Stew of the month: March/April 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

In March, Robin Pike, Pam McClanahan, and Doug McElrath (SCUA), finalized plans for the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project (HMNP) Advisory Board meeting where our advisory board members and other partners will join us on campus for a project update and brainstorming future plans and outreach.

Robin Pike, Doug McElrath (SCUA), and Pam McClanahan hosted the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) Advisory Board Meeting in McKeldin Library on April 18. Attendees included librarians, archivists, historians, and educators that make up the HMNP Advisory Board, as well as other stakeholders and representatives from some of our content partners. Dan Mack (CSS) welcomed our guests and Robin, Doug, and Pam gave background on the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) and Chronicling America, an update on the NDNP Awardees Conference that occurred in September 2018 and an update on Phase 4, as well as brainstormed the possibility of a Phase 5 and a Maryland digitized newspaper repository. We heard case studies from some of our board members on how they use Chronicling America and that led to some great discussion on possible outreach and programming to occur during Phase 4. Pam will be following up with board members and other attendees to develop an outreach plan and prepare for a possible Phase 5 NDNP grant application.

In March, Pam met with our content partners at the Greenbelt News Review to transfer the remaining issues of the Greenbelt Cooperator for digitization this round. Bobbi Mallet and Kathy Glennan (both Collection Services) are working to prepare the CONSER records and submit requests for the needed MARC organization codes for the project. Student Assistants Jane Sonneman and Sydney Schneider continued collation of the Telegraf on second generation master microfilm.

Also in March, Pam attended the Maryland Day lecture at the Maryland State Archives (MSA) and met with MSA staff, Maria Day and Megan Cranyon, to discuss ways UMD and MSA can partner through the HMNP. She also reached out to many of our other HMNP advisory board members and content partners to begin discussing outreach and finalizing material loans. Additionally, Pam served as a regional history day judge at the Frederick County competition on March 2 judging junior individual documentaries.

Additionally, Pam developed an HMNP informational sheet that was distributed at the Advisory Board meeting, as well as the Spring Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) meeting held April 11-13 in Morgantown, WV. Doug attended and provided an update on HMNP to the Maryland Caucus at MARAC. Robin provided training on NDNP quality review and Pam completed quality review on our sample batch along with student worker, Sydney Schneider, which needed to be submitted for rework. Our sample batch title, the Telegraf, is in Czech and there were some errors in the OCR language configuration. Our digitization vendor, Creekside Digital, returned the reworked sample batch, which has passed QR and will be submitted to the Library of Congress in early May. Student assistants, Jane Sonneman and Sydney Schnedier, finished collating the Telegraf, which will be the first title we will submit for digitization. Jane and Sydney also started a genealogical research project utilizing the historic newspapers along with family papers that have been digitized previously at UMD that will be used for HMNP outreach. Sydney reviewed HMNP outreach from the first 3 phases of the grant and created a history of outreach that will Pam will use to develop an outreach and communication calendar for Phase 4.
In April, Robin and Pam met with a team from Harford County Public Library who are interested in digitizing The aegis, a local Harford County newspaper title in publication since the 1850s and still going today. The aegis was digitized during an earlier phase of HMNP up until 1922. Pam discussed the possibility of including this title in a Phase 5 application of NDNP and Jane and Sydney will do the copyright research to see if this title could be digitized through 1963 for NDNP. Robin shared some options for digitizing beyond 1963 for the Harford County team to consider and followed up with some examples of other newspaper digitization projects UMD has been involved with recently.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin Pike and Vin Novara (SCPA), Co-Principal Investigators, received $313,753 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for their project “Preserving and Presenting the Past, Present, and Future of Dance History: Digitizing the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives.” This project will describe, digitize 1,329 videotapes and 211 paper programs from performances, and make them available to the public over the next two years. This will be the largest video digitization project UMD Libraries has undertaken so far and will help us set new workflows for working with this number of large video files. This project will run from May 2019 to April 2021. In April, Robin led the Dance Exchange grant kickoff meeting including Vin Novara (SCPA), Mary Dulaney (Development Office), and Pam, in which to review the project timeline and deliverables, and to begin the preliminary preparatory steps of the project.

