Stew of the month: June 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 nearing the finish line for grant 3. 70,000 pages of historic Maryland newspapers are now online and available through Chronicling America, with a further 30,000 either queued for approval or ready for publication. There’s a smattering of re-work to be completed, microfilm to be labelled for submission to Library of Congress, and a host of essays to edit, but the HMNP is well on its way to a strong, on-time finish.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with Vin Novara (SCPA) and Mary Dulaney (Director of Development) to revise and resubmit a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize the Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange collection.

Rebecca Wack worked with Liz Novara and Eric Stoykovich (both SCUA) and Mary Dulaney to submit a Council on Libraries and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant to digitize audiotapes from the Spiro Agnew collection.

Robin worked to finalize many FY18 digitization projects and presented the fiscal year-end report to the Library Assembly.

Robin has been working with collections managers to finalize FY19 digitization project details for the project plans and the vendor estimates. She will soon be sending the estimates for vendor quotes.

Robin oversaw a pop-up project to digitize Coach “Lefty” Driesell’s donation to the University Archives in celebration of his induction to the UMD Hall of Fame. She also managed the digitization of a pop-up project to send moldy and deteriorated audiotapes from the WAMU collection.

Assistant Brahm Persaud continued to digitize materials for the SCUA annual exhibit featuring the Prange collection. Assistants Brahm and Sydney Schneider digitized audiotapes from the Westinghouse collection, featuring segments from the Apollo missions. With Assistant Vanessa Barker, Sydney also worked to digitize fliers from the Sharon Cheslow Punk Flier Archive. Vanessa also continued to digitize correspondence from the Claude family papers and performed quality control on the third batch of the Hebraica book digitization project. Cecilia Franck oversaw meeting deadlines and quality control on requests and in-house projects, the Hebraica project, and performed quality control on the Diamondback digitization project. Both the Hebraica and Diamondback projects were digitized as part of the FY18 DIC project proposal process.


Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Digital Collections Content Online

June saw significant milestones being passed for important digital collections projects: First, the UMD Student Newspapers collection saw the addition of nearly 400 issues spanning more than four decades of the Black Explosion, a student newspaper published by the Black Student Union. Second, the Katherine Anne Porter Correspondence, digitized in several phases over a number of years, had its last outstanding questions resolved, and the coming days will see the release of nearly 4000 letters to and from this important 20th-century American author.

Open Access Fund 2017-2018

For 2017-2018, the Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund received 32 applications and funded 27 articles; average cost-per-article: $1,887 (the Libraries’ pays 50% of the article processing charges for each approved application).

Here’s the breakdown by school/college for all applications received:

9 – College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
8 – A. James Clark School of Engineering
4 – School of Public Health
3 – College of Agricultural & Natural Resources
3 – College of Education
2 – College of Computer, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences
1 – College of Information Studies
1 – Robert H. Smith School of Business
1 – School of Public Policy
1 – School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation
0 – College of Arts & Humanities
0 – Philip Merrill College of Journalism

We will begin accepting applications for 2018-2019 in early September.

Software Development


DRUM has been successfully upgraded to DSpace 6.

Digital Collections

The code and configuration for the new Katherine Anne Porter Correspondence Collection has been completed and promoted to production. The new feature has been turned over to curators to determine the best interface and timeline for public release.

We have deployed the second and final phase of our improved fixity checking for binaries to the Fedora Content Repository.  In phase 1 we added fixity checking of binaries to provide immediate confirmation that the ingest of the binary and storage into the backend was successful.  We have now added a periodic check of existing binaries to check for data loss or corruption over time.

Under Development

  • Upgrade to BloomReach Experience (formerly Hippo CMS) version 12

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

The CLAS team responded to 105 Aleph Rx submissions and 23 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in June.

USMAI Data Warehouse

Work on implementing a data warehouse for USMAI continued in June. Based on site visits in April, “a report of findings and Phase One proposal was developed. The report proposes an initial project scoped to Aleph collection and circulation data, a technical architecture that prioritizes open source tools, and the need for consortial data governance.

For Phase One, CLAS has begun documenting and profiling the data needed to meet collection and circulation reporting needs. This includes considerations like whether historical changes need to be kept (and, if yes, how), assessing the quality of the underlying data, and mapping dimensions and attributes to the Aleph database tables that contain the data.

For the technical infrastructure, CLAS has begun an evaluation of reporting tools, focusing on open source solutions as a high priority. Two tools, Pentaho and JasperSoft, have been identified as possible solutions. CLAS developers have set up sandbox environments for both in order to determine how well each meets USMAI’s reporting needs.

Research Port Phaseout

Following up on the message sent in May to all USMAI libraries’ campus contacts, CLAS completed an analysis of each library’s use of Research Port in order to provide customized recommendations on what actions should be taken in order to phase out Research Port locally. These recommendations were sent to the campus contact and e-resources contact at each library in order to help inform their actions. Research Port is planned to be phased out by December 31, 2018.

