Stew of the month: October 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 Newspaper Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project welcomed Ian Post, Local History Archivist at Salisbury University’s Nabb Research Center to the HMNP Advisory Board filling a vacancy we had for a representative from the Eastern Shore. Also, the Maryland State Archives, a long-time partner of HMNP, will keep a copy of all HMNP newspaper data, and Pam McClanahan began the process of transferring that data to Maria Day, Director of Special Collections at MSA.

HMNP batch production continued with the submission of Batch D to our digitization vendor, Creekside Digital as well as finalizing QR on Batch A and Batch B. We have been researching newspaper titles for consideration for applying for a fifth grant phase. We also finalized some rework for six batches in the previous round to correct a source repository code in the metadata and submitted those to Library of Congress. HMNP student assistants, Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna, continued collation of the Republican, assisting with batch QR, and completing copyright research for our post-1923 content.

Pam provided a report on HMNP to about 40 attendees at the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative who held their meeting here at University of Maryland Libraries in Hornbake on October 15, hosted by Doug McElrath. She provided an overview of the program, a status report on the current round, statistics on the Maryland content and usage of Maryland newspapers, as well as some thoughts on what’s coming next for the project. The report was well-received and there was interest in Maryland newspapers from the group and collaborative digitization projects. In the evening of October 15, Pam gave another presentation on HMNP–this one to the genealogy sharing group at the Harford County Public Library in Joppa, MD. Pam provided an overview of the project and Maryland Newspaper content, a demonstration on how to use the Chronicling America database, and some tips on doing genealogy research with online newspapers. There were 8 participants and some were familiar with Chronicling America and excited to share some of their experience with the Maryland newspaper content, and for others this was a new resource for them and they were eager to learn tips on using newspapers for their family history research.

Hornbake Digitization Center

Representatives from Johns Hopkins University’s Library Digitization team visited the Hornbake Digitization Lab for a tour of the facility followed by an information-sharing session. As is true in many library digitization units, the work was generally found to be the same but the equipment and workflows employed tended to be vastly different. It was a valuable chat, and Digitization Services Librarian Rebecca Wack will be scheduling a reciprocal visit to JHU facilities in the coming months.

The HDC’s new copy stand is up and running, with documentation and workflows in the final editing stages. Our Canon 6D Mark II DSLR will be operated using Canon’s EOS3 Utility to enable live shooting and previews. Images will be created in batches and uploaded into Adobe Lightroom to set image resolution, file-type, and name, before passing into the standard post-processing workflows employed using Adobe Photoshop. The copy stand will make its debut imaging an ongoing project from the Prange Collection from the Read Smith Karras papers–a series of photo albums in high researcher demand.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin Pike spent substantial time gathering information on foreign contracts. She also spent substantial time working on vendor contracts, researching justification for a sole source and finalizing the technical specifications for video for the Libraries’ FY20 audiovisual digitization contract.

Robin finished the migration of Digitization Initiatives Committee content to new Libi in preparation for the FY21 project proposal call.

As part of a partnership with The Phillips Collection, as Lead Project Advisor, Robin has begun working with the newly-hired project manager on a grant to digitize a large portion of The Phillips’s collections.

Juana Godinez continued to transfer files from DVDs, reaching over 300 transferred over numerous years. These will all be added to Films@UM once they are transferred. She also began researching equipment for a refreshed video digitization station. The goal is to update the station designed by Library Media Services to provide access copies of analog video on-demand, and to create a station that will allow the creation of preservation-level digital files so we can begin to provide on-demand patron digitization in-house.

Cecilia Franck continued to make steady progress on digitizing the Greenbelt News Review and finalizing metadata for ingest for the Greenbelt Archive Project, a collaborative project between DCMR and Greenbelt to digitize the issues of their local paper from 1964-present (the papers that fall outside the National Digital Newspaper Project). Since beginning the project in January, we have digitized and ingested newspapers from 1964-1984 into the Internet Archive.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Open Journal Systems Update

Josh Westgard and Terry Owen completed a substantial upgrade to DPI’s publishing service, by upgrading our system to version 3. This upgrade sets the stage for improved service management going forward, and delivers a variety of new features for our existing supported publication. As DPI conducts ongoing review of our service portfolio, we are not accepting new publications for the platform, but we are much better positioned to respond effectively to new strategic priorities for the Libraries.

DPI or its predecessor units have been exclusively responsible for the OJS service at UMD Libraries since 2009. In that time, the application accrued a significant amount of legacy data as publications came and went, publishers customized workflows, and users uploaded ephemeral information. This made the application upgrade and requisite database migration a meticulous, detail-oriented process that began in the fall semester of 2017, with the support of former DPI GA Carlos Alvarado, and required many hours of labor across the team to manage external stakeholders, consult with internal database experts, research issues, and work with staff at other institutions to identify solutions. Please congratulate the team on crossing this important milestone.

Research Data Services


David Durden represented the University of Maryland Libraries at the Biennial Official Representative Meeting for the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) in Ann Arbor, MI from October 15-18. This meeting brings together all ICPSR representatives from member organizations across the United States and Canada for a series of intensive workshops, governance meetings, and demonstrations of new features and research originating from the ICPSR Data Archive.


David led a data science workshop, “Introduction to Python: Basics of Data Analysis using Pandas,” offered through the Research Commons on October 10. This workshop was a collaborative effort between Data Services and Libraries Statistical Consulting to standardize workshop materials across programming languages taught in Research Commons workshops. Datasets, exercises, and learning outcomes for this workshop are identical to the recurring workshop, “Introduction to the R Programming Language,” created by Yishan Ding, Graduate Assistant for Statistical Consulting.

