Stew of the month: July 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

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

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

Other Digitization Projects

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

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

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

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

Hornbake Digitization Center

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Avalon Media Repository Pilot Update

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

In Process

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

Software Development



Under Development

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

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

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

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

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration live at UMD

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

MARC 856 subfield 7 update

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

Project Work Continues!

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

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


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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

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

DSS at Code4Lib DMV 2019

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

Stew of the month: June 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

Other Digitization Projects

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

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

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

Hornbake Digitization Center

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Spring 2019 ETDs Loaded in DRUM

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

Software Development


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

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

Under Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New projects are on the horizon looking ahead to July:

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


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

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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

Stew of the month: March/April 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

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

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

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

Other Digitization Projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hornbake Digitization Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

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

The Continuing Ballad of Open Journal Systems

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

Digital Collections Updates

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

Software Development

Under Development

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

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

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

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

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

Archelon – implementing usability improvements based on usability testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data Warehouse Phase-1

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

Web Platform Migration

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

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration

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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

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

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

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

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

Stew of the month: May 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

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

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

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

Other Digitization Activities

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

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

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

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Research Data Services

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

Software Development


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

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

Under Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Conferences, workshops and professional development

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

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

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

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

Stew of the month: February 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack worked to train Pamela McClanahan into the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, teaching her about the larger initiatives of the nationwide program as well as the day-to-day collation and batch work. Pamela shipped the second batch of microfilm, which came from the content partners Maryland State Archives and the Montgomery County Historical Society and began the review of the first batch of microfilm received back from the vendor, coming from the content partner Center for Research Libraries. Students Jane Sonneman and Sydney Schneider began to collate the new title from microfilm. Pamela and Robin met with Creekside Digital, the selected digitization vendor, for the digitization kickoff meeting, and to deliver them the reel for the sample batch, due to the Library of Congress in the coming months.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin worked with Stephanie Ritchie, her student assistant Shaune Young (both STEM), Joanne Archer (SCUA), and Mary Dulaney (Development) to submit a Project CERES grant to digitize historic agriculture publications, primarily on microfilm. The application proposed digitizing an estimated 38,000 pages.

Robin also prepared and shipped out the Brooke manuscript collection digitization project, which is a collection of historic agriculture records and diaries from a Maryland farming family and is part of Historical Manuscripts in SCUA. She worked with Stephanie Ritchie, her former GA Kiri Houpt Burcat, Liz Novara, Joanne Archer (both SCUA), and all Preservation and Conservation staff to prepare this project for digitization as part of the FY19 DIC project proposal process.

Robin also coordinated with Laura Schnitker (SCUA), Bryan Draper, and Leigh Plummer (both Preservation) to pack and ship a medium-sized collection of fragile acetate to a vendor for digitization, which were requested by a patron.

As Co-Chair. Robin met with the Grants Committee members to further discuss cross-library initiatives, some of which may overlap with digitization. The committee is creating procedures and deciding on thematic needs across the Libraries and Mary Dulany, Chair, will be promoting information as it’s available.

Robin and Rebecca met with Kate Dohe and Carlos Alvarez (both DPI) to discuss future capabilities and workflows for the next digital collections repository administrative interface. One outcome of the meeting was that Kate and Carlos will be coming to a Hornbake Digitization Center staff meeting to talk to HDC students about their work and how they use the current Fedora administrative interface to talk about how the next generation interface could be improved to facilitate workflows and to make work easier or less repetitive.

Rebecca is collaborating with Laura Cleary and other SCUA staff on National History Day events in June. DCMR’s goal is to promote the use of digitized primary resources to the high school participants for future research.

Hornbake Digitization Center

Rebecca worked with Steve Henry, Vin Novara, John Davis, and Don Minaldi (all MSPAL) on an analysis of the equipment and space in the Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio. This studio was a past collaboration between MSPAL and DCMR but hadn’t been used in a few years so it was in great need of updating. Robin and Rebecca worked to reconfigure the equipment and with USS, to update the software. Rebecca and Steve also coordinated for a technician to come out and service the equipment. Rebecca will be updating procedures and training MSPAL staff in the coming months in how to use the audio digitization setup to produce files for preservation.

