Stew of the month: January 2018

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 Project is approaching the finish line. With 6 months left in the grant period, 50,000 pages of digitized historic newspapers have been approved by Library of Congress with an additional 50,000 pages in various stages of the review and submission process. With deliverables well in hand, the HMNP is shifting its focus towards outreach and engagement opportunities, particularly in the realm of the middle school and high school classroom.

Phase 3 titles that are currently available include: The CIO News, Democratic Messenger, Frostburg Mining Journal, Greenbelt Cooperator, Maryland Independent, Maryland Suffrage News, The Midland Journal, The Voice of Labor, and the Worcester Democrat and the Ledger-enterprise.

Robin, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath collaborated on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant application to extend the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project into its fourth phase.

Other Digitization Activities

Assistant Cecilia Franck continued the review of batch 2 files and Robin Pike sent the first batch of rework to the vendor for the Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum) project.

Robin worked with Joanne Archer, Laura Schnitker, and Laura Cleary (all SCUA) on an outreach plan and preparation to ship  600 reels from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection for the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk grant. The materials will ship in February with Digitization to take place in March and April.

Robin and Rebecca worked with Liz Novara and Eric Stoykovich (both SCUA) on a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant application to digitize 559 audio recordings from the Spiro T. Agnew collection.

Robin worked with collection managers and Preservation staff in preparing collection materials for projects that will be shipped to digitization vendors in January and February, including the Godowsky collection from IPAM, the Hebraica project, and Mass Media and Culture serials.

Robin met with Amy Wasserstrom and Kana Jenkins to provide instruction and planning for the digitization portion of the annual SCUA exhibit; digitization will commence in February.

Robin met with Liz Novara to plan the digitization of a scrapbook in the Filipino American Community Archives collection, which will be digitized in-house by a student assistant.

Robin also met with Vin Novara (SCPA) to plan and re-start the second phase of the Tanglewood audio recording in-house digitization project. The first phase was completed in 2016.

Student assistants concluded the first phase of the rare books in-house digitization project. They continued to digitize a manuscript collection from the Claude family.

DCMR concluded uploading and performing quality control on manuscript collections from the Grimes, Hamilton, Waldron, and Weems-Reynolds families, which are now available in Digital Collections.

Software Development

Archival Collections

We have released the new ArchivesSpace public interface with theme and navigation changes in support of UMD Libraries branding.  However, the third-party Aeon plugin for requesting materials was not ready for prime time so the release was downgraded to a soft release to staff only.  We will continue to point users to ArchivesUM until the Aeon plugin is ready for release.

University Libraries Website

We’ve added the new University Banner to the University Libraries website along with the “Make a Gift” link required by the University for all public facing websites, and are in the process of rolling out this banner to all of our websites.

Breadcrumbs in a website are important for both Search Engine Optimization and for user navigation and have been long overdue for the website.  They have finally arrived and you can see them in action on the Interlibrary Loan Services page.

Structured Data is another important feature for Search Engine Optimization and for general discoverability.  We have begun adding JSON-LD linked data to the website beginning with the Staff Directory and the new Breadcrumbs.  For examples visit Tahirah Akbar-Williams or Interlibrary Loan Services and view page source or enter their URLs into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Digital Collections

We have removed the outdated Flash based image viewer in Digital Collections and replaced it with Mirador, a IIIF image viewer implemented using JavaScript. This has allowed us to roll HTTPS back out to the Digital Collections website.
The new Data Set Hosting feature in Archelon is complete, allowing for non public access data sets to be loaded in Archelon and distributed to users through single use download URLs.

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

The CLAS team responded to 133 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in January.

ScienceDirect SFX Autoloader

Ingrid Alie worked with Towson University to set up an SFX autoloader for their ScienceDirect subscriptions. The autoloader is a mechanism to allow libraries to automatically update their ScienceDirect entitlements. Since ScienceDirect entitlements do not always align completely with standard packages, the autoloader functionality saves library staff significant time by eliminating the need to manually activate/deactivate individual titles. This feature is available to all USMAI libraries with ScienceDirect subscriptions. A similar autoloader is also available for Ovid.

LHR Batchload Projects Migrated to Data Sync

OCLC is in the process of transitioning all Batchload Services projects to WorldShare Collection Manager and its data sync collections. Linda has worked with OCLC staff to transition USMAI’s and UMD’s Local Holdings Records (LHR) projects to data sync collections. These batch loads make LHR information available in WorldCat.

Inventory Working Group

Members of the Inventory Working Group have completed their testing of Aleph functionality and provided their feedback to CLAS. David Wilt is leading CLAS efforts in compiling a final report of the working group’s findings and recommendations for moving forward. The final report is expected to be delivered in February.


During testing of the upgrade to DSpace 6, an error was found that prevented items from being deposited into the repository (which is kind of a big deal!). This was traced back to an issue with the default DSpace attributes sent to EZID for registering DOIs with DataCite. A fix has been put in place and redeployed to the MD-SOAR development environment for further internal testing.

User and System Support

USS has upgraded the wireless video technology in rooms 6103 and 6107. The previous ActionTech wireless video transmitters and receivers constantly crashed and the transmitted video was often choppy. However, the new IOgear wireless digital kit transmits HD quality video that isn’t choppy or stutters. While testing the new system, USS threw everything they could at it, but wasn’t successful to cause the system to crash. Hopefully, library staff will have a better time when using the equipment this fall semester.

A new image has been applied on the public computers. The new image refreshes the operating systems and applications in preparation for the fall semester. The image fixes the start menu and search bar, lessens the time to log on, installs patches and security updates, and upgrades the applications to their latest versions.

In 2017, the User and System Support department closed 5,556 service requests. This number could have been larger if not for the fact that USS has been more proactive instead of reactive. Instead of waiting to fix a problem that happens, USS take steps to stop the problem before it can happen. USS makes sure the operating systems of the computers and servers are patch monthly. The images created for the public and classroom computers are changed each semester to provide fewer problems to students. More applications have been installed on staff computers than in the past, causing fewer service requests to have applications installed. In Mckeldin, USS staff are present during the first few days of the semester to assists students on how to print and scan, causing less headache for public service staff and fewer calls into the helpdesk. These are just a few of many examples of how USS has been more proactive so staff and students can do their work and assignments with as less stress as possible. However, even though USS has taken many preëmptive steps already, there is more that can be done. USS constantly evaluates additional steps to stop problems before they can occur.


Eric Cartier, Digital Librarian in DCMR, left UMD Libraries at the end of January to pursue further career opportunities in Baton Rouge, LA. He worked in his position for five years, managing the daily operations of the Hornbake Digitization Center, focusing on in-house requests and projects, and managing students who performed this work.

Tiffany Schoneboom is our new Applications Developer in Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR), and by virtue of providing development support to consortial applications so she also sits as a member of the Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team. Tiffany received her BA in Music and International Relations from the College of William and Mary and her MS in Information Science and MA in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University-Bloomington. Tiffany has experience in academic publishing, archiving, and web development and is coming to us from the American Chemical Society Publications.

Former student assistant Cecilia Franck was hired as a Contingent 1 employee to continue their work performing preparation and quality control on vendor projects and has expanded to doing this for in-house requests and projects, as well, assisting Robin in managing these operations in the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Kiri Houpt, current College of Information Studies masters student and Graduate Assistant in the STEM Library, began working as a part-time student assistant in the Hornbake Digitization Center. She will be learning about the digitization process, with a focus on audio digitization.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s