Christie Scully, Digitization Projects Assistant completed quality control work on the FY19 Student Newspapers, FY19 AFL-CIO Records Transfer Inventory forms, and Dooley discs from a patron request. The first two projects were funded by the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process. Robin also worked with Linda Sarigol (LMS) and the vendor on clarifying issues such as fading and color shift, frame jitteriness, and audio track quality with the FY19 LMS Vinegar Films project; issues were found to be evidence of degradation and wear, stressing the importance of digitizing this collection before additional damage occurs.

In her position as Lead Project Advisory, Robin assisted The Phillips Collection with a position and implementation of part of their IMLS grant, awarded this past fall.

Robin also worked with the Greenbelt Archive Project staff and ingested 314 issues from 1964-1969 to the Internet Archive, as part of the partnership. This milestone was celebrated at a picnic with the volunteers of the project, members of the Greenbelt community who have been selecting, collating, rehousing, and otherwise preparing the newspaper issues for digitization.

She also consulted with Cindy Frank and GA Ellen Kortesoja on selecting materials for a small Visual Resources Association grant (up to $3000), helped them write the methodology/workflow section of the proposal, received the vendor proposal for the budget, and helped strengthen the application, due May 10.

Also in March and April, the files for the first two batches of the Internet Archive shipments were received and passed review. These made available serials from the Mass Media and Culture collection, university publications, and Spanish pamphlets.

Hornbake Digitization Center

True crime requests have been trending in the Hornbake Digitization Lab. Digitization orders for negatives, photographs, and audiotapes have been pouring in from podcasts, television shows, and documentaries, all sharing one common theme: true crime. While we can’t be certain of the final product, we’re excited to see if and when our content makes it into the big time.

In a rather packed meeting, Hornbake Student Digitization Assistants met with Bria Parker and Adam Gray, Discovery and Metadata Services, and Kate Dohe, Carlos Alvarado, and Anne Hendrick, Digital Programs and Initiatives, to discuss issues concerning digital collections. DPI has been working with stakeholders to scope the future of our repositories, and the Hornbake assistants were eager to offer feedback on the current Admin interface. Many jelly beans were consumed, many concerns were voiced, and all parties walked away with the satisfaction of having contributed something valuable to the conversation.

Work continues digitizing items for the upcoming MPT exhibit. A variety of television awards and other ephemeral objects have made their way into the Hornbake Digitization Lab for photography, having received a nice cleaning a polish from Preservation.

Digitization of Maryland Works Projects Administration photographs continues. Two boxes are being scanned at present, with a third to be called-up in May. Photographs are being uploaded into Digital Collections on a rolling basis, with more available for patron and researcher access each week. Many thanks to Adam Gray and Bria Parker in Discovery and Metadata Services for helping the Digitization Lab map out standards for future WPA uploads. With over 25 linear feet of photographs to be digitized and ingested into the repository, developing and following a standardized model for each project group will be key in ensuring appropriate access.

Rebecca continued to meet with curators and plan new in-house projects for 2019.

Rebecca will coordinate the digitization of the Women’s Journal on loan to us from the National Woman’s Party in the Hornbake Digitization Center. The Women’s Journal was a national women’s suffrage publication that was bound with the Maryland Suffrage News in the copy held by NWP. The Maryland Suffrage News will be digitized as a part of HMNP Phase 4, but we are working with NWP to digitize the Women’s Journal (published outside of Maryland) also while it is here to make sure this unique resource is made more accessible.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

DPI is churning away on a number of projects in progress, like the previously-announced CodeOcean Pilot, Avalon Pilot, and ORCID@UMD projects.

The Continuing Ballad of Open Journal Systems

DPI has brought up an instance of OJS 3 for user testing and journal setup, in anticipation of migrating our production service to the new version in the summer. New potential publishers are evaluating this system for their purposes, while we work with our existing users to coordinate across editorial schedules. DPI anticipates the migration will be completed by the start of the fall term, and we hope saying so doesn’t jinx anything for us.

