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: 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.

Stew of the month: October 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

Metadata collation continues with the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, with physical copies of the Greenbelt Cooperator on-site for review. The paper archives of the Cooperator, published out of Greenbelt, Md., and stewarded by the Greenbelt News Review, are being reviewed by Greenbelt volunteers, ordered by date, and boxed for transport to campus before scanning for the National Digital Newspaper Program. Students have nearly finished the collation of Non-English titles. The HMNP Advisory Board will select the final English-language titles to be included in the fourth grant.

Other Digitization Activities

Digitization began on 50 reels of microfilmed records from the  Works Progress Administration collection, funded as part of the Digitization Initiatives Committee project proposal process, the first project to begin of the FY19 cycle.

Digital Projects Assistant Cecilia Franck worked with collection managers and Discovery and Metadata Services staff to prepare several audiovisual projects and requests for ingest into Digital Collections; this work will continue through 2018.

Pike and Wack also worked with Liz Novara, Eric Stoykovich, Joanne Archer, and Laura Cleary (SCUA) to kick-off a Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk grant to digitize 559 recordings from the Spiro Agnew collection, focusing on his speeches, office recordings, and constituent recordings from his time as Vice President.

In the Hornbake Digitization Center, “athletics” seemed to be front of mind in October. University Archives athletics materials dominated the scanning queue for in-house digitization, with requests from the Maryland Men’s basketball Collection taking the lead. In addition to fulfilling ongoing requests, Digitization Center assistants were hard at work re-scanning the John Jacob Omenhausser sketchbook, a fully illustrated and annotated accounting of prison camp life in Point Lookout, Maryland, from June 1864 to June 1865. Original digitization of the sketchbook, conducted early on in the Library’s digitization program, failed to capture blank pages, book covers, and other important visuals from the book, and so rescans are taking place to create a more complete copy for digital access.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Digital Collections

DPI has been working to migrate a dataset currently held in EPrints over to DRUM. This has involved building an export tool to extract the data from the EPrints server and arrange in in the format that can be understood by the DSpace batch loading utility.

Josh Westgard, in collaboration with DCMR and USS, has completed inventorying and archiving more than 16 TB of FY2018 digitized content, bringing the total body of assets under management through this particular archiving workflow to more than 94 TB.

Research Data Management

Beginning in the summer, David convened and led a hot team for assessing current data resources workflows. The team has concluded their work and presented a final report of their findings to the Dean of Libraries in early November.

David Durden presented a workshop to the Digital Design and Culture Honors Students on October 15. This workshop presented strategies for locating academic resources for data-based projects. On October 16, David led a Research Commons workshop on Research Data Management.

UMD Libraries Joins DataCite

Since 2014 we have been using EZID to assign DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) to records in DRUM and MD-SOAR. Earlier this year the California Digital Library and Purdue announced that they would discontinue providing DOIs via EZID. Over the past several months DPI has been been working with EZID to migrate DOI assignment to DataCite, and we’re pleased to announce that our DataCite membership application has been accepted and approved. Working with SSDR, we anticipate that the assignment of DOIs will be migrated to DataCite before the end of the year.

Software Development

Digital Collections

As discussed in last month’s blog post, we provided two developers to the Fedora 5 API Alignment Sprint 2, in preparation for the Fedora 5.0 Release Candidate.

In the Fedora 2 environment we have begun improving security and performance by implementing HTTPS for our backend services and by continuing a long stalled migration off of our custom Lucene search and indexing services to Solr.  We are also began work on updating the Admin Tools application to use CAS for authentication and Grouper for authorization.

Website / Hippo CMS

Thanks to a lot of prep work by the developer team the upgrade to Hippo version 12 occurred smoothly.  This version contains significant changes to the backend storage system but not many user facing updates. One improvement for application administrators is the new URL Rewrite module which improves our ability to create and track rewrites for URLs which have changed.  This in turn improves discovery of content over time.  We are now working on enabling the new Projects feature which provides improvements to the publishing workflow for collaboration and review.


We have completed making final customizations to the Aeon plugin for ArchivesSpace, fully enabling the ability to request materials through the Aeon Special Collections Account.

