Stew of the month: August 2015

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

Robin Pike continued to make progress on the preparatory work for the FY16 mass-digitization vendor contracts, including adding new projects to the FY16 list since donors have approached collection managers with new sources of funds for time-sensitive projects.

DCMR staff worked on quality assurance, archiving, and ingest preparation of several FY15 projects digitized through the DIC project proposal process:

  • Eric Cartier and assistants performed QA on dissertations, monographs and serials from the Hebraica project, and finished QA on the Diamondback photos.
  • Digitization assistants inspected 228 UMD Schedules of Classes that a vendor digitized from microfilm, and Eric uploaded the files to the Internet Archive. With the recent addition of born-digital schedules, the collection spans 1919-2015.

This month the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent the first two batches (containing about 10,000 pages of newsprint each) of the 2014-2016 grant cycle to the Library of Congress (LC). Quality review is underway for the third batch, and microfilm for the fourth batch was sent to the digitization vendor. The project is on track to meet the grant milestone of 25% of the required 100,000 pages of digitized newsprint submitted to LC by September 30. In July and August, student assistant/C1 Melissa Foge also created several Wikipedia articles related to Maryland newspapers that were digitized by the project.

Digitization assistants scanned 127 historical French pamphlets, which Eric Cartier uploaded to the growing collection on the Internet Archive.

Alice Prael completed her final progress report and recommendations on the born-digital workflows. The work will continue in DPI and SCUA.

Digital Programs and Initiatives

Joshua Westgard, along with staff from SSDR, USS, and Metadata Services, as well as interested colleagues from neighboring institutions, organized and hosted a meeting of the regional Code4Lib group for the greater Maryland, DC, and Virginia area in UMD Libraries’ special events room on August 11-12. The meeting also received sponsorship support from the USMAI consortium of libraries.  Nearly 50 people were in attendance for two days of formal presentations, workshops, and unconference sessions on a variety of topics related to technology in libraries.

Josh Westgard also participated in Fedora 4 development work, acting as a community stakeholder for the Web Access Control (WebAC) feature development effort, as well as participating in the initial discussions for the Fedora API Extension Architecture (API-X).

Josh Westgard and Terry Owen assisted with the MD-SOAR project, developing documentation, carrying out testing and loading of legacy content, and advising the staff from partner institutions on the use of this new DSpace-based institutional repository.

Software Development

The bulk of the development work for the upgrade to Hippo CMS  version 7.9 has been completed.  Work is now underway to promote the new code into the staging site for user testing with promotion to production planned for the end of September.

User testing for the Online Student Application improvements were completed. These improvement were promoted to production following additional fixes based on user feedback.

Peter Eichman completed a second development sprint with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) working on a new Integrated Discovery Platform for automating the ingest and cataloging of socio-environmental data.

Along with the Fedora 4 user community the Libraries have decided that we need to develop a Fedora 4 authorization module based on the emerging Web Access Control (WebAC) standard for  RDF based Access Control.  Peter Eichman and Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed participated in the first of two planned development sprints.

Research and Learning Librarians have been piloting the Guide on the Side application from the University of Arizona Libraries and decided to put the service into production.  We worked with them to setup a new production server and to add basic Libraries branding to the site which is now available at

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 90 Aleph Rx submissions and 41 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

The team contributed to several reports related to the consortium’s discussions about library management systems. In collaboration with the USMAI Shared Platforms & Applications subgroup, a report was produced to summarize and prioritize Aleph enhancement requests that were submitted by individuals in the consortium. CLAS also participated in conference calls with current customers of “next generation” library management systems.

With the approval of CLD, Google Analytics was configured for the consortium’s shared platforms, including Aleph OPAC, Research Port, SFX, and the USMAI Staff Site. Access to analytics has been distributed to co-chairs of the Reporting & Analytics Subgroup and will be made available to individual USMAI libraries in the coming weeks.

Kuali OLE

Working with the consortium’s testing group, CLAS helped develop a report about OLE’s current fit for the consortium’s needs as identified in the previously-created Next Gen ILS RFI document. The report was shared with CLD as an information piece for discussion at their September meeting. CLAS continued to attend weekly implementation meetings with other Kuali OLE adopters.


The Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) now boasts a collection of 45 items and growing! DSS developers configured the DSpace search and browse indexes according to the repository partners’ specifications, creating additional limiters like “Description” and “Language” to facilitate advanced searching. Several partners are beginning to introduce the repository to their faculty. If you work for a USMAI library, consider creating an account and adding your publications to MD-SOAR.


SSDR is pleased to welcome three new Graduate Assistants.  Aditya Gadgil (Smith School of Business, Marketing Analytics) and Ramesh Balasekaran (iSchool, Information Management) are performing general Software Development while Xiaoyu Tai (iSchool, Human-Computer Interaction) is filling our brand new position of Front End Developer.  All three will be spending this Fall learning Hippo CMS and participating in building the new Reponsive Web Design site.

