Stew of the month: February 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 has partnered with the Maryland Humanities Council to provide student resources for next year’s Maryland History Day. Research guides focused on the 2019 theme of “Triumph and Tragedy” will offer articles from historic Maryland newspapers as well as related content from Special Collections and University Archives, affording 8th-, 9th-, and 11th-grade students an opportunity to access the past through primary source materials.

Look to Twitter on the third Tuesday of each month for a Chronicling America hashtag party. The HMNP (@HistoricMDNews) and other NDNP awardees nationwide tweet newspaper content following that month’s theme. Past themes have included: #LoveBeforeTwitter, #WeirdWeatherNews, #HistoricHoliday, and others. This month, we’ll be tweeting about #WomensHistoryMonth. Search Twitter for #ChronAmParty to enjoy past content.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin and Rebecca Wack collaborated with Elizabeth Novara and Eric Stoykovich (SCUA) to write a grant application to the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk program. They proposed digitizing over 500 analog audio recordings from the Spiro T. Agnew collection.

Robin worked with the members of the Digitization Initiatives Committee (DIC) (Joanne Archer, Carla Montori (CSS), Eileen Harrington (PSD), Mary Dulaney (Development)) to prioritize and draft a budget for FY19 vendor digitization projects. They will continue finalizing the budget through March and present the final budget to the Libraries Resources Group at the end of March.

Robin Pike sent out the following projects: National Federation of Community Broadcasters (600 reels), which was funded by a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant (SCUA); Hebraica book project, batch 1 (general collections); Diamondback newspaper project, batch 1 (SCUA); Mass Media and Culture serials, batch 3; and Godowsky archival collection, which went to two different vendors based on the type of work that needed to be performed (digitization v. preservation and digitization) (IPAM). The latter four projects were funded by the DIC project proposal process. She also sent out multiple patron video digitization requests to vendors, since we cannot digitize analog video in-house.

Assistant Cecilia Franck completed the review of the AADHum digitization project, flagging remaining rework for the vendor. Robin worked with the vendor to ship remaining rework back to the vendor. Ed Summers from the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) received the files that have passed from Robin and loaded them into tools for the upcoming Digital Humanities incubators that MITH is hosting for researchers.

Cecilia also performed or managed quality control review on files from the Internet Archive of Mass Media and Culture serials, volumes of the Trades Unionist that were stable enough to be digitized by a vendor, and the Black Explosion, a UMD student newspaper.

Digitization Assistant Sydney Schneider has begun digitizing items for the Special Collections annual exhibit, which will feature materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection. She has also made considerable progress in digitizing extremely brittle issues of the Trades Unionist, a labor publication held by SCUA, and gingerly preserved and stabilized for digitization by multiple staff in Preservation and Conservation; Sydney is not handling the pages as she digitizes them, but the mylar and tissue paper enclosures that Preservation created. Digitization Assistants Brahm Persaud and Karina Hagelin continued to digitize historical manuscript collections. Digitization Assistant Kiri Houpt made considerable progress in digitizing interviews and performances from the Tanglewood Symposium, held by Special Collections in Performing Arts.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New Theses and Dissertations in DRUM

More than 200 theses and dissertations from the fall 2017 semester have recently been added to DRUM bringing the total to 13,350. Check out the latest research from UMD grads at

Research Data Services

David Durden presented “Managing Data from Your Research,” a workshop hosted through the Libraries’ Research Commons, on February 6. The workshop was attended by over 30 graduates students and faculty.

David was also involved in planning UMD Endangered Data Week events for the week of February 26. On February 28 he also presented a workshop covering data management and a hands-on instructional session for OpenRefine.

Digital Collections

February saw continued progress in developing the systems and workflows for managing additional assets in our Fedora 4 repository. The collections slated to be loaded in the coming months include a set of posters and wall newspapers from the Prange collection, and the Katherine Anne Porter correspondence, as well as several other collections. As we load additional content types into our repository, the contours of a generic “digital asset” (and its necessary attributes) are becoming clearer, which will in the long run facilitate the development of a general asset management application.

Terps Publish 2018

Planning for the 2018 Terps Publish event is underway, to be held April 10th in the Portico Room of McKeldin Library. Like last year, this event provides a closed discussion forum and public showcase for student publishers in the UMD community. Kate Dohe, Terry Owen, and Fiona Jardine are the DPI team members most involved in planning the event, with research and web design support from DPI GA Carlos Alvarado.

Software Development

Search (Bento Box)

We are working with the new Discovery Committee to build a new search application, in the style of the Bento Box, which will allow us to present users with a single search box which will assist them in discovery of our many available information resources. We will be releasing an Alpha version to Libraries’ faculty/staff for initial testing and feedback in the next several months.  The plan is to release the application in Beta to the entire campus community in the Fall, as a candidate for production release in Spring 2019.

Broadcasting Content Management

We released version 1.0 of the Broadcasting Content Management Pilot application to our stakeholders for production use.  This Digital Data Services project uses the Avalon Media System to ingest and manage the captured streaming media for a commercial broadcasting company.  As a side benefit the Libraries are learning how to manage and deploy Avalon which we will pilot for Libraries’ use sometime in 2018. 

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

The CLAS team responded to 77 Aleph Rx submissions and 29 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in February.