Digital Collections Updates

550 additional newspaper issues issues have been loaded to the Student Newspaper Digital Collection, including two new titles: The Eclipse and Mitzpeh.

Software Development

Under Development

Bento Search – restart work on the Alpha release and usability testing.  Added an Ebsco Discovery Services (EDS) implementation for A/B testing against WorldCat Local.

Libi – implementing navigation improvements, based on mockups and usability testing

DRUM – developing some custom features to support migration of the Minority Health and Health Equity Archive into DRUM

Bloomreach CMS / Website – updates for improved permissions and maintenance as well as additional content editing features in the Channel Manager; Proof of Concept for a Research Guides template and content maintenance in the CMS

Fedora 2 architecture improvements: migrating Relationships Behavior, Handle Service, and OAI-PMH Server from a custom Lucene search app to Solr

Archelon – implementing usability improvements based on usability testing

Treasury of World’s Fair Art and Architecture – began implementing a new exhibit theme based website to replace the existing interface

Proof of Concept for a Common Search interface with new theme and Solr backend to replace the current theme for Digital Collections (backed by Fedora 2)

ORCID@UMD application for sign-up and permission-granting process

Avalon Pilot – worked on several bug fixes and enhancements to support the pilot

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

The CLAS team responded to 168 Aleph Rx submissions and 33 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in March and April.

March brought the end of the first quarter and an opportunity to review and revise the team’s work plan. We were able to make significant progress on USMAI’s highest priority initiatives and knock out a couple quick wins that will make our work easier the rest of the year. Of course, not everything goes as planned, and we have updated our work plan accordingly.

Data Warehouse Phase-1

Our first full initial load of data has been completed. This was a “draft” load with much refining to take place afterward. Systems librarians are now able to work with a mostly complete set of data in Jaspersoft, and we are working to coordinate a Beta User Group to help us refine and document the Jaspersoft reporting environment. Development of the ETL program to handle daily loads of new/changed data continued.

Web Platform Migration

CLAS kicked off the project to move USMAI to a new online communication and collaboration platform in April. The new platform will utilize the application Confluence. We have a development site set up to start working on site configuration and structure. In parallel, we’re conducting an audit of current content on both and

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration

NCIP integration work continued. All three pilot libraries now have ILL collections and item statuses created in Aleph TEST for working with borrowed ILL items.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Durden earned his official Data Carpentry Instructor Certificate. All instructors must complete an Instructor Training program, which teaches instructional pedagogy as well as the practicalities of teaching a Carpentries workshop. David can now teach Data Carpentry workshops locally on the UMD campus, or travel to other institutions to run workshops. Congratulations, David!

Robin Pike, Rebecca Wack, and Laura Schnitker (SCUA) guest-lectured for Beatriz Haspo’s class LBSC786 Library and Archives Preservation about the preservation of audio and video collections on March 26.

Josh Westgard presented an update on UMD’s Fedora activities at the DC Fedora User Group meeting at the National Library of Medicine on May 7-8th.

Kate Dohe guest lectured for Lindsay Carpenter’s class on April 16, LBSC734 “Seminar in the Academic Library.” She spoke on digital repositories, intersectional feminism, and veggie wraps in the academic library.

Robin and Pam volunteered at Maryland Day in the UMD Libraries tent in front of McKeldin. NDNP promotional materials were handed out to Maryland Day attendees. Also, Pam is serving as the intern for the Society of American Archivist’s Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Subcommittee to the Committee on Education for 2018-2019 and presented part one of her survey analysis results at their April 15 meeting. She helped develop a DAS student survey, which had been distributed earlier this year and will provide additional analysis at their next meeting in May.

One thought on “Stew of the month: March/April 2019

  1. Fran Minakowski May 14, 2019 / 12:15 pm

    The Maryland Public Television team remains delighted to be collaborating with the U of MD Libraries on the year-long exhibit titled “Made Possible By Viewers Like You: Maryland Public Television Turns 50.” Kudos on the snazzy poster that promotes the Sept. 2019-Aug.2020 exhibit!


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