After assessing equipment needs at the beginning of the year, Rebecca also worked with USS to acquire and reconfigure monitors for flatbed scanning stations, refresh those computers, and refresh two of the four flatbed scanners. This work required a lot of trouble-shooting during the configuration to get all the software working, so it took priority, as Rebecca is planning to start several projects in March, which she also spent February meeting with curators and planning those projects. Some of the upcoming projects include the Maryland Public Television exhibit, which will feature a lot of digital photography; a manuscript collection from the Prange collection area, which includes scrapbooks; and fragile newspapers from the Labor collections.

Digitization assistants continued work on staff and patron requests and one main project of Works Progress Administration photos.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Research Data Services

David Durden taught a segment on data management in the Research Commons’ workshop, “Organizing your Research and Using Citation Managers.” This workshop covered organizational skills, an introduction to data management, and offered a ‘choose your own citation manager adventure’ covering Mendeley, Zotero, or EndNote. The workshop was collaboratively developed and taught by Tahirah Akbar-Williams, David Durden, Sarah Over, Jordan Sly, and Nedelina Tchangalova. In addition, on February 25, David taught a workshop on data management to graduate students. This recurring Research Commons workshop covers data management plans, the data lifecycle, and practical solutions to data management for the student researcher.

David also presented and demonstrated REDCap to a School of Public Health Brown Bag workshop on survey tools on February 22, 2019. The Brown Bag featured demonstrations on both Qualtrics and REDCap with an emphasis on choosing the right electronic data capture tool for the job. David has also been developing a workflow and service model for migrating large research studies from Qualtrics to REDCap, including project file conversion, feature implementation and development, and data migration.

Archelon Product Development

DPI staff are working on identifying features and functional requirements for Archelon, the administrative staff interface for Fedora 4+. Building out this application to serve the digital production needs of a variety of Libraries’ staff is an essential requirement for modernizing digital collections operations and processes, and it is necessary for the Libraries to have such an application in place before substantial migration of content from the old Fedora 2 repository can begin. As part of this process, Kate Dohe, Carlos Alvarado, and Anne Hendrick have conducted initial stakeholder interviews, listening sessions, and observations. The team is currently developing user stories to facilitate software development, and define a minimum viable product that can evolve in tandem with the needs of curators, archival coordinators, digitization specialists, repository managers, metadata technicians, and other staff who need to manage unique digital content.

Do you create, edit, or administer digital collections content? Please let us know what you’d like to see in Archelon – email DPI, or contact Kate directly, for more discussion. We need your input!


In close collaboration with the Graduate School, DSS staff will develop and maintain an application to ease the sign-up and permission-granting process for University of Maryland faculty, staff, and students who wish to use ORCID, a researcher identification system that is widely used by faculty reporting tools, funding agencies, and publishers. UMD is an institutional member of ORCID, and this application will enable the university community and administrators to more effectively capitalize on this membership. Product development and mockups are underway.

Software Development

A quiet month, release-wise.

Under Development

  • Libi – continuing to fix bugs and setup groups in new Libi; full URL cutover and freezing content in old Libi is currently on hold, pending resolution of usability issues discovered during testing
  • Hippo CMS / Website – updates for improved permissions and maintenance as well as additional content editing features in the Channel Manager; Proof of Concept for a Research Guides template and content maintenance in Hippo
  • Fedora 2 architecture improvements: migrating Relationships Behavior, Handle Service, and OAI-PMH Server from a custom Lucene search app to Solr
  • Fedora 6 research and planning
  • Restart work on Bento Search in preparation for an Alpha release and usability testing
  • Proof of Concept for a Common Search interface with new theme and Solr backend to replace the current theme for Digital Collections
  • ORCID@UMD application for sign-up and permission-granting process

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

The CLAS team responded to 119 Aleph Rx submissions and 22 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in February.

