Stew of the month: January 2019

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

Robin Pike worked with Tonita Brooks and campus Procurement to secure contracts for microfilm duplication and digitization. The microfilm duplication began with a title held by the Center for Research Libraries–the Telegraf–a Czech title. Robin also worked with Maria Day from the Maryland State Archives and Sarah Hedlund from the Montgomery County Historical Society to receive the microfilm for several titles that will be duplicated and then digitized. She drafted an agreement to receive several more newspapers to fill in gaps of the print run of the Greenbelt Cooperator/Greenbelt News Review. The project will also receive a few more titles from Enoch Pratt State Library in the next few months.

Doug McElrath (SCUA) completed informative essays for the final titles submitted to the Library of Congress; after the NEH edits and approves them, they will be added to the online records in Chronicling America to provide context to the publication history of the newspapers.

Robin and Doug began planning the Advisory Board meeting for later in the spring, and also preparing for the start of new Digital Projects Librarian, Pamela McClanahan who will start February 4.

Student Assistants Jane Sonneman and Sydney Schneider finished collation on print issues of the Greenbelt Cooperator/Greenbelt News Review. They also began research work for potential outreach programs for Maryland History Day resources. Sydney also completed copyright research for titles published between 1924-1963; all titles were found to be in the public domain.

Other Digitization Projects

The Digitization Initiatives Committee met to discuss, prioritize, and locate funding for FY20 project proposals. Money for projects is still being solidified, especially as the Basketball Video and Film Preservation Launch campaign will run through March. The budget will be presented at the end of March/beginning of April as planned.

Robin coordinated with numerous staff in Preservation and Conservation to ship out the Brooke family papers for digitization. Cecilia Franck and Christie Scully finished the quality review of the Works Progress Administration microfilmed records; the images passed, though records will require some metadata clean-up before they are ingested. Both projects were funded through the FY19 DIC project proposal process. The Libraries felt effects of the Federal Shutdown, as the Internet Archive digitization facility at the National Agriculture Library under the USDA was closed; two batches were in limbo.

Robin also coordinated with Eric Stoykovich (SCUA) to ship the Spiro Agnew audio digitization project to the vendor. This project is funded by a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant.

Robin and Cecilia Franck, now assistant on the Greenbelt Archive Project, set up equipment, software, and modified DCMR documentation for the workflows at Greenbelt. The project, which will digitize the Greenbelt News Review from 1963-present and upload the issues and metadata to the Internet Archive, began January 28 and will last approximately two years. This project is being performed through Digital Data Services and is funded by the non-profit Greenbelt Archive Project.

Robin worked with Stephanie Ritchie (PSD), Joanne Archer (SCUA), and Mary Dulaney (Development) on a Ceres grant application, due in early February, to digitize historical agriculture publications.

Hornbake Digitization Center

The Hornbake Digitization Center is fully-staffed and open for business. Five student digitization assistants, Vanessa Barker, Sydney Schneider, Natalia Grajewski, Katie Daughtry, and Jane Sonneman, are hard at work updating and improving equipment and workflow documentation and helping to design new training and on-boarding procedures. As new student assistants are the intended users of instructional materials, bringing assistant feedback into the update process has proved invaluable.

Work is underway to digitize approximately 300 archival photographs from UMD’s Department of Entomology. The photographs, some of which date back to the nineteenth century, document everything from past members of the department to images of experiments and studies. While the photographs themselves will be returned to Entomology upon completion of the project, their digital surrogates will be available in AlbUM.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Year of Data Science Update

As part of the UMD Year of Data Science, the University Libraries, represented by Kelley O’Neal and David Durden, and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), represented by Ian Carroll, jointly hosted a 2-day workshop in late January to train 10 new Data and Software Carpentries instructors on campus. These new Carpentries instructors are the inaugural cohort of the newly formed Campus Association of Carpentries Instructors and will develop and lead data science workshops throughout the spring 2019 semester. Support from the Year of Data Science initiative also covered the University of Maryland’s Gold Level membership within the Carpentries Organization.

Software Development


We completed the migration for DRUM and MD-SOAR to use DataCite, our new provider for creating and maintaining Digital Object Identifiers (DOI).

Archival Collections

We provided the final steps for the much anticipated and long running migration from ArchivesUM (and assorted, beastly, back-end applications) to ArchivesSpace as our platform for Archival Collections. ArchivesUM is dead, long live Archival Collections.

Under Development

  • Libi – continuing to fix bugs and setup groups in new Libi; the last day for the full URL cutover and freezing content in old Libi is April 1
  • Hippo CMS / Website – updates for improved permissions and maintenance as well as additional content editing features in the Channel Manager
  • Improved fixity checking tools for our Fedora Content Repository

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

The CLAS team responded to 122 Aleph Rx submissions and 20 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in January.

CLAS began work on the 2019 Work Plan in January, which includes continuation of a couple critical priorities as well as several new work items.

Data Warehouse

Work on this critical project continued in January with significant efforts put into the ETL program and populating data into the reporting environment. For the ETL program, further details on mapping and data quality specifications were defined, functions were developed to handle common ETL tasks, and the overall design of the ETL program was advanced. For the reporting environment, an initial set of 1000 sample items was successfully loaded with a larger set of 100,000 items currently in the works for loading. These sample sets will allow us to work with Aleph data in the reporting environment (Jaspersoft) while we configure the environment and test report accuracy.

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration

Work on this critical project restarted in January. The first milestone is to set up successful communication between Aleph and College Park’s ILLiad instance to create an item and hold request, put the item on the holdshelf, and loan and return it. Additional work was done in Aleph to configure Aleph’s NCIP function to make this possible.

Katia Fowler: USMAI’s New Administrative Assistant

CLAS was happy to welcome Katia Fowler to the consortium (and UMD Libraries) on January 22nd. Katia’s position is hosted at UMD and embedded in the CLAS team. This proximity has already paid dividends as it has made the transition of several administrative activities (e.g. managing email lists, website updates, social media, etc.) much easier as she begins to take over these responsibilities for USMAI. She also bravely and heroically rescued a bird who found its way into our basement office dwellings!


Katia Fowler started as USMAI’s Executive Administrative Assistant on January 22nd.

Natalia Grajewski, Katie Daughtry, both MLIS students, began working in the Hornbake Digitization Center as Digitization Assistants in mid-January. Christie Scully, also an MLIS student, began working as the Digitization Projects Assistant in mid-January; she will be performing preparatory and quality control work on vendor projects. Previous assistant Cecilia Franck entered the MLIS program in January. They also made the transfer to working on a Digital Data Services project, the Greenbelt Archive Project, where they will be digitizing the Greenbelt News Review.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe, Babak Hamidzadeh, and Ben Wallberg co-authored “Doing More, With More: Academic Libraries, Digital Services, and Revenue Generation,” an invited Issue Brief for  Ithaka S+R.

David Dahl attended the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

Heidi Hanson attended the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

One thought on “Stew of the month: January 2019

  1. Fran Minakowski February 14, 2019 / 12:25 pm

    What an impressive team of professionals! We here at Maryland Public TV are grateful to all of you for your work to help us save our history.


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