DCMR and DPI are pleased to welcome their new shared Graduate Assistant, David Durden (iSchool, MLS). His fall projects will explore and compare researcher profile applications, compiling digitization grants, and analyzing digital collections usage statistics.

DCMR and DPI said farewell to Graduate Assistant Alice Prael, who graduated on August 22. She is moving to Boston, MA for the National Digital Stewardship Residency at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Congratulations Alice!

DCMR Quality Assurance Assistant Quinn Smith also graduated in August, earning her MLS. and is seeking permanent employment. She will continue as a C1 through the fall semester, training a new student on quality assurance procedures. We wish you the best, Quinn!

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project student assistant/C1-for-the-summer Melissa Foge’s last day was August 25. Melissa earned her MLS this past spring and is seeking employment as a librarian, ideally in a music library or working with music collections. We wish you the best, Melissa!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Eric Cartier, Robin Pike, and Alice Prael attended the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting in Cleveland, OH from August 17-22.

Robin co-lectured the SAA pre-conference workshop “Managing Audiovisual Digitization Projects” with George Blood (George Blood Audio Video and Film) and Joshua Ranger (AVPreserve) on August 17. She ended her term as the Chair of the Recorded Sound Roundtable and began her term as a Steering Committee member of the same roundtable, a nationally-elected position.

Eric presented the poster “Establishing the In-house Internet Archive Digitization Workflow” at the Research Forum on August 18, and began his term as the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Recorded Sound Roundtable, a two-year, nationally-elected position.

Alice Prael and Amy Wickner (SCUA) presented their poster “Getting to Know FRED: Introducing Workflows for Born-Digital Content” about their work on the developing born-digital workflows at the graduate student poster sessions on August 20-21.


Special Collections staff members from the Maryland State Archives met with Liz Caringola, Robin Pike, Judi Kidd, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) on August 13 to continue discussions of the future of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, including funding options, required features for a Maryland newspapers digital repository, and what was learned from the digital initiative meetings organized around the state by Digital Maryland this summer.

Stew of the month: July 2015

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

Robin Pike submitted a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundations grant proposal to hire a consultant company to perform an assessment survey of all the audiovisual materials in the Libraries. Dan Mack (CSS), Gary White (PSD), Steve Henry (MSPAL), Laura Schnitker (SCUA), and Trevor Munoz contributed to the narrative and final application. Tonita Smith Brooks provided much assistance in preparing the application for submission through the Office of Research Administration. The results of the audiovisual assessment survey will assist us in prioritizing monetary and financial resources in planning future digitization projects. We will find out if we received the grant in March 2016.

DCMR staff performed quality assurance on the remaining vendor projects funded through the DIC project proposal process: Hebraica (300 Hebrew and Yiddish volumes) and the Diamondback Photo Morgue. They hope to complete the work in August.

Digitization assistants Rachel Dook and Caroline Hayden digitized the Victor E. Delnore Papers, a manuscript collection within the Gordon W. Prange Collection. Prange staff and DCMR undertook the project to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, where Lt. Colonel Delnore oversaw rebuilding efforts as a commander of the U.S. Occupational Forces. 

Digitization assistant Audrey Lengel digitized materials for Associate Professor of English and Associate Director of MITH Dr. Matthew Kirschenbaum’s upcoming book Track Changes: The Literary History of Word Processing. Kirschenbaum used some of the images in his plenary session at the Archival Education and Research Institute.

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project staff began quality review of the newspaper titles sent to the digitization vendor earlier this year. They continued to add content to the Pinterest boards.

Alice Prael reviewed usage statistics on UMD Digital Collections gathered through Google Analytics with the goal of using the data to make informed decisions about the prioritization of digital projects and promoting our holdings; a report is forthcoming.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

New DRUM Interface

Thanks to everyone in Software Systems Development and Research, DRUM has been upgraded and now has a new interface:  Frequent users of DRUM have access to the same features as before but in a different layout.  All of the navigation appears in the right column and the structure for individual records has been totally revamped.  Take it for a test drive and we hope you enjoy the new layout.

Spring 2015 ETDs Now Available in DRUM
All of the electronic theses and dissertations from the spring 2015 semester have been loaded in DRUM. Researchers now have access to 10,460 UMD theses and dissertations dating back to 2003. Of the 405 documents deposited in DRUM from the spring semester, 196 students or 48% requested either a 1-year or 6-year embargo; an all-time high since we started tracking embargo requests in 2006. On average, 39% of UMD students have requested an embargo since 2006. Subject librarians can contact Terry Owen ( for a breakdown of embargo requests for their departments.

Gemstone Projects
Eleven Gemstone projects from the spring 2015 semester have recently been added to DRUM bringing the total to 84. Many of our subject librarians provided support to the Gemstone teams throughout the 4-year project. More information about the Gemstone program is available here. Check out some of their current research:
Evaluating the Feasibility of Implementing a Green Roof Retrofit on Pitched Residential Roofs
A Kinect Based Indoor Navigation System for the Blind
Fabrication of Poly (D,L-Lactic-Co-Glycolic Acid) microparticles for Improved Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Delivery

Open Access Fund
The UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund closed out another successful year in June. We funded 31 articles with an average cost of $1,240 per article. A majority of the 2014-2015 applicants were faculty and all disciplines were represented. Most of the applicants were from either the School of Public Health or the College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences. Depending on the availability of funds for 2015-2016, we anticipate that the fund will reopen in September.