Software Development


Libraries’ Website and Libi – updated the Staff Directory to reflect the division name change to Research and Academic Services

Under Development

Archelon – continued work on MVP Milestone 2:  Batch Export of Metadata.  DPI identified a number of bugs and usability issues which required going back for another round of development.  Milestone 2 was then delivered for stakeholder testing.

Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – continued work on upgrade to version 13, though progress was substantially slowed due to the high priority work on the new Libi Staff Blog.

Libi Staff Blog – new Staff Blog designed for library-wide announcements and other information of general interest to library colleagues.  The blog also features an email bulletin sent to all staff once a week containing all new posts for the week.  The blog is implemented using Drupal 8 and we’ll also be using this application to evaluate further development/migration of Libi functionality using Drupal.

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

The CLAS team responded to 94 Aleph Rx submissions and 14 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.

Lots of important things are happening as we approach the end of the calendar year.

Data Warehouse Phase-1a Rollout

Phase-1a of the Data Warehouse was released to USMAI libraries in late October. Two introductory online sessions were held to introduce libraries to management of their own space within the Data Warehouse Reporting Environment. Recordings of these sessions and other resources to support each library’s use of the Data Warehouse is available on the USMAI Staff Site at

Web Platform Migration

Our migration to a new member portal and collaboration platform (a.k.a. Confluence) housed under the domain is almost here. The migration is scheduled for the first week of December. Starting on December 2nd, content on the current USMAI websites will be “frozen” so that we can scrape the content and ingest it into Confluence. The new platform is expected to be up and running by Friday, December 6th. In October, we completed a successful test migration of content. We’ll be putting the finishing touches on our migration utilities in November. October also saw a significant amount of setup of the Confluence environment. That work will continue in November, so that we have an environment that is “move-in ready” for staff at USMAI libraries once the migration is completed.

OPAC Redesign for Accessibility (ORA)

This project has launched. CLAS team members have reviewed and prioritized various “components” of the Aleph OPAC. We’ll be starting by fixing accessibility issues with screens related to “My Account”. One of the first steps was to remove the existing CSS stylesheets. This screenshot shows how the catalog looks without all that extra styling. Better or worse? Let us know using the poll below!

You can track ORA development as it happens in the two DEV environments our developers are using:

User and Systems Support

McKeldin Special Events Room Renovations

The McKeldin Special Events room (MCK 6137) is finally getting the upgrade it deserves. USS will be working with MidPoint Technology, the contractor for this project, to update the technology. We’ll be updating the projector, upgrading the software to Crestron so that we are on the same system as the campus, and installing two cameras (one to display an audience view and the other to show the presenter). The lectern will remain at the front of the room, but all technology-related equipment will be moved to the back of the room to allow for better management and control during an event.

Strategic planning of the room was taken into consideration due to the room being heavily used for events and occupied as a study space during Finals. After coordinating with the Dean’s Office, the dates for renovations will begin on Monday, November 25th, and end on Tuesday, December 10th, 2019.

We hope these changes will be a better experience for all.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe, with co-authors Erin Pappas (University of Virginia Libraries) and Celia Emmelhainz (University of California – Berkeley) presented the paper and presentation “Delay, Distract, Defer: Addressing Sabotage in the Academic Library” at The Maintainers III Conference in Washington, D.C., on October 7, 2019. Both the accepted paper and meme-laden slide deck are available in DRUM.

Robin Pike attended the Digital Library Federation Forum and Digital Preservation from October 13-17. She co-taught the workshop “Teaching the DLF Project Managers Toolkit” with Cynthia York (Johns Hopkins University) and Krystal Thomas (Florida State University) as part of Learn@DLF and was a facilitator at the Project Managers Group working breakfast.

Stew of the month: September 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

Pam has been training three new student assistants on the HMNP project and batch production. The digitization vendor sent the first digitization batch back and we began quality review on those files. Pam sent the final batch of microfilm reels to Backstage Library Works for duplication.

New student assistants Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna have been working on metadata collation on one of our final titles for this round, The Republican, which was published in Oakland (Garrett County) beginning in the late 1800s. The students have been helping with quality control for the first batch received back from our vendor for the Czech language title the Telegraf. Additionally, Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna have been helping with selecting content for social media posts, conducting copyright research on newspaper titles, and assisting with mailings to vendors.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin Pike continued to work with the Budget and Business Services Office to finalize paperwork and documentation for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Jane Zhu and Andrea White have been essential in making changes.

Robin worked with Joanne Archer (SCUA), Bria Parker (DMS), and Josh Westgard (DPI) to finalize the ingest of the Spiro Agnew audio digitization project funded by a Council on Library and Information Resources grant. Robin, Joanne, and Laura Cleary (SCUA) wrote a final report and submitted it to CLIR September 30. The project made available 591 files across 588 metadata records in UMD Digital Collections, which were added to 173 recordings digitized in a pilot project. The speeches of Governor and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, as well as the audiotapes produced by American citizens, document the grass-roots populism of the 1960s and 1970s, and the emergence of the “Silent Majority” as a major constituency in American politics.

Robin also worked with Bria, Josh, and Rebecca to experiment with sample video files provided by our audiovisual digitization vendor. We are debating changing our technical specifications for video files to increase embedded metadata provided with the file, which could change how we do digital preservation and how we ingest content into our digital repository (important to consider with the upcoming migration). This exploration has delayed the FY20 contract for audiovisual digitization but Robin aims to have a contract in place in October.

Hornbake Digitization Center

The Hornbake Digitization Center is pleased to offer a new copy stand for use in digitization projects and requests. Many thanks to the wonderful USS team for assembling the base and helping us rearrange equipment in the lab to make room. The copy stand features an LED light kit and captures images through the Canon 6D Mark II DSLR camera purchased earlier this year. Testing of the copy stand and its tethered capture through Adobe Lightroom software is underway, and a new suite of services made possible through the equipment, including higher-resolution, preservation-friendly (easier on spines) rare book capture and uniform 3D object photography, should be available soon.

