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: July 2014

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.

New Technologies

In May, Preston Tobery visited the University of Michigan’s 3D lab. The lab is located in the Dudestadt Center on the North Campus. The entire first floor of the Dudestadt Center is dedicated to the 3D lab. Preston spent 5 hours with a host of managers, specialists and technicians that work there. The 3D lab have 9 Cubify Cube 3D printers which they allow students to use self-serve. Once a student passes the requirements, they are giving a key to unlock a box that the printer is in and can use it. The Michigan Immersive Digital Experience Nexus (M.I.D.E.N.) is one of the cooler technologies they have. It’s in a 10 foot room and projects on 3 walls and the floor. Using a headset and controller, one can walk around virtual 3D objects, look underneath the 3D objects, or interact with the 3D objects. Preston was able to walk around a virtual castle, a small town, and interact with a cadaver from the “Visible Human Project”. The 3D lab also has a 3D theatre room that has a projector which can show 3D movies, 3D interactive simulations, 3D video feeds and 3D PowerPoint presentations.

There are many more technologies and equipment that the 3D lab has. After seeing everything in the lab, Preston was able to bring back a few things to use here in our Libraries. One thing he learned was about a chemical solvent that dissolves support material after a 3D objected is printed. When used, this method has produced smoother 3D objects. One other thing he learned was the importance of adjusting the temperature of the extruder and heat bed. By adjusting the temperature of these two parts, there have been fewer print jobs that have failed.

The 3D lab also has other 3D printers, a 3D scanner, an Oculus Rift VR headset, and a motion caption area. If you would like to know more details of his visit and all the equipment in the University of Michigan’s 3D lab, click here

DSS worked with Tim Hackman in Public Services to nearly complete a project to add Library Computer Availability information to the Libraries’ website, mobile website, and large screen monitors in several branches.  The monitor installations are scheduled to take place in August. The Computer Availability applications show where free and available public computers are located in various Library branches.


The National Endowment for the Humanities announced in July that it was awarding the University of Maryland Libraries $290,000 to digitize an additional 100,000 historic Maryland newspapers as part of the National Digital Newspaper Project.  Jennie Knies is the co-principle investigator on the grant and Liz Caringola will continue as project manager for this second phase of the project. The newspapers will complement the urban and immigrant perspective captured in Der Deutsche Correspondent, the German-language newspaper that was the focus of the project’s first phase, funded by the NEH with a grant of $325,000 in 2012. Those papers are now digitized and accessible at the Library of Congress database Chronicling America.

Digitization activities

Robin Pike and Eric Cartier continued set-up work on the Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio (PAADS), configuring and calibrating equipment. They hope to start training students on the setup in September.

Robin worked on vendor-based digitization contracts for more than ten projects, which will start in August.

Software Development

The upgrade of Hippo CMS from 7.7 to 7.8 proceeded but was impacted by the departure of key developer Irina Belyaeva.  Implementation of 7.8 has been deferred until after start of the Fall 2014 semester in order to accomplish the higher priority website refresh scheduled for release in August.

Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed participed in two two-week development sprints helping to build the new Fedora Commons Repository version 4.  This is a major milestone because despite many years of using open source software the Libraries have not significantly contributed back to that community built software.  DSS will begin a process to migrate our Digital Collections to Fedora 4 beginning this coming Fall.


The University of Maryland Libraries have recently signed on with EZID ( and as a result, we are now assigning DOIs (digital object identifiers) to all new records in DRUM.

The Libraries has recently become a charter member of the Library Publishing Group, a new organization developed to support the publishing activities of libraries.  Opportunities to serve on committees and working groups, participate in professional development and training, or attend conferences and networking events are open to all library staff.  Please contact Terry Owen or Jennie Knies if you are interested in participating in this organization.

A webpage has been created for past events of the Future of the Research Library Speaker Series.   Links to video recordings and/or PowerPoint presentations are available (if provided by the presenter).  A fall event is currently in the planning stages.

