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.
Historic Maryland Newspaper Project
The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project welcomed Ian Post, Local History Archivist at Salisbury University’s Nabb Research Center to the HMNP Advisory Board filling a vacancy we had for a representative from the Eastern Shore. Also, the Maryland State Archives, a long-time partner of HMNP, will keep a copy of all HMNP newspaper data, and Pam McClanahan began the process of transferring that data to Maria Day, Director of Special Collections at MSA.
HMNP batch production continued with the submission of Batch D to our digitization vendor, Creekside Digital as well as finalizing QR on Batch A and Batch B. We have been researching newspaper titles for consideration for applying for a fifth grant phase. We also finalized some rework for six batches in the previous round to correct a source repository code in the metadata and submitted those to Library of Congress. HMNP student assistants, Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna, continued collation of the Republican, assisting with batch QR, and completing copyright research for our post-1923 content.
Pam provided a report on HMNP to about 40 attendees at the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative who held their meeting here at University of Maryland Libraries in Hornbake on October 15, hosted by Doug McElrath. She provided an overview of the program, a status report on the current round, statistics on the Maryland content and usage of Maryland newspapers, as well as some thoughts on what’s coming next for the project. The report was well-received and there was interest in Maryland newspapers from the group and collaborative digitization projects. In the evening of October 15, Pam gave another presentation on HMNP–this one to the genealogy sharing group at the Harford County Public Library in Joppa, MD. Pam provided an overview of the project and Maryland Newspaper content, a demonstration on how to use the Chronicling America database, and some tips on doing genealogy research with online newspapers. There were 8 participants and some were familiar with Chronicling America and excited to share some of their experience with the Maryland newspaper content, and for others this was a new resource for them and they were eager to learn tips on using newspapers for their family history research.
Hornbake Digitization Center
Representatives from Johns Hopkins University’s Library Digitization team visited the Hornbake Digitization Lab for a tour of the facility followed by an information-sharing session. As is true in many library digitization units, the work was generally found to be the same but the equipment and workflows employed tended to be vastly different. It was a valuable chat, and Digitization Services Librarian Rebecca Wack will be scheduling a reciprocal visit to JHU facilities in the coming months.
The HDC’s new copy stand is up and running, with documentation and workflows in the final editing stages. Our Canon 6D Mark II DSLR will be operated using Canon’s EOS3 Utility to enable live shooting and previews. Images will be created in batches and uploaded into Adobe Lightroom to set image resolution, file-type, and name, before passing into the standard post-processing workflows employed using Adobe Photoshop. The copy stand will make its debut imaging an ongoing project from the Prange Collection from the Read Smith Karras papers–a series of photo albums in high researcher demand.
Other Digitization Projects
Robin Pike spent substantial time gathering information on foreign contracts. She also spent substantial time working on vendor contracts, researching justification for a sole source and finalizing the technical specifications for video for the Libraries’ FY20 audiovisual digitization contract.
Robin finished the migration of Digitization Initiatives Committee content to new Libi in preparation for the FY21 project proposal call.
As part of a partnership with The Phillips Collection, as Lead Project Advisor, Robin has begun working with the newly-hired project manager on a grant to digitize a large portion of The Phillips’s collections.
Juana Godinez continued to transfer files from DVDs, reaching over 300 transferred over numerous years. These will all be added to Films@UM once they are transferred. She also began researching equipment for a refreshed video digitization station. The goal is to update the station designed by Library Media Services to provide access copies of analog video on-demand, and to create a station that will allow the creation of preservation-level digital files so we can begin to provide on-demand patron digitization in-house.
Cecilia Franck continued to make steady progress on digitizing the Greenbelt News Review and finalizing metadata for ingest for the Greenbelt Archive Project, a collaborative project between DCMR and Greenbelt to digitize the issues of their local paper from 1964-present (the papers that fall outside the National Digital Newspaper Project). Since beginning the project in January, we have digitized and ingested newspapers from 1964-1984 into the Internet Archive.
Digital Programs and Initiatives
Open Journal Systems Update
Josh Westgard and Terry Owen completed a substantial upgrade to DPI’s publishing service, by upgrading our system to version 3. This upgrade sets the stage for improved service management going forward, and delivers a variety of new features for our existing supported publication. As DPI conducts ongoing review of our service portfolio, we are not accepting new publications for the platform, but we are much better positioned to respond effectively to new strategic priorities for the Libraries.
DPI or its predecessor units have been exclusively responsible for the OJS service at UMD Libraries since 2009. In that time, the application accrued a significant amount of legacy data as publications came and went, publishers customized workflows, and users uploaded ephemeral information. This made the application upgrade and requisite database migration a meticulous, detail-oriented process that began in the fall semester of 2017, with the support of former DPI GA Carlos Alvarado, and required many hours of labor across the team to manage external stakeholders, consult with internal database experts, research issues, and work with staff at other institutions to identify solutions. Please congratulate the team on crossing this important milestone.