While the HDC is an active service provider for the Libraries, we are also a hands-on learning space. Any Libraries employees, including GAs and student workers, who are interested in broadening their digital imaging skillset are welcome to contact Digitization Services Librarian Rebecca Wack ( to discuss job enrichment opportunities.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Year of Data Science Update

David Durden presented at the UMD Year of Data Science Inaugural Event on September 20, 2019 regarding his involvement in the project “Building a Network for Informal Data Science Instruction.” The project was funded by the Office of the Provost as part of the first round of Year of Data Science projects in collaboration with the Soci-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). To build an informal data science instruction network, the University Libraries and SESYNC recruited 14 individuals representing inter-disciplinary data science research to become certified Software and Data Carpentries instructors – The Carpentries are an international network of instructors and practitioners who collaboratively develop, maintain, and teach technology curricula for researchers and librarians. Participants completed the instructor training and certification process throughout spring 2019 with four of these new instructors representing the UMD Libraries. This cohort will collaboratively develop and teach workshops throughout 2019 and spring 2020.

New ETDs in DRUM

UMD theses and dissertations from 2003 to the present are archived in DRUM. More than 300 documents were added to the collection from the 2019 summer semester, bringing the total to 15,000+. Here’s a breakdown of the number of documents added from each college/school:

87 A. James Clark School of Engineering
75 College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences
42 College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
41 College of Arts & Humanities
20 College of Education
14 College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
12 School of Public Health
9 Robert H. Smith School of Business
4 School of Public Policy
3 College of Information Studies
3 School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation
2 Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Announcing ORCID@UMD

DPI and SSDR collaborated with the Graduate School over the summer to develop and implement a web application to facilitate the creation and registration of ORCiD researcher identifiers for current and future gradaute students. ORCiD is a persistent personal digital identifier used for disambiguation and ensures that individuals receive appropriate acknowledgement for their research across institutions. The University of Maryland, College Park is a partcipating member of the ORCiD Consortium. Find out more and register your ORCiD!


DPI continues maintenance work on a number of significant activities, including:

  • Migrating the library’s digital archive from DIT’s tape system to Amazon Web Services
  • Upgrading OJS
  • Adding content and supporting development of several Solr database projects
  • Ingesting content into various repositories, such as maps scanned for the Geoportal initiative, and Agnew audio project.
  • Preparing for Open Access Week in October.


Software Development


ORCID@UMD – new website and supporting application for campus researchers to register or connect their ORCID iD.  Provided through a collaboration of the University Libraries and the Graduate School

Libraries’ Website – added new Special Audience filter to the newsroom to highlight news of particular interest to faculty

Under Development

Archelon – continued work on MVP Milestone 2:  Batch Export of Metadata

Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – continued work on upgrade to version 13

Fedora Content Repository – Contributed two developers to the two week Fedora 6 Implementation Sprint 1

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

The CLAS team responded to 100 Aleph Rx submissions and 16 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

UMUC Goes Global

UMUC’s rebranding as UMGC (short for “University of Maryland Global Campus”) launched on September 30th, and the CLAS team played its part updating references to UMUC and in Aleph, SFX, and on USMAI’s websites. We think we caught everything but let us know if you see references to UMUC.

Web Platform Migration Project

We’ve made good progress on a web scraping utility to pull content from the current sites and prepare them for batch import into Confluence. In addition to relieving some manual labor of copying and pasting content from Drupal to Confluence, one of the other benefits is that the script allows us to eliminate some HTML style elements that were popular in the days of red text and fixed table widths.

We’ve also begun some early work on a revamped landing page for Confluence will improve USMAI’s online collaboration, which is the primary objective of the migration. However, it’s not the most asthetically-pleasing online environment; we want to create a good first impression for visitors to, especially those who may not be too interested in the nitty gritty of, say, how to catalog an e-book.

This month’s work also included important discussions and decisions related to the platform’s structure, including a resource area lovingly referred to as “the blob”. We’ll be announcing a “preview webinar” shortly to give you a closer look at what’s ahead. Stay tuned!

Data Warehouse Phase-1

Our reporting environment is all set up to roll out Phase-1a (i.e. Collections data refreshed monthly) to USMAI libraries. Looking ahead to October we’ll be putting the finishing touches on some documentation and holding a few introductory sessions to get libraries started. Once again, stay tuned!

Meanwhile work on Phase-1b (i.e. daily updates of Collections data) continues as our developer capacity allows. Work in September included some refactoring of the ETL program for easier local development environment setup and testing.

User and Systems Support

The staff of User and System Support provided technical support for returning and incoming students in the Libraries during the first week of school. Between 9 am – 4 pm, we answered a variety of questions from how to download the printer drivers to opening a Terrapin Express account. 

The most frequent request we had to provide was activating Terrapin Express (TE). TE is a prepaid debit account that can be used at participating locations across campus. It’s a convenient way for students, faculty, staff, and university affiliates to access products and services across campus without carrying cash, and the University Dining Services provides this service. 

After noticing the influx of Terrapin Express accounts that we were assisting students in opening, we contacted Dining Services to help open incoming Freshman TE accounts. According to Dining Services, they were able to activate 3,769 out 5,669 accounts; since 1,900 accounts were already opened. After TE accounts were opened for new and incoming students, we were more efficient in helping the students with other requests. We are working with Dining Services to ensure that the opening of students’ Terrapin Express accounts will be a permanent solution going forward. 

Below are the tables of stats collected during the first week of school from last year and this year. It is clear that on-site student support is needed, and we are thinking of increasing our frequency of support during the first week.