Web and Social Media Support

CLAS has increased its support of USMAI’s web and social media efforts. Heidi Hanson has taken the lead on this. She has performed some cleanup and “networking” on USMAI’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. These channels plus will be a great way to keep up with the activities of USMAI and its member libraries. So, as they say, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Web Platform Evaluation

CLAS began its evaluation of web platforms for running USMAI’s website (currently consisting of three different websites). The evaluation is based on requirements developed during an analysis conducted in late 2016. Platforms that are being evaluated include Springshare tools, Confluence, Drupal, and Hippo CMS. From the evaluation, CLAS will either make a recommendation or propose possible solutions for USMAI to consider.


Joseph Koivisto developed a prototype Twitter bot in order to better promote new items submitted to MD-SOAR. This has been shared with the MD-SOAR partners for their review. If deemed useful to their efforts, we’ll begin work to move this into a production environment.


Alex Riccomini has joined the CLAS team as Data Warehouse Architect. He brings a wealth of experience in data warehousing and business intelligence that will be valuable to USMAI’s efforts to stand up a data warehouse for the consortium.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike collaborated with other steering committee members to co-led the first Digital Library Federation Project Managers Group listserv chat. The chat addressed questions about planning for labor and temporary positions for projects.

DSS at code4lib 2018

A number of DSS staff attended and volunteered at the annual code4lib conference held in Washington, DC, from February 13th-16th. Kate Dohe and Ben Wallberg were members of the Local Planning Committee, which is the central volunteer committee responsible for planning and organizing the conference for the year leading up to the event. David Durden and Joseph Koivisto were onsite volunteers for the conference, and among other tasks helped staff the registration desk, manage social media channels, and provided local guidance on navigating the city. Peter Eichman, Tiffany Shoneboom, and Josh Westgard attended the conference from DSS.

Stew of the month: January 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 approaching the finish line. With 6 months left in the grant period, 50,000 pages of digitized historic newspapers have been approved by Library of Congress with an additional 50,000 pages in various stages of the review and submission process. With deliverables well in hand, the HMNP is shifting its focus towards outreach and engagement opportunities, particularly in the realm of the middle school and high school classroom.

Phase 3 titles that are currently available include: The CIO News, Democratic Messenger, Frostburg Mining Journal, Greenbelt Cooperator, Maryland Independent, Maryland Suffrage News, The Midland Journal, The Voice of Labor, and the Worcester Democrat and the Ledger-enterprise.

Robin, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath collaborated on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant application to extend the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project into its fourth phase.

Other Digitization Activities

Assistant Cecilia Franck continued the review of batch 2 files and Robin Pike sent the first batch of rework to the vendor for the Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum) project.

Robin worked with Joanne Archer, Laura Schnitker, and Laura Cleary (all SCUA) on an outreach plan and preparation to ship  600 reels from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection for the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk grant. The materials will ship in February with Digitization to take place in March and April.

Robin and Rebecca worked with Liz Novara and Eric Stoykovich (both SCUA) on a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant application to digitize 559 audio recordings from the Spiro T. Agnew collection.

Robin worked with collection managers and Preservation staff in preparing collection materials for projects that will be shipped to digitization vendors in January and February, including the Godowsky collection from IPAM, the Hebraica project, and Mass Media and Culture serials.

Robin met with Amy Wasserstrom and Kana Jenkins to provide instruction and planning for the digitization portion of the annual SCUA exhibit; digitization will commence in February.

Robin met with Liz Novara to plan the digitization of a scrapbook in the Filipino American Community Archives collection, which will be digitized in-house by a student assistant.

Robin also met with Vin Novara (SCPA) to plan and re-start the second phase of the Tanglewood audio recording in-house digitization project. The first phase was completed in 2016.

Student assistants concluded the first phase of the rare books in-house digitization project. They continued to digitize a manuscript collection from the Claude family.

DCMR concluded uploading and performing quality control on manuscript collections from the Grimes, Hamilton, Waldron, and Weems-Reynolds families, which are now available in Digital Collections.

Software Development

Archival Collections

We have released the new ArchivesSpace public interface with theme and navigation changes in support of UMD Libraries branding.  However, the third-party Aeon plugin for requesting materials was not ready for prime time so the release was downgraded to a soft release to staff only.  We will continue to point users to ArchivesUM until the Aeon plugin is ready for release.

University Libraries Website

We’ve added the new University Banner to the University Libraries website along with the “Make a Gift” link required by the University for all public facing websites, and are in the process of rolling out this banner to all of our websites.

Breadcrumbs in a website are important for both Search Engine Optimization and for user navigation and have been long overdue for the website.  They have finally arrived and you can see them in action on the Interlibrary Loan Services page.

Structured Data is another important feature for Search Engine Optimization and for general discoverability.  We have begun adding JSON-LD linked data to the website beginning with the Staff Directory and the new Breadcrumbs.  For examples visit Tahirah Akbar-Williams or Interlibrary Loan Services and view page source or enter their URLs into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Digital Collections

We have removed the outdated Flash based image viewer in Digital Collections and replaced it with Mirador, a IIIF image viewer implemented using JavaScript. This has allowed us to roll HTTPS back out to the Digital Collections website.
The new Data Set Hosting feature in Archelon is complete, allowing for non public access data sets to be loaded in Archelon and distributed to users through single use download URLs.

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

The CLAS team responded to 133 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in January.

