with Human Resources for the kickoff meeting of the project to migrate Online Student Applications out of the current Libi and Drupal based implementation to a standalone Ruby on Rails application.  This application is expected be available by mid-December for students to  begin submitting applications for work in the Spring semester.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 102 Aleph Rx submissions and 21 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

Loyola Notre Dame Library

Work continued on migrating Loyola Notre Dame Library (LNDL) from Voyager ILS to USMAI’s Aleph instance as part of their membership within USMAI. LNDL staff were give access to a development environment for early testing and training activities. CLAS and LNDL have been in communication about configuration decisions in Aleph. The first half of LNDL’s Voyager data was delivered by Ex Libris in late September and is currently being analyzed for mapping and loading to Aleph. The current window for migrating LNDL to Aleph is January 3rd to 17th.

Communication and Collaboration Platform Analysis

Four focus groups with staff at USMAI libraries were held in September to learn more about consortium members’ use of available systems for communication and collaboration. Heidi Hanson and Joseph Koivisto facilitated the sessions. The results of the focus groups along with information obtained from interviews and surveys will be analyzed to inform a list of system requirements that will guide the future direction of our collaboration tools. Thank you to all who participated in the focus groups!



The group began plans to evaluate the two-year MD-SOAR pilot. DSS will review evaluation information from MD-SOAR partners in order to put together scenarios/proposals for continuing the service beyond the pilot.

MD-SOAR partners reviewed the results of user testing performed by the USMAI User Experience Subgroup. Joseph Koivisto created prototype mock-ups of proposed changes for the partners to consider.


Shiyun Chen, Kelsey Hughes, Becca Mena, and Suzy Wilson, all first year graduate students in the iSchool, began working as Student Digitization Assistants in DCMR.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Josh Westgard attended the DC Fedora Users Group meeting at the National Agricultural Library, where he presented on our latest Fedora 4 adoption efforts.  He also attended the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative update meeting at Indiana University where he learned about IU’s efforts to preserve at risk audio and visual materials, and the infrastructure and collaborations they have developed to support mass digitization.

Robin Pike and Doug McElrath (SCUA) attended the NDNP Awardees Conference at the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress on September 14-16, 2016. Robin presented on a panel titled “NDNP Work in State Context” where she discussed how UMD is using the expertise gained during the NDNP project on the Diamondback newspaper digitization project and in building the Maryland Newspaper Repository.

Eric Cartier, Kate Dohe, Robin Pike, and several others from SCUA attended “Play/back” a symposium on preserving audiovisual heritage hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities on September 30, 2016.