Stew of the month: February 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 has partnered with the Maryland Humanities Council to provide student resources for next year’s Maryland History Day. Research guides focused on the 2019 theme of “Triumph and Tragedy” will offer articles from historic Maryland newspapers as well as related content from Special Collections and University Archives, affording 8th-, 9th-, and 11th-grade students an opportunity to access the past through primary source materials.

Look to Twitter on the third Tuesday of each month for a Chronicling America hashtag party. The HMNP (@HistoricMDNews) and other NDNP awardees nationwide tweet newspaper content following that month’s theme. Past themes have included: #LoveBeforeTwitter, #WeirdWeatherNews, #HistoricHoliday, and others. This month, we’ll be tweeting about #WomensHistoryMonth. Search Twitter for #ChronAmParty to enjoy past content.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin and Rebecca Wack collaborated with Elizabeth Novara and Eric Stoykovich (SCUA) to write a grant application to the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk program. They proposed digitizing over 500 analog audio recordings from the Spiro T. Agnew collection.

Robin worked with the members of the Digitization Initiatives Committee (DIC) (Joanne Archer, Carla Montori (CSS), Eileen Harrington (PSD), Mary Dulaney (Development)) to prioritize and draft a budget for FY19 vendor digitization projects. They will continue finalizing the budget through March and present the final budget to the Libraries Resources Group at the end of March.

Robin Pike sent out the following projects: National Federation of Community Broadcasters (600 reels), which was funded by a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant (SCUA); Hebraica book project, batch 1 (general collections); Diamondback newspaper project, batch 1 (SCUA); Mass Media and Culture serials, batch 3; and Godowsky archival collection, which went to two different vendors based on the type of work that needed to be performed (digitization v. preservation and digitization) (IPAM). The latter four projects were funded by the DIC project proposal process. She also sent out multiple patron video digitization requests to vendors, since we cannot digitize analog video in-house.

Assistant Cecilia Franck completed the review of the AADHum digitization project, flagging remaining rework for the vendor. Robin worked with the vendor to ship remaining rework back to the vendor. Ed Summers from the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) received the files that have passed from Robin and loaded them into tools for the upcoming Digital Humanities incubators that MITH is hosting for researchers.

Cecilia also performed or managed quality control review on files from the Internet Archive of Mass Media and Culture serials, volumes of the Trades Unionist that were stable enough to be digitized by a vendor, and the Black Explosion, a UMD student newspaper.

Digitization Assistant Sydney Schneider has begun digitizing items for the Special Collections annual exhibit, which will feature materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection. She has also made considerable progress in digitizing extremely brittle issues of the Trades Unionist, a labor publication held by SCUA, and gingerly preserved and stabilized for digitization by multiple staff in Preservation and Conservation; Sydney is not handling the pages as she digitizes them, but the mylar and tissue paper enclosures that Preservation created. Digitization Assistants Brahm Persaud and Karina Hagelin continued to digitize historical manuscript collections. Digitization Assistant Kiri Houpt made considerable progress in digitizing interviews and performances from the Tanglewood Symposium, held by Special Collections in Performing Arts.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Theses and Dissertations in DRUM

More than 200 theses and dissertations from the fall 2017 semester have recently been added to DRUM bringing the total to 13,350. Check out the latest research from UMD grads at

Research Data Services

David Durden presented “Managing Data from Your Research,” a workshop hosted through the Libraries’ Research Commons, on February 6. The workshop was attended by over 30 graduates students and faculty.

David was also involved in planning UMD Endangered Data Week events for the week of February 26. On February 28 he also presented a workshop covering data management and a hands-on instructional session for OpenRefine.

Digital Collections

February saw continued progress in developing the systems and workflows for managing additional assets in our Fedora 4 repository. The collections slated to be loaded in the coming months include a set of posters and wall newspapers from the Prange collection, and the Katherine Anne Porter correspondence, as well as several other collections. As we load additional content types into our repository, the contours of a generic “digital asset” (and its necessary attributes) are becoming clearer, which will in the long run facilitate the development of a general asset management application.

Terps Publish 2018

Planning for the 2018 Terps Publish event is underway, to be held April 10th in the Portico Room of McKeldin Library. Like last year, this event provides a closed discussion forum and public showcase for student publishers in the UMD community. Kate Dohe, Terry Owen, and Fiona Jardine are the DPI team members most involved in planning the event, with research and web design support from DPI GA Carlos Alvarado.

Software Development

Search (Bento Box)

We are working with the new Discovery Committee to build a new search application, in the style of the Bento Box, which will allow us to present users with a single search box which will assist them in discovery of our many available information resources. We will be releasing an Alpha version to Libraries’ faculty/staff for initial testing and feedback in the next several months.  The plan is to release the application in Beta to the entire campus community in the Fall, as a candidate for production release in Spring 2019.

Broadcasting Content Management

We released version 1.0 of the Broadcasting Content Management Pilot application to our stakeholders for production use.  This Digital Data Services project uses the Avalon Media System to ingest and manage the captured streaming media for a commercial broadcasting company.  As a side benefit the Libraries are learning how to manage and deploy Avalon which we will pilot for Libraries’ use sometime in 2018. 

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

The CLAS team responded to 77 Aleph Rx submissions and 29 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in February.

Web and Social Media Support

CLAS has increased its support of USMAI’s web and social media efforts. Heidi Hanson has taken the lead on this. She has performed some cleanup and “networking” on USMAI’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. These channels plus will be a great way to keep up with the activities of USMAI and its member libraries. So, as they say, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Web Platform Evaluation

CLAS began its evaluation of web platforms for running USMAI’s website (currently consisting of three different websites). The evaluation is based on requirements developed during an analysis conducted in late 2016. Platforms that are being evaluated include Springshare tools, Confluence, Drupal, and Hippo CMS. From the evaluation, CLAS will either make a recommendation or propose possible solutions for USMAI to consider.


Joseph Koivisto developed a prototype Twitter bot in order to better promote new items submitted to MD-SOAR. This has been shared with the MD-SOAR partners for their review. If deemed useful to their efforts, we’ll begin work to move this into a production environment.


Alex Riccomini has joined the CLAS team as Data Warehouse Architect. He brings a wealth of experience in data warehousing and business intelligence that will be valuable to USMAI’s efforts to stand up a data warehouse for the consortium.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike collaborated with other steering committee members to co-led the first Digital Library Federation Project Managers Group listserv chat. The chat addressed questions about planning for labor and temporary positions for projects.

DSS at code4lib 2018

A number of DSS staff attended and volunteered at the annual code4lib conference held in Washington, DC, from February 13th-16th. Kate Dohe and Ben Wallberg were members of the Local Planning Committee, which is the central volunteer committee responsible for planning and organizing the conference for the year leading up to the event. David Durden and Joseph Koivisto were onsite volunteers for the conference, and among other tasks helped staff the registration desk, manage social media channels, and provided local guidance on navigating the city. Peter Eichman, Tiffany Shoneboom, and Josh Westgard attended the conference from DSS.