CRMS Project Update
Last year the University of Maryland Libraries joined a prestigious group of institutions to assist in making copyright determinations for books in HathiTrust. Using the Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) developed at the University of Michigan, UMD has determined the copyright status for more than 1,850 books since January 2015. We would like to thank the library staff that volunteered to participate in the program: Paul Bushmiller, Leigh Ann DePope, Donna King, Yeo-Hee Koh, Audrey Lengel, Terry Owen, and Loretta Tatum. And special thanks to Tonita Brooks for processing monthly reports for the grant.

Software Development

The Database Finder feature in the Libraries’ Website has been updated to include database categories.  The categories are for now only visible on the database detail page and can be used as search terms.  Future enhancements are planned to use the categories for improved discovery: a) faceted browse by category and sub-category; and b) context sensitive linking to Subject Specialists.

The migration to the new XMLUI/Mirage2 theme for DRUM was completed and has been installed in production.  This theme provides a Responsive Web Design which allows all device sizes to view and use DRUM.  It also allows us to more easily add newer DSpace features which were unavailable in the old interface implementation.

We’ve made progress in upgrading Hippo CMS  to version 7.9 and plan to begin user testing and promotion to production in August.  The major new features for users are a much improved HTML Editor and a new Channel Manager feature for previewing your pages in desktop, tablet, and phone sizes, which will be important as we implement the new Responsive Web Design Libraries’ website this Fall.

Improvements have been completed for the Online Student Application system, based on initial staff feedback.  User testing and promotion to production will take place in August.

User and System Support

User and Systems Support (USS) participated in several 3D printing events. On July 20, 2015 and July 30, 2015, the Discovering Engineering Summer Program visited the John & Stella Graves Makerspace. USS demonstrated the different equipment that’s available in the Makerspace. The two groups were a mixture of rising 11th and 12th grade students who attended a week-long program to learn more about the University of Maryland and the Clark School of Engineering. A total of 60 students attended two events. They all had a strong interest in the field. Some have even been involved in engineering-related coursework, research and extracurricular activities. Each group that came through had lots of really great questions about 3D printing and seemed to thoroughly enjoy learning about the equipment.

On July 28, 2015, USS participated in the “LKA’s Teens in Technology Workshop Series” program. This program was organized by LKA Computer Consultants and was held at LKA’s office. The program was limited to 15 teens with the goal to expose the teens to the world of C++ Programming, Cyber Security, Web Development, and Project Management. In addition, they also provided the teens with desktop fabrication (3D printing). Sandra, Victoria, and Preston took three 3D printers and a hand help 3D scanner to the workshop. . The students were shown how 3D scanning works by scanning one of the teen students in real time. They were also guided through the creation of their very own 3D nametag model using an online program called TinkerCad. From start to finish, the students were very engaged in creating their nametag model.  Soon after, they were split into small groups and started 3D printing small models on the provided printers. Victoria’s group strategically picked small shurikens where each group member would be able to get one. Preston’s group printed the batman symbol. And Sandra’s group printed a red and black Porshe. The two 3D prints from Preston and Sandra’s groups were raffled to a teen in their respective groups.  The students were clearly excited to see the entire process from a 3D model on a computer to it being printed and able to hold in their hands in very little time. At the end of the event, the teens were left inspired and grateful for the opportunity to learn and create 3D prints that they were also able leave with.

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

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 122 Aleph Rx submissions and 43 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in July. Who said summer was slow?

The consortium began subscribing to two new resources this fiscal year: Academic Search Complete and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. CLAS configured EZproxy, ResearchPort, and SFX to work with both of these collections.

The team has also been reviewing the submitted responses for the Aleph enhancements initiative and will be meeting with the USMAI Shared Platforms & Applications subgroup in early August to discuss the list and develop recommendations for the Council of Library Directors.

Kuali OLE

CLAS is finishing its work with the consortium’s testing group. The combined groups have started working on a report for the Council of Library Directors about their testing experiences. While that work develops, CLAS has also continued to attend weekly imlementation meetings with other Kuali OLE adopters.


Partners in the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository were given the “green light” this month to begin loading content into the shared repository. Each institution has the flexibility to establish their own implementation timeline. Many campuses have set up their repository structure and begun loading materials. MD-SOAR is a 2-year pilot funded by the consortium. DSS is the service provider for the repository, making use of our DRUM experience and DSpace expertise to help the consortium build out their vision for a shared institutional repository.


Alice Prael leaves in August; her last day in the office is August 13th. She will be leaving for Boston to join the National Digital Stewardship Residency at the JFK Presidential Library.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike attended the International Council on Archives-Section on University Archives (ICA-SUV) conference from July 13-15 in Chapel Hill, NC with Bria Parker (MSD) and Vin Novara (SCPA); they presented a paper titled “‘Is This Enough?’ Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives Media.”