ScienceDirect SFX Autoloader

Ingrid Alie worked with Towson University to set up an SFX autoloader for their ScienceDirect subscriptions. The autoloader is a mechanism to allow libraries to automatically update their ScienceDirect entitlements. Since ScienceDirect entitlements do not always align completely with standard packages, the autoloader functionality saves library staff significant time by eliminating the need to manually activate/deactivate individual titles. This feature is available to all USMAI libraries with ScienceDirect subscriptions. A similar autoloader is also available for Ovid.

LHR Batchload Projects Migrated to Data Sync

OCLC is in the process of transitioning all Batchload Services projects to WorldShare Collection Manager and its data sync collections. Linda has worked with OCLC staff to transition USMAI’s and UMD’s Local Holdings Records (LHR) projects to data sync collections. These batch loads make LHR information available in WorldCat.

Inventory Working Group

Members of the Inventory Working Group have completed their testing of Aleph functionality and provided their feedback to CLAS. David Wilt is leading CLAS efforts in compiling a final report of the working group’s findings and recommendations for moving forward. The final report is expected to be delivered in February.


During testing of the upgrade to DSpace 6, an error was found that prevented items from being deposited into the repository (which is kind of a big deal!). This was traced back to an issue with the default DSpace attributes sent to EZID for registering DOIs with DataCite. A fix has been put in place and redeployed to the MD-SOAR development environment for further internal testing.

User and System Support

USS has upgraded the wireless video technology in rooms 6103 and 6107. The previous ActionTech wireless video transmitters and receivers constantly crashed and the transmitted video was often choppy. However, the new IOgear wireless digital kit transmits HD quality video that isn’t choppy or stutters. While testing the new system, USS threw everything they could at it, but wasn’t successful to cause the system to crash. Hopefully, library staff will have a better time when using the equipment this fall semester.

A new image has been applied on the public computers. The new image refreshes the operating systems and applications in preparation for the fall semester. The image fixes the start menu and search bar, lessens the time to log on, installs patches and security updates, and upgrades the applications to their latest versions.

In 2017, the User and System Support department closed 5,556 service requests. This number could have been larger if not for the fact that USS has been more proactive instead of reactive. Instead of waiting to fix a problem that happens, USS take steps to stop the problem before it can happen. USS makes sure the operating systems of the computers and servers are patch monthly. The images created for the public and classroom computers are changed each semester to provide fewer problems to students. More applications have been installed on staff computers than in the past, causing fewer service requests to have applications installed. In Mckeldin, USS staff are present during the first few days of the semester to assists students on how to print and scan, causing less headache for public service staff and fewer calls into the helpdesk. These are just a few of many examples of how USS has been more proactive so staff and students can do their work and assignments with as less stress as possible. However, even though USS has taken many preëmptive steps already, there is more that can be done. USS constantly evaluates additional steps to stop problems before they can occur.


Eric Cartier, Digital Librarian in DCMR, left UMD Libraries at the end of January to pursue further career opportunities in Baton Rouge, LA. He worked in his position for five years, managing the daily operations of the Hornbake Digitization Center, focusing on in-house requests and projects, and managing students who performed this work.

Tiffany Schoneboom is our new Applications Developer in Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR), and by virtue of providing development support to consortial applications so she also sits as a member of the Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team. Tiffany received her BA in Music and International Relations from the College of William and Mary and her MS in Information Science and MA in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University-Bloomington. Tiffany has experience in academic publishing, archiving, and web development and is coming to us from the American Chemical Society Publications.

Former student assistant Cecilia Franck was hired as a Contingent 1 employee to continue their work performing preparation and quality control on vendor projects and has expanded to doing this for in-house requests and projects, as well, assisting Robin in managing these operations in the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Kiri Houpt, current College of Information Studies masters student and Graduate Assistant in the STEM Library, began working as a part-time student assistant in the Hornbake Digitization Center. She will be learning about the digitization process, with a focus on audio digitization.

Stew of the month: December 2017

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, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) continued to work on a grant application for the HMNP Phase Four project. Titles representing immigrant communities are on the docket for potential digitization, including Czech, Italian, and German-language titles from Baltimore. With new batches of Maryland papers being uploaded to Chronicling America each month, the HMNP now boasts over 40% of Phase Three’s digitized titles published and available to the public. The most recent addition is Snow Hill, Md.’s Democratic Messenger, with issues dating back to 1881.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

Robin Pike continues to manage assistant Cecilia Franck in performing quality control of the files. Some amount of rework will need to be performed so quality control is taking longer than usual.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin worked with Vin Novara and John Davis (MSPAL/SCPA) to send a large collection of primarily digital videotapes of Clarice performances to an audiovisual digitization vendor. This project was funded as part of the DIC project proposal process.

Robin collaborated with Joanne Archer, Laura Schnitker, and Laura Cleary (all SCUA) to discuss the path forward for the CLIR Recordings at Risk National Federation of Community Broadcasters project, including prepping the materials and contract, and planning future outreach and social media posts about the collection.

Eric Cartier announced he will be leaving at the end of January to pursue other opportunities in Baton Rouge, LA, moving with Amanda Hawk (SCUA). Robin Pike began making preparations for his departure in concluding active in-house digitization projects and implementing new ways to track in-house projects that will allow her to balance managing both vendor and in-house projects for the short-term.