Research Data Services
David Durden represented the University of Maryland Libraries at the Biennial Official Representative Meeting for the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) in Ann Arbor, MI from October 15-18. This meeting brings together all ICPSR representatives from member organizations across the United States and Canada for a series of intensive workshops, governance meetings, and demonstrations of new features and research originating from the ICPSR Data Archive.
David led a data science workshop, “Introduction to Python: Basics of Data Analysis using Pandas,” offered through the Research Commons on October 10. This workshop was a collaborative effort between Data Services and Libraries Statistical Consulting to standardize workshop materials across programming languages taught in Research Commons workshops. Datasets, exercises, and learning outcomes for this workshop are identical to the recurring workshop, “Introduction to the R Programming Language,” created by Yishan Ding, Graduate Assistant for Statistical Consulting.
Libraries’ Website and Libi – updated the Staff Directory to reflect the division name change to Research and Academic Services
Archelon – continued work on MVP Milestone 2: Batch Export of Metadata. DPI identified a number of bugs and usability issues which required going back for another round of development. Milestone 2 was then delivered for stakeholder testing.
Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – continued work on upgrade to version 13, though progress was substantially slowed due to the high priority work on the new Libi Staff Blog.
Libi Staff Blog – new Staff Blog designed for library-wide announcements and other information of general interest to library colleagues. The blog also features an email bulletin sent to all staff once a week containing all new posts for the week. The blog is implemented using Drupal 8 and we’ll also be using this application to evaluate further development/migration of Libi functionality using Drupal.
USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions) Library Consortium
The CLAS team responded to 94 Aleph Rx submissions and 14 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.
Lots of important things are happening as we approach the end of the calendar year.
Data Warehouse Phase-1a Rollout
Phase-1a of the Data Warehouse was released to USMAI libraries in late October. Two introductory online sessions were held to introduce libraries to management of their own space within the Data Warehouse Reporting Environment. Recordings of these sessions and other resources to support each library’s use of the Data Warehouse is available on the USMAI Staff Site at http://usmai.umd.edu/services/data-warehouse.
Web Platform Migration
Our migration to a new member portal and collaboration platform (a.k.a. Confluence) housed under the usmai.org domain is almost here. The migration is scheduled for the first week of December. Starting on December 2nd, content on the current USMAI websites will be “frozen” so that we can scrape the content and ingest it into Confluence. The new platform is expected to be up and running by Friday, December 6th. In October, we completed a successful test migration of content. We’ll be putting the finishing touches on our migration utilities in November. October also saw a significant amount of setup of the Confluence environment. That work will continue in November, so that we have an environment that is “move-in ready” for staff at USMAI libraries once the migration is completed.
This project has launched. CLAS team members have reviewed and prioritized various “components” of the Aleph OPAC. We’ll be starting by fixing accessibility issues with screens related to “My Account”. One of the first steps was to remove the existing CSS stylesheets. This screenshot shows how the catalog looks without all that extra styling. Better or worse? Let us know using the poll below!
You can track ORA development as it happens in the two DEV environments our developers are using:
User and Systems Support
McKeldin Special Events Room Renovations
The McKeldin Special Events room (MCK 6137) is finally getting the upgrade it deserves. USS will be working with MidPoint Technology, the contractor for this project, to update the technology. We’ll be updating the projector, upgrading the software to Crestron so that we are on the same system as the campus, and installing two cameras (one to display an audience view and the other to show the presenter). The lectern will remain at the front of the room, but all technology-related equipment will be moved to the back of the room to allow for better management and control during an event.
Strategic planning of the room was taken into consideration due to the room being heavily used for events and occupied as a study space during Finals. After coordinating with the Dean’s Office, the dates for renovations will begin on Monday, November 25th, and end on Tuesday, December 10th, 2019.
We hope these changes will be a better experience for all.
Conferences, workshops and professional development
Kate Dohe, with co-authors Erin Pappas (University of Virginia Libraries) and Celia Emmelhainz (University of California – Berkeley) presented the paper and presentation “Delay, Distract, Defer: Addressing Sabotage in the Academic Library” at The Maintainers III Conference in Washington, D.C., on October 7, 2019. Both the accepted paper and meme-laden slide deck are available in DRUM.
Robin Pike attended the Digital Library Federation Forum and Digital Preservation from October 13-17. She co-taught the workshop “Teaching the DLF Project Managers Toolkit” with Cynthia York (Johns Hopkins University) and Krystal Thomas (Florida State University) as part of Learn@DLF and was a facilitator at the Project Managers Group working breakfast.