Robin gave a guest-lecture for The Catholic University of America’s CLSC 747 “Special Collections” on July 20 titled “Management of Digital Programs in Special Collections.”

Eric Cartier attended the seventh annual Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI) from July 13-17, an international conference held at the UMD Libraries.

Robin and Eric wrote articles for the Society of American Archivists Recorded Sound Roundtable newsletter Recorded Sound

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project team visited colleagues around the state to speak about the project at regional meetings organized by Digital Maryland. Attendees at these meetings were from a variety of institutions that hold cultural heritage materials, including public libraries, local historical societies, museums, and churches. The goal of the meetings was to share information about digital initiatives across the state and to hear what the priorities and needs are for making collections available digitally. Liz Caringola attended meetings in Ellicott City and Hagerstown, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) attended the meeting in Easton. Two additional meetings in Aberdeen and Prince Frederick are scheduled in August.


Eric Cartier gave three tours of the Hornbake Digitization Center to 20 attendees during the Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI).

Stew of the month: April 2015

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

We have received files for the 159 1/4″ open reel audiotape recordings from the WAMU Archives that were digitized by a vendor as part of the DIC digitization project proposal process; quality assurance will be completed over the next month and the recordings will be uploaded to UMD Digital Collections.

More than 300 recordings from Arthur Godfrey’s 1949-1950 radio shows are now available online in UMD Digital Collections (restricted to campus or VPN log-in from off campus due to copyright restrictions). These recordings are a small part of the Arthur Godfrey collection held by Special Collections, Mass Media and Culture. In 2012, Robin Pike worked with Chuck Howell, Carla Montori, and other support staff to prepare the wire recordings for digitization by a vendor; Joanne Archer, her GAs, and Bria Parker enhanced the minimal metadata after all the files were received in 2014; and Eric Cartier and Josh Westgard recently completed the ingest. The same vendor is currently digitizing 40 additional recordings as part of the FY15 DIC digitization project proposal process.

Digitization assistants digitized and provided images for the student posters presented in the Hornbake Library lobby on Maryland Day, as part of an assignment about the history of campus for the “MAC to Millennium: History of the University of Maryland” class taught by Anne Turkos and Jason Speck.

Historic Maryland Newspaper Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project sent its first production batch to the digitization vendor earlier this month. The Catoctin Clarion, first published in 1871 in Mechanicstown (modern-day Thurmont), Maryland, is the first title to be digitized during this grant cycle. We will digitize the run ending in 1922.

Several representatives from DSS and Doug McElrath from Special Collections met with staff at the Maryland State Archives on April 6 to discuss the future of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project and to begin making plans for digitizing content outside of the current National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Software Development

The project to update the Libraries’ Website to a Responsive Web Design based interface is progressing through the initial design phase.  We have completed wireframing and are now creating static HTML mockups using the Unify template.  These mockups are used as prototypes to select and refine the features and layout of the new site, in close coordination with the Web Advisory Committee.  You can follow our progress on the Website RWD Mockups page hosted in GitHub.

The first of two sprints to refactor the Exhibit website is complete.  We are converting the  Beyond the Battle: Bladensburg Rediscovered special collections exhibit into a generic Exhibit template which can be used to create multiple websites.  New, hosted websites for the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation and the Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities project are scheduled for release on June 1 using the new template.

After review of the Wufoo technical limitations we encountered for use in the online student application project, we have decided that trying to create a workaround using Wufoo will be too costly to create and maintain so we will implement the form in Drupal.  The disadvantages of this implementation are the increased developer time necessary to create the form and the inability of Human Resources staff to update the form at will.  This technical problem has put the project behind schedule so to make up time we will pull additional developers off of the Fedora 4 implementation in order to make up some ground.  Release of the production Fedora 4 instance will be delayed until June.  We did however fulfill our commitment to participate in community development of the new Fedora 4 Audit Service core feature.

User and System Support

Victoria Quartey with 3D printer
Victoria Quartey with 3D printer

User & Systems Support (USS) staff volunteered on Maryland Day 2015, showing Library visitors the “Maker” services that are available in the Libraries. In the lobby of Mckeldin, USS demonstrated 3D printing and 3D scanning. When visitors came into Mckeldin Library, they were welcomed by seeing miniature testudos printing from a 3D printer.  Many visitors were amazed and wanted to learn more about 3D printing. The printed testudos were handed out to the visitors which brought huge smiles to both parents and children. Many students were amazed that 3D printing is available in the Libraries. While some students started thinking about what they can send to have printed, other students were eager to learn how to get certified to use the Library 3D printers on their own.

3D scanning demo with Preston Tobery.
3D scanning demo with Preston Tobery.

The 3D scanning demo in the lobby was also very popular with the visitors of the library. Using a laptop and Xbox Kinect camera, approximately 80 visitors had 3D scans taken of them. Visitors were able to watch how the 3D scans were made, in real-time, on one of the lobby’s TV screens. Each visitor that was 3D scanned will receive a copy of their 3D scanned file through email. Another TV screen in the lobby featured a short video on the process of creating a 3D printed replica of the Jim Henson & Kermit statue that’s outside Stamp Student Union. A huge 3D printed model of the statue was displayed for all visitors to see.