Rebecca Wack and Judi Kidd assisted Robin throughout November and December, managing the Digitization Center, and will continue to do so in January. Cecilia Franck, a recently graduated student assistant, will become a C1 assistant to help Robin manage the daily operations of the Hornbake Digitization Center. Robin and Cecilia will be meeting with stakeholders in January and February to discuss short-term reduced operations and in-house project schedules.

Eric Cartier has been working to conclude quality control of outstanding projects, has been writing documentation about 2017 and 2016 projects, and has updated many procedures for the digitization center.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Katherine Anne Porter Collection Progress

DPI prepared a batch load process for the Katherine Anne Porter letters, and tested loading the letters on a development server. Loading the content into a production environment awaits the provisioning of additional storage space in January.

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

The CLAS team responded to 66 Aleph Rx submissions and 20 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in December.

HTTPS for Aleph OPAC

As part of the trend to move to encrypt all web traffic by enabling/enforcing HTTPS, CLAS has enabled HTTPS across all functions of the Aleph OPAC. Ultimately HTTPS will be enforced in the OPAC, meaning that any HTTP traffic will be redirected to HTTPS. However, a few campus-specific applications need to be modified and tested before this change can be made.

EZproxy upgrade

EZproxy was upgraded to version 6.3.5 for all USMAI libraries that have a USMAI-hosted instance of EZproxy. This upgrade includes important updates to ensure the continued security of the primary access method for libraries’ licensed resources.

Aleph Support to Campuses

Booking functionality for UMBC

David Wilt worked with UMBC to set up booking functionality in Aleph for UMBC’s reserves items. This will allow UMBC’s patrons to schedule in advance the use of reserves materials. Testing was completed and this functionality is now in production.

GOBI shelf-ready loader for LNDL

Joseph Koivisto worked with LNDL to configure Aleph to accommodate LNDL’s use of GOBI’s “shelf-ready” service. This service will automate the provisioning of records in Aleph and reduce the work LNDL needs to do to make resources available to their users. The loader configuration is currently being tested and will be moved to production once testing is successfully completed.

Label printing for UMD

Linda Seguin has been working with library staff at UMD to determine if the BIAF label printing program will work for their label printing needs. UMD has been using a homegrown application for a number of years.


DSpace Version Upgrade

The upgrade to DSpace version 6 continued in December. Work was completed on the release branch for version 6.2 and promoted it to the MD-SOAR development environment for internal testing. DSS will review internally in early January after which the release will be promoted to the MD-SOAR sandbox/stage environment for review by MD-SOAR partners.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Joseph Koivisto attended “Advancing Postsecondary Student Success Through OER”, a day-long summit sponsored by the University System of Maryland and other partners, on December 8th.

Stew of the month: November 2017

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 has published two more batches totaling 22,565 pages to Chronicling America. These batches include The Midland Journal, a title published in Rising Sun, MD, a small town in far northeast Maryland, providing researchers and history enthusiasts a unique perspective into Maryland’s diverse history, focusing on agriculture. One more batch has been approved by the Library of Congress and will be online soon, with another batch currently at LC. The remaining six batches are in progress at the digitization vendor or are back at UMD for quality review.

Rebecca Wack reached out to partners for the next grant cycle, which will include the Maryland State Archives, the Greenbelt Cooperator office, the Montgomery County Historical Society, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument museum in Washington, DC for the fourth grant application. She is currently exploring additional partnerships for additional non-English titles. The fourth application will focus on strengths in local Maryland news, non-English titles, a Maryland suffrage paper written by women (digitized in time for the centennial of its publication and Women’s Suffrage), papers of record in Maryland, and titles expanding into the 1923-1963 period.

Rebecca, Robin Pike, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) began writing the fourth grant application; Rebecca and Doug will be Co-Principal Investigators and Robin will be moving into an advisory role.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

We received the files for batch 2 back from the vendor. Robin Pike is managing assistant Cecilia Franck in performing quality control of the files.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with Joanne Archer and Laura Schnitker to ship one large batch containing the Arthur Godfrey wire recordings and the Maryland Public Television videotapes to the audiovisual digitization vendor. She received back two shipments from one digitization vendor–the first containing the Athletics videotape digitization project and the Spiro Agnew audiotape digitization project, and the second containing Library Media Services films, the American Bandmasters Association audiotape recordings, and Woody’s Children audiotape recordings. All of these projects were funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee Process.

Robin worked with collection managers to refine project ideas for the Digitization Initiatives Committee proposal process.

Robin met with Rebecca, Mary Dulaney (Development), and Joanne Archer (SCUA) to debrief about the October grants workshop and begin planning future grant-writing workshops for 2018.

Robin and Rebecca also met with Liz Novara, Eric Stoykovich, and Joanne Archer (all SCUA), and Mary Dulaney to discuss and plan an application for the third round of the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant application to digitize a few hundred audiotape recordings from the Spiro Agnew collection. The application is due in February.

Robin met with Mary Dulaney and Joanne Archer separately to assist with National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant application planning for a potential project to further support the National Federation of Community Broadcasters audio collection.

To plan for Eric Cartier’s departure in January, he began working on updating digitization center procedures, and Robin began managing daily operations of the Hornbake Digitization Center.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Fedora Community Contributions

Over the past two months, UMD Libraries contributed back to the Fedora community through first identifying, and then developing a solution for, a significant performance bug in Fedora. The bug in question was causing the repository to lock up with respect to write operations during large batch ingests of student newspaper content. The underlying cause was not immediately apparent, but after much trial and error and troubleshooting in both SSDR and DPI, we were able to determine that it was being caused by the repository’s internal audit module.

