Stew of the month: February/March 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

With the stay at home order in Maryland and throughout much of the nation due to coronavirus, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project (HMNP) has transitioned to remote work. While some of our vendors have had to shut down, we have been able to move forward on some batch production and outreach. Quality review for batches continues, and we’re still able to send batches for post-processing by one of our vendors.

For outreach, we’re focusing on engaging the education community on twitter during this time of distance learning especially social studies and history teachers to share Chronicling America as a great online tool for primary sources. We’re using hashtags such as #sschat, #edchat, #distancelearning, #historyteachers, and #twitterstorians. Pam is working with two of our HMNP board members, Lisa Eaker, a Lecturer from the UMD College of Education and Grace Leatherman, Executive Director of the National Council for History Education (NCHE), to reach more of the education community sharing Chronicling America as an online resource including it on a College of Education resource list and in a NCHE newsletter. Also, our student assistants are finding content in the Maryland newspapers related to the 1918 influenza epidemic to tweet as well.

Hornbake Digitization Center

The Digitization Assistants Vanessa Barker, Natalia Grajewski, Amanda Scott, and Jane Sonneman focused primarily on digitizing materials for the Special Collections and University Archives exhibit on the Voting Rights Act, which included many photographs, documents, oversized documents, and two audio reels. Assistants also digitized newspapers for an upcoming online exhibit for the Prange Collection. In addition to fulfilling patron requests, assistants continued work on two long-term projects, digitizing deteriorated issues of the Baker’s Journal, a trades newspaper, and photographs from the Works Progress Administration collection.

After spring break, when work moved exclusively online, the digitization assistants began quality control and derivative creation of the MacKaye collection, a collection of previously-digitized DC punk fanzines held by Special Collections in Performing Arts. While experiencing some issues getting used to at-home network speeds, the assistants are now hitting their stride and have completed fanzines for 45 bands, with 568 remaining.

Other Digitization Activities

In February and March, we received two batches of video files and the single batch of image files of performance programs for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange grant, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The third batch of videos has been stalled due to the vendor’s closure because of coronavirus. New project assistant Alexis Woolford was trained to perform quality control immediately before the university closed campus, and has been working to QC files remotely on servers instead of from hard drives. We have adapted how we do QC on a project this scale to accommodate for the closure. Digital Projects Assistant Liz Holdzkom was instrumental in testing set-up and workflow for QC on this project.

Juana Godinez continued to transfer and create derivative files for films and videos previously digitized on-demand under Library Media Services. She has also successfully transitioned this project while working at home. To date, she has transferred files for 839 recordings.

Holzkom continued to progress with the QC of vendor projects for which we had previously received files, including the Diamondback and patron requests that had to be sent to a vendor. Importantly, she reviewed the sample for the FY20 Student Newspapers; due to creative formatting choices of the original print newspapers, we are finding that the algorithms used to OCR and organize text blocks in modern student newspapers are having difficulty, which has caused significant rework on previous batches. We received a test issue to check and make sure the algorithm is correctly processing articles, and we are willing to accept imperfectly processed articles (e.g. when a title appears in the middle of an article); perfectly processed issues would require substantial human intervention and increase the cost a lot.

Robin Pike worked with Laurainne Ojo-Ohiquare (SCUA), Liz Holdzkom, Juana Godinez, and Linda Sarigol (Preservation) to send out the FY20 Basketball Films and FY20 LMS Vinegar Syndrome Films projects to the digitization vendor in February. These projects are currently on hold due the vendor’s closure because of coronavirus.

Pike also worked with the Digitization Initiatives Committee to finalize the FY21 Digitization Project Proposals and submit them to ALT for funding.

Finally, Pike and McClanahan worked closely with many USS employees to get 8 students and 1 staff who had never teleworked before up and running to telework. This was particularly challenging and required extensive configuration and testing of specialized software on laptops. DCMR uses unusual opensource software like the Digital Viewer and Validator and QC Tools, which require additional setup beyond installation. Pike and McClanahan greatly appreciate the work of USS!

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

DPI continues to be focused on several long-term projects in progress, including the Avalon project, Archelon development, the digital archive migration to Amazon Web Services, and new collections in DRUM.

Software Development

Releases

Hippo CMS  – successfully launched Hippo version 13 to production, following a delay to avoid a major change at the beginning of the Spring semester

Under Development

Archelon – completed implementation of MVP Milestone 3: Authority Control and Controlled Vocabulary and released to stakeholders for testing.  Manage and edit either blacklists or whitelists for controlled vocabulary. Support rightsstatements.org copyright options for materials.

Archelon – began planning and implementation of MVP Milestone 4 – Batch Import: Metadata. Provides batch import of metadata for repository objects, through uploaded CSV or Turtle files.

Drupal 8 – continued training on how to use and develop for Drupal 8, in preparation for an eventual plan to migrate both Libi and Libraries’ Website to Drupal.  Successfully demonstrated content migration from Hippo to Drupal 8.

Provided development support for the tracking and migration of all 221 TB of archived UMD Libraries digital content from the DIT provided archiving system to AWS Glacier.

Begin planning and testing for an implementation of Kubernetes as the container orchestration system for our Docker-based applications.

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

The CLAS team responded to 196 Aleph Rx submissions and 56 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in February and March.

COVID-19 Support

There was an uptick in support requests starting in mid-March as member libraries’ operations adjusted to the COVID-19 epidemic and their institutions transitioned to online teaching.

To help member libraries adjust to remote work, we created a “Continuity of Operations” page in the Member Portal with details about methods for accessing Aleph from home, avoiding the accumulation of fines and fees, and other information related to operational changes. This is part of a larger COVID-19 space in the Member Portal, that includes information about each library’s operational status, discussion forums (requires an account to view/participate), and webinars related to the pandemic.

Off-Campus E-resource Access

With the move to online teaching and the closing of campuses, we anticipate an increase in EZproxy traffic in order to access e-resources. We have set up some utilities to help us more closely monitor EZproxy usage in order to ensure that it continues to work reliably for member libraries. While we have noticed an increase in traffic, EZproxy has remained stable.

Legacy USMAI Staff Site Decommission

CLAS team members made a last major push to clean up content in the Member Portal prior to the decommission of the Legacy USMAI Staff Site at the end of February. If you’re a staff member at a USMAI library, now is a great time to create an account in the Member Portal. While a lot of content is available without a login, some content can only be viewed with a login. Plus, you can fill out your profile for others to see your areas of interest and expertise. Links that previously pointed back to the legacy staff site have been updated to link to their equivalent page in the Member Portal. You may still come across dead links that are part of the historical record (e.g. minutes, reports, etc.)

