Stew of the month: July 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 pleased to announce that it was received its fourth National Digital Newspaper Program Grant, sponsored by NEH and Library of Congress. The $264,000 grant will cover two more years of historic newspaper digitization, including a complete run of the Maryland Suffrage News and four non-English language papers. The new grant period will begin September 1.

As grant cycle three comes to a close, re-work is being checked for re-submission to Library of Congress. Over 100,000 pages of newspapers have been inspected on microfilm, collated, and digitized for inclusion in Chronicling America. Titles of note for grant three include: Evening Capital, Annapolis’ paper of record, the early years of the Greenbelt Cooperator, and a host of small newspapers from Frostburg, Md., providing excellent insight into life in a western Maryland mining community.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike has been working with collection areas to solidify projects and receive digitization quotes from vendors for the FY19 digitization projects funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process.

Robin worked with Vin Novara (SCUA) and Mary Dulaney (Director of Development) to finalize and submit a National Endowment for the Humanities grant application to digitize program and rehearsal materials from the Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange collection; the Dance Exchange is a local dance company that promotes dance education for all.

Assistant Anna Johns completed descriptive metadata enhancement on the CLIR grant-funded project which digitized reels from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Metadata Services will finalize the metadata and Josh Westgard will ingest the materials into Digital Collections in August.

Digitization Assistants Cecilia Franck, Brahm Persaud, Sydney Schneider, and Vanessa Barker digitized materials from Maryland historical manuscripts, punk band fliers from Sharon Cheslow collection, Spanish plays and rare books, and materials for the upcoming Prange collection exhibit.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Additions to DRUM

Since 2004 it has been mandatory for UMD graduates to submit their thesis or dissertation electronically to DRUM. For the 2018 spring semester, 370 theses and dissertations were loaded in DRUM bringing to the total number to 13,772. Here’s a breakdown of the spring semester theses and dissertations from each school:

86 – A. James Clark School of Engineering
15 – College of Agriculture & natural Resources
74 – College of Arts & Humanities
35 – College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
81 – College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences
33 – College of Education
6 – College of Information Studies
2 – Philip Merrill College of Journalism
3 – Robert H. Smith School of Business
4 – School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation
28 – School of Public Health
3 – School of Public Policy

Students also have the option of requesting either a one-year or six-year embargo for their thesis or dissertation. For the spring 2018 semester, 175 students or 47% requested an embargo. Subject librarians can contact Terry Owen for a full list of embargoes for each of their departments.

Software Development


The upgrade to BloomReach Experience (formerly Hippo CMS) version 12 hit a blocking issue when we ran the upgrade process in our development server environment. We are currently working with BloomReach support to find a solution.  In the meantime we have rescheduled the upgrade to October in order to focus on finalizing the new features to be launched before the beginning of the Fall semester.

Digital Collections

We concluded development of a Proof-of-Concept interface for a new template/theme for use on the website.  This template will provide an update to the home page as well as add search and discovery capabilities for all collections loaded into our Fedora Content Repository (Version 4).  This is one step in the process of updating the entire website theme and adding Bento style search across multiple digital, institutional, and special collections repositories.


We upgraded ArchivesSpace from version 2.1.2 to 2.2.2.  This is the next to last hurdle before a general release of the public user interface.  The final hurdle is a customized plugin for allowing users to request archival materials from Special Collections and University Archives using Aeon, which is now under development.

Under Development

  • Upgrade to BloomReach Experience (formerly Hippo CMS) version 12
  • Digital Collections theme update with Fedora search and discovery
  • Bento style cross search of information resources
  • ArchivesSpace Aeon plugin for requesting materials

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

The CLAS team responded to 107 Aleph Rx submissions and 12 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in July.

Data Warehouse

Work on the USMAI Data Warehouse initiative continued in July with progress being made in several areas:

  • Requirements: CLAS Systems Librarians continued to develop detailed data requirements related to collection management and circulation. Part of this process involves profiling the data that exists for each field that we intend to bring into the warehouse in order to detect (and hopefully explain!) data anomalies. This work will continue into August.
  • Reporting: As mentioned last month, we’ve identified JasperSoft and Pentaho as two possible open source reporting solutions. After initial evaluation, it is clear that neither offers the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop web reporting interface that is necessary for adoption of reporting out of the DW by staff at USMAI libraries. We are now evaluating commercial options for both products instead, as it does not seem a viable open source option exists.
  • ETL: We’ve begun looking at the ‘E’ component of the Extract-Transform-Load workflow in order to identify and test methodologies for extracting needed data from Aleph in a timely manner that do not impact system performance.


Retention notes have been added in Aleph to all items that USMAI’s eleven participating libraries have agreed to retain. This information can now viewed in the OPAC’s holdings display as seen in the image below.

Subgroup Membership Changeover

Every July brings a changeover in membership on USMAI’s subgroups. CLAS has updated relevant email lists and websites to reflect these changes. You can view the new membership for USMAI’s subgroups on the USMAI Public Site:


Conferences, workshops and professional development

In the second half of July, Joshua Westgard participated in an NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities entitled “Digital Editions, Digital Corpora and New Possibilities for the Humanities in the Academy and Beyond” hosted by Tufts University. The institute focused on new methods for annotating textual sources, bringing together humanities scholars from around the world for an intensive two weeks of both instruction and individual research. Westgard focused on the creation of a corpus of the Latin writings of the Venerable Bede (672/3-735), one of the foremost intellectual figures of the Early Middle Ages. The methods taught at the institute will also inform the development of interoperable annotation methods for materials in the Libraries’ digital collections.


Mara Blake, Data Services Manager for Johns Hopkins University, visited UMD Libraries for an overview of data services and initiatives on July 27th.


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