This experience illustrates both some costs and benefits of participation in an open-source community. During the troubleshooting process, the wider Fedora community (accessible through the weekly Fedora Tech calls) was ready to assist with debugging advice and by attempting to recreate our specific issue. Unfortunately, it proved to be a very difficult error to reproduce in a deterministic way, which made it difficult for the community to provide concrete assistance with debugging. In the end, it fell to the UMD Libraries to identify and resolve the problem, which resulted in some not insignificant costs in staff time and project delays. By contributing our discoveries and solutions back to the community, however, we hope that others can avoid encountering the same issue in the future. In turn, the UMD Libraries will benefit from future bug fixes and feature development happening at other institutions. Of course, the promise of shared solutions to common problems and needs will only be realized as long as there is a healthy community of adopters who are using the software at production scale and actively contributing back to the project.

Software Development


We began customization of the new ArchivesSpace public interface for release in January, focusing on theme and navigation changes in support of UMD Libraries branding.  We are also testing out a new Aeon plugin for requesting materials which is a prerequisite for general release of the public interface and replacement of the old ArchivesUM application.

Bento Box Search

We have created a working prototype of a Bento Box search solution using NCSU’s Quick Search application. We have demonstrated search of our WorldCat Local instance as well as LibGuides and Ask Us.  Further work to prepare for a Beta release is now on hold pending review and approval of the Discovery Group Final Report and creation of an oversight body for the Bento Box project.

Web Accessibility Audit

The university has created in Interim UMD Web Accessibility Policy to improve accessibility of all campus websites used to conduct university business. The first phase of implementation includes an audit of all websites and the placement of a Web Accessibility link on all websites.  We have identified 37 Libraries’ websites matching the criteria and are nearing 100% completion for adding the required link.  Work will continue over the next three years to bring all websites up to meet W3C WCAG 2.0 Level AA accessibility requirements.

Digital Collections

The release of the new UMD Student Newspapers collection strained several of the components we use to search and deliver the newspaper content.  In response we have spent some time upgrading the backend Solr search and IIIF image delivery systems, as well as making performance improvements to the Mirador newspaper viewer itself.
The coding for the new Data Set Hosting feature in Archelon was complete some months ago, but delayed in getting approval to promote through to production.  We have now resumed getting this setup in the server environments and promoting through to production.  Once installed it will allow non public access data sets to be loaded in Archelon and distributed to users through single use download URLs.
The fedora content repository comes with a built-in fixity checker for single individual bitstreams, but does not contain any feature for regular review and reporting of all the bitstreams loaded into the repository.  We are building such a system which will check fixity on ingest and on a periodic basis for all bitstreams, record the results in the audit log, and notify staff in the case of failed checks.


Work continues on the new Libi staff intranet developed using Hippo CMS for the website and Google Drive for document management. We are wrapping up initial development in preparation for a Beta release of the application for early adopter testing and feedback.  The Libi Advisory Team is currently gathering volunteer groups to begin testing in February.  We are currently expecting to being production use of the new Libi at the end of the Spring semester.

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

The CLAS team responded to 109 Aleph Rx submissions and 33 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in November.

Aleph Inventory Functionality

The Inventory Working Group began its testing of Aleph inventory functionality. CLAS set up permissions for testers and analyzed the four Aleph functions used for inventorying in order to optimize the inventory process.

New SFX Journal Search and Citation Linker Interfaces

Ex Libris recently released a new user interface for Journal Search and Citation Linker. CLAS has configured the new interfaces for all USMAI libraries that use SFX.

The direct URL for Journal Search is:
The direct URL for Fetch item (Citation Linker) is:

where xx = two-letter campus code.

Ebook Central DDA Support

CLAS worked with ProQuest to have files of titles for the USMAI ebook DDA collections delivered automatically for loading into SFX. ProQuest was able to set up an FTP site and is delivering CSV files of titles weekly. Linda Seguin scripted the transformation of the file data for loading into SFX. Work remains to schedule the loading of data into SFX.


DSpace Version Upgrade

Work continued on the upgrade to version 6 of DSpace. The upgrade is expect to be deployed to the Libraries internal development environment in December. After an internal review, the upgrade will be moved to the Stage/Sandbox environment for MD-SOAR partners to review.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack attended the Association of Moving Image Archivists conference in New Orleans, LA from November 29-December 2. Robin also presented on a panel session titled “Preservation is Painless: A Guide to Outsourced AV Digitization Project Management.” Her segment of the presentation focused on planning projects and resources around projects in a systematic way before coordinating with the vendor for digitization.

Robin began her service on the Digital Library Federation Forum’s Project Managers Group Steering Committee. This is a two-year, self-nominated position.

Ben Wallberg attended Samvera Connect at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Samvera is a grass-roots, open source community creating digital asset management solutions for Libraries, Archives, Museums and others. We are not currently using Samvera but are considering doing so.  Ben attended the conference to gauge the state of the software and the community for potential use as part of our Digital Collections program.

