Stew of the Month: August 2014

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.

New Technologies

This past summer, User Services and Systems (USS) initiated a project with the Public Services Division to convert the former Reference desk space in the front of McKeldin Library into a “Laptop Bar” to provide seating and power for students using their personal laptops in the library.  USS acquired power surge protectors in the shape of pyramids to be placed on the tables for student use. PSD acquired bar-style chairs for the area. The Laptop Bar was completed by the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester and has been a major success. Students started using the space immediately. Below are before and after photos:


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In the process of gathering our ARL statistics for FY2014, we can note the following increases in our Digital Collections and DRUM holdings since June 30, 2013 (2013 numbers in brackets):

  • Images/Manuscript records in Digital Collections: 17,376  [13,990]
  • Film Titles in Digital Collections: 2,673 [2232]
  • Audio Titles in Digital Collections: 356 [200]
  • Internet Archive titles: 4,382 [3,906]
  • Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection: 7,936 [4,450]
  • DRUM (e-theses and dissertations): 9,511
  • DRUM (technical reports & other): 5,581
  • DRUM TOTAL: 15,092

Those numbers are the result of hard work from staff throughout DSS, as well as content selectors and creators from throughout the Libraries.


ArchivesSpace is the open source archives information management application for managing and providing web access to archives, manuscripts and digital objects.The UMD Libraries has been running a sandbox version of ArchivesSpace for use by Special Collections and University Archives for many months.  In August, DSS completed a Service Level Agreement for the production version of ArchivesSpace, and Paul Hammer (SSDR) converted the existing sandbox server to a production instance.

Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection

We are proud to announce that all of the Prange Digital Children’s Books (8082 of them) have been loaded into our Fedora Digital Collections repository.  However, as is often the case, the final cleanup takes the longest amount of time.  Paul Hammer (SSDR) and Jennie Levine Knies (DPI) worked together with Amy Wasserstrom  and Kana Jenkins in the Prange Collection to troubleshoot the final 200 books that have load issues. Graduate Assistant Alice Prael (DPI) also assisted in cleaning up duplicates and comparing data lists in order to help identify the problem records.


On August 1, Special Collections and University Archives officially began using a hosted version of Atlas System’s Aeon software. Aeon is automated request and workflow management software specifically designed for special collections, libraries and archives. Jennie Knies and Paul Hammer worked with Special Collections staff to implement request buttons in both ArchivesUM and Digital Collections to pass metadata to Aeon forms to automate the patron request process.

Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with vendors and collection managers to solidify digitization contracts for materials that will be sent to digitization vendors during FY15. The formats represented in the digitization projects include books, serials, pamphlets, photographs, microfilm, open reel audio tape, wire recordings, VHS tape, and 16mm film. The collection areas represented in the projects include Special Collections and University Archives (labor collections, university archives, mass media and culture, rare books, Prange collection materials), Special Collections in Performing Arts, Library Media Services, and Hebrew language materials from the general collection.

Digitization assistants completed projects for the campus community. Audrey digitized Athletics media guide covers that will be used to produce posters, which will be gifts for an upcoming alumni event. Several assistants digitized photos of Terrapin football players, which will be used in the new Terrapins in the Pros interactive exhibit at the Gossett Team House.

Abby digitized Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference programs. Additional MARAC publications will be digitized this year, both in-house and through the Internet Archive, making this regional resource more available to archivists everywhere.

Software Development

Working with the Web Advisory Committee, Shian Chang and Cindy Zhao completed a refresh of the Libraries’ Website interface.  The update includes addition of the new UMD responsive wrapper, as required by a new campus brand integrity program (see, change of the main menus seen on every page to a new “mega menu” dropdown style, enabling users to view more options with integrated explanatory text, and new social media image bar on the bottom of homepage.  This refresh is part of a general plan for constant, iterative improvements to the website and a specific plan to ultimately convert the entire site to a responsive design.

SSDR has been planning on adding Solr client capabilities to Hippo CMS for some time, but discovered recently that Hippo CMS 7.8 comes with a  Solr Integration feature out-of-the-box, supporting both index/search for internal Hippo documents and search for external documents.   Mohamed Abdul Rasheed reviewed the functionality and determined the external search feature capable of handling our needs.  He started work migrating our existing Digital Collections interfaces (Digital Collections, Jim Henson Works, World’s Fair) to the new Solr based search as well as adding new database searches for Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) scores and recordings databases. The databases will continue to be maintained by SCPA staff in FileMaker Pro but exported to CSV, imported into Solr, and exposed through the Libraries’ Website for search and discovery.


USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions Consortium)

Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) implementation: Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team members have been participating in weekly teleconferences with University of Pennsylvania staff who are working on UPenn’s OLE implementation. Both groups are discovering that key implementation documentation necessary for bringing up a test instance is missing. At present, we have OLE software installed on a local server, but it is populated with demo data. We have not yet been able to load our own data for testing. We are hopeful that forthcoming teleconferences will provide the information and guidance we need to proceed.

USMAI Advisory Groups: As interim Chair of the Digital Services Advisory Group, Mark Hemhauser completed a first meeting with the Reporting and Analytics Subgroup and the Metadata Subgroup, where he shared the information from CLD about Advisory Group funds and reporting plans. Mark also shared information on membership terms and the group chairs with the USMAI Executive Director. The CLAS team also compiled a list of current email lists and reflectors supporting USMAI communications and sent it to the Executive Director. Linda Seguin revised the Groups page on the USMAI staff web site, added new group pages, and created and distributed editing logins to each advisory group/subgroup.

SFX support: Linda revised SFX parsers to get both Romanized and vernacular text in Aeon request form for College Park’s Prange collection. Linda revised the Aleph Source Parser to get publication information from the new(ish) MARC 264 field for use in SFX linking. Linda and Ingrid Alie added the HathiTrust local target to Salisbury University’s and the UM Health Sciences and Human Services library’s SFX instances.

Circulation support for USMAI: David Wilt set up new Item Statuses in Aleph for the University of Baltimore and College Park; produced ad hoc reports for Frostburg, Bowie, Towson, University of Baltimore, College Park, Saint Mary’s, and UMBC; and completing a patron load for Eastern Shore. David also worked on setting up the booking function in Aleph for Shady Grove.

Acquisitions/serials support for USMAI: Mark exported data from the USMAI licensing database for College Park’s licensing evaluation project; produced a variety of subscription reports for College Park as part of a database clean-up project; produced a special claims report for Morgan State; and helped staff at the University of Baltimore identify a problem with dirty order data after fiscal rollover and provided training on order closing procedures and order clean-up. Mark also flipped the budget code to make corrections on 75 orders, saving UB staff a lot of manual effort.

Aleph database support for USMAI: Linda and Hans Breitenlohner ran a new extract of College Park holdings for their participation in HathiTrust. Linda sent a sample file of book records to RapidILL for UMBC. Linda also deleted withdrawn/purged items for UMBC, College Park and Health Sciences, and with assistance from Heidi Hanson, loaded bibliographic record sets for UMBC, the Center for Environmental Science, and Health Sciences.

Aleph system support: The CLAS team and DSS staff are monitoring a recent pattern of Aleph slowdowns that have been occurring this month. We are currently restarting the Aleph server manually when slowness is reported.


Peter Eichman joined DSS as a Contingent-I Systems Analyst in SSDR, providing broad software development support for UMD and Consortial applications. Peter is a UMD alumnus (B.A.s in Linguistics and Philosophy), and has also worked for the ARHU Computing Services office and the National Foreign Language Center as a web application developer.   Peter started on August 19 and is currently working on improvements to Aleph Rx, the DSS issue tracking tool for Aleph.