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions Consortium)

HathiTrust public domain resources in Find It in the Catalog: For College Park, Linda Seguin implemented a modified version of the California Digital Library’s HathiTrust SFX target. Based on the OCLC number in the Aleph record, SFX will search in HathiTrust and present a link in the Find It menu if *public domain* full text is available. This could be implemented for any campus that wants it. Example:

The life and letters of Lewis Carroll (Rev. C.L. Dodgson) Collingwood

Aeon Request Links in the Catalog: For College Park, Linda  Seguin and Hans Breitenlohner implemented request links in the Full View of the record in catalogusmai, which use SFX to populate bibliographic and location data in request forms in Special Collections’ Aeon system. They also assisted in the setup of Shibboleth authentication for Aeon.

Single Sign On for ILLiad via EZproxy: For Salisbury University, Linda Seguin is working with Salisbury’s Shibboleth administrator and OCLC support to implement single sign on for ILLiad via EZproxy. This is the method that OCLC recommends, rather than using Shibboleth directly with ILLiad, although they do not seem to have ironed out the process.

RapidILL: For all campuses, Linda Seguin has placed documentation on the USMAI web site with instructions on how to request an extract of serial holdings from Aleph for RapidILL, and for campuses to do their own extracts from SFX for electronic holdings. Linda also uploaded holdings for the Center for Environmental Science (CE), UM Eastern Shore, Saint Mary’s, and Towson.

Ingrid Alie is helping the Center for Environmental Science (CE) to edit their Link resolver option in their OCLC Service Configuration WorldCat Registry so when their users click the “Find it” button from WorldCat local, SFX will search in CE SFX knowledgebase and show a link in the Find it menu for full text article (if it is available) or ILLiad (if it is not available).

David Wilt has been processing semi-annual Recurring Task Lists (where each campus specifies changes to tables, etc., needed for next 6 months); has created and/or revised Sub-Library, Collection Code, Item Statuses for Salisbury, Towson, and College Park; together with Hans, has worked on notice revisions for UMUC and Morgan State; and ran reports to facilitate weeding, storage, mold remediation for Frostburg, Salisbury, and College Park.

Mark Hemhauser has created a report of open orders by vendor for Maryland Law; created a special serials claim report for Health Sciences; and produced a new subscription report for College Park.

Hans has installed the Kuali OLE program on a local server and the team has been working out the bugs of the install so testing can begin in the next month.


Digitization Assistant Sarah Ostrye accepted the Research Library/Digital Archivist position at the Gemological Library in Carlsbad, CA.

Ryan Donaldson and Massimo Petrozzi will be starting as Student Digitization Assistants, who are both starting at the School of Information Studies this fall.

Software Developer Irina Belyaeva moved on to MetiSpace Technologies, subsidiary of GMV, Spain to take the position of Senior Software Engineer, Satellite Systems.

Conferences and Workshops.

In July Brandon Eldred and Uche Enwesi attended Dell User Forum.  Jennie Knies, Liz Caringola, Eric Cartier, Trevor Muñoz, Karl Nilsen, Robin Pike all attended Digital Preservation 2014 in Washington, DC.  Trevor Muñoz was presented with a National Digital Stewardship Alliance Innovation Award, where he was recognized for his work developing and teaching best practices in data curation in the digital humanities and for his work advocating for digital preservation as a core function of librarianship, archival work, and scholarship.  Karl Nilsen and Robin Dasler were on a plenary panel, Stewarding Space Data, at Digital Preservation 2014. They talked about Research Data Services’ preliminary efforts to curate and preserve the Extragalactic Distance Database, an online resource for determining the distance to galaxies that was constructed by a UMD faculty member in collaboration with colleagues at other institutions. This project is an important pilot project for Research Data Services and will help the Libraries build capacity to curate complex digital data collections and systems.

Karl Nilsen recently attended the annual conference of the International Association for Social Science Information Services & Technology (IASSIST). IASSIST is the foremost professional organization for data librarians in the social sciences. Data librarianship is expanding into new and exciting areas in order to meet the needs of faculty and students in data-intensive, computation-driven research contexts. Based on the presentations and discussions at IASSIST, librarians in the social sciences can expect to receive more and more inquiries about unconventional data sources (web scraping, administrative data, APIs), data wrangling technologies, and data management best practices.

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.