New Data Warehouse Reporting Topic

We’ve added a new Reporting Topic to the data warehouse: BIBs and HOLs (Current). This topic allows staff to do reporting on bibliographic and holdings records. See this blog post in the Member Portal for more information.

MD-SOAR

The numbers are in! As part of assessing the MD-SOAR platform in advance of its potential renewal this summer, Joseph Koivisto has been crunching some numbers.

Here are some quick highlights:

  • Total number of deposited items: 13,304 (and counting)
  • Total number of authors with works deposited: 9,966
  • Total number of user accounts: 1,756
  • Total downloads in FY20: 270,373 (and counting)

User and Systems Support

With news of the Coronavirus looming closer to campus, USS took strategic steps to ensure a smooth Libraries-wide transition to telework.

We first created a group policy to make information like the IP address and workstation number more accessible for staff to locate and use to remote into their workstations from home. After the Group policy was deployed, documentation on remoting into your PC or MAC was created and uploaded to Libi.

USS gathered every and all staff loaner laptops (PCs and MACs) that were available. We reimaged and cleaned 64 laptops for staff to use during the telework period. Hotspots were purchased to accommodate staff who did not have home internet connectivity.

Due to the number of documentation we were creating each day, a “Telework Technology Guidelines and Procedures” page was generated on Libi. The page has information, resources, and instructions for various telework technical procedures.. The page is often updated with revised and new documentation. We advise Library staff to check the page for any updates.

With the announcement of campus not reopening anytime soon, we took a few steps like shutting down all public computers and more documentation to assist staff during the telework period.

Students asked to borrow laptops; however, DIT already loaned out most of their loaner laptops. We gathered 72 of our loaner laptops and began to re-image, clean, and deploy them to DIT. Chatting with our DIT partners, they have informed us that only a hand few of laptops are left from the 72 the Libraries sent to them. We anticipate more laptops might be needed as midterms and finals are approaching.

USS partnered with DIT to implement a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) resource for UMD students, staff, and faculty to access campus provided software. DIT used a Windows desktop image created by USS to provide software applications for individuals who may not have specific software on their devices.

We hope to continue to provide top line customer service to UMD students and staff during this time of uncertainty.

Stay safe!

Staffing

Pam McClanahan onboarded Alexis Woolford, a first-year MLIS student, in mid-March. She will be performing quality control on the videos and programs of the grant-funded Liz Lerman digitization project. Welcome Alexis!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe presented “The Digital is Critical: Designing Radical Library Systems” at Code4Lib 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA on March 8th. Video of her presentation is available on Code4Lib’s YouTube account.

Stew of the month: January 2020

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

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Pam McClanahan and Robin Pike worked with Doug McElrath (SCUA), as well as Jane Zhu, to complete and submit a grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a fifth phase of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project.

Pam sent another completed newspaper batch to Library of Congress. The student assistants continued to help with quality control on batches, social media posts, and updating the digitized newspaper survey for the state.

Pam completed outreach for the newspaper project this month as well giving a presentation on the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project and using Chronicling America for family history research to a genealogy group at Enoch Pratt Free Library on January 18. She also met with Professor Randy Ontiveros from the English Department to brainstorm ways to incorporate the newspaper project into his Literary Maryland course. Pam will be providing information on the newspapers during the Civil War time period and Prof. Ontiveros will be having students compare the political debates in the newspapers.

Hornbake Digitization Center

Through January, Rebecca Wack continued to refine procedures for new equipment and technology, such as the digital camera and copy stand setup. She worked with Robin Pike to train her on processes for her impending departure.

Robin will be the point of contact for in-house digitization in the near future until we hire a replacement. She will be holding office hours in Hornbake 4210W from 3-4 most Wednesdays. Please contact her if you would like to meet about a current or future project, if you have any concerns, or if you have other needs.

Due to changing student schedules in the Spring 2020 semester, the Hornbake Digitization will be open Tuesday-Friday, 10-3 (we will now be closed on Monday and open on Wednesday).

In January, the main student project was completing the second batch of items to be digitized for the SCUA annual exhibit, which will be on voting rights. Students also completed patron requests which included both audio and image requests.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin discussed modified analog media digitization request workflows with USRS to support ILL and course reserve requests in a more streamlined manner. Juana Godinez will continue to digitize analog video and film for these requests.

Robin and assistant Liz Holdzkom finalized the ingest of FY19 MPT files to Sharestream, which required the assistance of USS. SCUA will perform metadata enhancement on these files (over 400) before they will be ingested into Digital Collections.

Liz H. reviewed the pilot batch of the Liz Lerman files, which passed QC. The vendor proceeded with the first full batch. She also continued the review of the FY19 Diamondback Newspaper project. Formatting changes in the printed newspaper caused problems with the automated zoning of articles and OCR in the latest batch, which has caused several batches of rework. The current batch appears to be much improved.

In collaboration with Neil Frau-Cortes, Robin sent out the FY20 Hebraica project to the digitization vendor. In collaboration with Liz Caringola, Robin sent out the FY20 Student Newspaper project to the digitization vendor, as well. Two more projects will be sent out in February; these were deferred due to delays in acquiring and finalizing the vendor statement of work for the procurement contract.

Software Development

Releases

Search – Released the new Beta version for the experimental new Search Tool (Bento), which is a discovery interface connecting library patrons to many of the University Libraries’ research tools including WorldCat UMD, Database Finder, and LibGuides.  The Search has been announced to Libraries staff and soft released with a link on the Libraries’ Website home page.

Under Development

Archelon – began implementation of MVP Milestone 3: Authority Control and Controlled Vocabulary.  Manage and edit either blacklists or whitelists for controlled vocabulary. Support rightsstatements.org copyright options for materials.

Hippo CMS (now rebranded as BloomReach Experience Manager) – completed work on upgrade to version 13, and released it to stakeholders for testing; production release is scheduled for late February

Fedora Content Repository – Contributed one developer to a one week Fedora 6 Implementation Sprint; worked on improvements to the WebAC implementation for access control to collections

Drupal 8 – began training on how to use and develop for Drupal 8, in preparation for an eventual plan to migrate both Libi and Libraries’ Website to Drupal.

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

The CLAS team responded to 98 Aleph Rx submissions and 18 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in January. A lot of good work was, and continues to be, done to help clean up the data in our systems, tighten system security, and adjust system configurations to match the operations of our member libraries.