On August 22, Josh Westgard, graduate assistant in DPI, graduated from the iSchool’s MLS program in Curation and Management of Digital Assets.

Ann Levin, the DSS Project Manager, left the UMD Libraries in August.  Ann made a significant impact during her time with DSS, developing documentation procedures and working on several projects, most notable the Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection.

Amrita Kaur joined the DSS staff as the Coordinator. Amrita has worked for the University Libraries for many years, and was most recently in the Architecture Library. Welcome, Amrita!


The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project hosted UMD Libraries’ first public Wikipedia edit-a-thon on August 18. 24 people attended, either in-person or virtually through an Adobe Connect meeting (recording available here We invited speakers from Wikimedia DC, the Library of Congress, as well as our own Doug McElrath, Jennie Knies, and Donald Taylor, to share information about resources to be used during the editing portion of the event. Participants enhanced and added articles related to Maryland newspapers and Wikimedia DC’s Summer of Monuments project and uploaded digitized images from our National Trust Library Historic Postcards Collection to WikiCommons.

Conferences and Workshops

Trevor Muñoz, Karl Nilsen, Ben Wallberg, and Joshua Westgard attended the Code4Lib DC 2014 conference at George Washington University on August 11-12.  Josh Westgard led a session on spreadsheets.  This was a topic he suggested at the start of the unconference planning, so the unconference protocol was for him to moderate the discussion.  The participants in the session talked about strategies and tools for managing data stored in spreadsheets, or data that must pass through a spreadsheet while migrating from one storage location to another.  One highlight of the discussion was the description of csvkit (, a Python module for the cleanup and manipulation of data stored in csv files. A breakout group split off in order to begin learning csvkit later in the conference.

Josh Westgard attended a one-day workshop on “Building Data Apps with Python” offered by District Data Labs (  The workshop covered application set up, best practices for application design and development, and the basics of building a matrix factorization application.

Jennie Knies, Liz Caringola, Robin Pike and Eric Cartier attended the Society of American Archivists annual conference in Washington, DC on August 11-16. Robin currently serves as the chair and Eric serves on the steering committee of the Recorded Sound Roundtable. Robin chaired and presented on the panel session Audiovisual Alacrity: Managing Timely Access to Audiovisual Collections. Eric contributed audiovisual clips from UMD’s collections for the first AV Archives Night, a networking event featuring content from attendees’ repositories, hosted by Audiovisual Preservation Solutions at the Black Cat. Liz Caringola was a panel speaker for the session “Taken for ‘Grant’ed: How Term Positions Affect New Professionals and the Repositories That Employ Them.” Karl Nilsen gave a talk on database curation and preservation as a part of a panel on stewarding complex objects. Download the slides from DRUM: His talk was based on Research Data Services’ efforts to curate and preserve the Extragalactic Distance Database, an online data collection that was created by astronomers at UMD and other institutions.

Liz Caringola attended one of the weeklong Humanities in Learning and Teaching (HILT) workshops offered by MITH “Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage.”  Karl Nilsen completed the HILT digital forensics course.

Stew of the Month: July 2014

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.

New Technologies

In May, Preston Tobery visited the University of Michigan’s 3D lab. The lab is located in the Dudestadt Center on the North Campus. The entire first floor of the Dudestadt Center is dedicated to the 3D lab. Preston spent 5 hours with a host of managers, specialists and technicians that work there. The 3D lab have 9 Cubify Cube 3D printers which they allow students to use self-serve. Once a student passes the requirements, they are giving a key to unlock a box that the printer is in and can use it. The Michigan Immersive Digital Experience Nexus (M.I.D.E.N.) is one of the cooler technologies they have. It’s in a 10 foot room and projects on 3 walls and the floor. Using a headset and controller, one can walk around virtual 3D objects, look underneath the 3D objects, or interact with the 3D objects. Preston was able to walk around a virtual castle, a small town, and interact with a cadaver from the “Visible Human Project”. The 3D lab also has a 3D theatre room that has a projector which can show 3D movies, 3D interactive simulations, 3D video feeds and 3D PowerPoint presentations.

There are many more technologies and equipment that the 3D lab has. After seeing everything in the lab, Preston was able to bring back a few things to use here in our Libraries. One thing he learned was about a chemical solvent that dissolves support material after a 3D objected is printed. When used, this method has produced smoother 3D objects. One other thing he learned was the importance of adjusting the temperature of the extruder and heat bed. By adjusting the temperature of these two parts, there have been fewer print jobs that have failed.

The 3D lab also has other 3D printers, a 3D scanner, an Oculus Rift VR headset, and a motion caption area. If you would like to know more details of his visit and all the equipment in the University of Michigan’s 3D lab, click here

DSS worked with Tim Hackman in Public Services to nearly complete a project to add Library Computer Availability information to the Libraries’ website, mobile website, and large screen monitors in several branches.  The monitor installations are scheduled to take place in August. The Computer Availability applications show where free and available public computers are located in various Library branches.


The National Endowment for the Humanities announced in July that it was awarding the University of Maryland Libraries $290,000 to digitize an additional 100,000 historic Maryland newspapers as part of the National Digital Newspaper Project.  Jennie Knies is the co-principle investigator on the grant and Liz Caringola will continue as project manager for this second phase of the project. The newspapers will complement the urban and immigrant perspective captured in Der Deutsche Correspondent, the German-language newspaper that was the focus of the project’s first phase, funded by the NEH with a grant of $325,000 in 2012. Those papers are now digitized and accessible at the Library of Congress database Chronicling America.

Digitization activities

Robin Pike and Eric Cartier continued set-up work on the Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio (PAADS), configuring and calibrating equipment. They hope to start training students on the setup in September.

Robin worked on vendor-based digitization contracts for more than ten projects, which will start in August.

Software Development

The upgrade of Hippo CMS from 7.7 to 7.8 proceeded but was impacted by the departure of key developer Irina Belyaeva.  Implementation of 7.8 has been deferred until after start of the Fall 2014 semester in order to accomplish the higher priority website refresh scheduled for release in August.

Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed participed in two two-week development sprints helping to build the new Fedora Commons Repository version 4.  This is a major milestone because despite many years of using open source software the Libraries have not significantly contributed back to that community built software.  DSS will begin a process to migrate our Digital Collections to Fedora 4 beginning this coming Fall.


The University of Maryland Libraries have recently signed on with EZID ( and as a result, we are now assigning DOIs (digital object identifiers) to all new records in DRUM.

The Libraries has recently become a charter member of the Library Publishing Group, a new organization developed to support the publishing activities of libraries.  Opportunities to serve on committees and working groups, participate in professional development and training, or attend conferences and networking events are open to all library staff.  Please contact Terry Owen or Jennie Knies if you are interested in participating in this organization.

A webpage has been created for past events of the Future of the Research Library Speaker Series.   Links to video recordings and/or PowerPoint presentations are available (if provided by the presenter).  A fall event is currently in the planning stages.

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions Consortium)

HathiTrust public domain resources in Find It in the Catalog: For College Park, Linda Seguin implemented a modified version of the California Digital Library’s HathiTrust SFX target. Based on the OCLC number in the Aleph record, SFX will search in HathiTrust and present a link in the Find It menu if *public domain* full text is available. This could be implemented for any campus that wants it. Example:

The life and letters of Lewis Carroll (Rev. C.L. Dodgson) Collingwood

Aeon Request Links in the Catalog: For College Park, Linda  Seguin and Hans Breitenlohner implemented request links in the Full View of the record in catalogusmai, which use SFX to populate bibliographic and location data in request forms in Special Collections’ Aeon system. They also assisted in the setup of Shibboleth authentication for Aeon.