Stew of the month: October 2017

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 has published its first batch of the new grant cycle to Chronicling America. The Greenbelt Cooperator, a cooperative community paper founded in 1937 as part of FDR’s New Deal, and the Frostburg Mining Journal, a labor-centric title out of a western Maryland mining community, are now available online, providing researchers and history enthusiasts a unique perspective into Maryland’s diverse history. A second batch has already been approved by Library of Congress, and five batches averaging 10,000 pages each have been submitted to date, bringing the project to 50% complete.

We will begin reaching out to partners for the next grant cycle as this third grant concludes August 2018 and applications for the next grant are due January 2018.

Synergies Among African American History and Culture (AADHum)

Scott Pennington, Project Manager, completed quality assurance for batch 1 and the Driskell Center audio batch, and completed metadata for the project. He worked with Jen Eidson in SCUA to deliver the completed metadata to enhance the future AFL-CIO collection guide.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike and Laura Schnitker (SCUA) received a Council on Information Library Resources (CLIR) Recordings at Risk grant for $21,398 to digitize 600 open reel audiotapes from the National Federation of Community Broadcasting Archives collection in Mass Media and Culture!

Robin announced the beginning of the Digitization Initiatives Committee (DIC) project proposal cycle at the Library Assembly meeting on October 19. The DIC will be accepting proposals through December 15. More information can be found on the group’s Libi page.

Robin coordinated the shipment of the following projects to vendors: American Bandmasters Association audio (SCPA), Library Media Services films (PSD), and Woody’s Children audio (SCPA). These projects will be paid via the DIC project proposal process.

Eric Cartier coordinated with Liz Novara and Eric Stoykovich (both SCUA) and several digitization assistants to digitize in-house a subset of audio recordings from the Spiro T. Agnew collection. He also worked with Liz Novara on the digitization of several small manuscript collections. Eric met with several collections managers to plan 2018 in-house digitization projects.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Promoting Open Scholarship

UMD Libraries hosted the inaugural O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 26 and 27, 2017, in partnership with the SocArXiv open access repository project. Terry Owen collaborated with UMD Sociology professor Philip Cohen and the SocArXiv support team to organize and plan the event during Open Access Week.

O3S highlighted research that uses the tools and methods of open scholarship, and brought together over 20 presenters who work on problems of open access, publishing, and open scholarship; and facilitated the exchange of ideas on the development of SocArXiv. The symposium featured keynote speakers Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Jeffrey Spies, co-founder and chief technology officer at the Center for Open Science. Nearly 50 researchers, faculty, and librarians attended the event.

Open Journal Systems 3 Update

DPI is preparing to update our electronic journals publishing platform, Open Journal Systems, to version 3.1. This update represents a significant improvement for users of the application, with a modern interface for reading and production of electronic journals, as well as new workflow tools and controls for publishers, reviewers, and authors.  In preparation for the upgrade, we have upgraded the staging server to an intermediate release in order to apply a necessary database migration. DPI GA Carlos Alvarado has taken the lead in documenting the application, testing our existing journal data in a local environment, and coordinating with Terry Owen, Kate Dohe, and Josh Westgard to plan and schedule the application update across numerous stakeholders and groups.

Software Development

Annual Staffing Request

We released Annual Staffing Request 2.0 which has been refactored to add Fiscal Year Rollover and is in use for the current FY19 request cycle.  In addition to the active entries for the current fiscal year request process you can view archived records and use them as templates for creating new requests.


We released Hippo version 11. which keeps us up-to-date with backend architectural changes as well as security and performance improvements.  This release does not include user facing changes.

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

The CLAS team responded to 125 Aleph Rx submissions and 36 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.

Aleph OPAC Changes

A couple small changes to the display of bibliographic data in Catalog USMAI were made. MARC subfield 8 was suppressed and the display order of subfield k was modified in the full record view to align with its display on the Holdings and Availability screens.

In the coming months, we’ll be assessing and improving the accessibility of the catalog, which will most likely involve some noticeable changes to the user interface. CLAS will communicate actively as those changes are planned and made. The end result will provide a better experience for all users.

Aleph Inventory Functionality

A working group was formed to accomplish two main goals:

  • Improve and codify USMAI inventory practices using Aleph
  • Identify desired system functionality and tools in order to inform USMAI’s next-gen system evaluations

In collaboration with CLAS, the working group’s efforts will allow USMAI libraries to use Aleph to perform inventories of their collections. The group’s work is expected to be completed in January 2018.

Aleph Errant Loader Data

Part of CLAS’ role is to ensure data integrity and quality in USMAI systems. In October, a significant amount of errant vendor data for invoices and orders was received and processed by Aleph’s loaders. Thankfully, these were identified early and loading of additional errant data was prevented. Reports are produced for loading of all data. For USMAI libraries that have automated loads of data, it is important to review these and let us (and the vendor) know as soon as possible if there is anything suspect. Between CLAS and the affected libraries, we were able to clean up the errant data and have confirmed with the vendor that the underlying issues have been resolved.


Over 5000 items are now available in MD-SOAR thanks to the completion of several batch loads for Salisbury University. In October, there were more than 3000 visits to MD-SOAR from over 2400 users. Nearly 50% of all traffic to the repository comes from Google and Google Scholar.

Work has begun on upgrading MD-SOAR to DSpace version 6.x. This is a major version upgrade that will require coordinated testing with MD-SOAR partners. See what’s new in v6.x!