Data Warehouse Phase-1

February marked our last month with our Data Warehouse Architect Alex Riccomini, and it was a busy month! We were able to get a sample set of 100,000 items loaded and made available within Jasperserver Reports so that the team could begin researching and setting up the reporting environment. An initial structure for users/roles/permissions has been established and systems librarians have been working to replicate some commonly requested reports. On the back end, ETL design documentation was reviewed and corresponding database tables were created. These will serve as useful guideposts for continued development of the ETL program. We will miss Alex’s expertise but are now equipped to see Phase-1 through to completion.

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration

Progress has been made on the integration of Aleph and ILLiad for incoming ILL items. This integration is set up and will be ready for testing by the pilot libraries in March.

Nexis Uni issues

Most (if not all) USMAI libraries subscribe to Nexis Uni, which has had a couple access issues this month. The first is issue is a security warning that users see when accessing Per a LexisNexis FAQ, the starting URL should be Your session will still use the secure HTTPS protocol after this initial request. The second issue has to do with Nexis Uni links from SFX resolving to a “Login to Lexis” screen rather than directing the user to the appropriate resource. CLAS has reported this issue and several other libraries have also indicated that they are experiencing the same issue.

We’re Hiring!

CLAS has a job opening for an Applications Developer. If you know someone (or are someone!) who meets the requirements and is interested in making Maryland higher education better by supporting 17 Maryland university and college libraries, we’d love to have you apply: The application closing date is April 1st.


Pamela McClanahan started February 4 as the new Digital Projects Librarian. She is the new Project Manager on grant-funded projects, including the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project and the Spiro Agnew audio digitization project. She will be writing new grants as they come up as well.

Conferences, workshops and professional development


Josh Westgard, Kate Dohe, David Durden, and Joseph Koivisto published “Digital Repositories: A Systems Perspective” in New Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know, ed. by Kenneth Varnum and published as part of the Library and Information Technology Association’s LITA Guide series. The chapter describes and assesses various repository platforms and technologies in modern digital programs, as well as emerging trends and use cases.

Kate Dohe published “Care, Code, and Digital Libraries: Embracing Critical Practice in Digital Library Communities” in In the Library with the Lead Pipe. This article interrogates the ways the open source digital library practitioner community has become a re-enactment of local power dynamics that privilege wealth, whiteness, and masculinity at the expense of meaningful inclusive practice and care work, and how that ultimately harms the end user experience of these products and threatens the future of digital library initiatives.

Conferences and Talks

On February 8, 2019, David Durden participated in a panel session, “Sustainable Data Management for the Solar Decathlon,” with art librarian Patti Cossard and student assistant Michael Molyneaux-Francis at the 11th annual Bridging the Spectrum Symposium.

On February 28, David Durden was invited to speak on data librarianship as a career path to graduate students in the UMD iSchool course, “Serving Information Needs.” His talk covered core skills for data librarians and discussed the variety of data librarian positions.

Stew of the month: January 2019

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Robin Pike worked with Tonita Brooks and campus Procurement to secure contracts for microfilm duplication and digitization. The microfilm duplication began with a title held by the Center for Research Libraries–the Telegraf–a Czech title. Robin also worked with Maria Day from the Maryland State Archives and Sarah Hedlund from the Montgomery County Historical Society to receive the microfilm for several titles that will be duplicated and then digitized. She drafted an agreement to receive several more newspapers to fill in gaps of the print run of the Greenbelt Cooperator/Greenbelt News Review. The project will also receive a few more titles from Enoch Pratt State Library in the next few months.

Doug McElrath (SCUA) completed informative essays for the final titles submitted to the Library of Congress; after the NEH edits and approves them, they will be added to the online records in Chronicling America to provide context to the publication history of the newspapers.

Robin and Doug began planning the Advisory Board meeting for later in the spring, and also preparing for the start of new Digital Projects Librarian, Pamela McClanahan who will start February 4.

Student Assistants Jane Sonneman and Sydney Schneider finished collation on print issues of the Greenbelt Cooperator/Greenbelt News Review. They also began research work for potential outreach programs for Maryland History Day resources. Sydney also completed copyright research for titles published between 1924-1963; all titles were found to be in the public domain.

