Stew of the month: September 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 Program went on the road at the end of September. Robin Pike, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath attended the annual NDNP Awardees Conference in Washington DC, hosted by NEH and Library of Congress. The end of September also saw a close to the Grant 3 reporting period, with a final report being submitted to NEH on 9/30. Highlights from the report included an uptick in Chronicling America Maryland newspaper usage statistics, with the number of Maryland newspapers called on Chronicling America, having doubled over the past year.

Kicking off October, Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack took a trip to the Greenbelt Community Center to train a group of local volunteers in archival materials handling. DCMR will be overseeing the re-housing, scanning, and digital file creation, for all issues of the Greenbelt News Review from 1963-2002. Issues from 1943-1963 are being prepared for inclusion in Cycle 4 of the NDNP grant.

Other Digitization Activities

Rebecca Wack transitioned to her new role as Digitization Services Librarian, managing the Hornbake Digitization Center and other in-house digitization operations. She instituted a new project management tool, Click-up, to help manage in-house requests and other ongoing activities, such as quality control and room maintenance.

Robin worked with Laura Schnitker and Joanne Archer (both SCUA), and Mary Dulaney, Director of Development to submit a National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant application to digitize over 1,100 1/4″ open reel audio tapes from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection. This could be phase 2 of this project, continuing the work digitized by the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant received late last year, which is online.

Rebecca and Liz Novara (SCUA) with assistance from Robin and Mary and Eric Stoykovich (SCUA), received another CLIR Recordings at Risk grant to digitize audio recordings from the Spiro Agnew collection. This project will begin in November.

Robin worked with vendors on finalizing some quotes for FY19 projects funded through the DIC process. The first projects will go out in October.

Digitization student assistants continued to digitize a Maryland family manuscript collection, as well as requests. They also worked on new internal projects including documenting and assisting Rebecca with revising some of the internal workflows and procedures; this project will continue through the fall semester, resulting in a new training manual for students beginning in January.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

O3S: Open Scholarship for Social Sciences Symposium

In cooperation with SocArXiv, the Libraries is co-sponsoring and hosting the second annual O3S: Open Scholarship for Social Sciences symposium, 18-19 October 2018 in the Special Events Room.

The symposium will feature two keynote speakers: Elizabeth Popp Berman, associate professor of Sociology at University at Albany, SUNY; and April Hathcock, Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University. We will also have a Q & A on open science with Arthur Lupia, the head of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; and a showing of the documentary Paywall: The Business of Scholarship.

Check out the complete program. Members of the UMD community are welcome to stop by for sessions of interest, but please register if you plan to join us for meals.

New Additions to DRUM

More than 300 theses and dissertations from the summer 2018 semester have been loaded in DRUM. Check them out at

Working with the PALS (Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability) we have deposited more than 115 of their reports in DRUM. Administered by the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland, PALS is a campus-wide initiative that harnesses the expertise of UMD faculty and the energy and ingenuity of UMD students to help Maryland communities become more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. More information about the program is available here.

Research Data Workshops

David Durden offered a Research Commons workshop, “Creating data management plans with DMPTool,” on September 11.

Software Development

Digital Collections

In our continuing support of the Fedora community development process we provided two developers to the Fedora 5 API Alignment Sprint 1.  This sprint is the first of two which aim to complete the Fedora 5.0 Release Candidate, which is aligned to the Fedora API Specification 1.0 Candidate Recommendation released on June 25.  See the Fedora API Specification Charter for more information.  A second sprint is scheduled for October.  The roadmap ahead looks like 1) release Fedora 5.0 RC in October, 2) Fedora community testing culminating in a Fedora 5.0 release, 3) development of a second non-ModeShape Fedora implementation which also conforms to the Fedora 5.0 API Specification, and 4) release of the Fedora API Specification 1.0.  Note that though Fedora 5 will be making backwards incompatible API changes, it will not be brand new application, as was the change from Fedora 3 to 4.  It will simply be the changes necessary to align it with the new API Specification.

We also completed a major refresh and upgrade of the Fedora 2 system environment.  This sets the stage for improved security and performance for Fedora 2, as well as marking the beginning of general developer support for Fedora 2 within SSDR enabling us to make software maintenance improvements to the application.

Website / Hippo CMS

We have resolved the blocking issue for the upgrade to version 12 and completed the promotion to the staging server, with user testing now underway.  This version contains significant changes to the backend storage system but not many user facing updates. One improvement for application administrators is the new URL Rewrite module which improves our ability to create and track rewrites for URLs which have changed.  This in turn improves discovery of content over time.  The promotion to production is scheduled for mid-October.


The Libi Advisory Team has completed the Beta testing period for the new Libi staff intranet.  We are now working on the reported bugs and feature requests in preparation for a soft release in November.  The new and old Libi will co-exist during a transition period.

Under Development

  • Bento style cross search of information resources
  • Bento style cross search for Special and Digital Collections
  • ArchivesSpace Aeon plugin for requesting materials

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

The CLAS team responded to 92 Aleph Rx submissions and 15 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

Data Warehouse

A mechanism for identifying changed data in Aleph was determined and implemented. This will be used for the nightly extract of changed data from Aleph for loading into the data warehouse. An initial version of this extract program has been set up. In a nutshell, it tracks all records that were changed in a 24-hour period, determines what to do with records that had multiple changes (i.e. created, then updated, then deleted), extracts all data for each changed record, and writes the data to text files that will then be processed for loading into the data warehouse. A very exciting step!

Work continued in other areas as well, including requirements definition, data quality checks, reporting layer evaluations, and designing the DW’s dimensional models.

SFX Enhancement Implemented

Linda Seguin submitted an SFX enhancement request last fall taht was selected through a voting process for a short list of enhancements that Ex Libris would pursue. The enhancement improves the functionality of Related Objects in SFX by providing more granularity in the control of when these display. The new enhancement allows us to turn the Related Objects feature off for supplement relationships, but keep it on for earlier/later title relationships. This was the source of a number of problem reports within USMAI.


Joseph Koivisto collaborated with Adam Zukowski to determine a process for cleaning up “Type” metadata in MD-SOAR. This will improve discoverability through MD-SOAR’s browse index by clustering all records under a uniform “Type” term rather than scattered across variants (e.g. article, Article, articles, etc.). The initial cleanup project updated metadata for over 7,000 records.


Welcome to three new Graduate Assistants who joined the Software Systems Development and Research department: Shivani Parikh (Information Systems/Business), and Satya Amarapalli (Telecommunications/Engineering) are GA Software Developers and Guangchu Shi (Software Engineering/Engineering) is our GA Front End Developer.

Robin Pike, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) attended the annual National Digital Newspaper Program Awardees Conference in Washington DC, hosted by NEH and Library of Congress, on September 26-28. Rebecca led a session on creating social media engagement, using statistics gathered by the Library of Congress across all state projects.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe and David Durden presented the short paper, “Determining the Cost of Keeping It: Towards Effective Cost-Modeling for Digital Preservation,” at iPRES 2018 in Boston, MA. iPRES is an international conference for digital preservation practitioners.


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