USS Support to Students for the first week of school  8/27/18 – 8/31/18 

Type of assistance Totals
Bookeye 26
Terrapin Express 226
Downloading printer drivers 141
Printing 326
Card issues 46
Directing people to printers 49
Copying 42
Other (bathroom, water fountain, etc.) 85
Printer jams 0

USS Printer Support to Students   8/26/19 – 8/30/19

Type of assistance Totals
Bookeye 30
Terrapin Express 345
Downloading printer drivers 180
Printing 442
Card issues 35
Directing people to printers 59
Copying 62
Other (bathroom, water fountain, etc.) 50
Printer jams 2


Nima Asadi joined as a CLAS Applications Developer on September 30th.

We welcomed three new student assistants on the HMNP Project – Mark Parkhurst, Sarah McKenna, and Bryanna Bauer. Mark is in his last semester at UMD’s ischool for his MLIS degree, and Sarah and Bryanna are both in their first semester of their MLIS degrees.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike and Pam attended the National Digital Newspaper Program Conference in DC from September 10-12, which hosted project staff from all of the NDNP state awardees. Pam was on an NEH panel presenting on taking content back to communities and our selection of content from underrepresented groups. Robin was on a panel discussing managing the NDNP grant, including administration, staffing, and milestones.

Pam attended her last SAA Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Subcommittee meeting as the DAS intern and gave her final presentation on the survey analysis. This analysis will help the subcommittee as they look at feedback from DAS students to make some changes and updates to the program.

Stew of the month: August 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.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Minority Health and Health Equity Archive Migrated to DRUM

The Minority Health and Health Equity Archive (MHHEA) is an open-access repository of scholarship on health disparities and health equity. The Archive is managed by Dr. Stephen Thomas, Professor in the School of Public Health.  MHHEA came to UMD Libraries in the fall of 2015 from the University of Pittsburgh, and was originally set up using the EPrints repository platform.  After hosting the site in Eprints for three years, DPI determined that the functional requirements of the site could be met by our existing DSpace-based repository (DRUM), with just a few small changes to the existing system. Furthermore, we determined that the long-term maintenance of the Archive would be better ensured at a lower cost by having its data stored in the same repository as the rest of the Libraries’ open-access research collections.

The first step in carrying out the migration was to determine how best to represent EPrints data in DRUM, including mapping metadata fields and content types.  Judi Kidd spearheaded this work as part of a field study project in the iSchool. The conclusions of this initial investigation were later supplemented by further research and testing by Anne Hendrick, DRUM GA, and Carlos Alvarado, DPI GA, with support from Terry Owen and Josh Westgard. These results of all these efforts were presented in a poster at the 2019 Libraries Research and Innovative Practice Forum.

Unlike DRUM, MHHEA has bibliographic references to scholarship that is not necessarily stored in the repository itself but rather somewhere else on the web. Allowing users to create records with external links and no internally stored file required development work by SSDR. These externally-linked resources presented an additional challenge during the migration, when it was discovered that the majority of external links were suffering from some degree of “link rot” (that is, the links either out of date or entirely broken).

The migration was carried out using custom-developed migration scripts that can extract data from EPrints and write it to the package format that DSpace uses for bulk imports. During the migration process, Terry Owen and Josh Westgard worked together to ensure that as many links as possible could be updated using a web crawler. Those that could not be updated automatically were excluded from the initial migration and flagged for follow up by stakeholders.

Dataverse Pilot

DPI successfully completed an internal pilot of Dataverse, a repository platform designed for research datasets. The Dataverse pilot examined the Libraries’ current repository workflows for research datasets, evaulated the Dataverse application, and investigated data repository capabilities at peer institutions within the BTAA. Margaret Rose Hunt, graduate assistant for User Services and Resource Sharing, served as the data curation lead and primary researcher for the pilot in fulfillment of her iSchool Field Study Internship.

Software Development


Digital Collections Common Search – new interface with the new Digital Collections theme and Solr based search

Treasury of World’s Fair Art and Architecture – new interface based on our exhibit theme

Archelon – completed Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Milestone 1 – Authentication and Access Control, Administration

Under Development

Archelon – began implementation of MVP Milestone 2 – Batch Export of Metadata

Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – begin work on upgrade to version 13

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

The CLAS team responded to 128 Aleph Rx submissions and 18 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

It was another busy month of support requests as USMAI libraries prepare for the return of their students. Despite the heavy load progress continued on our major projects.

Web Platform Migration Project

After some deliberation, we backed out of our plan to deploy on AWS. There were several unknowns that we were figuring out as we went along. Ultimately, the benefits of an AWS deployment wouldn’t outweigh the risks. We will proceed with our normal application hosting practices.

We continued to flesh out the design and configuration of the Confluence site. There are many different ways that we could structure the site and permissions. After exploring a few different approaches, we’ve settled on a few key decisions that focus on design simplicity, content transparency, and utilizing Confluence’s features. We have also explored a couple methods to get content out of the current Drupal sites and batch import it into Confluence, which will make the migration process much easier.

We know many USMAI members are champing at the bit for a new USMAI web platform. We’re ready to see it happen too! The project will take longer than our initial early September release plans, but we want to make sure we have a well-planned and structured platform for USMAI communication and collaboration.

Data Warehouse Phase-1

Work on Phase-1 continued in August, including a briefing to CLD on the project’s current status and recommendations for next steps. Those next steps include rolling out Phase-1a (monthly snapshots of Collections data) to staff at USMAI libraries and continuing development of Phase-1b (daily updates of Collections data) as capacity allows.

To prepare for a USMAI-wide rollout, we have been doing some refining of the Collections data design and developing documentation. A special “thank you” goes to our beta users who provided valuable early feedback to help us fine-tune the reporting environment that will make for a more user-friendly reporting environment. With the technical aspects worked out, we will begin strategizing and executing our rollout over the coming months. Stay tuned!