Aleph OPAC Modifications

Two updates were made to the Aleph OPAC this month:

  • A direct/permanent link was added to the standard display of each bibliographic record. Since the URLs in the address bar are typically specific to a certain search, this gives users a URL they can bookmark or copy and paste for use later.
  • The “renew” and “renew all” buttons have been modified to disable after the user clicks it. Previously a user might double-click these buttons, causing the renewal request to get sent twice, and (we suspect) sometimes resulting in duplicate fines and fees.

User and System Support

Mac OS 10.13 and Deep Freeze

The laptops that are loaned to the campus students have Deep Freeze installed on them. Deep Freeze allows us to configure the laptops to our specifications and then freeze them. This means that any changes made by a student gets wiped once the laptop restarts; the laptop will return to the way it was configured before it was frozen. Deep freeze is installed on both Dell and Apple laptops. However, with the latest release of Mac OS, High Sierra 10.13, Deep Freeze isn’t working. While we wait for Faronics, the maker of Deep Freeze, to resolve this issue, Mac OS 10.12.6 will remain on the Apple laptops.



USS is pleased to welcome Francis Akhionbare to the team. Francis is an IT support Assistant and, in his new role, will be working very closely with Library staff and patrons. Welcome, Francis!


Conferences, workshops and professional development

Announcing Code4Lib DC, Maryland, and Virginia

The Libraries are hosting this year’s code{4}lib regional meet-up on August 3, 2018. The event brings together developers, technologists, and info specialists from the greater DC/MD/VA area who work with and for libraries, archives, and museums. David Durden (DPI), Tiffany Schoneboom (CLAS), and Jospeh Koivisto (CLAS) are leading the local planning team for the event.

Participation in this year’s code{4}lib regional meet-up is free but registration is required. Those looking for opportunities to network and learn from peers or to showcase and discuss ongoing projects are encouraged to attend. For details and registration, please visit the event page on the code{4}lib wiki.

DSS at the 2018 Libraries Research & Innovative Practice Forum

A number of DSS staff participated in the fourth year of the UMD Libraries Research & Innovative Practice Forum (or LRIPF). Kate Dohe chaired and Joseph Koivisto served on the planning committee, which began meeting in November 2017 and is comprised of members of the Faculty Mentoring Committee and Libraries Research Fund Committee.

Furthermore, DSS staff participated in the following panels, presentations, workshops, and poster sessions:

  • “The Libraries’ Role in Supporting UMD Researcher Networking,” an unmoderated panel by Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, Kate Dohe, David Durden, and Ben Wallberg
  • “My Very First Robot: Programming a Twitter Bot to Promote Open Access Scholarship,” a presentation by Joseph Koivisto
  • “Implementing Project Management Tools and Strategies,” a panel by Robin Pike, Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, Rachel Gammons, Hilary Thompson
  • “The Open Bede Project,” a poster by Josh Westgard
  • “Data Management to Define an Emerging Discipline,” a poster by Patricia Cossard and David Durden
  • “How to Innovate Fearlessly,” a panel by Rebecca Kemp-Goldfinger, Kate Dohe, and Sharon Epps
  • “Finding Potential Funders,” a workshop by Robin Pike, Mary Dulaney, Rebecca Wack, Joanne Archer, and Kristen Gladsky
  • “The Digital Diamondback: Unfolding University History through Open Standards and Open Data,” a panel by Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, and Josh Westgard

SCCM Brown Bag

USS (Stephanie Karunwi) and DivIT (Eric Byrd) facilitated a brown bag session on June 26, 2018, in Mckeldin, regarding tips on how to use SCCM to deploy applications. SCCM is the software we use to image PCs and install applications, which is on a server at DivIT. Even though the Libraries are the heaviest users, other IT departments on campus have the ability to use the software as well. So, an invitation went out to the SCCM community across campus. The turnout was bigger than expected, with an attendance of over 30 IT staff from across campus. Eric Byrd presented tips on how to use SCCM to deploy applications using powershell. The event was very successful. Hopefully, the SCCM community will have other brown bags in the future.

LabMan 2018

The University of Maryland, College Park hosted LabMan 2018 this year. LabMan is the Academic Lab Management Conference for professionals that are responsible for maintenance of computer labs in education settings. The 3 day event took place between May 22,2018 through May 24,2018. Cece Carson, Sandra Ayensu, and Victoria Quartey was on the planning committee to help make sure the event went smoothly. Labman 2018 was very successful. LabMan 2019 will be in Chicago


Other Conferences

Joshua Westgard attended the Open Repositories meeeting in Bozeman, MT, where he presented in a session on open-source code sustainability about the UMD Libraries’ python-based batchload client for the Fedora API (plastron, The presentation generated community interest in making all or some portion of the plastron code into a community-supported resource.


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