USMAI Member Portal updates

With over 150 users signed up, the new USMAI Member Portal is going strong. Have you signed up yet? If not, create an account now! If you already have an account, we encourage you to take a moment and fill out your profile. There is a field for “Expertise”, which will help us build a directory of experts across all USMAI libraries. Add your expertise today!

Legacy Staff Site Decommission

Now that the Member Portal is up and running with all content moved, we will be decommissioning the legacy USMAI Staff Site. The site is scheduled to be taken offline after February 28th. In preparation, CLAS team members have been working to fix links that connect back to the staff site. There are a lot, but we’re whittling away at the list.

Data Warehouse Reporting Environment

Are you using the new USMAI Data Warehouse Reporting Environment (a.k.a. “Jaspersoft”) to run your own reports yet? If not, check out the Data Warehouse page in the Member Portal to get started. CLAS holds weekly online sessions on Fridays at 1pm to ask questions and share experiences. Details are in the Member Portal.

MD-SOAR

With the renewal of MD-SOAR up for consideration this June, CLAS has been supporting efforts to assess the current state of the shared repository platform. Joseph Koivisto has been working on some interesting “mashups” of Google Analytics and Solr data to get at some of the requested data points. It will be interesting to see the results!

Staffing

We said farewell to Rebecca Wack, Digitization Services Librarian on January 24. Rebecca will be beginning work as the Manager, Digital Imaging Unit for the New York Public Library. She will be managing people and projects for their large, still-image digitization initiatives. Since January 2017, Rebecca has served in two positions in the Libraries. She began as the Digital Projects Librarian, managing primarily the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project, a grant-funded project, where her largest impact for the project was creating a prominent social media presence and working with other state partner grant awardees, the Library of Congress, and the National Endowment for the Humanities on joint social media initiatives. For the past year-and-a-half, Rebecca has worked as the Digitization Services Librarian, managing students and projects in Hornbake Digitization Center.

Stew of the month: November/December 2019

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

DSS is now DST

Digital Systems and Stewardship division has changed its name to Digital Services and Technologies to better reflect the mission and goals of the division. The name change does not represent any new structural change in the division.

Digitization Activities

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The first newspaper batch of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project current grant cycle has been approved by the Library of Congress and the next several batches are expected to be approved in the next month as well. The first titles going to Library of Congress are the foreign language titles for this round: Telegraf (Czech), Baltimore Wecker / Taglicher Baltimore Wecker (German), Katholische Volkszeitung (German), and Il risorgimento italiano nel Maryland (Italian) as well as print titles, Maryland Suffrage News / Maryland Women’s News and Greenbelt Cooperator / Greenbelt News Review. The next title going to our vendor, Creekside Digital is the Montgomery County Sentinel from the mid-1800s through 1963.

Doug McElrath (SCUA), Robin, and Pam researched and drafted a grant application for a 5th round of the National Digital Newspaper Program to be submitted to National Endowment for the Humanities in January. Doug accepted a donation of bound print volumes of the Baltimore based Polish-American newspaper, Jednosc-Polonia, and this title was included in the 5th grant cycle application for possible digitization. With concerns of brittle paper, tight binding, and mold, the Preservation Department evaluated the volumes and will work to stabilize the newspaper prior to digitization.

Student assistants Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna finished collation on the remaining titles on the project. Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna also assisted Pam with extensive title research and copyright research for the newspaper project and continued to pull content for social media. Pam continues to transfer newspaper data to the Maryland State Archives as a backup copy.

Hornbake Digitization Center

Rebecca Wack worked with Laura Cleary (SCUA) and Digitization Assistants to digitize the first batch of materials for the next SCUA exhibit on women’s voting rights. HDC will continue to receive batches of materials over the next few months in preparation for the exhibit in the fall. She is also finalizing the digital photography copy stand by adding additional light reflectivity panels, which will facilitate the digitization of scrapbooks and other objects that are best digitized from above.

Other Digitization Projects

In coordination with Bria Parker, Robin finalized the embedded metadata technical specifications for the Dance Exchange video asset digitization grant project and coordinated the first shipment of videos from SCPA to the vendor, George Blood Audio Visual. Pam coordinated with John Davis (SCPA) to prepare concert programs from the Liz Lerman Collection to be digitized for the purpose of enhancing metadata for the video content that will be digitized as a part of the Dance Exchange grant project, and those were sent to the vendor, HF Group Digital Solutions. DCMR student assistant Liz Holdzkom assisted with preparation work for the concert programs as well. Robin has also been coordinating with Steve Henry, new Co-PI on the grant-funded project, a transition in staff due to Vin Novara’s departure.

Robin has been working with Liz to finalize some FY19 projects with lingering vendor rework. Due to issues with OCR and text block layout (due to the formatting of the printed paper), the Diamondback digitization project took longer to resolve, however, the vendor has worked closely with Robin over the summer and the algorithm is now producing good results. Liz also finished reviewing the files received from the Westinghouse audio digitization project, as well as some uploads for the MPT digitization project, which should go online in early 2020.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

DPI has been heads-down on a number of projects that are still in progress, most notably the Amazon Web Services migration for all 221TB of archived UMD Libraries digital content. We will have more updates when this work is complete.

Avalon at UMD Libraries

In November of 2019, some key members of the Avalon Pilot project team presented the Pilot Recommendations Report and additional technical assessments to LMG. The reception from library leadership was very positive, and supported the project team’s recommendation to adopt Avalon as UMD’s digital A/V repository solution for digital special collections in 2020.

Preliminary project planning and discussions are underway, and updates can be found by Libraries staff in Libi, under DPI’s workspace. Please contact Kate Dohe if you have further questions about the Avalon project.

Big thanks to the pilot project team for their work this past year, which spanned the following individuals: Joanne Archer, Josh Westgard, Amy Wickner, John Davis, Robin Pike, Bria Parker, Ben Wallberg, Vin Novara,  Carlos Alvarado, Porter Olsen, Laura Schnitker, Rebecca Wack, Kate Dohe, and Steve Henry. This project wouldn’t have succeeded without the exceptional efforts of all these people.

Software Development

Releases

Libi Staff Blog – Released new Staff Blog designed for library-wide announcements and other information of general interest to library colleagues.  The blog also features an email bulletin sent to all staff once a week containing all new posts for the week.  The blog is implemented using Drupal 8 and we’ll also be using this application to evaluate further development/migration of Libi functionality using Drupal.

Archelon – Released MVP Milestone 2:  Batch Export of Metadata. Support web-based selection and export of repository object metadata, to CSV and Turtle formats.