User and Systems Support

LMS merger

This past summer was quite a busy one for User and System Support. Outside of preparing the public desktops and laptops for the Fall semester and replacing staff desktops, we had three major projects.

At the beginning of summer, it was announced that Library Media Services (LMS) and part of the Media Commons would be merging with McKeldin due to the expansion of the iSchool department. On July 2nd, we began with removing all technological equipment: over 40 public and staff computers, 10 TV carts, 10 laptops, over 8 DVD/VHS players, printers, and more.  

Hornbake Gallery Exhibit

Next, we partnered with Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) for their upcoming gallery exhibit in Hornbake celebrating Maryland Public Television (MPT) 50th anniversary. We were able to set up eight iPads on stands. Each iPad has a different webpage corresponding to the programs that were on MPT at the time. Our next task was to have a video montage of MPT that SCUA edited to continuously play when visitors came into the exhibit. 

We were able to use a mini PC and load it with a software called Media Zone Trigger Pro software onto a TV stand with a Microsoft Xbox Kinect. The idea was that the video would play only when someone was in front of the TV and stop when that person left. With the Xbox Kinnect, we were able to set the range of where people would step into and the video would start playing. As soon as they left that range, the video would stop playing and replay from the beginning when someone stepped back into the range.  This part of the setup was interesting because we had used a camera but after several hours of testing, we were able to determine that the camera would not do exactly what we needed and the Xbox kinect was a better choice due to the fact that the Xbox kinect scans in 3D and was more accurate. Working with great partners from SCUA was also very helpful and a pleasure; they helped the project run smoothly.

STEM Sandbox

We worked with Research Commons, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Librarians, and Public Services to curate an augmented reality sandbox. The project goal was to develop a real-time integrated augmented reality system to physically create topography models which are then scanned into a computer in real-time, by using backgrounds for a variety of graphics effects and simulations. 

Working with these departments, we actually had to build a sandbox. Off to Home Depot, we went to purchase wood for the box. We ordered an Xbox Kinect, white sand, a Dell PC, and a projector. We had a spare TV stand from the LMS closure that was used for this project. We configured the DELL PC with the Linux and began programming the application. 

After many unsuccessful tries, we realized that the wrong version of the Kinect was used. Luckily, we had a spare Kinect in the TLC area. We calibrated the sandbox but to no avail. The projector that was ordered did not properly fit into the sandbox. 

Once we switched the Kinect and projector, manipulated the orientation of both items and calibrated the sandbox, we were in business!  

Working the various partners we were able to successful work on this project.


DPI Welcomes New GAs

DPI is pleased to introduce two new graduate assistants in their basement lair. Allison Buser is the new DRUM GA. Allison assists in the day-to-day operations of DRUM such as depositing documents, responding to inquiries, and more. In addition, she also supports Research Data Services in the management of REDCap. Allison can be reached at 5-9432 or Porter Olsen is the new DPI GA, and he will be partnering across units on a number of major projects, including Archelon, Avalon, and digital preservation. Porter may already be a familiar face around the Libraries, having previously worked with MITH on the BitCurator project. Welcome, Allison and Porter!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Pam McClanahan attended ALA June 21-24 including participating in NDNP newspaper meetings held at the Library of Congress during ALA to discuss issues related to newspaper preservation and access. Pam followed up with part two of her SAA – Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) student survey analysis at the DAS committee monthly meeting. Additionally, Pam volunteered at National History Day as a judge for the junior group website division seeing student projects from all over the country.

Stew of the month: July 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

Library of Congress approved our sample batch, and Pam delivered the physical content for the first three production batches of this round of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project to our digitization vendor, Creekside Digital. This included the Czech foreign language title, the Telegraf, as well as the print titles, Greenbelt Cooperator and Maryland Suffrage News. Student assistants, Jane and Sydney, finished collation on the Montgomery County Sentinel. Pam coordinated a quarterly conference call with the HMNP Advisory Board to continue conversations on outreach and had a great discussion around resources we can provide to partners throughout the state to promote Chronicling America.

Additionally, Pam attended the Digital Maryland Open House at Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore and met with advisory board member, Caprice Di Liello, who hadn’t been able to attend our in-person meeting in April to provide a project update and learn about the resources at Pratt. Caprice along with Meg Gers from Pratt’s Periodicals Department shared about possible titles for future digitization as well as some of the outreach surrounding newspapers they are doing throughout the state.

We increased our HMNP social media content with Jane and Sydney adding weekly posts from the Maryland newspapers to the twitter account. Pam met with the SCUA social media team to learn about their social media campaigns and make plans to join in on future coordinated social media and outreach projects. Pam also met with Ashleigh Coren and Ben Shaw to discuss adding Chronicling America and HMNP to some of the SCUA lib guides and creating some highlighted content around certain titles that correlate with lib guide topics.

Pam also led an Advisory Board quarterly call to provide updates on batches for phase 4, to discuss recent vacancies on the Board and potential replacement members, to talk about titles or themes for a potential phase 5, and outreach ideas from the Advisory Board.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin Pike worked on FY20 vendor digitization project plans and vendor quotes. We have finalized the quotes for two of the three vendors that will be used for FY20 projects. She also worked to set up a new project management tool for FY20 vendor projects. This year, we will be exploring how Clickup, the online tool Rebecca Wack found and customized for in-house digitization in the Hornbake Digitization Center, can be used for project portfolio management.

Robin also continued to work with the Office of Research Administration to finalize the paperwork for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is now familiar with the process of creating a subaward for vendor work.

Student Liz Holdzkom reviewed deliverables for digitization projects received during May and June—Spiro Agnew audio recordings, The Diamondback student newspaper, the Brooke family papers, Internet Archive batch 3 of Mass Media and Culture serials, and files for patron requests. The first of these projects was funded by a CLIR grant, and the second three were funded by the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process.

