Stew of the month: May 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 launched a monthly newsletter. Each month, the newsletter will focus on different themes in history and culture, highlighting stories from Maryland newspapers related to the theme. May offered a look at how Marylanders of the past celebrated Memorial Day, and June will be all about summer fashion at the turn of the century. Newsletters go out on the third Monday of each month, so subscribe now on the HMNP website ( to be sure you don’t miss out on a single 1908 bathing costume.

A fresh batch of newspapers have been accepted by Library of Congress and should be live on Chronicling America shortly. These titles are particularly unique in that they were digitized from original newspapers on lend from one of our grant partners this cycle, Frostburg State University. Three boxes of newspapers totaling over 1400 pages were carefully transported from Frostburg, filling in gaps from the Frostburg Mining Journal (largely on microfilm) and affording access to small runs of the Frostburg Spirit, Frostburg Gleaner, Frostburg Forum, and Frostburg News.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike continued to meet with collections managers to set up FY19 vendor digitization projects that were funded through the DIC project proposal process. Robin will soon begin work on the vendor quotes.

The following FY18 digitization projects came back from the vendor and were reviewed by students: Godowsky manuscript collection (IPAM, MSPAL), Gymkana photos (SCUA), MMC serials (SCUA), Hebraica batch 3 (general collections), Diamondback newspapers batches 1 and 2 (SCUA), and finished the Clarice video and audio project that was received in April (SCPA, MSPAL).

Assistant Anna Johns began metadata enhancement for the National Federation of Community Broadcasters audio reel digitization project; this work will facilitate greater access to the collection for patrons. This project is funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant program. CLIR granted UMD a no-cost extension for this project, which will now conclude in August 2018.

Digitization Center assistants Brahm Persaud and Sydney Schneider continued to work on the Prange exhibit materials. Assistant Karina Hagelin continued to work on the Claude family manuscript collection, with Vanessa Barker taking over upon their departure. Cecilia Franck continued to perform quality control on many of the requests and projects going through DCMR, both produced in-house and via vendors.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Research Data Services

David Durden led a workshop on Data Management for Library staff on May 22 covering the basics of data management plans and the research data lifecycle.

New Collections in DRUM

Thanks to Liz Novara and Amy Wickner, the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) conference programs, 1979-present, have been added to DRUM. The Libraries’ maintains the archives for the association and we are very excited about this new addition to DRUM.

Software Development


We have added a new feature to Database Finder which allows “Best Bet” databases for a particular Subject to be featured and pinned to the top of search results, pointing users to the top databases most likely to be useful for them.  See for example Computer Science.
We continue to add structured data to the website, most recently for WebPage (eg Terrapin Learning Commons and PublicationIssue (eg an Issue of the Diamondback in UMD Student Newspapers)

Under Development

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

The CLAS team responded to 118 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in May.

Web Platform Evaluation

CLAS wrapped up its evaluation of web platforms for running USMAI’s websites with an evaluation of Confluence. A recommendation has been drafted for CLD to review. We’re excited about the expanded and improved collaboration opportunities that the new platform might bring!

USMAI Data Warehouse

As expected, a significant portion of May was spent parsing through the notes from our data warehouse sessions at member libraries. From our review, it’s apparent that honing in on Collections and Circulation as subject reporting areas for the initial project is the optimum combination of feasibility and value. Work began on a full report, detailing the thought process behind this decision, as well as the planned approach to implementing the Phase-1 data warehouse. This report will be shared with CLD in June for their review and approval. Meanwhile, we’ve begun making some initial decisions about the initial technical architecture and are preparing for digging further into the data that we’ll plan to bring into the warehouse.

Research Port Phaseout

On May 22nd, an email was sent to campus contacts at each USMAI library announcing the planned phaseout of the Research Port application. Since the use of Research Port varies at each member library, USMAI has given libraries until the end of 2018 to transition their library/campus from Research Port to other tools that provide similar functionality. CLAS has created a guide to help libraries with the transition and have also started to contact each library individually, giving our assessment of the aspects that will need to be addressed before the end of the year.

Aleph Operating System Upgrade

A major upgrade to the server operating system for Aleph was completed on May 28th. Yes, that was Memorial Day. Many thanks to Hans, Uche, and Brandon for working into the wee hours of the night to complete this with minimal disruption on operations at the 17 member libraries!


DPI is pleased to welcome Stephanie Sapienza to the team. Stephanie is a Project Manager in the Maryland Institute for Technology and the Humanities, and will be working with DPI and other departments part-time on the Broadcasting Content Management Pilot Project. Stephanie has been a Project Manager for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as Project Director for the Getty-funded Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945 – 1980, and she hold a M.A. in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA. Welcome, Stephanie!

DCMR says goodbye to two student assistants–Karina Hagelin and Maya Reid. Karina graduated in May with their MLIS and is pursuing full-time job opportunities. Maya left for an internship with the Smithsonian. Robin hired student assistants Anna Johns and Vanessa Barker. Anna, a new MLIS student, began working on metadata enhancement for the CLIR grant-funded National Federation of Community Broadcasters project. Vanessa began working on projects in the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Josh Westgard presented “A Python Library for the Fedora API” at Open Repositories 2018 in Bozeman, MT.


Aaron Williams, Systems Administrator for Georgetown University Library, visited UMD Libraries on May 24. Kate Dohe provided a brief tour and overview of services and programs.