ArchivesSpace – Upgraded to version 2.7.0

Under Development

Search – begin work on the Beta release for the experimental new Search Tool (Bento), which is a discovery interface connecting library patrons to many of the University Libraries’ research tools including WorldCat UMD, Database Finder, and LibGuides.  The  alpha release gathered feedback from the library community, while the beta release will be publicized more widely for broader campus testing and feedback. Deployment is scheduled for January 20.

Archelon – began planning for MVP Milestone 3: Authority Control and Controlled Vocabulary.  Manage and edit either blacklists or whitelists for controlled vocabulary. Support rightsstatements.org copyright options for materials.

Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – continued work on upgrade to version 13, though progress was substantially slowed due to the high priority work on the new Libi Staff Blog.

Fedora Content Repository – Contributed two developers to the two week Fedora 6 Implementation Sprint 2; worked on improvements to the WebAC implementation for access control to collections

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

The CLAS team responded to 100 Aleph Rx submissions and 13 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in November and December.

A new look for usmai.org

Have you seen the new usmai.org yet? If not, you’ll want to take a look at the site’s new look and the newly-developed USMAI Member Portal. Built on Atlassian’s Confluence software, the “Portal” not only replaces the legacy USMAI Staff Site, but it improves on it in many ways. More content is accessible without logging in, an improved search experience makes content more findable, creating and editing content is much more intuitive, and users can create and manage their own individual accounts. As the Portal matures, we hope it will become a place for staff at USMAI libraries to engage with the consortium and each other. You can access most content without an account, but you know you want an account. Create one now!

OPAC Redesign for Accessibility (ORA)

ORA work continued in November and December. Screens that are part of the “My Account” component were addressed and reviewed. That includes the “My Account page, as well as screens for viewing/renewing items and viewing/canceling hold requests. Next we’ll be tackling the header/footer sections of the OPAC, which will allow us to work with the User Experience Subgroup to better test the accessibility of redesigned screens. We’ll also start working on screens that are part of the request process.

As always, you can see changes as they happen in our two development environments:

User and Systems Support

USS Opened/Closed SRs for 2018 & 2019

2019 was quite a busy one for User Support and Systems. We experienced a Library closure,  a data center relocation, and many more projects. Below are the statistics of service requests from 2018 and 2019. We recorded a 6.29% increase in opened service requests from 2018 to 2019 while we saw a 13.56% increase for all public area computer service requests. 

Please see the breakdown below between public and staff requests:

USS Opened/Closed SRs for 2018

  •  Total Opened — 4, 391
  •  Total Closed — 4, 370

USS Opened/Closed SRs for 2019

  •  Total Opened — 4, 667
  •  Total Closed — 4, 667

     Opened/Closed Public Requests for 2018

  Opened Closed
Public 691 690
Procurement 267 275
TLC Loaners 244 244
Total 1,202 1,209

 

Opened/Closed Staff Requests for 2018

  Opened Closed
Staff 1,418 1,410
Loans/Reservations 434 427
Procurement 189 186
Other (Severs, Projects, etc) 1,148 1,138
Total 3,189 3,161

Opened/Closed Public Requests for 2019 

  Opened Closed
Public 599 595
Procurement 241 242
TLC Loaners 525 527
Total 1,365 1,364

Opened/Closed Staff Requests for 2019

Opened Closed
Staff 1,363 1,374
Loans/Reservations 472 479
Procurement 245 245
Other (Severs, Projects, etc) 1,222 1,205
Total  3,302 3,303

McKeldin Special Events Room Renovations

Along with our other projects, we were working on the Special Events Room technology upgrade. The project started on November 25th and lasted until December 10th. MidPoint Technology, the contractor for the project recommended by DIT, upgraded the equipment in the room. We now have a laser projector that offers longer-lasting brightness, lower maintenance, improved color, and contrast. 

Creston was installed onto the system to improve the use of the system. Before the system upgrade, one would have to control the system through the computer. We now have two Creston panels to control the system, one in the front of the room at the podium and one in the back of the room on the rack. The panels mirror each other, so our techs do not have to go to the front during an event to resolve a problem. 

We moved the rack (that hosts the PC, microphone receiver boxes, DVD player, and more) to the back of the room to allow stress-free troubleshooting. 

MidPoint installed two cameras in the room, for the audience and presenter view (one in the front of the room and one in the back of the room).  After the renovations were completed, there was feedback from the microphones during an event. MidPoint was immediately contacted to fix this issue. We also noticed the cameras were unresponsive from the panels. Every and any problem was coming up after another once we tackled it. It was a never-ending whack-a-mole game. 

USS tested the system in every which way possible to ensure it is able to withstand.

Meticulous and strategic planning was needed in the project to achieve USS’s goal to curate a room that is both effective and efficient for the Libraries and campus users. The next time you’re in 6137, take a glance around! 

Many thanks to the Dean’s Office, Victoria Quartey, and the patience of everyone’s assistance that played a role in this renovation.

6th Floor Classrooms

Two years ago, USS upgraded the wireless video technology in the 6th-floor classrooms (6103 & 6107). We installed IOGear wireless transmitters that depicted HD quality video that was not choppy or slow. We noticed that staff and Librarians were having trouble using the technology. The equipment was not as straightforward as we hoped it would be.  The calls and requests that were submitted were evidence that it was time to look at other options for those rooms. 

After consulting with Rachel Gammons and Leading Edge, the contractor of this project, we agreed to mount the TVs to wall, remove the TV cart, and remove all IOGear wireless transmitters for both rooms. The TVs were installed on a rotating mount that allows a different angle for users to see information displayed. One of the major events after renovations were the open forums for the new Communications Director took place in 6107. One interviewee wanted to play a video in their presentation. The video and sound played perfectly.  

We’ve heard positive feedback from both staff and Librarians. 

Staffing

We said goodbye to HMNP student assistant, Mark Parkhurst who graduated from the iSchool with his MLIS in December and wish him the best of luck in his job search.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Dave Durden and Kate Dohe were invited to present on cost modeling for digital preservation to the National Digital Stewardship Alliance – Infrastructure Interest Group on December 16.

 

Stew of the month: October 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 Newspaper Project

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project welcomed Ian Post, Local History Archivist at Salisbury University’s Nabb Research Center to the HMNP Advisory Board filling a vacancy we had for a representative from the Eastern Shore. Also, the Maryland State Archives, a long-time partner of HMNP, will keep a copy of all HMNP newspaper data, and Pam McClanahan began the process of transferring that data to Maria Day, Director of Special Collections at MSA.