Scott Pennington has worked as the Digitization Project Manager on the Synergies Among African American History and Culture and Digital Humanities initiative, a Mellon Grant funded project since July 2016. He accepted a new position as a digital imaging manager at the National Archives and Records Administration at Archives I, working on digitizing materials that are too fragile to be transported and 3-D objects. His last day was October 13.

Conferences, workshops and professional development


The Digital Library Federation (DLF) held its annual conference in Pittsburgh, PA this year from October 22-26, which is comprised of the Liberal Arts/HBCU Preconference, the DLF Forum, and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Digital Preservation Meeting. Numerous colleagues across UMD attended the conference, which is one of the largest national meetings for digital librarians, digital scholarship practitioners, developers, faculty, and researchers. From DSS, Kate Dohe, Joseph Koivisto, Robin Pike, Ben Wallberg, and Josh Westgard presented the following sessions, talks, and workshops:

  • Kate Dohe co-taught “Constructing Digital Praxis: Pedagogy for Digital Collections,” a 2-hour interactive workshop with co-leaders Eleanor Dickson, Elizabeth Andrejasich Gibes, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Elizabeth Joan Kelly, Thea Lindquist, Chelcie Juliet Rowell, and Angie White. Session outcomes emphasize rapid prototyping and delivery of lesson plans for library instruction with digital collections materials across a variety of instructional settings and pedagogical approaches.
  • Kate Dohe also facilitated the “Digital Library Pedagogy Working Breakfast,” with Eleanor Dickson, Elizabeth Andrejasich Gibes, Elizabeth Joan Kelly, Thea Lindquist, Jessia Otis, Chelcie Juliet Rowell, Angie White, and Elizabeth Rodrigues.
  • Kate Dohe and Ben Wallberg presented “Bootstrapping Digital Services: Developing Self-Supporting Service Models for Library Programs,” a 20-minute presentation on the Digital Data Services initiative in DSS.
  • Kate Dohe and Josh Westgard presented “Cost Modeling for Digital Preservation,” a 30-minute presentation and application demonstration with contributor David Durden (who was unable to attend, though the Twitter hashtag Kate created in his honor will live on forever). Special thanks and credit to all regular members of the UMD Libraries Coding Group (in addition to Josh and David, Peter Eichman, Dinesh Mendhe, and Joseph Koivisto) for their efforts to develop a proof-of-concept cost calculator for ongoing digital preservation expenses as part of this presentation.
  • Joseph Koivisto presented “Seeking out initiatives and partnerships for digital instruction and engagement as a systems librarian.”
  • Robin Pike presented “A Preservation Partnership for Hebraica Collections” about the Libraries’ partnership with the Jewish Studies Department to digitize the Hebraica collection over the past four years.
  • Josh Westgard delivered a “minute madness” presentation on “Fedora as a Digital Preservation Hub,” in which he described a workflow for batch depositing items into Fedora, exporting them to disk in BagIt bags, and shipping those bags to preservation storage with the Academic Preservation Trust. The bags stored in APTrust could be losslessly restored to Fedora in the event of future data loss.

DSS team members participated in a number of additional sessions, networking events, and hands-on workshops at DLF. Robin Pike concluded her conference by attending the “Collections as Data Workshop.”

Other Conferences and Professional Development

UMD Libraries hosted the semi-annual members meeting of the Academic Preservation Trust on October 5-6. Kate Dohe and Ben Wallberg coordinated hosting and meeting planning with APTrust staff. The meeting was attended by Josh Westgard, Babak Hamidzadeh, and Judi Kidd, in addition to Ben and Kate, as well as representatives from 16 other organizations.

David Durden and Joseph Koivisto presented “A Tale of Two Repositories: How Data Sources Affect Data Narratives” at the SLA Maryland Chapter’s Conference on October 12. Their presentation used data visualization to demonstrate the complexities of deriving value from conflicting quantitative measures of user-resource interactions.

David Durden attended the 2017 Midwest Data Librarian Symposium hosted by Purdue University on October 9-10. The symposium featured workshops and talks focused on improving data management activities in libraries.
David Durden also led an Emerging Technology Discussion Group session, “Using REDCap for Operational Support,” on October 18 where he gave an overview of the REDCap application and its non-research capabilities.

Robin organized and led a Grants Writing Workshop for the Libraries on October 18. Rebecca Wack, Joanne Archer (SCUA), Mary Dulaney (Director of Development), and Tracy Lee (University Relations) also presented. It was attended by 15 participants who felt they learned about potential grants for their projects and learned more about the process.

Linda attended the Potomac Technical Processing Librarians’ “Discovery & the Now Generation ILS: The Next Generation Is Here!” program on October 20.

David Dahl attended the 2017 EBSCO User Group Meeting from October 24-26.

Joseph Koivisto attended the German Historical Institute’s Conference from October 26-28 and presented “Crowdsourcing as a Means of Authority Assessment and Enhancement for Cultural Heritage Description”.

Heidi Hanson attended the two-day workshop “Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Compliance Training for Web Accessibility” from October 30-31.

Kate Dohe attended the annual HathiTrust Member Meeting in Chicago, IL on November 2nd.

Furthermore, two of Kate Dohe’s refereed publications were released in late October: “Lessons from the Field: What Improv Teaches Us About Collaboration” with Erin Pappas in Library Leadership & Management, and “Lifting All Boats: Fostering a Community of Practice for Student Publishers” with Laura Leichum, Gillian Berchowitz, & Marc Blanc from the 2016 Charleston Conference Proceedings.