USS staff were also present in the John & Stella Graves Makerspace, on the 2nd floor of Mckeldin Library, which was open from 10am -4pm during Maryland Day. Approximately 90 visitors stopped by that day. Many visitors were undergraduates in varying majors, such as special education, mechanical engineering, digital media and computer science. The diverse crowd of students, and other visitors, continued to support the idea of the non-exclusivity environment that’s in in the Libraries. The visitors were also interested in the other technologies and services the Libraries offered to the students and local community. There were discussions about the vinyl cutter, desktop 3D scanner, 3D printer and Oculus Rift that’s in the Makerspace. However, other services like the TLC Loner Program were discussed to let the visitors know that students could rent laptops, camcorders, iPads, and other equipment for their desired reason. Even though the Google Glass wasn’t included in the planned showcase, many visitors were still interested in it and wanted to try the device on. Many were amazed by the opportunity. Since, the 3D printer in the Makerspace was printing miniature testudos, some visitors were treated with a small training session and demo on the 3D printer. USS staff briefly showed them how to unload and reload the plastic filament, used the Makerbot desktop application, and how 3D prints are removed from the build plate.

The USS volunteers expressed that they enjoyed showing these Library services on Maryland Day. And the Library visitors seemed to enjoy it as well. Throughout the day, visitors and alumni not only expressed how surprised they were that the Libraries have these 3D Maker services, they also were surprised that they were currently available to all students. One visitor who works at a Library in California was surprised to see how advanced our Library is. And, one alumni even stated, “ I wish I would have stayed in school longer”.

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


The setup of the Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MD-SOAR) continues to progress. DSS created a DSpace “sandbox” for the MD-SOAR institutional partners to begin getting familiar with the DSpace repository solution. Initial configuration of the production instance of DSpace was completed after two weeks of work by software developers. The completed repository is expected to be ready for individual institutions by June 15th for their own local “launches” of the repository. This is a 2-year pilot project that will provide a repository solution to many of the libraries within the consortium plus a few other Maryland academic libraries. It is very encouraging to see so many libraries working together in support of providing access to their collections in an open environment and for DSS to be able to support this kind of initiative based on our technical expertise and DSpace experience.

Support to USMAI

The CLAS team responded to 88 Aleph Rx submissions and 27 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in April. Amongst the service requests were continued work on setting up YBP shelf-ready orders from YBP and working with Morgan State on getting EBSCO Discovery Services configured for use at their campus.

Kuali OLE

Six members of USMAI libraries were nominated, and graciously agreed, to help with testing and evaluating Kuali OLE. The testers met with CLAS on April 23rd to begin discussing OLE and creating a plan for evaluating it on behalf of the consortium. The group will prepare a report to be presented to, and discussed with, the Council of Library Directors at their September meeting. Thank you to Audrey Schadt, Austin Smith, Betty Landesman, Conrad Helms, Virginia Williams, and Vicki Sipe for their participation.

CLAS continues to monitor and contribute to the progress of version 1.6 of OLE. Seven OLE tickets are currently assigned to members of the team. Once released, the team will install and configure the new version for local testing. Team member continue to attend weekly implementation meetings with other OLE partners as those institutions move closer to implementing OLE. There is a lot to be learned from these shared experiences!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

ETDG news: Eric Cartier will be rotating off as co-chair in May, having completed his one-year term. Eric and Liz solicited self-nominations for the next co-chair and will announce the new co-chair at the May 20 ETDG meeting.

Edible Book Fair: Hornbake Plaza
Edible Book Fair: Hornbake Plaza

Eric helped to organize the 3rd Annual Maryland Edible Book Festival on April Fool’s Day. The popular event occurred in front of Hornbake Library. DCMR staff contributed the following edible books: Things Fall Apart, Beer and Loafing in Las Vegas, and The Pound and the Curry

Heidi Hanson attended a program sponsored by USMAI’s User Experience subgroup. The program featured EBSCO’s VP of User Experience Kate Lawrence. She discussed UX tips and observations based on EBSCO’s ethnographic research on college students. Among the observations was “results are the new black”. Ask Heidi for details…

David Dahl presented at a Google Analytics program sponsored by the USMAI Reporting & Analytics subgroup. The program was well-received and also included a good discussion and lightning presentations from several others in the consortium. There is a lot of interest in making better use of web analytics amongst the consortium’s libraries.

UMD’s Digital Preservation Policy, updates

In early 2014, the UMD Libraries published its first Digital Preservation Policy.  In the policy, we specify that it must be reviewed on an annual basis, and so this summer, a small task force consisting of myself, Robin Pike, and Joanne Archer reviewed the document, and made a few minor changes. The most significant change was to add an entire section about “Financial Commitment.”  The other change was to modify how we approach actual implementation of the plan. More on that below, but first, what have we accomplished in the past year?

