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.
Historic Maryland Newspapers Project
In September the following Maryland newspapers were uploaded to Chronicling America:
- The Aegis & Intelligencer, The Southern Aegis, and Hartford County Intelligencer, The Southern Aegis (Bel Air, MD): January 19, 1861-December 29, 1922
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.