Single Sign On for ILLiad via EZproxy: For Salisbury University, Linda Seguin is working with Salisbury’s Shibboleth administrator and OCLC support to implement single sign on for ILLiad via EZproxy. This is the method that OCLC recommends, rather than using Shibboleth directly with ILLiad, although they do not seem to have ironed out the process.

RapidILL: For all campuses, Linda Seguin has placed documentation on the USMAI web site with instructions on how to request an extract of serial holdings from Aleph for RapidILL, and for campuses to do their own extracts from SFX for electronic holdings. Linda also uploaded holdings for the Center for Environmental Science (CE), UM Eastern Shore, Saint Mary’s, and Towson.

Ingrid Alie is helping the Center for Environmental Science (CE) to edit their Link resolver option in their OCLC Service Configuration WorldCat Registry so when their users click the “Find it” button from WorldCat local, SFX will search in CE SFX knowledgebase and show a link in the Find it menu for full text article (if it is available) or ILLiad (if it is not available).

David Wilt has been processing semi-annual Recurring Task Lists (where each campus specifies changes to tables, etc., needed for next 6 months); has created and/or revised Sub-Library, Collection Code, Item Statuses for Salisbury, Towson, and College Park; together with Hans, has worked on notice revisions for UMUC and Morgan State; and ran reports to facilitate weeding, storage, mold remediation for Frostburg, Salisbury, and College Park.

Mark Hemhauser has created a report of open orders by vendor for Maryland Law; created a special serials claim report for Health Sciences; and produced a new subscription report for College Park.

Hans has installed the Kuali OLE program on a local server and the team has been working out the bugs of the install so testing can begin in the next month.


Digitization Assistant Sarah Ostrye accepted the Research Library/Digital Archivist position at the Gemological Library in Carlsbad, CA.

Ryan Donaldson and Massimo Petrozzi will be starting as Student Digitization Assistants, who are both starting at the School of Information Studies this fall.

Software Developer Irina Belyaeva moved on to MetiSpace Technologies, subsidiary of GMV, Spain to take the position of Senior Software Engineer, Satellite Systems.

Conferences and Workshops.

In July Brandon Eldred and Uche Enwesi attended Dell User Forum.  Jennie Knies, Liz Caringola, Eric Cartier, Trevor Muñoz, Karl Nilsen, Robin Pike all attended Digital Preservation 2014 in Washington, DC.  Trevor Muñoz was presented with a National Digital Stewardship Alliance Innovation Award, where he was recognized for his work developing and teaching best practices in data curation in the digital humanities and for his work advocating for digital preservation as a core function of librarianship, archival work, and scholarship.  Karl Nilsen and Robin Dasler were on a plenary panel, Stewarding Space Data, at Digital Preservation 2014. They talked about Research Data Services’ preliminary efforts to curate and preserve the Extragalactic Distance Database, an online resource for determining the distance to galaxies that was constructed by a UMD faculty member in collaboration with colleagues at other institutions. This project is an important pilot project for Research Data Services and will help the Libraries build capacity to curate complex digital data collections and systems.

Karl Nilsen recently attended the annual conference of the International Association for Social Science Information Services & Technology (IASSIST). IASSIST is the foremost professional organization for data librarians in the social sciences. Data librarianship is expanding into new and exciting areas in order to meet the needs of faculty and students in data-intensive, computation-driven research contexts. Based on the presentations and discussions at IASSIST, librarians in the social sciences can expect to receive more and more inquiries about unconventional data sources (web scraping, administrative data, APIs), data wrangling technologies, and data management best practices.

Stew of the Month: June 2014

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.

This month, we are introducing a new format. Rather than listing activities by department, we are grouping them thematically. So much of our work spans multiple departments and it has been difficult in the past to decide where to place each announcement.


Although Digital Systems and Stewardship is often viewed as the “IT” branch of the Libraries, we actively create and steward increasing amounts of content, through submissions in our institutional repository, DRUM, through digitization by DCMR, and other methods.

In June we added 419 theses and dissertations to DRUM from spring 2014 graduates, bringing the total number to 9,509.  Requests for embargoes are still running high with 44% for the spring semester.  Twenty-five percent were for 1-year embargos, 18% for 6-year, and even one permanent embargo (which are rarely granted).  If any subject librarians are interested in the details for any of their departments, contact Terry Owen ( and he will be glad to share the information with you.

Gemstone senior projects for 2014 are now available in DRUM.  Eleven new projects have been added to the collection bringing the total to 73.  Check out some of the research from the honors program:

DCMR staff digitize content in the Hornbake Digitization Center on two tracks: patron-based and project-based. In June, digitization assistants scanned many publications from the American Political Item Collectors Keynoter periodical, which features political collectibles and campaign buttons and paraphernalia, from Special Collections and University Archives; these publications are now available via the Internet Archive. In June, the Digitization Center added approximately 240 records to the UMD Libraries’ Digital Collections. 140 of the items were historic audio recordings from the University of Maryland’s radio station, WMUC.

Lastly, 565 books were added to the Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection. More on that below.

Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection

Phase one of the Prange Project’s mission was to create digital images of the Gordon W. Prange Children’s Books collection for preservation and access. The digitized materials would then be ingested into the UMD Libraries’ Digital Collections for access. The Children’s Book Collection contains 8075 books totaling 493,504 digital images, all digitized by a vendor.

Due to various reason including funding, resources, competing priorities and technology problems, ingest of the Prange Children’s Books have significantly lagged behind the digitization of the same materials. DSS’s project manager, Ann Levin, held discussions with the Prange staff, and identified ingest as their number one priority and first process to review. And so the process review began.

The review revealed the Prange ingest capacity as it stood was approximately 1,000 images per day with a backlog of approximately 162,000 images. To eliminate the backlog would take 162 days or 32-work weeks (~8.5 months) to ingest the remaining Children’s Books.

With the information in hand, the SSDR team of Ben Wallberg and Paul Hammer set out to identify the bottleneck and to figure out the ingest capacity utilizing the existing equipment and solution. They completed modifications to the Prange Children’s Book loader to improve performance by running multiple zoomification processes in parallel.  (“Zoomification” is the process required to create derivative files for viewing over the Internet. It refers specifically to a software tool that we use in our Digital Collections interface called “Zoomify”).  With these modifications, the ingest efficiency improved five-fold. We can now ingest 5,000 images each night and the Prange Children’s Book images ingest into Fedora is now expected to be completed at the end of July 2014 instead of Spring 2015.

What a great accomplishment!

Digitization activities

Robin Pike has continued to meet with many collection managers, developing FY15 digitization projects and discussing the setup and requirements for a few FY16 digitization projects.  Jennie Knies has joined her for many of these meetings in order to explain the ingest process into Digital Collections and to consult with regards to metadata and interface topics.

Digitization assistant Sarah Ostrye scanned photographs and documents for UMD Associate Professor of English and Associate Director of MITH Matthew Kirschenbaum for his upcoming book Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processingpublished by Harvard University Press.

Software Development


Irina Belyaeva, Mohamed Abdul Rasheed, and Ben Wallberg (SSDR) completed the upgrade of DRUM to DSpace 4.1.  The upgrade was quite an undertaking since we made the jump from DSpace 1.7 to 4.1.  The upgrade process included: 1) training two developers new to the DSpace application, 2) refactoring the code base to a GitHub hosted fork of the original DSpace code on GitHub, and 3) a three version upgrade from 1.7, skipping 1.8 and 3, to 4.  Users accustomed to searching DRUM will notice that the default Simple/Advanced Search has been replaced by the Discovery Module – which is basically a multifaceted searching and browsing function.  Even though this technique is new to DSpace, this might feel familiar from other platforms, especially WorldCat.  After searching for a topic in DRUM, relevant titles for your search will display along with options in the right sidebar to refine your results by Author, Subject, and Date Issued.  With the most up-to-date DSpace code in place we are set to begin working on implementing DOIs for DRUM over the summer.  Karl Nilsen and Terry Owen have been working to overhaul the “Help” pages, and the revised pages will be available this summer.

