Stew of the month: July 2017

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

Project manager Rebecca Wack delivered the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project’s phase three first batch to Library of Congress. The batch contains approximately 10,000 high-resolution images and metadata of newsprint from the Frostburg Mining Journal and the Greenbelt Cooperator, with contents spanning 7 decades of Maryland news.

In other Greenbelt news, Rebecca and student assistant Sydney Schneider held a metadata collation workshop at the offices of the Greenbelt News Review. Five volunteers, each assigned their own decade of Greenbelt papers to index, learned the ins and outs of LCCNs (Library of Congress Control Number, a newspaper title identifier), date verification, and physical condition reporting, as they generated the data necessary for Greenbelt’s eventual participation in the forthcoming Maryland Newspaper Repository.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

The AADHum team finalized document selections for the second large shipment. Coordinating with the Driskell Center, SCUA, and MITH’s team for selection and metadata creation, that shipment of just over 25,000 pages was delivered to the vendor in mid-July. The team continues to collaborate with MITH on their upcoming Incubator sessions and is preparing for the return, QA, and ingest of the first shipment. Project manager Scott Pennington is preparing the final shipment for the AADHum grant–a selection of speeches and oral histories on audio cassette from the Driskell Center.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike continued to meet with collection managers, establishing firm timelines for tasks involved with FY18 vendor digitization projects, funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee, and liaised with vendors to receive project quotes.

Robin worked with Vincent Novara (SCPA) to rewrite and resubmit a grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program to digitize over 2,000 video recordings of rehearsals and performances and programs documenting the performances of The Dance Exchange Company, under the direction of renowned choreographer and educator Liz Lerman.

Robin worked with Laura Schnitker, Joanne Archer, and Graduate Assistant Caitlin Rizzo (all SCUA) to submit a Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant application to digitize 600 open reel audiotapes from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection. The 600 tapes selected for the project focus on programs that feature voices of underrepresented communities in the U.S. and music cultures around the globe and will be invaluable to international researchers from a wide range of disciplines including ethnomusicology, anthropology, media studies, sociology, political science, African-American history, and women’s studies. Digitizing the 600 tapes, approximately a tenth of the collection, will serve as a pilot for a large grant or fundraising initiative.

Robin and Rebecca began preliminary work on two processing and digitization grants (from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Grammy Foundation) due in the fall with collection managers Joanne Archer, Elizabeth Novara, and Vincent Novara.

Eric worked with Dr. Laura Schnitker, Curator of Mass Media and Culture, to deliver a digitized file from the WMUC Collection to a production company creating a documentary about Don McLean’s American Pie for the BBC. The documentary is scheduled to air in fall 2017.

Digitization assistants Karina Hagelin and Shiyun Chen continued to prioritize and digitize materials for modules in the forthcoming Labor in America exhibit.

In June, Robin and Liz Novara worked with an art digital photography company to digitize the oversize “Riversdale Demesnes and Rossburg Farm Situated in Prince George’s County (1853)” map in the Maryland Room. In July, Shiyun and Eric inspected and approved the digital files. After Liz supplied the appropriate metadata, the final image was ingested into UMD Digital Collections and is now publicly available.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Announcing the Ada Journal at UMD

Digital Programs and Initiatives is adding Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology to its e-Publishing program. Originally published with support from the University of Oregon, Ada is an open-access peer reviewed journal featuring scholarship on gender, new media and technology. The journal is particularly interested in contributions that exemplify Ada’s commitments to politically engaged, intersectional approaches to feminist media scholarship. In collaboration with Dr. Carol Stabile, Chair of the Women’s Studies Department, DPI will provide support of the technical infrastructure required for the journal.

Fedora API Specification Contributions

Joshua Westgard is a contributor to the draft Fedora API Specification, released on June 30. The specification “refines the semantics and interaction patterns of LDP [Linked Data Platform] in order to better serve the specific needs of those interested in implementing repositories for durable access to digital data.” The Fedora API is a foundational component of the Libraries’ digital asset management and digital preservation strategies, and provides the framework under which the software systems supporting our digital asset workflows are being constructed. An outgrowth of a design originally developed at Cornell University and described in a 1998 article, the Fedora project is today supported primarily by monetary contributions and in-kind development support from academic research libraries, and is shepherded by the DuraSpace organization.

Software Development

Fedora Content Repository – During load testing of the new OCR annotations for the Diamondback Newspaper collection we discovered a bug which caused the repository to crash.  After debugging and working with the community we discovered that a fix was included in version 4.7.4 of the repository and have included the upgrade along with the new OCR features.

Hippo – Released version 10.2.5-3 containing a few bug fixes and the switch over to use HTTPS for and, which encrypts traffic between the website server and the browser.  This brings these websites into standard practice for providing patron privacy and improved security for the user and the server. We have also begun investigating and planning for the upgrade to Hippo version 11.

Annual Staffing Request – After a break in work for ArchivesSpace development, we continued on version 1.2 which features fiscal year rollover, allowing for all current requests to be archived for later viewing and reporting (read-only), and clearing out the tables of new requests for the next fiscal year.

User and System Support

Windows 10

The deployment of Windows 10 to staff computers has been going successfully. We still have some machines to do, as well as laptops. As we work on other projects, getting ready for the fall semester, we will continue to upgrade the rest of the small group of computers and laptops that needs to be upgraded.

Windows 10 for the public computers have been a little trickier, especially with the amount of time it was taking for the students to log into the workstations. But, fortunately, after many hours and tests, we have the login time down from 40 secs to 15 secs. We will be pushing out this new image of Windows 10 to all public areas starting this week.

Canon MFP

All Canon multifunction printers (MFP) in the public and staff areas have been replaced. The new printers are updated versions of the previous MFPs, so the interface and function of the staff MFPs should be very close to the old MFPs. The public MFPs interface is also similar with updated graphics and a slight name change of the Pharos plugin. The replacement of the MFPs was very quick and successful. To see new features available on the MFPs, click here.


The Digital Programs & Initiatives department is pleased to welcome two new Graduate Assistants, Carlos Alvarado and Anne Kendrick. Carlos is an incoming student in the History and Library Science dual-degree program, with a focus on Archives and Digital Curation, and will be serving as the new DPI Graduate Assistant. Anne is pursuing her MLIS with an interest in Human-Computer Interaction, and is the new Collections & Digital Scholarship GA. Please help us welcome both of them to our basement lair!

Software Systems Development and Research is pleased to welcome Siddharth Bhagwan, new Graduate Assistant Front End Developer.  Siddharth is a second year student pursuing his Masters in Human Computer Interaction.  His first project will be to learn and begin improving our Newspaper Viewer based on Mirador IIIF client.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe, Ben Wallberg, Joshua Westgard, Peter Eichman, and Jeremy Gottwig attended the local Code4Lib MD/DC/VA meetup on July 13 at George Washington University.  One major topic for the day was planning for the Code4Lib conference to be held in DC around February of 2018.  We also shared information on our Digital Data Services program as well as our IIIF Services for digital collections and had an informative discussion of the future plans for Samvera and Fedora.

Eric Cartier attended the Society of American Archivists conference in Portland, Oregon from July 26-29. As Chair of the Recorded Sound Section, Eric led its annual meeting, which featured a special presentation from copyright expert Peter Hirtle who discussed the use of copyrighted audiovisual materials in libraries and archives.

Kate Dohe, David Durden, and Joseph Koivisto attended the “Collections as Data: IMPACT” event at the Library of Congress on July 25th.

One thought on “Stew of the month: July 2017

  1. Eric August 16, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Busy, busy, busy! Good job, everyone.


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