HMNP batch production continued with the submission of Batch D to our digitization vendor, Creekside Digital as well as finalizing QR on Batch A and Batch B. We have been researching newspaper titles for consideration for applying for a fifth grant phase. We also finalized some rework for six batches in the previous round to correct a source repository code in the metadata and submitted those to Library of Congress. HMNP student assistants, Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna, continued collation of the Republican, assisting with batch QR, and completing copyright research for our post-1923 content.

Pam provided a report on HMNP to about 40 attendees at the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative who held their meeting here at University of Maryland Libraries in Hornbake on October 15, hosted by Doug McElrath. She provided an overview of the program, a status report on the current round, statistics on the Maryland content and usage of Maryland newspapers, as well as some thoughts on what’s coming next for the project. The report was well-received and there was interest in Maryland newspapers from the group and collaborative digitization projects. In the evening of October 15, Pam gave another presentation on HMNP–this one to the genealogy sharing group at the Harford County Public Library in Joppa, MD. Pam provided an overview of the project and Maryland Newspaper content, a demonstration on how to use the Chronicling America database, and some tips on doing genealogy research with online newspapers. There were 8 participants and some were familiar with Chronicling America and excited to share some of their experience with the Maryland newspaper content, and for others this was a new resource for them and they were eager to learn tips on using newspapers for their family history research.

Hornbake Digitization Center

Representatives from Johns Hopkins University’s Library Digitization team visited the Hornbake Digitization Lab for a tour of the facility followed by an information-sharing session. As is true in many library digitization units, the work was generally found to be the same but the equipment and workflows employed tended to be vastly different. It was a valuable chat, and Digitization Services Librarian Rebecca Wack will be scheduling a reciprocal visit to JHU facilities in the coming months.

The HDC’s new copy stand is up and running, with documentation and workflows in the final editing stages. Our Canon 6D Mark II DSLR will be operated using Canon’s EOS3 Utility to enable live shooting and previews. Images will be created in batches and uploaded into Adobe Lightroom to set image resolution, file-type, and name, before passing into the standard post-processing workflows employed using Adobe Photoshop. The copy stand will make its debut imaging an ongoing project from the Prange Collection from the Read Smith Karras papers–a series of photo albums in high researcher demand.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin Pike spent substantial time gathering information on foreign contracts. She also spent substantial time working on vendor contracts, researching justification for a sole source and finalizing the technical specifications for video for the Libraries’ FY20 audiovisual digitization contract.

Robin finished the migration of Digitization Initiatives Committee content to new Libi in preparation for the FY21 project proposal call.

As part of a partnership with The Phillips Collection, as Lead Project Advisor, Robin has begun working with the newly-hired project manager on a grant to digitize a large portion of The Phillips’s collections.

Juana Godinez continued to transfer files from DVDs, reaching over 300 transferred over numerous years. These will all be added to Films@UM once they are transferred. She also began researching equipment for a refreshed video digitization station. The goal is to update the station designed by Library Media Services to provide access copies of analog video on-demand, and to create a station that will allow the creation of preservation-level digital files so we can begin to provide on-demand patron digitization in-house.

Cecilia Franck continued to make steady progress on digitizing the Greenbelt News Review and finalizing metadata for ingest for the Greenbelt Archive Project, a collaborative project between DCMR and Greenbelt to digitize the issues of their local paper from 1964-present (the papers that fall outside the National Digital Newspaper Project). Since beginning the project in January, we have digitized and ingested newspapers from 1964-1984 into the Internet Archive.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Open Journal Systems Update

Josh Westgard and Terry Owen completed a substantial upgrade to DPI’s publishing service, by upgrading our system to version 3. This upgrade sets the stage for improved service management going forward, and delivers a variety of new features for our existing supported publication. As DPI conducts ongoing review of our service portfolio, we are not accepting new publications for the platform, but we are much better positioned to respond effectively to new strategic priorities for the Libraries.

DPI or its predecessor units have been exclusively responsible for the OJS service at UMD Libraries since 2009. In that time, the application accrued a significant amount of legacy data as publications came and went, publishers customized workflows, and users uploaded ephemeral information. This made the application upgrade and requisite database migration a meticulous, detail-oriented process that began in the fall semester of 2017, with the support of former DPI GA Carlos Alvarado, and required many hours of labor across the team to manage external stakeholders, consult with internal database experts, research issues, and work with staff at other institutions to identify solutions. Please congratulate the team on crossing this important milestone.

Research Data Services

ICPSR

David Durden represented the University of Maryland Libraries at the Biennial Official Representative Meeting for the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) in Ann Arbor, MI from October 15-18. This meeting brings together all ICPSR representatives from member organizations across the United States and Canada for a series of intensive workshops, governance meetings, and demonstrations of new features and research originating from the ICPSR Data Archive.

Workshops

David led a data science workshop, “Introduction to Python: Basics of Data Analysis using Pandas,” offered through the Research Commons on October 10. This workshop was a collaborative effort between Data Services and Libraries Statistical Consulting to standardize workshop materials across programming languages taught in Research Commons workshops. Datasets, exercises, and learning outcomes for this workshop are identical to the recurring workshop, “Introduction to the R Programming Language,” created by Yishan Ding, Graduate Assistant for Statistical Consulting.

Software Development

Releases

Libraries’ Website and Libi – updated the Staff Directory to reflect the division name change to Research and Academic Services

Under Development

Archelon – continued work on MVP Milestone 2:  Batch Export of Metadata.  DPI identified a number of bugs and usability issues which required going back for another round of development.  Milestone 2 was then delivered for stakeholder testing.

Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – continued work on upgrade to version 13, though progress was substantially slowed due to the high priority work on the new Libi Staff Blog.

Libi Staff Blog – new Staff Blog designed for library-wide announcements and other information of general interest to library colleagues.  The blog also features an email bulletin sent to all staff once a week containing all new posts for the week.  The blog is implemented using Drupal 8 and we’ll also be using this application to evaluate further development/migration of Libi functionality using Drupal.

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

The CLAS team responded to 94 Aleph Rx submissions and 14 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in October.

Lots of important things are happening as we approach the end of the calendar year.

Data Warehouse Phase-1a Rollout

Phase-1a of the Data Warehouse was released to USMAI libraries in late October. Two introductory online sessions were held to introduce libraries to management of their own space within the Data Warehouse Reporting Environment. Recordings of these sessions and other resources to support each library’s use of the Data Warehouse is available on the USMAI Staff Site at http://usmai.umd.edu/services/data-warehouse.