Hippo CMS

SSDR began an upgrade of Hippo CMS from 7.7 to 7.8 with the goals of staying current on this critical application and benefiting from performance/architecture improvements in the new version.

Project Management and Services

Service-Level Agreements (SLAs)

Jennie Knies, Ben Wallberg, Uche Enwesi and Ann Levin have been discussing ways to provide the best level of service to our customers while ensuring expectations are identified and met. These discussions centered on recurring services such as sandboxes and production services. Out of those discussion the idea of service offerings and Service Level Agreements were born.

DSS has created a draft Sandbox Service Offering and Service Level Agreement (SLA) templates.  A “Sandbox” is a term used in information technology to indicate a testing environment that allows for experimentation separate from a production environment. By its nature, a sandbox environment is temporary, and meant to be used as a place for exploration of new software or service. A “Sandbox” is typically used for assessing server based applications. It is an isolated, standalone system and not linked to any other system.  The drafts are in the process of review and will be distributed when the they are finalized. This offering is meant to give library faculty and staff the ability to request a quick and temporary environment to test new software or services. The SLA will define the responsibilities of DSS and the requestor as well as identify and document the requirements and expectations for the Sandbox and those responsible. In June, we drafted three SLAs and are working on several more to include production agreements.

Scripto is an example of a sandbox service implemented in June. Scripto is a free, open source tool enabling community transcriptions of document and multimedia files.  A small project team consisting of Liz Novara, Joanne Archer, Liz Caringola, Jennie Knies, and Trevor Muñoz have been working to identify tools that might aid in developing crowdsourced transcription projects of manuscripts in Special Collections and University Archives. The team identified Scripto as a main contender and wished to experiment with it for a few months prior to making a decision about further use.  User Systems and Support (USS) set up a server space for the project, and SSDR along with input from Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI), installed the Scripto application, which installation and configuration of WordPress, MediaWiki, and Omeka.

Computer Refresh

What better way to spend the summer than with a nice, cool, refreshing computer refresh?

Public Services and Spaces

User and System Support (USS) staff are in the process of updating over 500 public area computers.  The updates includes operating system refreshes and software updates to the latest version.  The software update process includes making sure that all the computers have the latest version of software and the license files for the software are update.  With the update, USS staff created a scripted single image that will be used on all the computer regardless of the model of computers.  The script will detect the kind of computer and apply the right computer driver and name the machine accordingly.  With this script, the refresh is moving faster and it takes less time to image a machine with little to no intervention from USS staff.

Loaner Laptop summer checkup

USS staff are currently working on refreshing the software and operating system of the loaner laptops which includes Macs and Dells.  The summer checkup includes refreshing the software on the laptosp and fixing an problems with the laptops such as cracked screens or broken AC power cords. As with the public computers, USS staff are also working on scripts that will automate the imaging of the laptops for a faster turnaround time.

Maker Space is Coming…

USS staff working with the TLC (Terrapin Learning Commons) group are working on setting up a Maker Space in the TLC.  We will have two 3D printers, one 3D scanner and other interesting things in the room.  Stay tuned for more once the setup of the space is completed.

Visix Digital Signage

Visix Digital Signage is a tool currently used in McKeldin Library and Library Media Services to display messages on large screens in public areas.  USS began an upgrade of Visix Digital Signage from to with the goal of staying current and closing out security holes on the old system.  As USS upgrades, they will also virtualize the operating system, which will save the Libraries money on hardware and will also improve performance.  The old system is running on a physical machine with a Windows XP computer and the new virtualized system will be Windows 2012 R2 Server on a vitalized server.

Visix Digital Signage will soon be coming to EPSL!


With the summer comes the usual changes in student staffing.  While it is sad to see people leave, we are always happy when our student assistants graduate and are able to find exciting employment elsewhere.  Audio digitization assistant Felicia Savage left Digital Collections and Media Reformatting (DCMR) to accept the Education Enrichment Coordinator position at The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in New Mexico.

Conferences and Workshops

In June, Ben Wallberg wins the award for the most exotic conference location: Helsinki, Finland. Ben was attending the 2014 Open Repositories conference. Karl Nilsen also traveled internationally, attending IASSIST 2014 in Toronto, Canada.  Liz Caringola and Jennie Knies both attended the June meeting of the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative at Goucher College. Chamisa Carson, Aderinola Karurwi, Victoria Quartey and Uche attended Labman2014 conference.  Josh Westgard and Jennie Knies did not have to travel further than their own computers to attend a Library Juice Academy workshop on Ontologies and Linked Data.

Stew of the Month: May 2014

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.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting (DCMR)

Henry Borchers accepted the Preservation Project Manager position with the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco, CA. His last day at UMD was June 9.

Sarah Ostrye, a digitization assistant in DCMR, was awarded an honorary mention for the Outstanding Student Libraries Award for her stellar work.

Three digitization assistants in DCMR earned MLS degrees from the UMD College of Information Studies: Sarah Ostrye, Vanathy Senthilkumar, and Abby Yee. Senthilkumar began working as a processing archivist at the National Park Service in May; Ostrye and Yee plan to continue in DCMR through the summer.

Robin Pike and Eric Cartier attended the 48th Association for Recorded Sound Collections conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on May 14-17. The sessions discussed research on collections, individual and institutional collection development, collections maintenance and management, and digitization. Incorporating collections goals into the National Recording Preservation Plan remained a popular topic, continuing a dialog from last year’s conference.

On May 23, Cartier attended the “Katherine Anne Porter in Letters and Life” program in Hornbake Library, which featured talks about the correspondence digitization project. Cartier performed quality assurance on more than 4000 pages of correspondence and metadata records for the project.

Pike began FY15 digitization project meetings with collection managers to discuss the components of the upcoming projects—volume, scope, bibliographic description, preservation issues, copyright and access issues, technical specifications, and a project timeline. Many of these projects were proposed through the Digitization Initiatives Committee’s process and will be outsourced to digitization vendors.

Borchers and Cartier collaborated to set up an audio digitization workstation in the re-branded Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. They also worked together to finalize procedures Borchers began for DVCAM, VHS, and Betacam digitization through a limited pilot project. Pike and Cartier will continue to develop video digitization capacity and establish in-house digitization production in the coming months.

Cartier, Ostrye, Special Collections and University Archives, and Metadata Services collaborated to digitize and make available via UMD Digital Collections the entirety of the UMD Libraries incunabula collection, which a graduate field study student was researching. The student’s first post of several will be featured on the Special Collections blog.

Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI)

In May the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project submitted the final batch of newspapers to be digitized during the 2012-2014 National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant award. In total, the project was able to digitize 107,341 pages of Maryland newspapers, exceeding the requirement of 100,000 pages.

Audrey Lengel  and Donna King have recently completed training on the Michigan Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) as part of the CRMS-World project.  They join the ranks of individuals from 18 other institutions who are busily making copyright determinations  for books in HathiTrust published outside the United States, specifically in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.  To date, more than 230,700 records have been reviewed for the project (more than 7,900 have been reviewed by UMD) with approximately 71% of these placed in the public domain.

With the fiscal year drawing to a close, funds for the UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund ( have been exhausted and we are no longer accepting applications.  The fund was launched in September 2013 with an initial balance of $10,000 and an additional $7,500 was added over the course of the year.  Thirteen  applications were approved for an average of $1,350 per article.  A majority of the applications were submitted by faculty and graduate students from the College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences but applications were also received from ag and natural sciences, education, and sociology.  For fiscal year 2015, we will be evaluating how best to proceed and an announcement will be made once a decision has been reached.

Karl Nilsen and Robin Dasler gave a presentation on NSF data management plans to faculty and graduate students. The presentation was designed to help researchers understand the requirements, design their plan, and deal with special situations. The response from attendees was positive and their questions and comments highlighted some of the data management issues faced by researchers.

Karl Nilsen completed a MOOC on the R programming language called “Getting and Cleaning Data². The course introduced various techniques for acquiring and reading diverse types of data and carrying out common data wrangling tasks. The course is part of the Data Science Specialization offered by Johns Hopkins University via Coursera.

On Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31, Jennie Knies attended a meeting of the BitCurator Professional Experts Panel. The BitCurator project is a joint effort led by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (SILS) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) to develop a system for collecting professionals that incorporates the functionality of many digital forensics tools. The UMD Libraries are currently exploring the use of BitCurator to aid in the curation of born-digital content in Special Collections and University Archives. At the meeting, representatives from approximately fifteen institutions discussed how they use BitCurator, and the research team discussed new features, and future directions of the Mellon-funded project.

In May, Jennie Knies and Josh Westgard worked together with Ben Wallberg, Irina Belyaeva and Paul Hammer (SSDR), Robin Pike (DCMR) and Joanne Archer, Beth Alvarez and Liz DePriest (Special Collections) to finalize a batch ingest of over 2000 pieces of correspondence from American author Katherine Anne Porter into Digital Collections. This ingest is one part of a process that involved creating a new content type in our Fedora-based digital repository for correspondence and integrating support for both OCR (optical character recognition) text and hOCR (OCR with page location information) XML.  This project also prompted investigation and development of a new type of loading process for digital content. The correspondence is not yet publicly available, however, the ingest is complete and the content and metadata are safely in the repository!

Jennie Knies and Ben Wallberg worked together to participate in a test phase of the Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust), of which the UMD Libraries is a member.  Jennie compiled several “bags” of data from Digital Collections and DRUM. A “bag,” which is created according to a specification called “BagIt,” is essentially a collection of files and metadata, compiled in a standardized way. It enables uniform transfer of digital content from one system to another.  In this test, Jennie and Ben created several bags and then submitted them to the APTrust to ensure that the APTrust’s submission mechanisms were operating correctly.

On May 20, Liz Caringola, Jennie Knies, and Josh Westgard presented to the UMD Libraries’ internal “Emerging Technologies Discussion Group (ETDG) on XML and its use in libraries. In the presentation, they discussed some of the important types of data that are frequently serialized into XML (particularly metadata schemas such as EAD, METS, or MODS, and TEI for marking up text). In addition, they introduced some useful software tools for working with XML documents, and briefly discussed the role of namespaces, and the difference between well-formedness and validity.  Finally, they ended the presentation with a discussion of two use-cases: Liz Caringola described the role of XML in the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, and Josh Westgard walked through an example of how XML can be generated programmatically using Python’s lxml module.

DPI’s very own Josh Westgard was awarded the “Outstanding Graduate Assistant of the Year,” award at the UMD Libraries  in appreciation for his outstanding service as a graduate assistant to Digital Systems and Stewardship. As noted in the citation, his work has demonstrated our need for a suite of services and skills not previously found in our staff. Through his innovation, enthusiasm, and expertise, we have identified new ways that Digital Programs and Initiatives should serve the UMD Libraries and improve access to our collections. Congratulations, Josh!

Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR)

Completed Projects

  • Ingest of Katherine Anne Porter correspondence objects into Digital Collections

Ongoing Projects

  • Special Collections and University Archives Hippo based Exhibit feature
  • DRUM upgrade to DSpace 4.1.
  • Prange Collection performance improvements for Zoomify creation on ingest into Digital Collections
  • New Workstation Availability feature on the website
  • WuFoo to SysAid integration middleware

New Projects Underway

  • Website upgrade to Hippo CMS 7.8

Stew of the Month: April 2014

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.

General Announcements

Karl Nilsen put together the forum “Doing Digital: Skills, Knowledge, and Roles in Libraries and Archives” to discuss roles of digital technology and skills librarians and archivists use at work for the School of Information students at UMD. Robin Pike participated as a panelist on the forum.

Robin Pike presented “Managing and Maneuvering Mass Digitization” at the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference (MARAC) spring meeting in Rochester, NY (April 24-26, 2014). She discussed the management of in-house and outsourced digitization projects, and the workflows her department has created to improve efficiency for specific processes.

Department Updates

Consortial Library Application Services (CLAS)

On April 25th, the CLAS team received a report that that USMAI web site was down, and found both the public and staff side USMAI sites were down. When the sites were brought back up, it was discovered that the public-facing site,, had suffered a spam attack, and had to be taken back down for a short while for repairs. Kudos to Ben Wallberg and the Software Systems Development and Research staff for analyzing the situation and quickly restoring the site.

Hans Breitenlohner and Linda Seguin have implemented Aeon request links in the Aleph TEST catalog for College Park special collections locations. Aeon is automated request and workflow management software specifically designed for special collections libraries and archives, providing improved patron service as well as item tracking, statistics, and security features.

Linda has also extracted College Park’s bound serials bibliographic and item records and sent them to CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation) for analysis.

Coppin State and UMUC alerted the CLAS team to the fact that 53 titles had been dropped from the netLibrary/EBSCO Ebooks free collection that we had originally acquired under netLibrary. Linda and Ingrid Alie deleted the records from the catalog and deactivated the titles in all 16 SFX instances.

In April the CLAS team spent some time on analyzing and creating a Kuali OLE test project plan. Each team member has created some initial testing criteria related to specific functional areas (circulation/resource sharing; acquisitions and serials; electronic resource management; cataloging/metadata management; system user management). OLE version 1.5 had been scheduled for release at the end of March, but the schedule has been revised and the release is now targeted for July. For now, the team will work on becoming familiar with available OLE documentation, terminology, and configuration. We will also begin testing to the extent possible using sample data, and/or manually created test data.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting (DCMR)

On April 11, Special Collections and University Archives hosted the Saving College Radio Symposium, which complemented the ongoing WMUC exhibit in the Hornbake gallery. The event balanced the importance of college radio culture and the value of such collections in academic libraries and archives. Eric Cartier presented “Preserving the WMUC Audio Collection,” and Cartier, Henry Borchers, and student audio digitization assistant Emily Rainey provided tours of the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Borchers, Cartier, and Pike all attended the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference (MARAC) spring meeting in Rochester, NY from April 24-26. The keynote session by Kathleen Roe focused primarily on one theme of the conference—advocacy in the profession. Cartier found the three sessions on audiovisual materials to be the most valuable, to learn what other individuals and institutions are doing to sustain our sound and moving image cultural heritage.

DCMR collaborated with Jen Eidson of Special Collections and Stephen Henry from MSPAL to digitize five posters (two in-house and three through a local vendor) so the scans could be enlarged and displayed at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library’s exhibit as part of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s presentation of Mexican Revolution, a multimedia performance. An online exhibit is also available.

DCMR also collaborated with Interlibrary Loan staff in Access Services and Special Collections staff to create a new workflow to digitize public domain and university publications from Hornbake Library, requested through ILL. While the process will take slightly longer than regular ILL for patrons, this new workflow will ensure that the publications are uploaded to the Internet Archive, making them accessible to future patrons.

Cartier was appointed as the co-chair of Emerging Technologies Discussion Group (ETDG) for one year. He will coordinate future sessions with Neil Frau-Cortes, highlighting the technological interests of Libraries’ staff and faculty. Cartier also coordinated the second annual Edible Book Festival on April Fool’s Day with Eric Bartheld and Aaron Ginoza, which boasted nearly 20 entries.

Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI)

Jennie Knies, Ben Wallberg, and Ann Levin have been meeting to discuss development of a questionnaire that will enable us to quickly generate Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) with UMD Libraries staff interested in testing or piloting various software products in a timely and systematic way. SLAs define and set expectations related to things like server space, backups, application support, and upgrades.

In April, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project hired a Wikipedian-in-Residence for the summer months. Donald Taylor is currently a Master’s student of Economic History at UMD and has been an active contributor to Wikipedia since August of 2008. Donald’s first day is Monday, May 5. Welcome, Donald!

There are now nearly 54,000 pages of Maryland newspapers available on Chronicling America.  All are from the German-language newspaper Der Deutsche Correspondent and range in date from 1858 thru 1900. English titles coming soon!

Several presentations from the 2013 fall meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Philadelphia have recently been deposited in DRUM (  MARAC was founded in 1972 to address archival issues of concern to archivists and manuscript curators in the mid-Atlantic states New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  Presentations from past conferences are also available in DRUM (

Terry Owen was re-elected as a member of the University Senate Executive Committee ( for 2014-2015.

Jennie Knies has been working with Joanne Archer and Cassie Schmitt in Special Collections to develop policies and procedures for born-digital content workflows.  The trio gave a presentation to the Special Collections Collaborative in mid-April with an overview of our status, and a discussion of the UMD Libraries’ current and near-future capabilities.

Josh Westgard participated in the open government wikihack at the Sunlight Foundation, sponsored by Wikimedia DC ( on April 5-6.  Back in the office, he worked on various file management tasks, and in that context developed a general purpose file-system-traversal script that can be used to facilitate inventorying, analyzing, and manipulating large collections of files.  He continues to participate in the Libraries’ Coding Workshop, which provides a platform for interested staff from throughout the libraries to learn programming and support each other in working on small coding projects.  The group previously worked through the Python course offered by Codecademy, and is now using a Python training course through

Alice Prael has been investigating the functionality of Microsoft’s Sharepoint software by using it to collage and gather material to assist with the implementation of the Digital Preservation Policy. She also is assisting in a project to reconvert a portion of JPEG images created for the Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection to match current requirements and specifications.

Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR)

Shian Chang attended the Kuali Community Workshop to get the latest information on the development of Kuali OLE.  OLE 1.5 is scheduled for release in July;  SSDR and CLAS are putting together plans to test the 1.5 release once it is available.

Cindy Zhao and Shian Chang worked with Heather Foss in the Development Office to put the finishing touches on the new Legacy Bookplate website feature to highlight contributions to the Libraries.  They also continued planning with Laura Cleary for the Special Collections and University Archives Hippo based Exhibit feature and together selected the Bootstrap based Unify theme for the basis of the Exhibit theme.

Work has continued on the upgrade of DRUM to DSpace 4.1. Irina Belyaeva completed the initial review of the code base and migration to new GitHub hosted DRUM repository forked from the base DSpace repository.  Mohamed Abdul Rasheed joined Irina Belyaeva on the upgrade and they have moved on to configuring and testing the new version, with an eye toward releasing for testing in May.

In the area of Digital Collections, Paul Hammer led an effort to analyze our current loader program for Prange Collection objects.  Analysis began with monitoring the server performance under various loads to determine where the bottlenecks were for creation of Zoomify access derivatives for images.  It was determined that the load process performance could be improved by running multiple zoomification processes in parallel.  Paul began work on modifications to the loader program.  Paul also worked with the team to iteratively test and modify the loader program for Katherine Anne Porter correspondence objects as feedback from DPI arrived.  Mohamed, Paul, and Irina worked together to iron out the wrinkles on changes to the Admin Tools application for use with our new Solr search and discovery tool.

DSS uses WuFoo for its hosted webform solution and SysAid for our Helpdesk ticket tracking system.  Using the APIs available with each system, Joshua Robusto created a prototype for a middleware software component, which will allow us to map WuFoo form submissions into SysAid tickets.

User Systems and Support

The Maryland Day Experience:

April 26th, 2014, better known to Terps as Maryland day, was a wonderful experience for Maryland Students, Staff and guests alike. DSS and Public Services had the opportunity to showcase the 3D Printer and the Google Glass in the presidential suite.
Students and guests were very excited and engaged by the opportunity to see and test out some of the newest technologies offered.

The 3D Printer demo was done by Preston Tobery and Victoria Quartey, who gave a number of  very informative demonstrations on the 3D Printer, allowing patrons to see and have a basic understanding of how the printer turns plastic filaments into the desired printed object. Guests received 3D printed mini testudo as Memorabilia that was printed from the 3D printer.

The Google Glass demonstrations were done by: Neha Rao, Sandra Ayensu, and Stephanie Karunwi. The Google glass was a favorite with Maryland day guests! Everyone from Alumni, to current students, President Loh and Provost Mary Ann Rankins got a chance to test out the functionalities of google’s newest wearable computer, and more importantly, take a selfie with it on.
Maryland day was a great opportunity for the Libraries to show the University of Maryland community the technological advancements that continue to be made.


President Loh trying out Google Glass


Preston setting up the 3D printing lab for demo



Prospective UM student testing Google Glass


DSS staff with President Loh


Preston presenting a 3D printing of Testudo



Stew of the Month: March 2014

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 will provide news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

General Announcements

We have been working diligently on security updates and complying with our campus security policies. We are  currently facing some AV equipment issues in our Special Events Room. We apologize for the problems this has caused and plan to address this and treat it as a high priority.

Department Updates

Consortial Library Application Services (CLAS)

In support of UMBC’s plans to participate in Rapid ILL, David Wilt did an extract of UMBC’s serials and microfilm holdings information from Aleph, and uploaded the file to the site.

David also completed work on implementing the materials booking function in Aleph for Towson. He is now working on configuring and implementing the booking function for Shady Grove, where it is wanted for booking equipment.

Hans Breitenlohner is working with Salisbury on implementing Single Sign-on (SSO).

Linda Seguin got Ex Libris to fix a problem with the way SFX sends title searches to the Aleph catalog, a glitch in formatting that added plus signs (+) to the search string, causing the searches to fail. She has tested the fix and confirms that the problem is corrected.

Linda also made changes and re-indexed 30,000 records in the Aleph Test OPAC in support of a USMAI Cataloging Policy Committee (CPC) proposal to display and index uncontrolled subject headings to compensate for the lack of LC subject headings in Ebook Library (EBL) records.

Heidi Hanson and Ingrid Alie will be attending the ELUNA 2014 Annual Meeting in Montréal, Canada, April 29 – May 2.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting (DCMR)

On March 31, Robin Pike attended the Society of American Archivists Accessioning and Ingest of Electronic Records one-day workshop, hosted by UMD Libraries. It focused on aspects of accessioning and ingesting born digital records into an archive, what submission agreements and donor agreements may look like when dealing with born digital records or collections of paper and born digital records, and tools that may be beneficial during the process of ingesting digital records for transferring files or creating a disk image, validating files and files formats, scanning for personally identifiable information, and file conversion or normalization.

The majority of Robin’s time in March was dedicated to FY15 project planning. As the chair of the Digitization Initiatives Committee, she collaborated with Joanne Archer, Heather Foss, Eileen Harrington, and Carla Montori to analyze project proposals and compile a draft budget for outsourced digitization projects across UMD Libraries. Resources Group will be discussing the proposed budget in April. Robin reviewed notes from December through February digitization stakeholder meetings and began to compile a list of potential in-house projects. She will be working with collection managers to solidify this list of FY15 in-house projects and clarify all the projects over the coming months.

Henry Borchers completed video digitization setups for VHS and Betacam and has made considerable progress with creating procedures and workflows. He has now tested digitization for DVCAM/MiniDV, VHS, and Betacam formats. Henry has focused on creating streamlined equipment configurations that increase automation and decrease manual configuration when switching between different format equipment. DCMR will test this setup on pilot projects in the coming months.

On March 27-29, Eric Cartier attended the Sound+ conference hosted by the UMD English Department. The event featured scholars who discussed the “relationship between sound and text,” emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of sound studies. Eric found the session “Sounding the Humanities, Sounding the Sciences” which featured discussion on auditory scene analysis and research results on how brains parse foreground and background sounds, particularly interesting.

Eric worked with John Schalow and Joe Carrano to develop a more streamlined process to review digital object metadata to expedite the approval of digital images created in-house. DCMR’s long-term goal is to dramatically decrease the amount of time to perform quality assurance on the file and metadata between an object’s digitization and when it becomes public.

Students in the Hornbake Digitization Center worked on digitizing numerous requests and small projects including digitizing audio cassettes and 1/4″ open reel tapes from the Katherine Anne Porter papers, expanding upon the effort to digitize large portions of the correspondence in the collection. Publicly-available digitized materials are linked from the finding aid and can also be found by searching Students also digitized photographs and book illustrations for the upcoming Special Collections Bladensburg exhibit, which will open in the fall.

Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI)

Jennie Knies attended the Library Publishing Coalition Forum in Kansas City, MO, from March 5-6.  The UMD Libraries are members of the Library Publishing Coalition, whose mission is “to foster collaboration, share knowledge and develop common practices, all in service of publishing and distributing academic and scholarly works.” This useful and interesting meeting featured plenary speakers, panel discussions and work groups devoted to articulating the role of academic libraries in the area of digital publishing. Slides are also available for select presentations. A discussion session on “Beyond the Article” was particularly interesting. It highlighted that we are not alone in grappling with the blurred lines between digital projects, data, born-digital records, especially with regards to humanities data.  Digital Programs and Initiatives is in the process of drafting a plan for digital publishing at the UMD Libraries and the information obtained at this forum greatly informs our work in that area.

On March 7, Liz Caringola attended the Digital Maryland Conference 2014, held by the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage (MDCH), the Maryland State Library Resource Center (SLRC), and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Liz presented on the progress of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project thus far and its plans for the future. Other presentations focused on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Artstor, CONTENTdm, and a sampling of the many digital projects that local institutions are currently working on. See the conference website for the agenda and list of speakers.

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project has extended the deadline to apply for the Wikipedian-in-Residence position until April 18, 2014. For more information, see a previous Digistew blog post or the job posting.

Marlin Olivier joined Research Data Services as our Data Curation Assistant. Marlin is in the digital curation specialization at the iSchool and has a bachelor’s degree in biology and religion. In addition to working with Research Data Services, Marlin works for a non-profit that manages digital performance royalties.

We are working with the Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy – CANRP ( to include their publications in DRUM.  Located in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland, CANRP provides research, education and outreach on public policies facing Maryland, the US, and the world.  A wide variety of the center’s publications will be deposited in DRUM including extension bulletins, fact sheets, monographs, policy reports, and research briefs.  Check out some of their research at

The UMD Libraries is now a member of the MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute), a publisher of more than 100 scientific peer-reviewed, open access journals.  As a member, UMD authors receive a 10% discount on article processing fees for submissions to any MDPI journal.

Response to the UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund has been so good that funds have already been exhausted for this fiscal year.  Thanks to Dean Steele and the Library Resources Group, an additional $5,000 has been added to the fund which will hopefully sustain the service until the end of June.

Josh Westgard worked a lot on archiving files for permanent preservation in March.  Besides backing up the usual monthly output of the digitization center, he helped to inventory and archive a large number of .warc files from the Libraries’ web crawling program, as well as several thousand images from a special digitization project on the correspondence of Katherine Anne Porter.  In the context of the Prange Collection digitization project, he helped to inventory and consolidate records relating to files that were first created and archived nearly a decade ago.  In addition, he helped to prepare and validate the metadata for the Katherine Anne Porter project for ingest into the Libraries’ Fedora-based digital collections repository, and drew up procedures for applying access controls to audio and video assets in Libraries’ digital collections.

Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR)

Irina Belyaeva began work on the DRUM upgrade to DSpace 4, which will be a rather large three version jump since we last upgraded in July 2011.  This upgrade serves not only to stay current with the latest DSpace bug fixes, security updates, and new features but also paves the way to begin adding new DRUM based services for Research Data.

Shian Chang and Cindy Zhao have been working with Laura Cleary in Special Collections and University Archives to begin adding a new Exhibits feature to Hippo.  This project will use a new Hippo 7.7 feature called Blueprints to allow SSDR staff to routinely create new Exhibits for Special Collections without any custom programming.  The Exhibit website template will feature Responsive Web Design for display on desktops, tablets, and phones using the Bootstrap web toolkit.

Development and support for Drupal based sites has been on the rise recently in SSDR, so Paul Hammer used the Lynda video instruction site to get initial training and then configured a new sandbox environment for SSDR and CLAS use.  Paul is now set to join Cindy Zhao and Shian Chang as the development support team for Libi, the USMAI public website, and the USMAI staff website.

Ben Wallberg, Jennie Knies, and Joshua Westgard attended the March 10 meeting of the Washington D.C Fedora User Group.  We received general updates on the Fedora community and DuraSpace and on development of Fedora 4.  Area Fedora users reported on their current activities, with Ben providing the UMD Libraries’ update.  Upon disclosure that we are running the ancient Fedora 2.2.2 version there was discussion of possible upgrade paths.  There was some dissent, but the general consensus was that we should avoid a two step upgrade (2 to 3 followed by 3 to 4) and jump straight to Fedora 4 given that we could defer implementation until after Fall 2014.  We also discussed how we might begin Fedora 4 training for SSDR staff through the process of Fedora 4 beta testing.

Sneaking in on the last day of the month, Mohamed Abdul Rasheed rejoined SSDR as our newest Software Developer.  See a previous post for a Research Study he worked on the last time around.  Welcome back Mohamed!

User Systems and Support

The team has been busy updating our security software and procedures in compliance with the campus policies and procedures. The team also has planned in the past month, technology procurement and budget for FY15.

Stew of the Month: February 2014

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.

General Announcements

DSS is very pleased to announce that Ann Levin has joined the Division as a project manager. Ann has already started to work with the Prange Project and has taken on a number of new responsibilities. In addition to managing projects, Ann will devise policies, procedures and best practices for managing DSS projects, in collaboration with other divisions. We are hoping that these policies and procedures will evolve to a form that will be suitable and acceptable for adoption by all Library divisions, so we can all operate under the same guidelines to coordinate our efforts for delivering better products and services.

We are sorry to see that Jill Fosse has decided to retire from the Libraries. Her invaluable service is appreciated across the Libraries and the campus. In addition to her many daily responsibilities, Jill was very active in various committees in the Libraries and on campus. Her retirement party will be on Tuesday, March 25. We hope you all will stop by to wish her well.

Jie Chen too decided to leave her post as Director of Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS). During her short tenure at UMD Libraries, Jie put in place several procedures for better managing our ILS resources and for better communication with the Council of Library Directors (CLD) of USMAI.

In response to the security breach at the UMD campus, DSS started immediately working with our Campus Division of Information Technology (DivIT), to make sure our security software is up to date and to perform internal audits to safeguard access to our data and to our infrastructure. We will continue to work with DivIT to ensure compatibility and compliance with general campus  security directives.


The article co-written by Jennie Knies and Robin Pike, Catching Up: Creating a Digital Preservation Policy After the Fact has been accepted to the journal Archival Practice for publication in 2014.

Karl Nilsen reviewed Research Data Management: Practical Strategies for Information Professionals (Purdue UP) for The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication.

Department Updates

Consortial Library Application Services (CLAS)

The team completed implementation of Paging for Towson University and it is now live. We are in the process of setting up Single Sign On for Salisbury University.   We worked with SSDR on implementing the new database finder tool for College Park by extracting subscription database information from Metalib via the x-server.  This new tool allows users to view database options without having to log into Research Port.  Additionally we did the semi-annual extract and upload of USMAI’s serial holdings data for OCLC Local Holdings Record (LHR) batch processing.  About 61,000 LHRs were generated.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting (DCMR)

In fall 2013, the Hornbake Digitization Center started a concentrated effort to digitize fragile, early university publications from the University Archives. Regulations of the Maryland Agricultural College from 1901 was digitized as part of this effort, as well as for an exhibit. This document and many others in Digital Collections are currently being used for a class taught by university archivists Anne Turkos and Jason Speck–“MAC to Millennium: History of the University of Maryland,” a history course about the University of Maryland, which uses primary sources in the classroom.

Throughout February, DCMR worked with DPI, Special Collections, and Metadata Services to modify an Internet Archive in-house batch upload script and solidify metadata creation and digitization workflows for university publications and other special collections materials. While DPI had previously uploaded these publications one-by-one, DCMR will now be able to make more publications accessible via the Internet Archive more efficiently. Future uploads to the Internet Archive will include: university publications, French pamphlets, and early issues from the Carpenter Magazine.

DCMR also concluded the digitization phase of several vendor-based projects during February including digitizing over 300 wire recordings from the Arthur Godfrey Collection, over 4,300 pages of correspondence from the Katherine Anne Porter papers, and 43 open reel recordings from the Paul Traver papers. In the coming months, staff will collaborate with collection managers and DPI to prepare the metadata for batch-ingest into Digital Collections.

Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI)

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project is currently planning a summer project to examine the extent to which Chronicling America, the Library of Congress database that is home to all newspapers digitized by our project and others from around the country, is represented in Wikipedia. To this end, we are advertising a position for a temporary, part-time Wikipedian-in-Residence. The Wikipedian will also propose scenarios and/or tools for increasing the representation of Chronicling America in Wikipedia. For more information, see this DigiStew post ( or the job posting ( The posting closes on April 4, 2014.

Karl Nilsen gave a presentation about NSF data management plans and related topics to grant administrators and contract managers at the Office of Research Administration. Strengthening our ties with research administrators is an important part of building campus-scale networks to support research data management and curation.

More than 200 theses and dissertations from the fall 2013 semester have been deposited in DRUM bringing the total number to 9,091.  Requests for embargoes have increased over the past year.  For the fall semester, 110 students requested that access be restricted to their research for either a 1-year or 6-years, with a majority requesting a 1-year embargo.  Are more and more students publishing their research, which we do see evidence of, or is it a knee-jerk reaction to making their research widely available?

Thanks to Nedelina Tchangalova, 22 undergraduate students deposited their research in DRUM as part of the Library Award for Undergraduate Research; the highest number of applicants since the awards inception in 2011.  Congratulations to Nedelina and other members of the award committee on their success.

Josh Westgard spent much of February focused on data-loading and data-migration for various projects: First, the development phase of the Libraries’ 2014 Serials Review tool was brought to a close with the launch of a customized version of a database system originally developed at NC State ( Josh customized the look and feel of the tool for UMD Libraries, modified some of its functions to work with the campus LDAP authentication set up by SSDR, added a subject filter on the splash page to prevent the loading of the entire dataset upon launch and thereby improve the tool’s performance, and finally loaded all the data into the mySQL database on the backend.  Josh also researched and tested a script for the batch loading of items to the Internet Archive, and worked with staff from technical services, special collections, and DCMR to develop a workflow for the tool and to train them on its use. Finally, Josh assisted the team of the Katherine Anne Porter Correspondence project with metadata validation and troubleshooting of more than 6000 lines of metadata, and image inventorying and archiving of some 4300 images.

Alice Prael, a student in the iSchool’s Digital Curation program, began work in DPI as a student assistant in February. She will be assisting with gathering of documentation related to the implementation of the Libraries’ Digital Preservation Policy, and other related duties as assigned.

Fun statistics! According to Google Analytics, Digital Collections had 6,482 visitors in February, 76% of whom were first-time visitors.  These visitors viewed 20,658 pages.  Close to 1,200 of these visitors were on campus, and the remaining came to us from around the world. The single most popular item in February was the film, Mujeres de América latina, and thanks to Google Analytics, we are willing to bet that there was a class assignment involving this film the week of February 17. Coach Jerry Claiborne with four players, University of Maryland football, 1981 was the most popular image for February – specifically on February 5. The most popular manuscript award goes to the John Jacob Omenhausser, Civil War sketchbook, Point Lookout, Maryland, 1864-1865, a beautifully-illustrated document by a Confederate prisoner during his time in the Union prison camp at Point Lookout, Maryland.

DRUM had a total of 18,444 visitors in February, and those adventurous souls viewed over 44,000 pages. DRUM’s most popular document? The dissertation Influence of Subject Matter Discipline and Science Content Knowledge on National Board Certified Science Teachers’ Conceptions, Enactment, and Goals for Inquiry, with close to 1200 views!

Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR)

Shian Chang (lead) and Cindy Zhao continued to enhance the Libraries’ Website.  They added minor fixes and enhancements to the recently released Database Finder and  Subject Specialist pages.  They also completed implementation of a new website banner alert system.  Hippo managed content can be used to schedule critical messages which appear in the banner of every page on the Libraries’ Website and Libraries’ Website (Mobile). They also completed initial coding of a new Legacy Bookplate feature to highlight contributions to the Libraries, which has now moved into a testing and refinement phase.

Irina Belyaeva (lead) and Paul Hammer completed development of a new loader program for select OCRd correspondence from the  Katherine Anne Porter collection.  This loader also serves to prototype a potential new generic program for batch loading digital objects in the Digital Collections Fedora repository.

DSS has been trialling a new software service to the University of Maryland community.  We provide software development support to researchers who have an idea for an application or perhaps some code they would like to distribute.  The support can take the form of coding or simply guidance on software development practices. Irina Belyaeva worked with the Bill Fagan Lab in the Department of Biology to turn their existing code into an R package prototype for analysis of population-level animal movement patterns.  The prototype will be used to apply for grant funding to complete development of the package for release to the ecology community.

User Systems and Support (USS)

Stephanie Karunwi and Neha Rao participated in Love our Gadgets Event on March 13, 2014 at the McKeldin Terrapin Learning Commons (TLC).  Both Stephanie and Neha both had the opportunity to demonstrate and inform several students on the many functions and abilities of the google glass.

Preston Tobery during the “Love our Gadgets” event last week had the opportunity to demonstrate the functions of the Makerbot 3D printer. He had a bunch of completed prints available for students to get a closer look at while watching a live print on the 3D printer. Even though the Libraries have had the printer for almost a year, it is still great to see the amount of interest and awe that this technology provides. During the demo, Preston reported that several students had talked about printing tools or replacement pieces for broken items around the house, and others were miniature models to put on the shelf as a conversation piece. It was really a great experience for everyone.

USS is currently prototyping a new system for students that would allow simple and easy recording of presentations.  The new system called a One Button Studio would allow the students to more easily record themselves giving a presentation by just pressing a single button.  The current system is a manually process the students follow to setup, record and save their presentations.  The new system would allow students to simply plug in their thumb drive, hit a button to start the recording, hit the same button to stop the recording, and then take their thumb drive with their presentation already saved to it.  We hope to have the system in place before the end of the semester.