Other Digitization Projects

The Digitization Initiatives Committee met to discuss, prioritize, and locate funding for FY20 project proposals. Money for projects is still being solidified, especially as the Basketball Video and Film Preservation Launch campaign will run through March. The budget will be presented at the end of March/beginning of April as planned.

Robin coordinated with numerous staff in Preservation and Conservation to ship out the Brooke family papers for digitization. Cecilia Franck and Christie Scully finished the quality review of the Works Progress Administration microfilmed records; the images passed, though records will require some metadata clean-up before they are ingested. Both projects were funded through the FY19 DIC project proposal process. The Libraries felt effects of the Federal Shutdown, as the Internet Archive digitization facility at the National Agriculture Library under the USDA was closed; two batches were in limbo.

Robin also coordinated with Eric Stoykovich (SCUA) to ship the Spiro Agnew audio digitization project to the vendor. This project is funded by a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant.

Robin and Cecilia Franck, now assistant on the Greenbelt Archive Project, set up equipment, software, and modified DCMR documentation for the workflows at Greenbelt. The project, which will digitize the Greenbelt News Review from 1963-present and upload the issues and metadata to the Internet Archive, began January 28 and will last approximately two years. This project is being performed through Digital Data Services and is funded by the non-profit Greenbelt Archive Project.

Robin worked with Stephanie Ritchie (PSD), Joanne Archer (SCUA), and Mary Dulaney (Development) on a Ceres grant application, due in early February, to digitize historical agriculture publications.

Hornbake Digitization Center

The Hornbake Digitization Center is fully-staffed and open for business. Five student digitization assistants, Vanessa Barker, Sydney Schneider, Natalia Grajewski, Katie Daughtry, and Jane Sonneman, are hard at work updating and improving equipment and workflow documentation and helping to design new training and on-boarding procedures. As new student assistants are the intended users of instructional materials, bringing assistant feedback into the update process has proved invaluable.

Work is underway to digitize approximately 300 archival photographs from UMD’s Department of Entomology. The photographs, some of which date back to the nineteenth century, document everything from past members of the department to images of experiments and studies. While the photographs themselves will be returned to Entomology upon completion of the project, their digital surrogates will be available in AlbUM.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Year of Data Science Update

As part of the UMD Year of Data Science, the University Libraries, represented by Kelley O’Neal and David Durden, and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), represented by Ian Carroll, jointly hosted a 2-day workshop in late January to train 10 new Data and Software Carpentries instructors on campus. These new Carpentries instructors are the inaugural cohort of the newly formed Campus Association of Carpentries Instructors and will develop and lead data science workshops throughout the spring 2019 semester. Support from the Year of Data Science initiative also covered the University of Maryland’s Gold Level membership within the Carpentries Organization.

Software Development


We completed the migration for DRUM and MD-SOAR to use DataCite, our new provider for creating and maintaining Digital Object Identifiers (DOI).

Archival Collections

We provided the final steps for the much anticipated and long running migration from ArchivesUM (and assorted, beastly, back-end applications) to ArchivesSpace as our platform for Archival Collections. ArchivesUM is dead, long live Archival Collections.

Under Development

  • Libi – continuing to fix bugs and setup groups in new Libi; the last day for the full URL cutover and freezing content in old Libi is April 1
  • Hippo CMS / Website – updates for improved permissions and maintenance as well as additional content editing features in the Channel Manager
  • Improved fixity checking tools for our Fedora Content Repository

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

The CLAS team responded to 122 Aleph Rx submissions and 20 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in January.

CLAS began work on the 2019 Work Plan in January, which includes continuation of a couple critical priorities as well as several new work items.

Data Warehouse

Work on this critical project continued in January with significant efforts put into the ETL program and populating data into the reporting environment. For the ETL program, further details on mapping and data quality specifications were defined, functions were developed to handle common ETL tasks, and the overall design of the ETL program was advanced. For the reporting environment, an initial set of 1000 sample items was successfully loaded with a larger set of 100,000 items currently in the works for loading. These sample sets will allow us to work with Aleph data in the reporting environment (Jaspersoft) while we configure the environment and test report accuracy.