Web Platform Migration

Our migration to a new member portal and collaboration platform (a.k.a. Confluence) housed under the usmai.org domain is almost here. The migration is scheduled for the first week of December. Starting on December 2nd, content on the current USMAI websites will be “frozen” so that we can scrape the content and ingest it into Confluence. The new platform is expected to be up and running by Friday, December 6th. In October, we completed a successful test migration of content. We’ll be putting the finishing touches on our migration utilities in November. October also saw a significant amount of setup of the Confluence environment. That work will continue in November, so that we have an environment that is “move-in ready” for staff at USMAI libraries once the migration is completed.

OPAC Redesign for Accessibility (ORA)

This project has launched. CLAS team members have reviewed and prioritized various “components” of the Aleph OPAC. We’ll be starting by fixing accessibility issues with screens related to “My Account”. One of the first steps was to remove the existing CSS stylesheets. This screenshot shows how the catalog looks without all that extra styling. Better or worse? Let us know using the poll below!

You can track ORA development as it happens in the two DEV environments our developers are using:

User and Systems Support

McKeldin Special Events Room Renovations

The McKeldin Special Events room (MCK 6137) is finally getting the upgrade it deserves. USS will be working with MidPoint Technology, the contractor for this project, to update the technology. We’ll be updating the projector, upgrading the software to Crestron so that we are on the same system as the campus, and installing two cameras (one to display an audience view and the other to show the presenter). The lectern will remain at the front of the room, but all technology-related equipment will be moved to the back of the room to allow for better management and control during an event.

Strategic planning of the room was taken into consideration due to the room being heavily used for events and occupied as a study space during Finals. After coordinating with the Dean’s Office, the dates for renovations will begin on Monday, November 25th, and end on Tuesday, December 10th, 2019.

We hope these changes will be a better experience for all.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe, with co-authors Erin Pappas (University of Virginia Libraries) and Celia Emmelhainz (University of California – Berkeley) presented the paper and presentation “Delay, Distract, Defer: Addressing Sabotage in the Academic Library” at The Maintainers III Conference in Washington, D.C., on October 7, 2019. Both the accepted paper and meme-laden slide deck are available in DRUM.

Robin Pike attended the Digital Library Federation Forum and Digital Preservation from October 13-17. She co-taught the workshop “Teaching the DLF Project Managers Toolkit” with Cynthia York (Johns Hopkins University) and Krystal Thomas (Florida State University) as part of Learn@DLF and was a facilitator at the Project Managers Group working breakfast.

Stew of the month: September 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

Pam has been training three new student assistants on the HMNP project and batch production. The digitization vendor sent the first digitization batch back and we began quality review on those files. Pam sent the final batch of microfilm reels to Backstage Library Works for duplication.

New student assistants Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna have been working on metadata collation on one of our final titles for this round, The Republican, which was published in Oakland (Garrett County) beginning in the late 1800s. The students have been helping with quality control for the first batch received back from our vendor for the Czech language title the Telegraf. Additionally, Mark, Sarah, and Bryanna have been helping with selecting content for social media posts, conducting copyright research on newspaper titles, and assisting with mailings to vendors.

Other Digitization Projects

Robin Pike continued to work with the Budget and Business Services Office to finalize paperwork and documentation for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Jane Zhu and Andrea White have been essential in making changes.

Robin worked with Joanne Archer (SCUA), Bria Parker (DMS), and Josh Westgard (DPI) to finalize the ingest of the Spiro Agnew audio digitization project funded by a Council on Library and Information Resources grant. Robin, Joanne, and Laura Cleary (SCUA) wrote a final report and submitted it to CLIR September 30. The project made available 591 files across 588 metadata records in UMD Digital Collections, which were added to 173 recordings digitized in a pilot project. The speeches of Governor and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, as well as the audiotapes produced by American citizens, document the grass-roots populism of the 1960s and 1970s, and the emergence of the “Silent Majority” as a major constituency in American politics.

Robin also worked with Bria, Josh, and Rebecca to experiment with sample video files provided by our audiovisual digitization vendor. We are debating changing our technical specifications for video files to increase embedded metadata provided with the file, which could change how we do digital preservation and how we ingest content into our digital repository (important to consider with the upcoming migration). This exploration has delayed the FY20 contract for audiovisual digitization but Robin aims to have a contract in place in October.

Hornbake Digitization Center

The Hornbake Digitization Center is pleased to offer a new copy stand for use in digitization projects and requests. Many thanks to the wonderful USS team for assembling the base and helping us rearrange equipment in the lab to make room. The copy stand features an LED light kit and captures images through the Canon 6D Mark II DSLR camera purchased earlier this year. Testing of the copy stand and its tethered capture through Adobe Lightroom software is underway, and a new suite of services made possible through the equipment, including higher-resolution, preservation-friendly (easier on spines) rare book capture and uniform 3D object photography, should be available soon.

While the HDC is an active service provider for the Libraries, we are also a hands-on learning space. Any Libraries employees, including GAs and student workers, who are interested in broadening their digital imaging skillset are welcome to contact Digitization Services Librarian Rebecca Wack (rwack@umd.edu) to discuss job enrichment opportunities.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Year of Data Science Update

David Durden presented at the UMD Year of Data Science Inaugural Event on September 20, 2019 regarding his involvement in the project “Building a Network for Informal Data Science Instruction.” The project was funded by the Office of the Provost as part of the first round of Year of Data Science projects in collaboration with the Soci-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). To build an informal data science instruction network, the University Libraries and SESYNC recruited 14 individuals representing inter-disciplinary data science research to become certified Software and Data Carpentries instructors – The Carpentries are an international network of instructors and practitioners who collaboratively develop, maintain, and teach technology curricula for researchers and librarians. Participants completed the instructor training and certification process throughout spring 2019 with four of these new instructors representing the UMD Libraries. This cohort will collaboratively develop and teach workshops throughout 2019 and spring 2020.

New ETDs in DRUM

UMD theses and dissertations from 2003 to the present are archived in DRUM. More than 300 documents were added to the collection from the 2019 summer semester, bringing the total to 15,000+. Here’s a breakdown of the number of documents added from each college/school:

87 A. James Clark School of Engineering
75 College of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences
42 College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
41 College of Arts & Humanities
20 College of Education
14 College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
12 School of Public Health
9 Robert H. Smith School of Business
4 School of Public Policy
3 College of Information Studies
3 School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation
2 Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Announcing ORCID@UMD

DPI and SSDR collaborated with the Graduate School over the summer to develop and implement a web application to facilitate the creation and registration of ORCiD researcher identifiers for current and future gradaute students. ORCiD is a persistent personal digital identifier used for disambiguation and ensures that individuals receive appropriate acknowledgement for their research across institutions. The University of Maryland, College Park is a partcipating member of the ORCiD Consortium. Find out more and register your ORCiD!