Adventures in Audio Digitization

In early February 2017, Don Manildi, Curator of the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM), wrote to Eric Cartier:

“IPAM recently received four 15ips (inches per second) 10.5 inch reels from one of our most important donors, pianist Margaret Leng Tan, containing a recital she played in NY back in 1982. She is hoping we can prepare a CD-R copy of the recital for her (and retain one for IPAM, too). Presumably, this could be accomplished most efficiently here in our studio,” thus began a challenging media reformatting request.

Don and Eric agreed to meet in the Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio (PAADS) in early March 2017, to digitally reformat the magnetic tapes. PAADS had not been in use for many months, so Eric spent most of his initial visit testing playback equipment and monitors, checking software settings, and ensuring the source-to-destination chain was completely connected. Once everything was prepared and the first tape was threaded on the reel deck, however, he discovered it was affected by sticky shed syndrome. Polyester magnetic tape is susceptible to binder hydrolysis, which occurs when a tape collects water particles over time and adheres to itself. If the tape will play and is not permanently stuck, it usually squeals and can damage playback heads, or the recording layer of the tape will fall off when touching the heads, resulting in permanent loss of the sound recording. Having handled and transferred hundreds of open reel tapes in the past, Eric had never encountered tapes as severely sticky as these. Don and Eric conferred and, following standard practice in AV archives, decided to bake the tapes in a scientific oven at 120 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours, a process commonly used to dry out tapes and render them temporarily playable.

The tapes were still extremely sticky and unplayable and it was not possible to make transfers the following day. Eric added leader to the loose ends of each tape and fast forwarded them as far as possible, then rewound them and took photos of the visible deterioration (popped strands, slipped packs, resin-like ooze) to share with Don, Vin Novara, Curator of the Performing Arts Collection, and Eric’s supervisor, Robin Pike, Manager of Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting. He conducted research about the Scotch 226 tape stock, learning it is so notoriously sticky it almost single-handedly prompted the production of scientific ovens for baking tapes. The lone Memorex tape had no specific stock information, though. In fact, all four tapes lacked containers, which may have contained more descriptive or technical metadata.

Minimal metadata on the Tan Reels
An example of the minimal metadata provided with the Margaret Lang Tan reels.

Don encouraged Eric to write to the Association for Recorded Sound Collections listserv, to crowdsource information about what to do with excessively sticky tapes. The response was swift, and 12 people replied with advice, guidance, and stories. Robin wrote to George Blood, the accomplished audiovisual digitization guru and owner of George Blood Audio Video Film to solicit information to continue the endeavor in-house. The first word in his reply – “Yikes!” – followed by chemistry-based approaches to solve the problem. Eric baked the tapes a second time to see if an additional eight hours would yeild more promising results.

A photo documenting the extremely sticky residue on the tape
Extreme sticky shed syndrome

Eric found the tapes had slightly loosened, but that upon playback, all four eventually began to squeal and stopped playing despite 16 total hours of baking. He noted the exact times at which the tapes stopped, as well as distinctive problems (e.g., the Memorex reel was warped and scraped the length of one side of the flange each time it turned). Eric considered the tapes unrecoverable in-house and Robin worked with our contracted vendor to send the tapes for more involved stabilization and digitization.

GBAVF shared helpful updates via email throughout the process. After storing the tapes in a low humidity vault for a while, they rehoused them, “auditioned” them, discovered the high quality of the recording, cleaned the tapes, and then made expert transfers in late April. In early May, Eric inspected the quality of the digital files and uploaded the MP3s to ShareStream, our streaming media manager; student digitization assistants made double-disc sets for Don and the donor. Bria Parker, Head of Discovery and Metadata Services, prepared the metadata record and Josh Westgard, Systems Libraries, archived the preservation master files, then ingested the metadata and the streaming files to Digital Collections, completing the project. Later this summer, Don listened closely to the entire recording and prepared a detailed track listing, which Josh modified in the XML. After much time, effort, and collaboration, we freed the valuable content from the problematic carriers, described it in great detail, and made it available to the creator and the public.

We are pleased to provide Margaret Leng Tan’s April 1982 recital in its digital form:

Digitizing and Using the David C. Driskell Collection

The David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, honors the legacy of David C. Driskell. He is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector, Curator, and Philanthropist, and the Center seeks to preserve the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture.

One page of a letter regarding travel.
Document documenting travel

The African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) project brings African American studies and digital humanities together in order to expand upon both fields, making the digital humanities more inclusive of African American history and culture and enriching African American studies research with new methods, archives, and tools. Our digitization efforts have been directly focused on supplying new resources for scholarly engagement by providing digitized materials from the Driskell Center for both public use as well as use by scholars engaged with the AADHum project.

In the third digital humanities incubator hosted by the Maryland Institue for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), participants used digitized images from the pilot digitization on this project, as well as from other sources, to build narratives using the ArcGIS StoryMap Tool. StoryMap allows the integration of objects and maps, enabling rich visual explorations and analysis of a collection–for example, where was the art created, where was it collected and displayed, and by whom? In the 2017-2018 series of Digital Humanities Incubators (DHIs), participants will continue to explore Black Movement(s) and engage with the histories and resources of the local DC-Maryland-Virginia area. In some of these projects, we expect the digitized material from the Driskell collection to be highlighted.