Aleph-ILLiad NCIP Integration

Work on this critical project restarted in January. The first milestone is to set up successful communication between Aleph and College Park’s ILLiad instance to create an item and hold request, put the item on the holdshelf, and loan and return it. Additional work was done in Aleph to configure Aleph’s NCIP function to make this possible.

Katia Fowler: USMAI’s New Administrative Assistant

CLAS was happy to welcome Katia Fowler to the consortium (and UMD Libraries) on January 22nd. Katia’s position is hosted at UMD and embedded in the CLAS team. This proximity has already paid dividends as it has made the transition of several administrative activities (e.g. managing email lists, website updates, social media, etc.) much easier as she begins to take over these responsibilities for USMAI. She also bravely and heroically rescued a bird who found its way into our basement office dwellings!


Katia Fowler started as USMAI’s Executive Administrative Assistant on January 22nd.

Natalia Grajewski, Katie Daughtry, both MLIS students, began working in the Hornbake Digitization Center as Digitization Assistants in mid-January. Christie Scully, also an MLIS student, began working as the Digitization Projects Assistant in mid-January; she will be performing preparatory and quality control work on vendor projects. Previous assistant Cecilia Franck entered the MLIS program in January. They also made the transfer to working on a Digital Data Services project, the Greenbelt Archive Project, where they will be digitizing the Greenbelt News Review.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe, Babak Hamidzadeh, and Ben Wallberg co-authored “Doing More, With More: Academic Libraries, Digital Services, and Revenue Generation,” an invited Issue Brief for  Ithaka S+R.

David Dahl attended the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

Heidi Hanson attended the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

Stew of the month: November/December 2018

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Rebecca Wack has continued to make batch fixes in preparation to submit them to the Library of Congress, as well as prepare microfilm. She has continued to maintain a social media presence on Twitter with the assistance of student assistants Sydney Schneider and Jane Sonneman.

Robin met with Sydney and Jane to review copyright clearance procedures; they completed this work in early January.

In November and December, Robin worked closely with the Advisory Board to solidify the titles that will be digitized in Phase 4, which will be featured in a future longer post.

Robin has also been working with Tonita Brooks to solidify the vendor contracts. Microfilm duplication is anticipated to begin in January.

Other Digitization Activities

Robin Pike has worked with Joanne Archer and Liz Caringola as project managers as well as various curators to ship the following projects to digitization vendors in November and December: Mass Media and Culture Serials, Spanish Plays, University Publications, AFL-CIO RTI forms, student newspapers, Westinghouse audio reels, Maryland Public Television videos, Library Media Services films on various topics, experiencing degradation, and one film from the Prange collection. These projects are being funded through the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process.

Robin has also met with Amy Wasserstrom (Prange) to create the technical requirements and sole source document for the continuation of the Prange Book Project digitization contract.

Robin underwent Kuali training to learn about the university grant management and proposal submission systems. She is now certified to submit projects.

Robin met with Vin Novara and Mary Dulaney regarding a proposal to the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant application, as well as meeting with Stephanie Ritchie and Joanne Archer regarding a proposal for a Ceres grant through CRL to digitize Maryland government publications on microfilm.

The Hornbake Digitization Center is wrapping up work on Series 1 of the Claude-Gray-Hughes-Tuck-Whittington Family Papers. Series 1, 3.5 linear feet of correspondence, is comprised primarily of letters between family members throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Claude, Gray, Hughes, Tuck and Whittington family papers date from 1793 to 1938 and represent a mixture of correspondence, from family, friends, and business associates; deeds; ledgers; literary writings; school notebooks; and receipts. The bulk of the material dates from 1820-1900. The material reflects daily life in Annapolis and the Naval Academy, conflicts with the Spanish in the Louisiana Territory, local and national politics, the Civil War and the embargo. It also reveals information on religion, family relationships, nineteenth century medical practices, and attitudes towards blacks and slavery.

The digitized work can be found in Digital Collections.