General

DPI continues maintenance work on a number of significant activities, including:

  • Migrating the library’s digital archive from DIT’s tape system to Amazon Web Services
  • Upgrading OJS
  • Adding content and supporting development of several Solr database projects
  • Ingesting content into various repositories, such as maps scanned for the Geoportal initiative, and Agnew audio project.
  • Preparing for Open Access Week in October.

unnamed.png

Software Development

Releases

ORCID@UMD – new website and supporting application for campus researchers to register or connect their ORCID iD.  Provided through a collaboration of the University Libraries and the Graduate School

Libraries’ Website – added new Special Audience filter to the newsroom to highlight news of particular interest to faculty

Under Development

Archelon – continued work on MVP Milestone 2:  Batch Export of Metadata

Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – continued work on upgrade to version 13

Fedora Content Repository – Contributed two developers to the two week Fedora 6 Implementation Sprint 1

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

The CLAS team responded to 100 Aleph Rx submissions and 16 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

UMUC Goes Global

UMUC’s rebranding as UMGC (short for “University of Maryland Global Campus”) launched on September 30th, and the CLAS team played its part updating references to UMUC and umuc.edu in Aleph, SFX, and on USMAI’s websites. We think we caught everything but let us know if you see references to UMUC.

Web Platform Migration Project

We’ve made good progress on a web scraping utility to pull content from the current sites and prepare them for batch import into Confluence. In addition to relieving some manual labor of copying and pasting content from Drupal to Confluence, one of the other benefits is that the script allows us to eliminate some HTML style elements that were popular in the days of red text and fixed table widths.

We’ve also begun some early work on a revamped landing page for usmai.org. Confluence will improve USMAI’s online collaboration, which is the primary objective of the migration. However, it’s not the most asthetically-pleasing online environment; we want to create a good first impression for visitors to usmai.org, especially those who may not be too interested in the nitty gritty of, say, how to catalog an e-book.

This month’s work also included important discussions and decisions related to the platform’s structure, including a resource area lovingly referred to as “the blob”. We’ll be announcing a “preview webinar” shortly to give you a closer look at what’s ahead. Stay tuned!

Data Warehouse Phase-1

Our reporting environment is all set up to roll out Phase-1a (i.e. Collections data refreshed monthly) to USMAI libraries. Looking ahead to October we’ll be putting the finishing touches on some documentation and holding a few introductory sessions to get libraries started. Once again, stay tuned!

Meanwhile work on Phase-1b (i.e. daily updates of Collections data) continues as our developer capacity allows. Work in September included some refactoring of the ETL program for easier local development environment setup and testing.

User and Systems Support

The staff of User and System Support provided technical support for returning and incoming students in the Libraries during the first week of school. Between 9 am – 4 pm, we answered a variety of questions from how to download the printer drivers to opening a Terrapin Express account. 

The most frequent request we had to provide was activating Terrapin Express (TE). TE is a prepaid debit account that can be used at participating locations across campus. It’s a convenient way for students, faculty, staff, and university affiliates to access products and services across campus without carrying cash, and the University Dining Services provides this service. 

After noticing the influx of Terrapin Express accounts that we were assisting students in opening, we contacted Dining Services to help open incoming Freshman TE accounts. According to Dining Services, they were able to activate 3,769 out 5,669 accounts; since 1,900 accounts were already opened. After TE accounts were opened for new and incoming students, we were more efficient in helping the students with other requests. We are working with Dining Services to ensure that the opening of students’ Terrapin Express accounts will be a permanent solution going forward. 

Below are the tables of stats collected during the first week of school from last year and this year. It is clear that on-site student support is needed, and we are thinking of increasing our frequency of support during the first week.

USS Support to Students for the first week of school  8/27/18 – 8/31/18 

Type of assistance Totals
Bookeye 26
Terrapin Express 226
Downloading printer drivers 141
Printing 326
Card issues 46
Directing people to printers 49
Copying 42
Other (bathroom, water fountain, etc.) 85
Printer jams 0

USS Printer Support to Students   8/26/19 – 8/30/19

Type of assistance Totals
Bookeye 30
Terrapin Express 345
Downloading printer drivers 180
Printing 442
Card issues 35
Directing people to printers 59
Copying 62
Other (bathroom, water fountain, etc.) 50
Printer jams 2

Staffing

Nima Asadi joined as a CLAS Applications Developer on September 30th.

We welcomed three new student assistants on the HMNP Project – Mark Parkhurst, Sarah McKenna, and Bryanna Bauer. Mark is in his last semester at UMD’s ischool for his MLIS degree, and Sarah and Bryanna are both in their first semester of their MLIS degrees.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Robin Pike and Pam attended the National Digital Newspaper Program Conference in DC from September 10-12, which hosted project staff from all of the NDNP state awardees. Pam was on an NEH panel presenting on taking content back to communities and our selection of content from underrepresented groups. Robin was on a panel discussing managing the NDNP grant, including administration, staffing, and milestones.

Pam attended her last SAA Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Subcommittee meeting as the DAS intern and gave her final presentation on the survey analysis. This analysis will help the subcommittee as they look at feedback from DAS students to make some changes and updates to the program.

Stew of the month: August 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.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Minority Health and Health Equity Archive Migrated to DRUM

The Minority Health and Health Equity Archive (MHHEA) is an open-access repository of scholarship on health disparities and health equity. The Archive is managed by Dr. Stephen Thomas, Professor in the School of Public Health.  MHHEA came to UMD Libraries in the fall of 2015 from the University of Pittsburgh, and was originally set up using the EPrints repository platform.  After hosting the site in Eprints for three years, DPI determined that the functional requirements of the site could be met by our existing DSpace-based repository (DRUM), with just a few small changes to the existing system. Furthermore, we determined that the long-term maintenance of the Archive would be better ensured at a lower cost by having its data stored in the same repository as the rest of the Libraries’ open-access research collections.

The first step in carrying out the migration was to determine how best to represent EPrints data in DRUM, including mapping metadata fields and content types.  Judi Kidd spearheaded this work as part of a field study project in the iSchool. The conclusions of this initial investigation were later supplemented by further research and testing by Anne Hendrick, DRUM GA, and Carlos Alvarado, DPI GA, with support from Terry Owen and Josh Westgard. These results of all these efforts were presented in a poster at the 2019 Libraries Research and Innovative Practice Forum.

