Stew of the month: April 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 submitted three more batches to Library of Congress this month, bringing batch submissions for the 2016 grant cycle to a close. In addition, 8,900 pages of Evening Capital and Maryland Gazette, the paper of record for Annapolis, are now live on Chronicling America. With dates ranging from 1895-1919, this new content provides unique insight into the state of affairs in Maryland’s state capitol at the turn of the century.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike received back from vendors and all student assistants performed quality control on the following projects that were digitized as part of the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process: Mass Media and Culture serials, Hebraica books, Clarice performing arts digital video and cassettes, Arthur Godfrey films, and the Leopold Godowsky manuscript collection.

Robin also received the files for the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) project, a project funded by a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk grant. Student assistants completed quality control, noting many tapes with listenability issues. Robin determined that these issues were inherent, and most likely caused by electrical interference during the recording or poor microphone placement. The files were then passed to a student to begin metadata enhancement, as per the grant plan of work, to increase accessibility to the materials.

Robin and Rebecca Wack began meeting with collection managers to prepare FY19 projects; Rebecca will be managing the 5 audiovisual digitization projects in FY19 because Robin will be taking on Library Assembly Chair duties.

Robin and Rebecca assisted the Greenbelt News Review with a grant application to receive money to buy equipment and hire a student to digitize their newspapers from print.

Student assistants Sydney Schneider and Brahm Persaud worked on digitizing and performing quality control on the Trades Unionist, a labor serial, and on materials for the Special Collections Prange exhibit, which will be made public in the fall. Student assistant Karina Hagelin continued to digitize the Claude family papers correspondence. After concluding work on the Tanglewood audio reels from Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) and two cassettes from the Architecture collections, student assistant Kiri Houpt digitized a clarinet technical studies manuscript from SCPA. Brahm also digitally photographed reel boxes from the WAMU collection that were moldy, as preparation work for 49 reels going to a vendor for preservation, digitization, and rehousing. Maya Reid continued to digitize the office records of IRPA.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Announcing the DC Fedora Users Group Meeting at UMD

UMD Libraries will host the next meeting of the DC Fedora Users Group (DCFUG) on May 15. Josh Westgard is organizing and coordinating the event.

Software Development

Digital Collections

Two of our developers contributed to the Fedora API Alignment Sprint 2 that is working towards a Fedora version 5 release that implements the draft Fedora API Specification.  During that sprint we focused on the updates to the Web Access Control features for fine grained access control to our content.

We have deployed the first phase of our improved fixity checking for binaries to the Fedora Content Repository.  Now on ingest of a new binary, it is immediately queued up for fixity checking to provide immediate confirmation that the ingest of the binary and storage into the backend was successful.

We have bundled a number of our command-line programs for Fedora, including the previous Newspaper Loader, into a suite of tools named Plastron. This includes a refactored generic loader for all content to be batched loaded into Fedora.


We use the  Nexus Repository to store Maven Artifacts and Ruby Gems as part of our build and deployment process.  We have now upgraded to Nexus version 3.11 which gives us the ability to store Docker Images and lays the ground work for increased testing and use of Docker.

Under Development

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

The CLAS team responded to 89 Aleph Rx submissions and 30 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in April.

Web Platform Evaluation

CLAS continued its evaluation of web platforms for running USMAI’s websites. Working with other DSS developers, Tiffany Schoneboom set up a sandbox environment for Hippo CMS (the CMS used to power UMD Libraries’ website). During the setup process it became clear that Hippo is likely to require more development effort than we will want to commit in order to meet the requirements for USMAI’s websites. Next on the evaluation list is Atlassian’s Confluence, which we will begin reviewing in May.

USMAI Data Warehouse

CLAS team members completed a whirlwind tour of USMAI libraries as part of the requirements gathering process for the data warehouse. In early May, we will be busy parsing through our notes! The information gathered from the visits will ultimately inform our recommendations to the consortium on initial data projects, technical infrastructure, and long-term opportunities for the data warehouse.

New E-Resources Support Request Forms

As promised last month, new e-resource support request forms are here. The new forms are all linked from the USMAI Staff Site: Be sure to update your bookmarks!

Ebook Central DDA Collection Modifications

In alignment with USMAI’s changes to its Ebook Central DDA Collection, Linda Seguin updated records in Aleph to reflect the changes to this collection – deleting records that are no longer available and modifying URLs for those that were merged into the remaining collection. For SFX, Linda and Ingrid Alie have provided new instructions for activating these titles. Look for “Instructions for activating USMAI Ebook Central titles in SFX” on USMAI’s Ebooks Group page.


MD-SOAR was upgraded to DSpace version 6 on April 5th. A few issues were encountered after the migration; these have been resolved and documented to help make future upgrades go even more smoothly.
Joseph Koivisto assisted Morgan State in batchloading approximately 500 theses and dissertations. These new additions to MD-SOAR can be viewed in Morgan State’s Student Collection.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe attended the DuraSpace Summit and Coalition for Networked Information meeting in San Diego, CA, from April 9-12.

Kate Dohe’s and Robin Pike’s chapter “Integration of Project Management Techniques in Digital Projects” was published in Project Management in the Library Workplace, volume 38 in the Advances in Library Administration and Organization series.


Robin met with a librarian and an archivist for The Phillips Collection to teach them about collections processing standards and their application in Archives Space, a collection guide repository, and setting up guidelines for their future repository on Thursday, April 12, 2018. These sessions are preparatory workshops for a future IMLS grant, for which Robin is a Project Advisor.


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