Under Development

  • Libi production release
  • Bento style cross search of information resources
  • Bento style cross search for Special and Digital Collections
  • Annual Staffing Requests 2.1 features for FY20 request cycle

Conferences, workshops and professional development

David Durden attended the annual Midwest Data Librarian Symposium hosted this year at Iowa State University in Ames, IA on October 8-9. The symposium featured networking events and instructional programming on data management, research technology, and data curation.

David also represented the University Libraries this year at the HathiTrust Member Meeting in Chicago, IL on October 29.

Kate Dohe taught a workshop titled “The Argument Clinic: Elements of Persuasion for Librarians, Archivists, and Library Technologists” at the Learn@DLF pre-conference at DLF 2018 in Las Vegas, NV on October 14.

Robin Pike co-taught the workshop “Teaching the DLF Project Managers Toolkit” with other members of the DLF Project Managers Steering Committee at the Learn@DLF pre-conference at DLF on October 14. She also attended the rest of the conference from October 15-17.

Stew of the month: September 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

The Historic Maryland Newspaper Program went on the road at the end of September. Robin Pike, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath attended the annual NDNP Awardees Conference in Washington DC, hosted by NEH and Library of Congress. The end of September also saw a close to the Grant 3 reporting period, with a final report being submitted to NEH on 9/30. Highlights from the report included an uptick in Chronicling America Maryland newspaper usage statistics, with the number of Maryland newspapers called on Chronicling America, having doubled over the past year.

Kicking off October, Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack took a trip to the Greenbelt Community Center to train a group of local volunteers in archival materials handling. DCMR will be overseeing the re-housing, scanning, and digital file creation, for all issues of the Greenbelt News Review from 1963-2002. Issues from 1943-1963 are being prepared for inclusion in Cycle 4 of the NDNP grant.

Other Digitization Activities

Rebecca Wack transitioned to her new role as Digitization Services Librarian, managing the Hornbake Digitization Center and other in-house digitization operations. She instituted a new project management tool, Click-up, to help manage in-house requests and other ongoing activities, such as quality control and room maintenance.

Robin worked with Laura Schnitker and Joanne Archer (both SCUA), and Mary Dulaney, Director of Development to submit a National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant application to digitize over 1,100 1/4″ open reel audio tapes from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection. This could be phase 2 of this project, continuing the work digitized by the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant received late last year, which is online.

Rebecca and Liz Novara (SCUA) with assistance from Robin and Mary and Eric Stoykovich (SCUA), received another CLIR Recordings at Risk grant to digitize audio recordings from the Spiro Agnew collection. This project will begin in November.

Robin worked with vendors on finalizing some quotes for FY19 projects funded through the DIC process. The first projects will go out in October.

Digitization student assistants continued to digitize a Maryland family manuscript collection, as well as requests. They also worked on new internal projects including documenting and assisting Rebecca with revising some of the internal workflows and procedures; this project will continue through the fall semester, resulting in a new training manual for students beginning in January.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

O3S: Open Scholarship for Social Sciences Symposium

In cooperation with SocArXiv, the Libraries is co-sponsoring and hosting the second annual O3S: Open Scholarship for Social Sciences symposium, 18-19 October 2018 in the Special Events Room.

The symposium will feature two keynote speakers: Elizabeth Popp Berman, associate professor of Sociology at University at Albany, SUNY; and April Hathcock, Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University. We will also have a Q & A on open science with Arthur Lupia, the head of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; and a showing of the documentary Paywall: The Business of Scholarship.

Check out the complete program. Members of the UMD community are welcome to stop by for sessions of interest, but please register if you plan to join us for meals.

New Additions to DRUM

More than 300 theses and dissertations from the summer 2018 semester have been loaded in DRUM. Check them out at

Working with the PALS (Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability) we have deposited more than 115 of their reports in DRUM. Administered by the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland, PALS is a campus-wide initiative that harnesses the expertise of UMD faculty and the energy and ingenuity of UMD students to help Maryland communities become more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. More information about the program is available here.

Research Data Workshops

David Durden offered a Research Commons workshop, “Creating data management plans with DMPTool,” on September 11.