Juana Godinez began work to inventory the DVDs she has created over many years in Library Media Services. These discs were created as access copies for film and videotapes upon requests or because of importance to the LMS collection—some media may be one copy of only a few cataloged in the world. Creating this inventory is the first step to facilitate the media’s future ingest into the Films@UM collection in UMD Digital Collections, where they will be more discoverable to the UMD community and other researchers.

Hornbake Digitization Center

The Hornbake Digitization Center is going shopping! Planned purchases include a copy stand and a post-processing software package. Copy stands are useful tools in digitization, utilizing a height-adjustable arm and a DSLR camera to create uniform images of everything from objects to rare books to photographs. It acts as an overhead tripod. The addition of a copy stand will make imaging easier for student digitization assistants and provide a better end-product for curators and patrons.

The HDC will also be purchasing LIMB Processing software. LIMB will streamline the end of the production workflow, offering tools for image cleanup (crop, rotate, de-skew), QC, derivative file creation and export, and OCR, a feature DCMR hopes to implement in the future. Whereas student assistants are currently making all image edits by hand, LIMB will allow these time-consuming processes to be automated in batches, freeing up a lot of time and, therefore, increasing the potential productivity of the Lab.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Avalon Media Repository Pilot Update

The Avalon Media Repository Pilot project will conclude in August. The principal stakeholders, representing staff across all three divisions and multiple libraries, met to discuss and recommend a plan of action regarding digital AV repository management in the future. The final report will be circulated to the Library Managers Group this fall. This is a considerable project that will impact the long term management and curation of unique digital AV materials for the Libraries, and DPI wishes to thank the many stakeholders and team members who contributed to listening sessions, consented to user experience observations, and wrangled with content, hard drives, spreadsheets, batch loaders, and password resets throughout. This was an important first step on a very complex path, and DPI could not have gotten there without excellent collaborators.

In Process

DPI continues to work on a number of projects in process, including the final migration of the Health Equity Archive, planning upgrades to Open Journal Systems, the Dataverse pilot, the CodeOcean pilot, digital collection ingests, and changes to archiving and preservation back-of-house workflows.

Software Development



Under Development

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

Archelon – continues work on Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Milestone 1 – Authentication and Access Control, Administration; began planning for Milestone 2 – Batch Export of Metadata

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

The CLAS team responded to 109 Aleph Rx submissions and 7 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in July.

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration live at UMD

UMD became the first USMAI library to implement this integration on July 15th. CLAS staff moved the NCIP functionality from Aleph’s TEST environment into production and configured UMD collections, item statuses, etc. to make everything work as expected. We’ve squashed a few related bugs in the subsequent weeks, but by and large everything is working as expected.

MARC 856 subfield 7 update

USMAI has used the value ‘FREE’ in 856 subfield 7 to identify open access URLs that should display for all USMAI patrons. Recently, the value ‘0’ was validated to indicate the same. To accommodate this and enable display/access of these URLS, changes are needed in Aleph, SFX, and EDS. Aleph and SFX TEST environments have been updated. A request has been submitted to EBSCO to update EDS catalog databases for all libraries to display unproxied URLs for these resources.

Project Work Continues!

In addition to the above, July was a busy month for support and issue resolution. Nevertheless, we made some good progress on several projects.

  • Data Warehouse: Our focus this month was on the reporting environment. We completed an upgrade to 7.2 and started work on a few configuration changes that will take care of some nagging behaviors like session timeouts and default report types.
  • Web Platform Migration: An audit of over 2500 pages of content required some heavy lifting this month. This included categorizing the content, identifying a responsible part for the content, and making some determinations on whether the content should move to the new site. Additionally, we’ve put in a request to set up our new production environment, which we hope to deploy on AWS.
  • Marcive Authority Control: A profile for the new authority control service was completed by a small but mighty working group (many thanks to the group!). Now that we have a quote, the next step is procurement.
  • EZproxy Upgrade: The upgrade of EZproxy to v6.5.2 was completed on July 3rd. The new version includes a feature called IntrusionAPI that communicates with a 3rd-party service that identifies known hacker/pirate IP addresses and audits/blocks them. CLAS is currently monitoring this service in audit mode.


We said goodbye to HMNP student assistants Sydney Schneider and Jane Sonneman this month. Sydney graduated this summer with her BA in English and has moved to LA for a job in human resources at a law firm. Jane began a graduate assistantship in the School of Engineering here at UMD and continues her studies in the HiLS program as well as working part-time in the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike guest-lectured on digitizing special collections for The Catholic University of America’s iSchool’s Special Collections class on July 22.

Kate Dohe was an invited speaker for a webinar sponsored by the ACRL Digital Scholarship Section’s (the other DSS) Open Research and Digital Collections Discussion Groups. Confronting Algorithmic Bias in Open Research Collections was attended by 237 live participants, and another 316 who registered to receive the recording after the session. Kate’s topic was “The Digital is Critical: Creating and Maintaining Radical Library Systems.” Relive the magic by watching the recording.

DSS at Code4Lib DMV 2019

The Code4Lib regional meetup took place on August 15, 2019 at the University of Baltimore, and was attended by approximately forty attendees from libraries and cultural heritage institutions located in Maryland, Virginia, DC, and Delaware. Joseph Koivisto, David Durden, and Kate Dohe took part in planning and leading the event. From DSS, Josh Westgard, Margaret Rose Hunt, Tiffany Schoneboom, Joseph Koivisto, and Kate Dohe presented on a variety of topics over the course of the day.

