Stew of the month: October 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

The Historic Maryland Newspaper has published its first batch of the new grant cycle to Chronicling America. The Greenbelt Cooperator, a cooperative community paper founded in 1937 as part of FDR’s New Deal, and the Frostburg Mining Journal, a labor-centric title out of a western Maryland mining community, are now available online, providing researchers and history enthusiasts a unique perspective into Maryland’s diverse history. A second batch has already been approved by Library of Congress, and five batches averaging 10,000 pages each have been submitted to date, bringing the project to 50% complete.

We will begin reaching out to partners for the next grant cycle as this third grant concludes August 2018 and applications for the next grant are due January 2018.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

Scott Pennington, Project Manager, completed quality assurance for batch 1 and the Driskell Center audio batch, and completed metadata for the project. He worked with Jen Eidson in SCUA to deliver the completed metadata to enhance the future AFL-CIO collection guide.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike and Laura Schnitker (SCUA) received a Council on Information Library Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk grant for $21,398 to digitize 600 open reel audiotapes from the National Federation of Community Broadcasting Archives collection in Mass Media and Culture!

Robin announced the beginning of the Digitization Initiatives Committee (DIC) project proposal cycle at the Library Assembly meeting on October 19. The DIC will be accepting proposals through December 15. More information can be found on the group’s Libi page.

Robin coordinated the shipment of the following projects to vendors: American Bandmasters Association audio (SCPA), Library Media Services films (PSD), and Woody’s Children audio (SCPA). These projects will be paid via the DIC project proposal process.

Eric Cartier coordinated with Liz Novara and Eric Stoykovich (both SCUA) and several digitization assistants to digitize in-house a subset of audio recordings from the Spiro T. Agnew collection. He also worked with Liz Novara on the digitization of several small manuscript collections. Eric met with several collections managers to plan 2018 in-house digitization projects.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Promoting Open Scholarship

UMD Libraries hosted the inaugural O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 26 and 27, 2017, in partnership with the SocArXiv open access repository project. Terry Owen collaborated with UMD Sociology professor Philip Cohen and the SocArXiv support team to organize and plan the event during Open Access Week.

O3S highlighted research that uses the tools and methods of open scholarship, and brought together over 20 presenters who work on problems of open access, publishing, and open scholarship; and facilitated the exchange of ideas on the development of SocArXiv. The symposium featured keynote speakers Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Jeffrey Spies, co-founder and chief technology officer at the Center for Open Science. Nearly 50 researchers, faculty, and librarians attended the event.

Open Journal Systems 3 Update

DPI is preparing to update our electronic journals publishing platform, Open Journal Systems, to version 3.1. This update represents a significant improvement for users of the application, with a modern interface for reading and production of electronic journals, as well as new workflow tools and controls for publishers, reviewers, and authors.  In preparation for the upgrade, we have upgraded the staging server to an intermediate release in order to apply a necessary database migration. DPI GA Carlos Alvarado has taken the lead in documenting the application, testing our existing journal data in a local environment, and coordinating with Terry Owen, Kate Dohe, and Josh Westgard to plan and schedule the application update across numerous stakeholders and groups.

Software Development

Annual Staffing Request

We released Annual Staffing Request 2.0 which has been refactored to add Fiscal Year Rollover and is in use for the current FY19 request cycle.  In addition to the active entries for the current fiscal year request process you can view archived records and use them as templates for creating new requests.


We released Hippo version 11. which keeps us up-to-date with backend architectural changes as well as security and performance improvements.  This release does not include user facing changes.

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

The CLAS team responded to 125 Aleph Rx submissions and 36 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.

Aleph OPAC Changes

A couple small changes to the display of bibliographic data in Catalog USMAI were made. MARC subfield 8 was suppressed and the display order of subfield k was modified in the full record view to align with its display on the Holdings and Availability screens.

In the coming months, we’ll be assessing and improving the accessibility of the catalog, which will most likely involve some noticeable changes to the user interface. CLAS will communicate actively as those changes are planned and made. The end result will provide a better experience for all users.

Aleph Inventory Functionality

A working group was formed to accomplish two main goals:

  • Improve and codify USMAI inventory practices using Aleph
  • Identify desired system functionality and tools in order to inform USMAI’s next-gen system evaluations

In collaboration with CLAS, the working group’s efforts will allow USMAI libraries to use Aleph to perform inventories of their collections. The group’s work is expected to be completed in January 2018.

Aleph Errant Loader Data

Part of CLAS’ role is to ensure data integrity and quality in USMAI systems. In October, a significant amount of errant vendor data for invoices and orders was received and processed by Aleph’s loaders. Thankfully, these were identified early and loading of additional errant data was prevented. Reports are produced for loading of all data. For USMAI libraries that have automated loads of data, it is important to review these and let us (and the vendor) know as soon as possible if there is anything suspect. Between CLAS and the affected libraries, we were able to clean up the errant data and have confirmed with the vendor that the underlying issues have been resolved.


Over 5000 items are now available in MD-SOAR thanks to the completion of several batch loads for Salisbury University. In October, there were more than 3000 visits to MD-SOAR from over 2400 users. Nearly 50% of all traffic to the repository comes from Google and Google Scholar.

Work has begun on upgrading MD-SOAR to DSpace version 6.x. This is a major version upgrade that will require coordinated testing with MD-SOAR partners. See what’s new in v6.x!