In the past year, various players at the UMD Libraries have embarked on projects or development that ultimately ties into our Digital Preservation Policy. These activities include:

  • A repository research team (Jennie Knies, Ben Wallberg, Babak Hamidzadeh) developed a high-level requirements document for a Bit-Level Preservation System. Ben Wallberg presented on these requirements at Open Repositories 2014 in Helsinki, Finland
  • Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR) installed the ACE Audit Manager tool on our Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM) DSpace system
  • A task force consisting of Jennie Knies (DSS), and Joanne Archer and Cassie Schmitt (Special Collections) continued the work of the UMD’s Born-Digital Working Group to finalize workflows for processing born-digital archival and manuscript materials.  While not complete, we have developed a plan to complete the first stage of workflows by the end of 2014
  • Over 120,000 files created and archived to UMD’s Division of Information Technology and subsequently to Iron Mountain and enhanced workflow for documenting said files
  • Robin Pike and Jennie Knies published “Catching Up: Creating a Digital Preservation Policy,” in Archival Practice 1, no. 1 (2014)
  • Began plans for upgrading Fedora repository from Fedora 2.2.2 to Fedora 4.0

Much of the work involving documentation and policy development, however, remains abstract and somewhat elusive.  In the past year, we have attempted to pull together all documentation of policies and procedures relating to digital preservation activities.  We have also begun the process of researching real costs of digital preservation (storage costs, human resources, etc.)  In addition, I have written something that I informally call “Policies of Where to Put Stuff,” and formally something like “Digital Preservation Networks Policy,” a document for which I have had writer’s block for the last four months, but hope to finish soon, as it is integral to how we manage digital content moving forward.

The Digital Preservation Policy, intended to be a high-level document to guide the creation and implementation of additional policies and procedures related to digital preservation, contained an appendix intended to outline the documentation necessary to implement the plan.  The appendix in the original plan was based on the Center for Research Libraries, Metrics for Repository Assessment, which were based on the ISO 14721:2012 standard. This standard is commonly referred to as the OAIS  reference model and was developed through the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS.)  The appendix was very detailed and while it was broken into easily-understandable categories and clearly defined the types of policies and procedures we needed to establish, we have found it difficult to map those requirements and categories to the policies and procedures currently in place.

In July, I was fortunate enough to attend Digital Preservation 2014, the annual meeting of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance.  There I heard a wonderful presentation by Bert Lyons from AVPreserve entitled, Mapping Standards for Richer Assessments: NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation and ISO 16363:2012.  That was my “A-ha!” moment.  As Bert pointed out in his presentation, ISO 16363:2012 is very long and there is a lot of overlap between individual components. AVPreserve have created a wonderful document that maps the NSDA levels of digital preservation and the ISO requirements.

The NDSA Levels for Digital Preservation for those who are not familiar, are incredibly straightforward.  They are in a table and broken into five primary sections: Storage and Geographic Location, File Fixity and Data Integrity, Information Security, Metadata, and File Formats. Associated with each category are four increasingly more rigid levels of digital preservation. For example, to fit into Level 1 under Storage and Geographic Location, the requirement is to have two copies that are not collocated, and to move files from things like hard drives or DVDs onto your own storage media ASAP.  Done! We have achieved Level 1.

As I write, my graduate student is creating a version of the NDSA Levels that we can annotate. I loved the simple suggestion by Bret that we use the NDSA Levels as a sort of bar graph to visualize our progress.  We then plan to then use the AVPreserve mapping document to do a more detailed analysis of where we currently stand, and where we need to go with our digital preservation program.

Initially, we wondered if annual review of the Digital Preservation Policy was excessive. However, in these early stages of our program, I realize now how important it is to take stock at regular, and frequent intervals. The UMD Libraries are currently also revising our strategic plan, and the results of that activity will most likely make for interesting revisions in 2015, when we sit down to review the policy again.

Look at all the people…

A few months ago, one of my colleagues, Paul Hammer, a software developer with the UMD Libraries’ Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR), stopped by my office and mentioned to me that something in one of my recent blog posts was bothering him. Specifically, it was these two sentences:

Unfortunately, unlike our dependable analog collections, keeping track of all of this digitized content can sometimes be unwieldy.   One of my big goals is to reach the point where an inventory of these digital collections can provide me with the equivalent of a “Shelf location” and statistics at the push of a button.

Paul reminded me that a lot of human effort, management and coercion went into acquiring, tracking, cataloging and circulating information in the analog world.  If the staff, managers and profession were not diligently encouraging librarians, archivists and other professionals into using similar standards and practices, then no two collections would be remotely comparable.  He noted: “We need to recognize that this effort is just as big and difficult in the computer world.  Computers do not do all of this work for you regardless of how much we wish out were otherwise.  Computers just offer a really big room of shelves on which to put things and the ability to program helpers.  Helpers who are only capable of doing *exactly* what you ask of them — at nearly speed of light.”