Stew of the month: June 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

In June, Pam completed the final QC on the sample batch after several rounds of rework with the digitization vendor for this NDNP grant cycle and submitted it to the Library of Congress. Also, Pam began preparing production batches to be able to submit those for digitization as soon as we have approval from the Library of Congress from their review of our sample batch. We have received additional content for student workers, Jane and Sydney, to begin collation for the Montgomery County Sentinel. Pam met with HMNP advisory board member, Anna Kephart, at the Southern Maryland Studies Center who wasn’t able to attend the April meeting to learn about the focus for Southern Maryland and discuss outreach.

Other Digitization Projects

The USAIN Ceres Dig kickoff grant meeting occurred for the Preserving the History of Maryland Agriculture and Rural Life: Microfilm to Digital project, which will digitize a selection of serial titles originally preserved as part of a USAIN-NEH microfilming project. DCMR is coordinating with STEM Librarian, Stephanie Ritchie, and SCUA on this project.

Robin met with collection managers and curators to finalize the details of FY20 projects funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee process. She also worked with various stakeholders including Stephanie Ritchie, Mary Dulaney, Joanne Archer, Pam McClanahan, the Business and Budget Office, and the university Office of Research Administration to set up the infrastructure for digitization grants received recently to digitize historic agriculture publications and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange collection.

New student Liz Holdzkom began performing quality control on projects received from vendors recently including finishing the Spiro Agnew audio recordings funded by a CLIR grant, several patron requests, and began exploring new project management tools as DCMR will be making a transition to a new tool to manage vendor project progress.

Hornbake Digitization Center

Digitization Services Librarian Rebecca Wack attended the ALA vendor hall and explored new equipment for the Digitization Center. Planning is underway for an overhaul of Hornbake Digitization Lab’s services and technical specifications and an equipment refresh is at the top of the agenda. Wack will approach curators in the coming months to conduct need assessments for undigitized collections, and a plan will be drawn up to bring in-house digitization services up to modern professional standards. Stay tuned for updates in this process, and feel free to contact Rebecca Wack ( with any feedback or requests.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Spring 2019 ETDs Loaded in DRUM

More than 375 theses and dissertations were recently added to DRUM from the Spring 2019 semester bringing the total number to 14,662. Embargo requests have been averaging 42% since 2006. Check out this important UMD research at

Software Development


Released Alpha version of the new Search All (Bento), which is a discovery interface connecting library patrons to many of the University Libraries’ research tools including WorldCat UMD, Database Finder, and LibGuides. You can even search the library website with it. Search All provides library patrons an intuitive way to find the information they need while helping them understand the different research tools the library offers. The  alpha release is open to the library community to experiment with the tool and provide feedback.  We have also provided a variant which searches Ebsco Discovery Service instead of WorldCat UMD for “Books and More” and “Articles” searches.

Released the final Libi navigation improvements, based on mockups and usability testing, which were considered essential for a full cutover from Old Libi.  Cutover of the Libi hostname and freezing content updates in Old Libi is scheduled for September 3.

Under Development

Treasury of World’s Fair Art and Architecture – finalized preview release for the new exhibit theme based website to replace the existing interface

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

Archelon – began work on Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Milestone 1 – Authentication and Access Control, Administration

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

The CLAS team responded to 98 Aleph Rx submissions and 8 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in June.

June brings the end of the fiscal year, which brings with it the close of the first six months of our annual work plan and a projection of our next six months (along with completing the fiscal year end closeout process for all libraries!).

Our highest priority work plan items continued in June and will carry into the second half of the year::

  • Data Warehouse Phase-1: The dataset from Aleph was refreshed in early June. We now have a fairly stable (though time-consuming) process for updating the data on a monthly basis, which will make the reporting from the data warehouse more useful while we continue development of the ETL program for processing daily updates. Our beta user group continued their review of the reporting environment and have helped to begin drafting documentation and design the organization of attributes available for reporting. A wider release to more users/libraries is in the works for July. If you are interested in getting an early look for either yourself or your library, please email David Dahl (
  • Web Platform Migration: Our audit of current content on the USMAI websites (over 2000 pages!) continued in June. We also began making design decisions about the overall site structure and user permissions. The primary goals of the new structure and permissions is to make the site as open as possible and facilitate self-sufficiency for website users.
  • Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration: Testing has been completed, and the working group has produced a final report. The report includes a plan for rolling out this integration to USMAI libraries with College Park scheduled first and planning to go live in mid-July.

New projects are on the horizon looking ahead to July:

  • Authority Control Service Implementation: Marcive has been selected as a replacement service for LTI. CLAS will be working with the Metadata Subgroup to complete our Marcive profile and work through the procurement process for this new service.
  • OPAC Redesign: The User Experience Subgroup has delivered recommendations for improving/redesigning the Aleph OPAC. Given other projects, personnel capacity to address these recommendations is limited. CLAS will review the recommendations and look for opportunities to address the identified issues.


DCMR will be gaining a new staff member–Juana Godinez, Multimedia Technician formerly in Library Media Services, is joining DCMR. She will be helping us expand digitization services over the next several months.

Liz Holdzkom, a graduate student in the Masters in Library and Information Science program, joined DCMR as the Digitization Projects Assistant.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Pam McClanahan attended ALA June 21-24 including participating in NDNP newspaper meetings held at the Library of Congress during ALA to discuss issues related to newspaper preservation and access. Pam followed up with part two of her SAA – Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) student survey analysis at the DAS committee monthly meeting. Additionally, Pam volunteered at National History Day as a judge for the junior group website division seeing student projects from all over the country.

Stew of the month: March/April 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

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

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

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

Other Digitization Projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hornbake Digitization Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

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

The Continuing Ballad of Open Journal Systems

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

Digital Collections Updates

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

Software Development

Under Development

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

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

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

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

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

Archelon – implementing usability improvements based on usability testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data Warehouse Phase-1

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

Web Platform Migration

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

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration

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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

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

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

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

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

Stew of the month: May 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

Chronicling America hit a major milestone in May reaching 15 million pages of historic newspapers. Maryland has contributed over 300,000 pages to ChronAm and will share another 110,000 pages by the end of this grant round. To celebrate the milestone we participated along with other states in the monthly #ChronAmParty on Twitter with mentions of “15 million” in the papers (here’s an example from Maryland).