Rebecca has also met with collection areas to begin gathering in-house digitization projects for calendar year 2019. She is also beefing up project and task management procedures using the tool ClickUp in anticipation of new projects in 2019.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

The Katherine Anne Porter Digital Collection

After a multi-year collaborative effort between Special Collections and University Archives, Discovery and Metadata Services, and Digital Systems and Stewardship, the Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977 is now available online. Containing almost 4,000 letters from the extensive and well-described holdings related to Porter in literary manuscripts in SCUA, this collection is an online public resource that provides access to high-resolution digital images of original materials. It also demonstrates increased integration with other resources, along with rich contextual information about the life and times of Katherine Anne Porter. The project uses many of the Libraries’ emerging technologies, including Fedora 4 and the IIIF image viewer. The contextual information was built out with the Hippo exhibit template and integrated with Fedora, which is a unique contribution of this project.

CodeOcean Pilot Project

DPI is pleased to announce the pending launch of the CodeOcean pilot in February 2019. CodeOcean is a vendor-provided research data management service that provides researchers and developers an easy way to share, discover and run code published in academic journals and conferences. As an increasing amount of research generates code, it is urgently important for scholars to reproduce scientific results with both code and data. CodeOcean allows researchers to share code in an open source programming language, and users to execute that code without installing any local software packages or fiddly environment configuration.

DPI’s pilot will assess the need for such a service among UMD’s research community, as well as how effectively the service integrates with our existing service offerings and technologies. Liaisons are encouraged to reach out to David Durden for more information.

New Collection in DRUM

DPI has partnered with the National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) on campus to make their research and publications available to a wider audience via DRUM. NCSG works to advance the notion that research, collaboration, engagement and thoughtful policy development hold the key to a smarter and more sustainable approach to urban and regional development. NCSG is housed under the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, with support from the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, the A. James Clark School of Engineering, the School of Public Policy, and the Office of the Provost. Check out some of their research here.

ArcLight Hackathon

On December 18, a number of UMD Libraries staff organized and participated in a day-long hackathon for Arclight, an emerging technology based on Blacklight that is designed to support discovery and digital delivery of archival information. Put another way, it is a potential end user interface for special collections materials that builds upon technology we already use. Participants from DPI, SSDR, Discovery and Metadata Services, and Special Collections and University Archives drew upon considerable user experience research regarding ArchivesSpace, as well as feedback and reports from other institutions that experimented with ArcLight, to organize objectives for the day:

  • Assess a variety of UMD archival descriptions within ArcLight
  • Identify and prototype desired usability and visual design changes
  • Evaluate metadata loading and handling in ArcLight and identify workflow requirements to integrate with other systems we use for special collections management (specifically, ArchivesSpace and Aeon)

Towards this end, Peter Eichman, Bria Parker, and Kate Dohe coordinated creation, testing, and troubleshooting of a Vagrant and Docker for ArcLight in advance of the hackathon. Graduate Assistants in DPI, Anne Hendrick and Carlos Alvarado, collaborated with Joanne Archer to review the interface and generate potential alternative interface mockups. Kate Dohe drew upon code created at the University of Albany to incorporate visual changes to labels for restricted and inaccessible materials. SSDR developers David Steelman, Mohamed Mohideen Abdul Rasheed, and Ben Wallberg worked to implement a variety of requested changes to data loading and display within the interface. Formal results will be shared with the ArcLight community in the coming weeks.

A/V Digital Collections Updates

In December, after resolving several software bugs and developing a workaround that had prevented loading content with one particular access rule, Josh Westgard finalized the ingest of more than 800 items of digitized audio and video using a DPI-developed batch ingest script for Fedora 2 external (streaming) content.

Software Development


After a multi-year development effort we have released the new Libi staff intranet into production.  This new Libi has several significant new features: 1) The “new” Libi Advisory Team has overseen development and provides ongoing management and governance provided, 2) all content in Libi is accessible to Libi users, 3) it is implemented in Hippo CMS as a pure website rather than a wiki, and 4) it’s primary purpose is for publishing documents, using Google Team Drive as the document management platform.