I want to thank Paul for putting things in perspective.  First, his comments reminded me that Rome was not built in a day. Second, as Paul, and many of the recent projects I have worked on have shown, computers will only do exactly what you tell them to do and only contain as much logic as the human provides to them.  Third, I think that it is safe to say that standards and best practices are even  more important in the digital world than in the analog.

Last year, the UMD Libraries received funding for a project to digitize a portion of correspondence written by the American author, Katherine Anne Porter, whose papers reside at the University of Maryland.  What seemed at first to be a straightforward project turned into quite a complex and interesting one that is still not 100% complete.  At least a dozen UMD Libraries’ staff participated in some portion of the project, not to mention external parties such as our digitization vendor.  Joanne Archer in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) managed the project.   Two content specialists within SCUA (Librarian Emeritus Beth Alvarez and PhD candidate Liz DePriest) selected the approximately 2000 letters for the first phase of digitization.  Robin Pike, Manager, Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting (DCMR), facilitated the contracts and negotiation with the digitization vendor.  The correspondence was digitized in eight batches, and Special Collections staff had to prepare metadata for every letter, and prepare the packages for delivery.   Once digitization was complete, Eric Cartier (DCMR) performed QC on all of the deliverables (TIF, JPG, OCR text and hOCR xml).  Trevor Muñoz, Assistant Dean for Digital Humanities Research, used the raw data to develop several proof-of-concept possibilities for future data use and analysis.  Josh Westgard, graduate assistant for Digital Programs and Initiatives (DPI), facilitated transfer of the files for preservation.

And that is not all.  Fedora as a repository is an excellent example of a computer system that needs to be told exactly what to do.  We have not, to date, added any complex objects of the type of these letters (digital objects represented by an image, an OCR file, and an hOCR file).  DPI gathered the requirements for this new object type (UMD_CORRESPONDENCE) and delivered them to Software Systems Development and Research (SSDR).  Ben Wallberg, Manager, SSDR and two developers, Irina Belyaeva and Paul Hammer, worked to translate those requirements into reality.  What followed was a period of testing and analysis.  Likewise, we currently add content to our Fedora repository in three ways: 1) one-by-one using a home-grown web-based administrative interface and 2) using project-specific batch loading scripts that require developer mediation, and 3) using a batch loader developed by Josh Westgard in DPI that currently only works with audio and video content. For the Katherine Anne Porter project, logic dictated that we go with Door #2, and use a project-specific batch loading process.  In this case, SSDR and DPI agreed to use this as an excuse to develop and test an alternate method for batch ingest, with an eye towards developing a more generic, user-driven batch loader in future.

Irina and Paul worked on the batch loader for Katherine Anne Porter, and, when it was ready for testing, we ran into a series of minor, but educational complications.  First, it was necessary to massage and clean-up the metadata much more than anticipated, since SCUA had been using the spreadsheet to capture more information than needed for ingest. Second, other types of metadata errors caused the load to fail numerous times. This led, however, to the development of more rigorous validation checks on the metadata prior to ingest.  After the load was complete, I worked with Josh Westgard to analyze the success and we uncovered additional minor glitches, which we will account for in later loads.

The work is not complete.  The letters are ingested, but not viewable.  We still need to make changes to both our back-end administrative tool and our front-end public interface in order to accommodate this new content type.  And who knows what other types of user needs and requirements will necessitate additional work.  The data itself is rich and interesting.  Our hope is that it will be used both by scholars conducting traditional types of archival research as well as digital humanists interested in deciphering and analyzing the texts by computer-driven means.

This spring, Digital Systems and Stewardship hired its first ever Project Manager.  Ann Levin comes to the UMD Libraries with years of experience working on systems much more complex than our own.  As is obvious from the project description above, all of our work currently touches many different people with different skills and priorities within our organization.  It is our hope that we can start to formalize some of this work, develop more consistent workflows, and develop policies and procedures that ensure adherence to specified best practices and standards moving forward. The work has already started.  As Paul correctly pointed out to me several months ago, working with computers requires just as much, if not more, human involvement than some of our analog work. Planning is key. One reason the word “digital” causes instant anxiety for many people is that just as things such as access and indexing can move much more swiftly in a digital system than analog, it is also possible to entirely eliminate data instantly.  Paul provided this analogy:

Imagine an archive where everyone working there had the power to empty and restock the shelves with a wave of their hand.  That any given shelf could suddenly disappear.  That a box that used to be really popular can still be taken off the shelf but we have forgotten how to open it.  All of these things are all too possible in digital storage.  Think of the extra vigilance necessary just to know that what you have is really what you have.

Scary. But my original sentiment remains the same. With every new project, we move closer towards trusting our work, and reaching a point where creating, managing, and providing access to digital content really can seem as simple as the “push of a button.”  We just need to recognize all of the work, effort, and vigilance that goes into creating that single button.

Where is all of our digital stuff?