Scott Pennington has worked as the Digitization Project Manager on the Synergies Among African American History and Culture and Digital Humanities initiative, a Mellon Grant funded project since July 2016. He accepted a new position as a digital imaging manager at the National Archives and Records Administration at Archives I, working on digitizing materials that are too fragile to be transported and 3-D objects. His last day was October 13.

Conferences, workshops and professional development


The Digital Library Federation (DLF) held its annual conference in Pittsburgh, PA this year from October 22-26, which is comprised of the Liberal Arts/HBCU Preconference, the DLF Forum, and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Digital Preservation Meeting. Numerous colleagues across UMD attended the conference, which is one of the largest national meetings for digital librarians, digital scholarship practitioners, developers, faculty, and researchers. From DSS, Kate Dohe, Joseph Koivisto, Robin Pike, Ben Wallberg, and Josh Westgard presented the following sessions, talks, and workshops:

  • Kate Dohe co-taught “Constructing Digital Praxis: Pedagogy for Digital Collections,” a 2-hour interactive workshop with co-leaders Eleanor Dickson, Elizabeth Andrejasich Gibes, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Elizabeth Joan Kelly, Thea Lindquist, Chelcie Juliet Rowell, and Angie White. Session outcomes emphasize rapid prototyping and delivery of lesson plans for library instruction with digital collections materials across a variety of instructional settings and pedagogical approaches.
  • Kate Dohe also facilitated the “Digital Library Pedagogy Working Breakfast,” with Eleanor Dickson, Elizabeth Andrejasich Gibes, Elizabeth Joan Kelly, Thea Lindquist, Jessia Otis, Chelcie Juliet Rowell, Angie White, and Elizabeth Rodrigues.
  • Kate Dohe and Ben Wallberg presented “Bootstrapping Digital Services: Developing Self-Supporting Service Models for Library Programs,” a 20-minute presentation on the Digital Data Services initiative in DSS.
  • Kate Dohe and Josh Westgard presented “Cost Modeling for Digital Preservation,” a 30-minute presentation and application demonstration with contributor David Durden (who was unable to attend, though the Twitter hashtag Kate created in his honor will live on forever). Special thanks and credit to all regular members of the UMD Libraries Coding Group (in addition to Josh and David, Peter Eichman, Dinesh Mendhe, and Joseph Koivisto) for their efforts to develop a proof-of-concept cost calculator for ongoing digital preservation expenses as part of this presentation.
  • Joseph Koivisto presented “Seeking out initiatives and partnerships for digital instruction and engagement as a systems librarian.”
  • Robin Pike presented “A Preservation Partnership for Hebraica Collections” about the Libraries’ partnership with the Jewish Studies Department to digitize the Hebraica collection over the past four years.
  • Josh Westgard delivered a “minute madness” presentation on “Fedora as a Digital Preservation Hub,” in which he described a workflow for batch depositing items into Fedora, exporting them to disk in BagIt bags, and shipping those bags to preservation storage with the Academic Preservation Trust. The bags stored in APTrust could be losslessly restored to Fedora in the event of future data loss.

DSS team members participated in a number of additional sessions, networking events, and hands-on workshops at DLF. Robin Pike concluded her conference by attending the “Collections as Data Workshop.”

Other Conferences and Professional Development

UMD Libraries hosted the semi-annual members meeting of the Academic Preservation Trust on October 5-6. Kate Dohe and Ben Wallberg coordinated hosting and meeting planning with APTrust staff. The meeting was attended by Josh Westgard, Babak Hamidzadeh, and Judi Kidd, in addition to Ben and Kate, as well as representatives from 16 other organizations.

David Durden and Joseph Koivisto presented “A Tale of Two Repositories: How Data Sources Affect Data Narratives” at the SLA Maryland Chapter’s Conference on October 12. Their presentation used data visualization to demonstrate the complexities of deriving value from conflicting quantitative measures of user-resource interactions.

David Durden attended the 2017 Midwest Data Librarian Symposium hosted by Purdue University on October 9-10. The symposium featured workshops and talks focused on improving data management activities in libraries.
David Durden also led an Emerging Technology Discussion Group session, “Using REDCap for Operational Support,” on October 18 where he gave an overview of the REDCap application and its non-research capabilities.

Robin organized and led a Grants Writing Workshop for the Libraries on October 18. Rebecca Wack, Joanne Archer (SCUA), Mary Dulaney (Director of Development), and Tracy Lee (University Relations) also presented. It was attended by 15 participants who felt they learned about potential grants for their projects and learned more about the process.

Linda attended the Potomac Technical Processing Librarians’ “Discovery & the Now Generation ILS: The Next Generation Is Here!” program on October 20.

David Dahl attended the 2017 EBSCO User Group Meeting from October 24-26.

Joseph Koivisto attended the German Historical Institute’s Conference from October 26-28 and presented “Crowdsourcing as a Means of Authority Assessment and Enhancement for Cultural Heritage Description”.

Heidi Hanson attended the two-day workshop “Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Compliance Training for Web Accessibility” from October 30-31.

Kate Dohe attended the annual HathiTrust Member Meeting in Chicago, IL on November 2nd.

Furthermore, two of Kate Dohe’s refereed publications were released in late October: “Lessons from the Field: What Improv Teaches Us About Collaboration” with Erin Pappas in Library Leadership & Management, and “Lifting All Boats: Fostering a Community of Practice for Student Publishers” with Laura Leichum, Gillian Berchowitz, & Marc Blanc from the 2016 Charleston Conference Proceedings.