New Libi and old Libi will operate in parallel while staff migrate their content.  Migration is not automatic but we do have some export capabilities to aid in the migration.  All migrations are scheduled to be complete by April 1 when old Libi is frozen for all content updates and begins preparing for its final shutdown.


We have updated both DRUM and MD-SOAR with new functionality for creating Digital Object Identifiers (DOI).  We have have removed the old EZID service with an integration to DataCite, in which we are new members.  Final transition should occur in early January.

Archival Collections

We have completed work to upgrade to ArchivesSpace 2.5.1, user interface improvements for the public interface, and improved stability and performance for the indexing process.  This new version is turned over to stakeholders for quality assurance testing.  We anticipate a promotion to production in early January, with a final shutdown of ArchivesUM by January 25.

Digital Collections

We are pleased to announce the community release of Fedora 5.0.0 which has been overseen by DuraSpace and built by the Fedora community, including our own developers. See the  Release Notes for further information. We have worked with the broader community to create this new version and have already begun preparing for the testing and updates for an upgrade to Fedora 5 in 2019. We also worked on improving our Fedora infrastucture by exploring alternate RDF triple stores to replace Fuseki and by fixing several bugs in regular fixity checking.

In the Fedora 2 environment we completed the HTTPS implementation for improved security by implementing HTTPS for our backend services. We also updated the Admin Tools application to use CAS for authentication and Grouper for authorization.

Website / Hippo CMS

While preparing to test and release the new Hippo Projects feature we discovered a number of issues with our content permissions and editing structure which prevent us from implementing Projects.  We have analysed the issues and will be enacting a number of content permissions and Channel Manager improvements in the Spring before we release Projects.

Annual Staffing Requests

We upgraded the Annual Staffing Requests application to version2.1 which contains several bug fixes and new features for FY20 request cycle, which is now underway.

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

The CLAS team responded to 173 Aleph Rx submissions and 24 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in November and December.

2019 Work Plan

Nearing the end of 2018, CLAS has been busy making plans for 2019. This year’s process for assembling the team’s work plan was a bit different than previous years with a greater focus on input from USMAI’s member libraries. The goals of the refined process were to (1) ensure close alignment between CLAS activities and USMAI priorities, (2) better anticipate locl library projects that will require CLAS support, and (3) create greater awareness of CLAS work priorities. We have some exciting work lined up for 2019, including (but not limited to!) migrating USMAI’s websites to a new, more collaborative web platform, integrating Aleph and ILLiad, completing our Phase-1 data warehouse project, and improving our tracking systems for service requests. You’ll hear more about these as work progresses in 2019!

Data Warehouse

Work on the data warehouse Phase-1 project continued in November and December with progress being made on multiple fronts.

Dimensional Modeling

A star schema for the Collections reporting area was drafted and finalized. This provides the basis for what collections data will be stored, and how it will be stored, in the data warehouse. From this, systems librarians worked on writing mapping specifications that will be used for developing the data transformations from Aleph into the data warehouse.


The decision was made to write custom Python scripts for our data transformations/mapping. While Pentaho was considered, the transformations required for this project are not complex enough to justify the learning curve for Pentaho. An ETL server environment and database tables have been established for the ETL process. Development of the ETL code has started. The extract scripts to pull data from Aleph were also rewritten in Python and have been extracting Aleph data for several months now with minimal issues.


TIBCO’s Jaspersoft Enterprise Edition has been procured as the reporting layer for the data warehouse. This tool will allow users to view standard reports and create their own ad hoc reports and dashboards. The software has been installed and work is underway to configure the reporting environment.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Heidi Hanson attend the 2018 LITA Forum in Minneapolis from November 8-10.

In December, Josh Westgard attended and helped to organize a meeting of the DC Fedora Users Group at Johns Hopkins University on December 17-18.

Kate Dohe and Josh Westgard attended the APTrust Members Meeting at Georgetown University on December 12 and 13.

Kate Dohe attended CNI on December 10-11.

Kate Dohe published the article “Linked Data, Unlinked Communities” in the interdisciplinary feminist science magazine Lady Science, as part of a series on feminism and library technologies.

Rebecca Wack attended the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference from November 28-December 1, 2018.