Unlike DRUM, MHHEA has bibliographic references to scholarship that is not necessarily stored in the repository itself but rather somewhere else on the web. Allowing users to create records with external links and no internally stored file required development work by SSDR. These externally-linked resources presented an additional challenge during the migration, when it was discovered that the majority of external links were suffering from some degree of “link rot” (that is, the links either out of date or entirely broken).

The migration was carried out using custom-developed migration scripts that can extract data from EPrints and write it to the package format that DSpace uses for bulk imports. During the migration process, Terry Owen and Josh Westgard worked together to ensure that as many links as possible could be updated using a web crawler. Those that could not be updated automatically were excluded from the initial migration and flagged for follow up by stakeholders.

Dataverse Pilot

DPI successfully completed an internal pilot of Dataverse, a repository platform designed for research datasets. The Dataverse pilot examined the Libraries’ current repository workflows for research datasets, evaulated the Dataverse application, and investigated data repository capabilities at peer institutions within the BTAA. Margaret Rose Hunt, graduate assistant for User Services and Resource Sharing, served as the data curation lead and primary researcher for the pilot in fulfillment of her iSchool Field Study Internship.

Software Development

Releases

Digital Collections Common Search – new interface with the new Digital Collections theme and Solr based search

Treasury of World’s Fair Art and Architecture – new interface based on our exhibit theme

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

Under Development

Archelon – began implementation of MVP Milestone 2 – Batch Export of Metadata

Bloomreach Experience Manager (aka Hippo CMS) – begin work on upgrade to version 13

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

The CLAS team responded to 128 Aleph Rx submissions and 18 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

It was another busy month of support requests as USMAI libraries prepare for the return of their students. Despite the heavy load progress continued on our major projects.

Web Platform Migration Project

After some deliberation, we backed out of our plan to deploy usmai.org on AWS. There were several unknowns that we were figuring out as we went along. Ultimately, the benefits of an AWS deployment wouldn’t outweigh the risks. We will proceed with our normal application hosting practices.

We continued to flesh out the design and configuration of the Confluence site. There are many different ways that we could structure the site and permissions. After exploring a few different approaches, we’ve settled on a few key decisions that focus on design simplicity, content transparency, and utilizing Confluence’s features. We have also explored a couple methods to get content out of the current Drupal sites and batch import it into Confluence, which will make the migration process much easier.

We know many USMAI members are champing at the bit for a new USMAI web platform. We’re ready to see it happen too! The project will take longer than our initial early September release plans, but we want to make sure we have a well-planned and structured platform for USMAI communication and collaboration.

Data Warehouse Phase-1

Work on Phase-1 continued in August, including a briefing to CLD on the project’s current status and recommendations for next steps. Those next steps include rolling out Phase-1a (monthly snapshots of Collections data) to staff at USMAI libraries and continuing development of Phase-1b (daily updates of Collections data) as capacity allows.

To prepare for a USMAI-wide rollout, we have been doing some refining of the Collections data design and developing documentation. A special “thank you” goes to our beta users who provided valuable early feedback to help us fine-tune the reporting environment that will make for a more user-friendly reporting environment. With the technical aspects worked out, we will begin strategizing and executing our rollout over the coming months. Stay tuned!

User and Systems Support

LMS merger

This past summer was quite a busy one for User and System Support. Outside of preparing the public desktops and laptops for the Fall semester and replacing staff desktops, we had three major projects.

At the beginning of summer, it was announced that Library Media Services (LMS) and part of the Media Commons would be merging with McKeldin due to the expansion of the iSchool department. On July 2nd, we began with removing all technological equipment: over 40 public and staff computers, 10 TV carts, 10 laptops, over 8 DVD/VHS players, printers, and more.  

Hornbake Gallery Exhibit

Next, we partnered with Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) for their upcoming gallery exhibit in Hornbake celebrating Maryland Public Television (MPT) 50th anniversary. We were able to set up eight iPads on stands. Each iPad has a different webpage corresponding to the programs that were on MPT at the time. Our next task was to have a video montage of MPT that SCUA edited to continuously play when visitors came into the exhibit. 

We were able to use a mini PC and load it with a software called Media Zone Trigger Pro software onto a TV stand with a Microsoft Xbox Kinect. The idea was that the video would play only when someone was in front of the TV and stop when that person left. With the Xbox Kinnect, we were able to set the range of where people would step into and the video would start playing. As soon as they left that range, the video would stop playing and replay from the beginning when someone stepped back into the range.  This part of the setup was interesting because we had used a camera but after several hours of testing, we were able to determine that the camera would not do exactly what we needed and the Xbox kinect was a better choice due to the fact that the Xbox kinect scans in 3D and was more accurate. Working with great partners from SCUA was also very helpful and a pleasure; they helped the project run smoothly.

STEM Sandbox

We worked with Research Commons, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Librarians, and Public Services to curate an augmented reality sandbox. The project goal was to develop a real-time integrated augmented reality system to physically create topography models which are then scanned into a computer in real-time, by using backgrounds for a variety of graphics effects and simulations. 

Working with these departments, we actually had to build a sandbox. Off to Home Depot, we went to purchase wood for the box. We ordered an Xbox Kinect, white sand, a Dell PC, and a projector. We had a spare TV stand from the LMS closure that was used for this project. We configured the DELL PC with the Linux and began programming the application. 

After many unsuccessful tries, we realized that the wrong version of the Kinect was used. Luckily, we had a spare Kinect in the TLC area. We calibrated the sandbox but to no avail. The projector that was ordered did not properly fit into the sandbox. 

Once we switched the Kinect and projector, manipulated the orientation of both items and calibrated the sandbox, we were in business!  

Working the various partners we were able to successful work on this project.

Staffing

DPI Welcomes New GAs

DPI is pleased to introduce two new graduate assistants in their basement lair. Allison Buser is the new DRUM GA. Allison assists in the day-to-day operations of DRUM such as depositing documents, responding to inquiries, and more. In addition, she also supports Research Data Services in the management of REDCap. Allison can be reached at 5-9432 or ambuser@umd.edu. Porter Olsen is the new DPI GA, and he will be partnering across units on a number of major projects, including Archelon, Avalon, and digital preservation. Porter may already be a familiar face around the Libraries, having previously worked with MITH on the BitCurator project. Welcome, Allison and Porter!

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: 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

Releases

none

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 usmai.org 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.

Staffing

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.