I like to think that we, at the University of Maryland, are not unlike other university libraries, in that we have a lot of digital content, and, just like with books, we have it in a lot of different places.    Unfortunately, unlike our dependable analog collections, keeping track of all of this digitized content can sometimes be unwieldy.   One of my big goals is to reach the point where an inventory of these digital collections can provide me with the equivalent of a “Shelf location” and statistics at the push of a button.  One project I have been working on has involved documenting and locating all of the UMD Libraries’ digital content, in a first step towards this goal.  I am focusing right now on things that we create or that we own outright, vs. content that comes to us in the form of a subscription database, which is a whole issue in itself. We don’t have one repository to rule them all in a physical sense. Rather, I like to think of our “repository” at present as an “ecosystem.” Here are some parts of our digital repository ecosystem.

DRUM (DSpace)

Stats: Close to 14,000 records.  Approximately 8,800 of these are University of Maryland theses and dissertations.

DRUM is the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland. Currently, there are three types of materials in the collections: faculty-deposited documents, a Library-managed collection of UMD theses and dissertations, and collections of technical reports.  As a digital repository, files are maintained in DRUM for the long term. Descriptive information on the deposited works is distributed freely to search engines. Unlike the Web, where pages come and go and addresses to resources can change overnight, repository items have a permanent URL and the UMD Libraries committed to maintaining the service into the future.  In general, DRUM is format-agnostic, and strives to preserve only the bitstreams submitted to it in a file system and the metadata in a Postgres database.  DSpace requires the maintenance of a Bitstream Format Registry, but this serves merely as a method to specify allowable file formats for upload; it does not guarantee things like display, viewers, or emulation.  DSpace does provide some conversion services, for example, conversion of Postscript format to PDF.  DRUM metadata may be OAI-PMH harvested, and portions of it are sent to OCLC via the Digital Collections Gateway. A workflow exists to place thesis and dissertation metadata into OCLC. Most of DRUM is accessible via Google Scholar.

Digital Collections (Fedora)

Stats: 21,000 bibliographic units representing over 220,000 discrete digital objects.

Digital Collections is the portal to digitized materials from the collections of the University of Maryland Libraries.  It is composed primarily of content digitized from our analog holdings in Special Collections and other departments. The University of Maryland’s Digital Collections support the teaching and research mission of the University by facilitating access to digital collections, information, and knowledge.  Content is presently limited to image files (TIFF/JPG), TEI, EAD, and streaming audio and video.  Fedora manages the descriptive metadata, technical metadata, and the access derivative file.   While Fedora can be developed to accept any format, our implementation currently only easily accepts TIFF and JPG images, and TEI-encoded/EAD-encoded XML documents. We are not currently using Fedora to inventory/keep track of our preservation TIFF masters.  Audiovisual records are basically metadata pointers to an external streaming system.  Fedora metadata may be OAI-PMH harvested, and portions of it are sent to OCLC via the Digital Collections Gateway.  Google does crawl the site and many resources are available via a Google search.

Chronicling America (Library of Congress)

Stats: We have currently submitted approximately 25,000 newspaper pages to the Library of Congress, and anticipate a total of 100,000 pages by August 2014.

Chronicling America is the website that provides access to the files created and submitted as part of the National Digital Newspaper Project (NDNP) grants.  We submit all files (TIFF, JP2, PDF, ALTO XML) to the Library of Congress, and they archive a copy.  We are currently archiving a copy locally, in addition to the copies archived by LoC.  One complete copy of each batch is sent to UMD’s Division of IT for archiving. In addition, Digital Systems and Stewardship saves a copy of each batch to local tape backup, and retains the original batch hard drive in the server room in McKeldin Library.


Stats: Nothing yet! Plan to begin submitting content in 2014

HathiTrust provides long-term preservation and access services to member institutions.  For institutions with content to deposit, participation enables immediate preservation and access services, including bibliographic and full-text searching of the materials within the larger HathiTrust corpus, reading and download of content where available, and the ability to build public or private collections of materials. HathiTrust accepts TIFF images and OCR files in either ALTO XML or hOCR.  They provide conversion tools to convert TIFF masters into JPEG 2000 for access purposes.

Internet Archive

Stats: Almost 4,000 books, with over 840,000 pages

The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. The UMD Libraries contribute content to the Internet Archive in two ways.  First, we submit material to be digitized at a subsidized rate as part of the Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaborative.  The material must be relatively sturdy, and either not be in copyright, or we should be able to prove that we have permission from the copyright holder.  We have also been adding content digitized in-house (usually rare or fragile), and upload the access (PDF) files and metadata to the Internet Archives ourselves.  The Internet Archive produces JPEG2000 and PDF files at the time of digitization.  They produce both cropped and uncropped JPEG2000 files for each volume. The UMD Libraries saves locally and archives to the UMD Division of IT the cropped JPEG2000 files and the PDFs.


I am already aware of other types of digital content that we will have to track.  Born-Digital records and personal files from our Special Collections and University Archives.  eBooks in PDF and other formats that we purchase for the collection and have to determine how to serve to the public.  Publications, such as journals, websites, and databases.  Research data.  I hope to return to this post in 2020 and smile at how confused, naive, and inexperienced we all were at all of this.  Until then, I will keep working to pull everything together as best I can.