Stew of the month: October 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

Robin Pike and Doug McElrath (SCUA) began planning a meeting with the Advisory Board and content partners for November 17. Two major changes to the Advisory Board were made in October–Maria Day will take over for Allison Rein from the Maryland State Archives and Kent Randell will replace Katherine Ryner from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Pike wrote the RFQ and selected the microfilm duplication vendor. Pike selected the first half of the microfilm to be duplicated and digitized, based on information compiled by students Kerry Huller and Sara Horn. She also wrote a detailed timeline and created a Google Calendar for the project which was shared with both the Maryland State Archives and Frostburg State University Library contacts. Students Huller and Horn continued to collate the titles on microfilm. McElrath (SCUA), Judi Kidd, and Amy Wickner (SCUA) continued to research microfilm copyright.

Synergies Among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture

Scott Pennington worked with Jen Eidson (SCUA), Stephanie Smith (Driskell Center), and Purdom Lindblad and Jovonne Bickerstaff (both MITH) to select and prepare approximately 1,000 pages for the Mellon Grant pilot. Pennington will continue to work with Eidson on the selection of approximately 39,000 for the full project to be sent to the vendor in April 2017.

Other Digitization Activities

Pike worked with Joanne Archer, Elizabeth Caringola, Amanda Hawk, and Ben Blake (all SCUA) to send videotapes from the Athletics and Gymkana collections, and the CIO News to digitization vendors in October. The Preservation and Conservation Department was instrumental in disbinding and preparing the CIO News for digitization. These projects are funded by the DIC digitization project proposal process.

Student assistants Kelsey Hughes and Cecilia Franck completed a 100% quality review of 87 Hebrew and Yiddish books totaling 22,421 pages, the final FY16 batch. Suzy Wilson and Shiyun Chen completed a 100% quality review of 12 general collection books on microfiche, totaling 3,410 pages. The digitization project, initiated by Interlibrary Loan patron-based requests, allows the Libraries to make popular public domain materials available in the Internet Archive, and was funded by the FY17 DIC project proposal process.
Eric and Joanne Archer (SCUA) met with collection managers from University Archives, Historical Manuscripts, and the Labor in America Collection to formally identify and prioritize in-house digitization projects including
Maryland Agricultural College early photos, Board of Regents minutes, Athletics team photos, Works Progress Administration photos from Maryland, small family manuscript collections, Martha Tabor collection photos, and AFL-CIO Executive Council minutes throughout calendar year 2017.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

On October 31, issue 3.0 of “A Colony in Crisis” was released.  A Colony is Crisis is a digital exhibition that addresses a colonial flashpoint, the moment when failed grain harvests in France fueled escalating political tensions between white planters in Saint-Domingue and political elites in the metropole.  This issue of documents features a set of six new translations introduced by Marlene L. Daut (University of Virginia) that delve into the lives of the enslaved and peoples of color in colonial Saint-Domingue.  A Colony in Crisis is a project of the Libraries’ e-publishing program.

Working with staff from DCMR and Metadata Services, DPI worked to make available dozens of new audio and video files in digital collections, using a custom command-line batch XML generator for audio and video content going into our Fedora repository.

Software Development

We had only a few minor releases this month.  The bulk of our efforts have been continuing development on existing projects:

Diamondback Newspaper Collection – Development continues on the administrative interface and backend newspaper/image delivery services.  Work on initial Newspaper Viewer development is wrapping up.

DRUM and MD-SOAR – Some minor version and feature releases, combined with developer training for the new CLAS Applications Developer, Dinesh Mendhe.

Annual Staffing Request – Release 1.0 scheduled for November 28 for managers to begin entering their staffing requests for FY18.  We will then work on completing the administrative functionality for release in January.

Student Applications – Development on the new Rails application got underway.

Hippo CMS Version 10 – Development on the upgrade continues, with initial user testing likely beginning in December.

Hippo implementation of new Libi – Development continues.


User and System Support

For the past two years, the staff of User and System Support staff have provided technology support for returning and incoming students using the libraries.  We usually provide this type of in person support and on site support for the first week of school 9am – 5pm.  During this time, we help with questions ranging from where is the bathroom to how can I print or use the computers.  Interestingly, this year,  we saw a lot of students wanting to use their own laptops and devices to print and do school work. Even with many students wanting to use their own equipment, demand for our public access computers has not decreased.  User and System Support staff also assist by locating free computers for those waiting.

This on site student support has been so successful that we are thinking of increasing our frequency of support.

Below is a table of stats collected during the first week of school.  It is clear that we need to improve our instructions and signage on how to use the printers. We also need to work with Dining Services to open Terrapin Express accounts for incoming and returning students.

USS Printer Support to Students   8/29/16 – 9/2/16

Type of assistance Totals
Bookeye 26
Terrapin Express 226
Downloading printer drives 141
Printing 326
Card issues 46
Directing people to printers 49
Copying 42
Other (bathroom, water fountain, etc.) 85
Printer jams 0

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 101 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.

OCLC Batchload Projects

OCLC has transitioned to using a function called “DataSync Collections” within their WorldShare Collection Manager product as a replacement to their Batchload projects. USMAI had been using the OCLC Batchload project to set WorldCat holdings for USMAI libraries. Linda set up new DataSync Collections for existing Batchload projects, and Hans developed a new upload program to deliver files to a new FTP site. OCLC has begun processing these files, and Linda has been working with them on a few issues, including some files not getting processed.

Loyola Notre Dame Library

The other half of LNDL’s ILS data was delivered in October. This includes their patron records, circulation transactions, and hold/recall requests. An initial analysis revealed that the initial extract of data was not properly scoped. This has been resolved and the data is now being analyzed for mapping and loading into USMAI’s Aleph development environment. Analysis, mapping, and review of LNDL’s MARC data was performed in October.

Communication and Collaboration Platform Analysis

Heidi, Joseph, and David reviewed and began analyzing information obtained from September’s focuse groups and other data collection activities. The analysis and requirements development are currently scheduled for completion in November, with delivery of a final report on activities and findings expected by the end of the calendar year.MDsoarLOGO


Results from the survey of MD-SOAR partners was shared in October. The results will help inform DSS’ proposal for continuing the repository service beyond the end of its two-year pilot (scheduled to end in June 2017).


Dinesh Mendhe joined DSS as an Applications Developer in SSDR working on CLAS/USMAI initiatives.Tyree Smith join DSS as an IT Support Assistant working on User and System Support initiatives.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Dahl attended the Ex Libris Northeast User Group meeting at SUNY New Paltz on October 27th and 28th.
David Dahl attended the MDREN/Internet2 Research and Education Day on October 14th.Uche Enwesi and Brandon Eldred attended Dell World in Austin, Texas, on October 18th – 20th.


Robin Pike, Bria Parker (MSD), and Vin Novara’s (SCPA) published the article: “”Is This Enough?” Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives Media,” Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists 34 no. 1 (2016). The article is available at: .

Eric Cartier published the podcast: “University of Maryland Madrigals Singers 1964 Tour” in Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists. For this article, Eric performed research in SCPA’s collections. The podcast is available at: