Stew of the month: January 2019

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

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

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

Other Digitization Projects

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

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

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

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

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

Hornbake Digitization Center

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Year of Data Science Update

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

Software Development


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

Archival Collections

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

Under Development

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

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

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

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

Data Warehouse

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

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration

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

Katia Fowler: USMAI’s New Administrative Assistant

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


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

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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

David Dahl attended the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

Heidi Hanson attended the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

Stew of the month: November/December 2018

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Rebecca Wack has continued to make batch fixes in preparation to submit them to the Library of Congress, as well as prepare microfilm. She has continued to maintain a social media presence on Twitter with the assistance of student assistants Sydney Schneider and Jane Sonneman.

Robin met with Sydney and Jane to review copyright clearance procedures; they completed this work in early January.

In November and December, Robin worked closely with the Advisory Board to solidify the titles that will be digitized in Phase 4, which will be featured in a future longer post.

Robin has also been working with Tonita Brooks to solidify the vendor contracts. Microfilm duplication is anticipated to begin in January.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike has worked with Joanne Archer and Liz Caringola as project managers as well as various curators to ship the following projects to digitization vendors in November and December: Mass Media and Culture Serials, Spanish Plays, University Publications, AFL-CIO RTI forms, student newspapers, Westinghouse audio reels, Maryland Public Television videos, Library Media Services films on various topics, experiencing degradation, and one film from the Prange collection. These projects are being funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process.

Robin has also met with Amy Wasserstrom (Prange) to create the technical requirements and sole source document for the continuation of the Prange Book Project digitization contract.

Robin underwent Kuali training to learn about the university grant management and proposal submission systems. She is now certified to submit projects.

Robin met with Vin Novara and Mary Dulaney regarding a proposal to the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant application, as well as meeting with Stephanie Ritchie and Joanne Archer regarding a proposal for a Ceres grant through CRL to digitize Maryland government publications on microfilm.

The Hornbake Digitization Center is wrapping up work on Series 1 of the Claude-Gray-Hughes-Tuck-Whittington Family Papers. Series 1, 3.5 linear feet of correspondence, is comprised primarily of letters between family members throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Claude, Gray, Hughes, Tuck and Whittington family papers date from 1793 to 1938 and represent a mixture of correspondence, from family, friends, and business associates; deeds; ledgers; literary writings; school notebooks; and receipts. The bulk of the material dates from 1820-1900. The material reflects daily life in Annapolis and the Naval Academy, conflicts with the Spanish in the Louisiana Territory, local and national politics, the Civil War and the embargo. It also reveals information on religion, family relationships, nineteenth century medical practices, and attitudes towards blacks and slavery.

The digitized work can be found in Digital Collections.

Rebecca has also met with collection areas to begin gathering in-house digitization projects for calendar year 2019. She is also beefing up project and task management procedures using the tool ClickUp in anticipation of new projects in 2019.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

The Katherine Anne Porter Digital Collection

After a multi-year collaborative effort between Special Collections and University Archives, Discovery and Metadata Services, and Digital Systems and Stewardship, the Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977 is now available online. Containing almost 4,000 letters from the extensive and well-described holdings related to Porter in literary manuscripts in SCUA, this collection is an online public resource that provides access to high-resolution digital images of original materials. It also demonstrates increased integration with other resources, along with rich contextual information about the life and times of Katherine Anne Porter. The project uses many of the Libraries’ emerging technologies, including Fedora 4 and the IIIF image viewer. The contextual information was built out with the Hippo exhibit template and integrated with Fedora, which is a unique contribution of this project.

CodeOcean Pilot Project

DPI is pleased to announce the pending launch of the CodeOcean pilot in February 2019. CodeOcean is a vendor-provided research data management service that provides researchers and developers an easy way to share, discover and run code published in academic journals and conferences. As an increasing amount of research generates code, it is urgently important for scholars to reproduce scientific results with both code and data. CodeOcean allows researchers to share code in an open source programming language, and users to execute that code without installing any local software packages or fiddly environment configuration.

DPI’s pilot will assess the need for such a service among UMD’s research community, as well as how effectively the service integrates with our existing service offerings and technologies. Liaisons are encouraged to reach out to David Durden for more information.

New Collection in DRUM

DPI has partnered with the National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) on campus to make their research and publications available to a wider audience via DRUM. NCSG works to advance the notion that research, collaboration, engagement and thoughtful policy development hold the key to a smarter and more sustainable approach to urban and regional development. NCSG is housed under the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, with support from the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, the A. James Clark School of Engineering, the School of Public Policy, and the Office of the Provost. Check out some of their research here.

ArcLight Hackathon

On December 18, a number of UMD Libraries staff organized and participated in a day-long hackathon for Arclight, an emerging technology based on Blacklight that is designed to support discovery and digital delivery of archival information. Put another way, it is a potential end user interface for special collections materials that builds upon technology we already use. Participants from DPI, SSDR, Discovery and Metadata Services, and Special Collections and University Archives drew upon considerable user experience research regarding ArchivesSpace, as well as feedback and reports from other institutions that experimented with ArcLight, to organize objectives for the day:

  • Assess a variety of UMD archival descriptions within ArcLight
  • Identify and prototype desired usability and visual design changes
  • Evaluate metadata loading and handling in ArcLight and identify workflow requirements to integrate with other systems we use for special collections management (specifically, ArchivesSpace and Aeon)

Towards this end, Peter Eichman, Bria Parker, and Kate Dohe coordinated creation, testing, and troubleshooting of a Vagrant and Docker for ArcLight in advance of the hackathon. Graduate Assistants in DPI, Anne Hendrick and Carlos Alvarado, collaborated with Joanne Archer to review the interface and generate potential alternative interface mockups. Kate Dohe drew upon code created at the University of Albany to incorporate visual changes to labels for restricted and inaccessible materials. SSDR developers David Steelman, Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed, and Ben Wallberg worked to implement a variety of requested changes to data loading and display within the interface. Formal results will be shared with the ArcLight community in the coming weeks.

A/V Digital Collections Updates

In December, after resolving several software bugs and developing a workaround that had prevented loading content with one particular access rule, Josh Westgard finalized the ingest of more than 800 items of digitized audio and video using a DPI-developed batch ingest script for Fedora 2 external (streaming) content.

Software Development


After a multi-year development effort we have released the new Libi staff intranet into production.  This new Libi has several significant new features: 1) The “new” Libi Advisory Team has overseen development and provides ongoing management and governance provided, 2) all content in Libi is accessible to Libi users, 3) it is implemented in Hippo CMS as a pure website rather than a wiki, and 4) it’s primary purpose is for publishing documents, using Google Team Drive as the document management platform.

New Libi and old Libi will operate in parallel while staff migrate their content.  Migration is not automatic but we do have some export capabilities to aid in the migration.  All migrations are scheduled to be complete by April 1 when old Libi is frozen for all content updates and begins preparing for its final shutdown.


We have updated both DRUM and MD-SOAR with new functionality for creating Digital Object Identifiers (DOI).  We have have removed the old EZID service with an integration to DataCite, in which we are new members.  Final transition should occur in early January.

Archival Collections

We have completed work to upgrade to ArchivesSpace 2.5.1, user interface improvements for the public interface, and improved stability and performance for the indexing process.  This new version is turned over to stakeholders for quality assurance testing.  We anticipate a promotion to production in early January, with a final shutdown of ArchivesUM by January 25.

Digital Collections

We are pleased to announce the community release of Fedora 5.0.0 which has been overseen by DuraSpace and built by the Fedora community, including our own developers. See the  Release Notes for further information. We have worked with the broader community to create this new version and have already begun preparing for the testing and updates for an upgrade to Fedora 5 in 2019. We also worked on improving our Fedora infrastucture by exploring alternate RDF triple stores to replace Fuseki and by fixing several bugs in regular fixity checking.

In the Fedora 2 environment we completed the HTTPS implementation for improved security by implementing HTTPS for our backend services. We also updated the Admin Tools application to use CAS for authentication and Grouper for authorization.

Website / Hippo CMS

While preparing to test and release the new Hippo Projects feature we discovered a number of issues with our content permissions and editing structure which prevent us from implementing Projects.  We have analysed the issues and will be enacting a number of content permissions and Channel Manager improvements in the Spring before we release Projects.

Annual Staffing Requests

We upgraded the Annual Staffing Requests application to version2.1 which contains several bug fixes and new features for FY20 request cycle, which is now underway.

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

The CLAS team responded to 173 Aleph Rx submissions and 24 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in November and December.

2019 Work Plan

Nearing the end of 2018, CLAS has been busy making plans for 2019. This year’s process for assembling the team’s work plan was a bit different than previous years with a greater focus on input from USMAI’s member libraries. The goals of the refined process were to (1) ensure close alignment between CLAS activities and USMAI priorities, (2) better anticipate locl library projects that will require CLAS support, and (3) create greater awareness of CLAS work priorities. We have some exciting work lined up for 2019, including (but not limited to!) migrating USMAI’s websites to a new, more collaborative web platform, integrating Aleph and ILLiad, completing our Phase-1 data warehouse project, and improving our tracking systems for service requests. You’ll hear more about these as work progresses in 2019!

Data Warehouse

Work on the data warehouse Phase-1 project continued in November and December with progress being made on multiple fronts.

Dimensional Modeling

A star schema for the Collections reporting area was drafted and finalized. This provides the basis for what collections data will be stored, and how it will be stored, in the data warehouse. From this, systems librarians worked on writing mapping specifications that will be used for developing the data transformations from Aleph into the data warehouse.


The decision was made to write custom Python scripts for our data transformations/mapping. While Pentaho was considered, the transformations required for this project are not complex enough to justify the learning curve for Pentaho. An ETL server environment and database tables have been established for the ETL process. Development of the ETL code has started. The extract scripts to pull data from Aleph were also rewritten in Python and have been extracting Aleph data for several months now with minimal issues.


TIBCO’s Jaspersoft Enterprise Edition has been procured as the reporting layer for the data warehouse. This tool will allow users to view standard reports and create their own ad hoc reports and dashboards. The software has been installed and work is underway to configure the reporting environment.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Heidi Hanson attend the 2018 LITA Forum in Minneapolis from November 8-10.

In December, Josh Westgard attended and helped to organize a meeting of the DC Fedora Users Group at Johns Hopkins University on December 17-18.

Kate Dohe and Josh Westgard attended the APTrust Members Meeting at Georgetown University on December 12 and 13.

Kate Dohe attended CNI on December 10-11.

Kate Dohe published the article “Linked Data, Unlinked Communities” in the interdisciplinary feminist science magazine Lady Science, as part of a series on feminism and library technologies.

Rebecca Wack attended the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference from November 28-December 1, 2018.

Stew of the month: October 2018

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Metadata collation continues with the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, with physical copies of the Greenbelt Cooperator on-site for review. The paper archives of the Cooperator, published out of Greenbelt, Md., and stewarded by the Greenbelt News Review, are being reviewed by Greenbelt volunteers, ordered by date, and boxed for transport to campus before scanning for the National Digital Newspaper Program. Students have nearly finished the collation of Non-English titles. The HMNP Advisory Board will select the final English-language titles to be included in the fourth grant.

Other Digitization Activities

Digitization began on 50 reels of microfilmed records from the  Works Progress Administration collection, funded as part of the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process, the first project to begin of the FY19 cycle.

Digital Projects Assistant Cecilia Franck worked with collection managers and Discovery and Metadata Services staff to prepare several audiovisual projects and requests for ingest into Digital Collections; this work will continue through 2018.

Pike and Wack also worked with Liz Novara, Eric Stoykovich, Joanne Archer, and Laura Cleary (SCUA) to kick-off a Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant to digitize 559 recordings from the Spiro Agnew collection, focusing on his speeches, office recordings, and constituent recordings from his time as Vice President.

In the Hornbake Digitization Center, “athletics” seemed to be front of mind in October. University Archives athletics materials dominated the scanning queue for in-house digitization, with requests from the Maryland Men’s basketball Collection taking the lead. In addition to fulfilling ongoing requests, Digitization Center assistants were hard at work re-scanning the John Jacob Omenhausser sketchbook, a fully illustrated and annotated accounting of prison camp life in Point Lookout, Maryland, from June 1864 to June 1865. Original digitization of the sketchbook, conducted early on in the Library’s digitization program, failed to capture blank pages, book covers, and other important visuals from the book, and so rescans are taking place to create a more complete copy for digital access.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Digital Collections

DPI has been working to migrate a dataset currently held in EPrints over to DRUM. This has involved building an export tool to extract the data from the EPrints server and arrange in in the format that can be understood by the DSpace batch loading utility.

Josh Westgard, in collaboration with DCMR and USS, has completed inventorying and archiving more than 16 TB of FY2018 digitized content, bringing the total body of assets under management through this particular archiving workflow to more than 94 TB.

Research Data Management

Beginning in the summer, David convened and led a hot team for assessing current data resources workflows. The team has concluded their work and presented a final report of their findings to the Dean of Libraries in early November.

David Durden presented a workshop to the Digital Design and Culture Honors Students on October 15. This workshop presented strategies for locating academic resources for data-based projects. On October 16, David led a Research Commons workshop on Research Data Management.

UMD Libraries Joins DataCite

Since 2014 we have been using EZID to assign DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) to records in DRUM and MD-SOAR. Earlier this year the California Digital Library and Purdue announced that they would discontinue providing DOIs via EZID. Over the past several months DPI has been been working with EZID to migrate DOI assignment to DataCite, and we’re pleased to announce that our DataCite membership application has been accepted and approved. Working with SSDR, we anticipate that the assignment of DOIs will be migrated to DataCite before the end of the year.

Software Development

Digital Collections

As discussed in last month’s blog post, we provided two developers to the Fedora 5 API Alignment Sprint 2, in preparation for the Fedora 5.0 Release Candidate.

In the Fedora 2 environment we have begun improving security and performance by implementing HTTPS for our backend services and by continuing a long stalled migration off of our custom Lucene search and indexing services to Solr.  We are also began work on updating the Admin Tools application to use CAS for authentication and Grouper for authorization.

Website / Hippo CMS

Thanks to a lot of prep work by the developer team the upgrade to Hippo version 12 occurred smoothly.  This version contains significant changes to the backend storage system but not many user facing updates. One improvement for application administrators is the new URL Rewrite module which improves our ability to create and track rewrites for URLs which have changed.  This in turn improves discovery of content over time.  We are now working on enabling the new Projects feature which provides improvements to the publishing workflow for collaboration and review.


We have completed making final customizations to the Aeon plugin for ArchivesSpace, fully enabling the ability to request materials through the Aeon Special Collections Account.

Under Development

  • Libi production release
  • Bento style cross search of information resources
  • Bento style cross search for Special and Digital Collections
  • Annual Staffing Requests 2.1 features for FY20 request cycle

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Durden attended the annual Midwest Data Librarian Symposium hosted this year at Iowa State University in Ames, IA on October 8-9. The symposium featured networking events and instructional programming on data management, research technology, and data curation.

David also represented the University Libraries this year at the HathiTrust Member Meeting in Chicago, IL on October 29.

Kate Dohe taught a workshop titled “The Argument Clinic: Elements of Persuasion for Librarians, Archivists, and Library Technologists” at the Learn@DLF pre-conference at DLF 2018 in Las Vegas, NV on October 14.

Robin Pike co-taught the workshop “Teaching the DLF Project Managers Toolkit” with other members of the DLF Project Managers Steering Committee at the Learn@DLF pre-conference at DLF on October 14. She also attended the rest of the conference from October 15-17.

Stew of the month: September 2018

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

Other Digitization Activities

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

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

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

O3S: Open Scholarship for Social Sciences Symposium

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

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

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

New Additions to DRUM

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

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

Research Data Workshops

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

Software Development

Digital Collections

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

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

Website / Hippo CMS

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


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

Under Development

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

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

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

Data Warehouse

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

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

SFX Enhancement Implemented

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


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


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

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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

Stew of the month: August 2018

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Historic Maryland Newspaper Project is kicking off Grant Cycle 4. Currently in the works, collation for Maryland suffrage news (provided in partnership with the National Woman’s Party), along with a handful of non-English language titles published out of Baltimore, including Baltimore Wecker (German, 1856-1867), Il Risorgimento Italiano nel Maryland (Italian, 1922-1930), and Katholische Volkszeitung (German, 1874-1888).

Other Digitization Activities

Rebecca Wack, Digital Projects Librarian and former project manager for the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, has changed roles and offices and can now be found in the Hornbake Digitization Center as the Digitization Services Librarian. At Hornbake Library, Rebecca plans to implement new training procedures for digitization assistants, boost outreach and services within the libraries and across campus, and build-up on-site AV digitization services. If you have any feedback regarding existing digitization services or requests for services you’d like to see offered in the future, please contact Rebecca at

Robin Pike submitted the final vendor quotes and the digitization sole source to the Business Office. We await beginning FY19 vendor digitization projects funded by the Digitization Initiatives Committee. Robin also worked to get information from curators for the vendor quotes outside of the digitization sole source; some quotes have progressed further than others. Robin also consulted with Preservation and Conservation and curators to best prepare materials for vendor digitization

Robin worked with Bria Parker, Adam Gray (both DMS), Laura Schnitker, Joanne Archer (both SCUA), and Josh Westgard to ingest the files and metadata from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection, funded by a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant. the collection is now online and linked to the finding aid. The project digitized 597 recordings, over 353 hours, 624 files, and 606 metadata records. Laura, Joanne, and Robin collaborated to write and submit the final report to CLIR, which documented all files and metadata and project expenditures, as well as this project’s impact.

Robin and Rebecca worked with Hilary Thompson (USRS) to contribute language related to digitization and capacity to comply with the Big 10’s special collections loan best practices.

Digitization Assistants Vanessa Barker, Cecilia Franck, Brahm Persaud, and Sydney Schneider have worked digitizing a Maryland family manuscript collection, and have completed digitization of the first phase of Spanish Plays, and a small collection of reels from the Martha Brooks collection.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Open Access Fund

The UMD Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund is now accepting applications for 2018-2019. Eligibility requirements and guidelines, along with a link to the online application form, are available here.

Prange Asset Migration

DPI collaborated with SSDR to migrate 2.41 terabytes of digital assets (478,840 jpg files) from our Fedora 2 digital collections repository to our new Fedora 4 repository. These assets are part of one of our largest digital collections, the Prange Children’s Books collection. While this migration should have little immediate effect on the public-facing website (in fact, one of the goals is to make it ‘invisible’ to the end user), it does represent a significant undertaking, and in terms of raw bytes constitutes a large proportion of all the content that was available to the public in our Fedora 2 repository. With this move now complete, our Fedora 4 repository is now operating truly ‘at scale’ with multiple terabytes and well over a million digital resources under management in the new system.

Avalon Media Repository Pilot

The Avalon Media Repository pilot is officially underway, and the kickoff “big tent” meeting with stakeholders from Special Collections, the Performing Arts Library, and DSS took place on August 30th.

UMD Libraries currently uses Sharestream’s MediaManager product as its content management system for digitized time-based media accessed through the Libraries’ legacy Digital Collections interface. While this commercial solution has made it possible for the Libraries to make audio and video from its collections available online, the application and its integration with Digital Collections has several constraints that make it challenging for curators, repository managers, and metadata specialists to efficiently manage large-scale media collections. DSS, SCUA, and MSPAL stakeholders wish to internally pilot the Avalon application to test its suitability as a replacement media management application.

Success or failure of the pilot will be measured according to the following broad requirements:

  • A media repository solution for specialized materials must support digital curation standards and workflows throughout an item’s lifecycle, including ingest, preservation, description, and access control.
  • A media system must provide a variety of users and stakeholders with the tools to effectively manage content at scale without creating choke points and backlogs.
  • A media system must support open, accessible technologies that can be customized by UMD Libraries staff (repository managers and developers) to meet local needs, and support interoperability and transmission between systems.

To afford sufficient testing time and workflow development, the Avalon pilot should last one year, and then stakeholders should assess success or failure of the project.

Software Development


We upgraded MD-SOAR to DSpace version 6.3.  The same upgrade for DRUM is in user testing and should be completed in September.

Digital Collections

The code and configuration for a new template/theme for use on the website has been completed and promoted to production. This also includes a new search interface for all content loaded into our Fedora Content Repository, currently at version 4.7.5. Once released the new home page will offer two search boxes, one for our current Fedora repository and one for our legacy Fedora 2 repository. The new feature has been turned over to curators to finalize the page content in preparation for public release.

We also updated the authorization systems for Fedora and several of our supporting backend applications.  They are now using the campus Grouper instance to manage authorized users. Grouper is an enterprise access management system designed for the highly distributed management environment and heterogeneous information technology environment common to universities. Operating a central access management system that supports both central and distributed IT reduces risk.  Grouper is part of the TIER Initiative.


We updated the REDCap application in development to use Shibboleth federated identity management for authentication.  This improves the current REDCap managed user table method by providing Web Single Sign On with campus users directory id and password and improves security by using campus HR systems to automatically disallow access once an employee leaves the university.  However, due to the proximity to the start of the semester, deployment to production has been deferred to the end of the semester.

Under Development

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

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

The CLAS team responded to 118 Aleph Rx submissions and 21 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

Data Warehouse

Efforts continued in three main areas: Requirements, Reporting, and ETL. CLAS team members had at least fifteen (official) meetings and a number of other one-on-one discussion during the month as the effort ramps up. All Aleph Oracle and configuration tables that will be sourced for the data warehouse are now identified. Research into methods for extracting necessary data from Aleph continued, with key decisions expected in early September. Team members continue to make progress on defining requirements. It’s a laborious process but will go a long way toward simplifying the development process and laying the foundation for good documentation of the data in the data warehouse.

EDS Results Display Improvement

Last winter, USMAI’s UX Subgroup proposed a modification to the display of catalog results in EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) that would hide ebook records that were only held by other USMAI libraries. These are items that are inaccessible to the user, resulting in user frustration. Since that time, CLAS has worked with EBSCO to develop logic that filters out these results. The filter is now implemented for all USMAI libraries that use EDS.

New USMAI e-resources

Patrons at USMAI libraries now have access to five new database products starting this fiscal year. In August, CLAS configured these new resources to ensure that off-campus access was available and full text linking worked through SFX.

Library Technologies, Inc. is closing

USMAI has used Library Technologies, Inc. (LTI) Authority Express and Authority Update Processing services since 2006 to clean up bibliographic records in Aleph. LTI recently announced that they will be going out of business in March 2019. Over the next few months, USMAI’s Metadata Subgroup will be leading the effort to identify a replacement service.


A new feature was released in August that hyperlinks author and subject values in the simple item record. This, along with more uniform subjects being encouraged by autosuggest options during item submission, will provide additional avenues of discovery within MD-SOAR.


Brahm Persaud, Digitization Assistant, has left DCMR to concentrate on his internship before graduation in the spring. We wish him well!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Dave Durden attended the 2nd Workshop on Scientific Archives in Washington, DC on August 13 and 14. Presentations topics of interest included data management from an archival perspective, the relationship between research data and scientific archival records, and novel methods of capturing the scientific record in the digital era.

Kate Dohe attended the ArchivesSpace Member Forum on August 14.

Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack attended the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting from August 12-17, including a pre-conference workshop Robin took on using command line interface.

Stew of the month: July 2018

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

Other Digitization Activities

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

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Additions to DRUM

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

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

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

Software Development


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

Digital Collections

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


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

Under Development

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

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

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

Data Warehouse

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

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


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

Subgroup Membership Changeover

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


Conferences, workshops and professional development

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


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

Stew of the month: June 2018

Welcome to a new issue of Stew of the Month, a monthly blog from Digital Systems and Stewardship (DSS) at the University of Maryland Libraries. This blog provides news and updates from the DSS Division. We welcome comments, feedback and ideas for improving our products and services.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Historic Maryland Newspaper Project is nearing the finish line for grant 3. 70,000 pages of historic Maryland newspapers are now online and available through Chronicling America, with a further 30,000 either queued for approval or ready for publication. There’s a smattering of re-work to be completed, microfilm to be labelled for submission to Library of Congress, and a host of essays to edit, but the HMNP is well on its way to a strong, on-time finish.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with Vin Novara (SCPA) and Mary Dulaney (Director of Development) to revise and resubmit a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize the Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange collection.

Rebecca Wack worked with Liz Novara and Eric Stoykovich (both SCUA) and Mary Dulaney to submit a Council on Libraries and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant to digitize audiotapes from the Spiro Agnew collection.

Robin worked to finalize many FY18 digitization projects and presented the fiscal year-end report to the Library Assembly.

Robin has been working with collections managers to finalize FY19 digitization project details for the project plans and the vendor estimates. She will soon be sending the estimates for vendor quotes.

Robin oversaw a pop-up project to digitize Coach “Lefty” Driesell’s donation to the University Archives in celebration of his induction to the UMD Hall of Fame. She also managed the digitization of a pop-up project to send moldy and deteriorated audiotapes from the WAMU collection.

Assistant Brahm Persaud continued to digitize materials for the SCUA annual exhibit featuring the Prange collection. Assistants Brahm and Sydney Schneider digitized audiotapes from the Westinghouse collection, featuring segments from the Apollo missions. With Assistant Vanessa Barker, Sydney also worked to digitize fliers from the Sharon Cheslow Punk Flier Archive. Vanessa also continued to digitize correspondence from the Claude family papers and performed quality control on the third batch of the Hebraica book digitization project. Cecilia Franck oversaw meeting deadlines and quality control on requests and in-house projects, the Hebraica project, and performed quality control on the Diamondback digitization project. Both the Hebraica and Diamondback projects were digitized as part of the FY18 DIC project proposal process.


Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Digital Collections Content Online

June saw significant milestones being passed for important digital collections projects: First, the UMD Student Newspapers collection saw the addition of nearly 400 issues spanning more than four decades of the Black Explosion, a student newspaper published by the Black Student Union. Second, the Katherine Anne Porter Correspondence, digitized in several phases over a number of years, had its last outstanding questions resolved, and the coming days will see the release of nearly 4000 letters to and from this important 20th-century American author.

Open Access Fund 2017-2018

For 2017-2018, the Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund received 32 applications and funded 27 articles; average cost-per-article: $1,887 (the Libraries’ pays 50% of the article processing charges for each approved application).

Here’s the breakdown by school/college for all applications received:

9 – College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
8 – A. James Clark School of Engineering
4 – School of Public Health
3 – College of Agricultural & Natural Resources
3 – College of Education
2 – College of Computer, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences
1 – College of Information Studies
1 – Robert H. Smith School of Business
1 – School of Public Policy
1 – School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation
0 – College of Arts & Humanities
0 – Philip Merrill College of Journalism

We will begin accepting applications for 2018-2019 in early September.

Software Development


DRUM has been successfully upgraded to DSpace 6.

Digital Collections

The code and configuration for the new Katherine Anne Porter Correspondence Collection has been completed and promoted to production. The new feature has been turned over to curators to determine the best interface and timeline for public release.

We have deployed the second and final phase of our improved fixity checking for binaries to the Fedora Content Repository.  In phase 1 we added fixity checking of binaries to provide immediate confirmation that the ingest of the binary and storage into the backend was successful.  We have now added a periodic check of existing binaries to check for data loss or corruption over time.

Under Development

  • Upgrade to BloomReach Experience (formerly Hippo CMS) version 12

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

The CLAS team responded to 105 Aleph Rx submissions and 23 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in June.

USMAI Data Warehouse

Work on implementing a data warehouse for USMAI continued in June. Based on site visits in April, “a report of findings and Phase One proposal was developed. The report proposes an initial project scoped to Aleph collection and circulation data, a technical architecture that prioritizes open source tools, and the need for consortial data governance.

For Phase One, CLAS has begun documenting and profiling the data needed to meet collection and circulation reporting needs. This includes considerations like whether historical changes need to be kept (and, if yes, how), assessing the quality of the underlying data, and mapping dimensions and attributes to the Aleph database tables that contain the data.

For the technical infrastructure, CLAS has begun an evaluation of reporting tools, focusing on open source solutions as a high priority. Two tools, Pentaho and JasperSoft, have been identified as possible solutions. CLAS developers have set up sandbox environments for both in order to determine how well each meets USMAI’s reporting needs.

Research Port Phaseout

Following up on the message sent in May to all USMAI libraries’ campus contacts, CLAS completed an analysis of each library’s use of Research Port in order to provide customized recommendations on what actions should be taken in order to phase out Research Port locally. These recommendations were sent to the campus contact and e-resources contact at each library in order to help inform their actions. Research Port is planned to be phased out by December 31, 2018.

Aleph OPAC Modifications

Two updates were made to the Aleph OPAC this month:

  • A direct/permanent link was added to the standard display of each bibliographic record. Since the URLs in the address bar are typically specific to a certain search, this gives users a URL they can bookmark or copy and paste for use later.
  • The “renew” and “renew all” buttons have been modified to disable after the user clicks it. Previously a user might double-click these buttons, causing the renewal request to get sent twice, and (we suspect) sometimes resulting in duplicate fines and fees.

User and System Support

Mac OS 10.13 and Deep Freeze

The laptops that are loaned to the campus students have Deep Freeze installed on them. Deep Freeze allows us to configure the laptops to our specifications and then freeze them. This means that any changes made by a student gets wiped once the laptop restarts; the laptop will return to the way it was configured before it was frozen. Deep freeze is installed on both Dell and Apple laptops. However, with the latest release of Mac OS, High Sierra 10.13, Deep Freeze isn’t working. While we wait for Faronics, the maker of Deep Freeze, to resolve this issue, Mac OS 10.12.6 will remain on the Apple laptops.



USS is pleased to welcome Francis Akhionbare to the team. Francis is an IT support Assistant and, in his new role, will be working very closely with Library staff and patrons. Welcome, Francis!


Conferences, workshops and professional development

Announcing Code4Lib DC, Maryland, and Virginia

The Libraries are hosting this year’s code{4}lib regional meet-up on August 3, 2018. The event brings together developers, technologists, and info specialists from the greater DC/MD/VA area who work with and for libraries, archives, and museums. David Durden (DPI), Tiffany Schoneboom (CLAS), and Jospeh Koivisto (CLAS) are leading the local planning team for the event.

Participation in this year’s code{4}lib regional meet-up is free but registration is required. Those looking for opportunities to network and learn from peers or to showcase and discuss ongoing projects are encouraged to attend. For details and registration, please visit the event page on the code{4}lib wiki.

DSS at the 2018 Libraries Research & Innovative Practice Forum

A number of DSS staff participated in the fourth year of the UMD Libraries Research & Innovative Practice Forum (or LRIPF). Kate Dohe chaired and Joseph Koivisto served on the planning committee, which began meeting in November 2017 and is comprised of members of the Faculty Mentoring Committee and Libraries Research Fund Committee.

Furthermore, DSS staff participated in the following panels, presentations, workshops, and poster sessions:

  • “The Libraries’ Role in Supporting UMD Researcher Networking,” an unmoderated panel by Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, Kate Dohe, David Durden, and Ben Wallberg
  • “My Very First Robot: Programming a Twitter Bot to Promote Open Access Scholarship,” a presentation by Joseph Koivisto
  • “Implementing Project Management Tools and Strategies,” a panel by Robin Pike, Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, Rachel Gammons, Hilary Thompson
  • “The Open Bede Project,” a poster by Josh Westgard
  • “Data Management to Define an Emerging Discipline,” a poster by Patricia Cossard and David Durden
  • “How to Innovate Fearlessly,” a panel by Rebecca Kemp-Goldfinger, Kate Dohe, and Sharon Epps
  • “Finding Potential Funders,” a workshop by Robin Pike, Mary Dulaney, Rebecca Wack, Joanne Archer, and Kristen Gladsky
  • “The Digital Diamondback: Unfolding University History through Open Standards and Open Data,” a panel by Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, and Josh Westgard

SCCM Brown Bag

USS (Stephanie Karunwi) and DivIT (Eric Byrd) facilitated a brown bag session on June 26, 2018, in Mckeldin, regarding tips on how to use SCCM to deploy applications. SCCM is the software we use to image PCs and install applications, which is on a server at DivIT. Even though the Libraries are the heaviest users, other IT departments on campus have the ability to use the software as well. So, an invitation went out to the SCCM community across campus. The turnout was bigger than expected, with an attendance of over 30 IT staff from across campus. Eric Byrd presented tips on how to use SCCM to deploy applications using powershell. The event was very successful. Hopefully, the SCCM community will have other brown bags in the future.

LabMan 2018

The University of Maryland, College Park hosted LabMan 2018 this year. LabMan is the Academic Lab Management Conference for professionals that are responsible for maintenance of computer labs in education settings. The 3 day event took place between May 22,2018 through May 24,2018. Cece Carson, Sandra Ayensu, and Victoria Quartey was on the planning committee to help make sure the event went smoothly. Labman 2018 was very successful. LabMan 2019 will be in Chicago


Other Conferences

Joshua Westgard attended the Open Repositories meeeting in Bozeman, MT, where he presented in a session on open-source code sustainability about the UMD Libraries’ python-based batchload client for the Fedora API (plastron, The presentation generated community interest in making all or some portion of the plastron code into a community-supported resource.