For this round, we’re still in the process of completing rework on our sample batch, but will be submitting it to the Library of Congress in early June. Once the sample has been approved, we’ll begin submitting full batches of 10,000 pages monthly to LC. We should be receiving additional titles next month for collation to continue as well. We have had two vacancies come up on the HMNP Advisory Board this month – one in Southern Maryland and one on the Eastern Shore, and we’ll be looking to fill those positions by the Fall. Additionally, Pam has been working with the Maryland State Archives to coordinate a data transfer of the previous HMNP historic newspaper files for MSA to act as a backup for that data.

Pam will be working on outreach over the summer to be ready for promoting the project in the Fall including the website, social media, and presentations. Jane and Sydney continued the family history research projects they began last month, which will be used for outreach presentations and “how-to” guides for using Chronicling America for genealogical research.

Other Digitization Activities

Bria Parker, head of Discovery and Metadata Services, has once again teamed up with Rebecca Wack to streamline the workflows responsible for getting digitized audio-visual material online and accessible to our patrons in as painless a fashion as possible. Using new project management tools, and with a bit of tweaking, AV content digitized in the Hornbake Digitization Lab will be uploaded into Digital Collections on a monthly basis, creating a predictable model that should better serve both curators and users alike.

Robin Pike has received deliverables back from the vendors for the Spiro Agnew project, funded by a CLIR grant; the third shipment of MMC Serials; the Brooke family papers; and the Diamondback digitization project, the latter three funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee. Student Christie Scully began to review files before her departure.

Robin also began having conversations about video digitization standards with collections areas in the Libraries. In an effort to not overload digital preservation and create an extended bottleneck, we will be switching from 10-bit uncompressed files to 8-bit uncompressed files for most videotape media, unless specified by the collection area. Most collection managers are on-board with this change for their collections as the change does not degrade content past the point of usefulness and it will allow us to digitize more content for the same digital preservation storage.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Research Data Services

DPI is currently piloting Dataverse, a digital repository solution for access to research data, and will assess the current and future abilities for research data stewardship within the Libraries. Participating in the pilot for course credit is archives field study intern Margaret Rose Hunt, a current graduate student in UMD’s iSchool and graduate assistant in User Services and Resource Sharing. Margaret Rose will take the lead in assessing the capabilities of Dataverse, populating the system with test datasets, and will gain hands-on experience with digital curation for research datasets. The pilot will run until the end of August and will culminate in a report documenting the results of the pilot including recommendations for future efforts in research data curation.

Software Development


Released the new President’s Commission on Disability Issues website in collaboration with the School of Public Health Center for Health Equity. The website is maintained by Nedelina Tchangalova, Public Health Librarian.

Released a new Archelon version with several usability improvements, including reorganized filters which feature the Collection filter, and improved Fedora resource navigation.

Under Development

Bento Search – Switch to a CMS based frontend integrated with the Libraries’ Website.  Final preparations for an Alpha release in June.

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

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

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

AdminTools – implementing several enhancements to AdminTools to remove some of its annoying behaviors

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

The CLAS team responded to 61 Aleph Rx submissions and 14 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in May.

In addition to keeping up with day-to-day service requests, our not insignificant haul of complex, high priority projects continued:

  • Data Warehouse Phase-1: The users are coming! We had the pleasure of introducing the data warehouse reporting environment to our first cohort of beta users. Their insights and feedback have been helpful as we prepare for a wider release in July. Right now, the reporting environment contains a one-time snapshot of Aleph data. We’ll be refreshing that in early June. In parallel, development of the ETL program to process incremental changes continues. That program now has its own Github repository!
  • Web Platform Migration: Configuration of our development environment continued in May. We installed several Confluence add-ons that are expected to enhance collaboration in USMAI, including add-ons for discussion forums, enhanced user profiles, and events. We’ve also been combing through existing website content as part of a content audit to help inform the structure of the new site.
  • Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration: Testing by the pilot libraries is underway and plans to move the integration into production are emerging. College Park plans to implement the integration in mid-July with the other beta libraries following shortly thereafter. Once all three libraries are up and running, implementation will be opened up to other interested libraries.

May was an event-full month with a USMAI event happening seemingly every week. It’s always a great opportunity for CLAS team members to network with staff at USMAI libraries. Special recognition goes to Katia Fowler who handled the logistics for the barrage of events adeptly, allowing planners and participants to focus on the content and goals of the events. Well done!


DPI said “peace out” to new MLIS graduates Carlos Alvarado and Annie Hendrick in May. They’ll be missed, but their contributions to services and projects like ArchivesSpace, Archelon, DRUM, Open Journals Systems, Avalon, and much more will continue to have impact in DSS and the Libraries. Congratulations and best of luck to both!

Christie Scully, Digitization Projects Assistant in DCMR, left her position for a full-time internship.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Durden attended the Research Data Access and Preservation (RDAP) summit on May 15-16 in Coral Gables, Fl. This year’s summit included talks from data practitioners including librarians, archivists, researchers, and community activists.

Kate Dohe attended CNI and the Duraspace Summit in St. Louis in April, but completely forgot for last month’s update. She’s sure this is pressing news for everyone.

Pam McClanahan served as a judge at Maryland History Day held at UMBC on May 11 for the junior exhibit division.

Robin and Pam provided an overview of DCMR and a tour of HDC for Carolyn Sheffield, the new Associate Director of Library Technology & Digital Strategies at UMBC.