Software Development

Digital Collections

In our continuing support of the Fedora community development process we provided two developers to the Fedora 5 API Alignment Sprint 1.  This sprint is the first of two which aim to complete the Fedora 5.0 Release Candidate, which is aligned to the Fedora API Specification 1.0 Candidate Recommendation released on June 25.  See the Fedora API Specification Charter for more information.  A second sprint is scheduled for October.  The roadmap ahead looks like 1) release Fedora 5.0 RC in October, 2) Fedora community testing culminating in a Fedora 5.0 release, 3) development of a second non-ModeShape Fedora implementation which also conforms to the Fedora 5.0 API Specification, and 4) release of the Fedora API Specification 1.0.  Note that though Fedora 5 will be making backwards incompatible API changes, it will not be brand new application, as was the change from Fedora 3 to 4.  It will simply be the changes necessary to align it with the new API Specification.

We also completed a major refresh and upgrade of the Fedora 2 system environment.  This sets the stage for improved security and performance for Fedora 2, as well as marking the beginning of general developer support for Fedora 2 within SSDR enabling us to make software maintenance improvements to the application.

Website / Hippo CMS

We have resolved the blocking issue for the upgrade to version 12 and completed the promotion to the staging server, with user testing now underway.  This version contains significant changes to the backend storage system but not many user facing updates. One improvement for application administrators is the new URL Rewrite module which improves our ability to create and track rewrites for URLs which have changed.  This in turn improves discovery of content over time.  The promotion to production is scheduled for mid-October.


The Libi Advisory Team has completed the Beta testing period for the new Libi staff intranet.  We are now working on the reported bugs and feature requests in preparation for a soft release in November.  The new and old Libi will co-exist during a transition period.

Under Development

  • Bento style cross search of information resources
  • Bento style cross search for Special and Digital Collections
  • ArchivesSpace Aeon plugin for requesting materials

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

The CLAS team responded to 92 Aleph Rx submissions and 15 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in September.

Data Warehouse

A mechanism for identifying changed data in Aleph was determined and implemented. This will be used for the nightly extract of changed data from Aleph for loading into the data warehouse. An initial version of this extract program has been set up. In a nutshell, it tracks all records that were changed in a 24-hour period, determines what to do with records that had multiple changes (i.e. created, then updated, then deleted), extracts all data for each changed record, and writes the data to text files that will then be processed for loading into the data warehouse. A very exciting step!

Work continued in other areas as well, including requirements definition, data quality checks, reporting layer evaluations, and designing the DW’s dimensional models.

SFX Enhancement Implemented

Linda Seguin submitted an SFX enhancement request last fall taht was selected through a voting process for a short list of enhancements that Ex Libris would pursue. The enhancement improves the functionality of Related Objects in SFX by providing more granularity in the control of when these display. The new enhancement allows us to turn the Related Objects feature off for supplement relationships, but keep it on for earlier/later title relationships. This was the source of a number of problem reports within USMAI.


Joseph Koivisto collaborated with Adam Zukowski to determine a process for cleaning up “Type” metadata in MD-SOAR. This will improve discoverability through MD-SOAR’s browse index by clustering all records under a uniform “Type” term rather than scattered across variants (e.g. article, Article, articles, etc.). The initial cleanup project updated metadata for over 7,000 records.


Welcome to three new Graduate Assistants who joined the Software Systems Development and Research department: Shivani Parikh (Information Systems/Business), and Satya Amarapalli (Telecommunications/Engineering) are GA Software Developers and Guangchu Shi (Software Engineering/Engineering) is our GA Front End Developer.

Robin Pike, Rebecca Wack, and Doug McElrath (SCUA) attended the annual National Digital Newspaper Program Awardees Conference in Washington DC, hosted by NEH and Library of Congress, on September 26-28. Rebecca led a session on creating social media engagement, using statistics gathered by the Library of Congress across all state projects.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Kate Dohe and David Durden presented the short paper, “Determining the Cost of Keeping It: Towards Effective Cost-Modeling for Digital Preservation,” at iPRES 2018 in Boston, MA. iPRES is an international conference for digital preservation practitioners.

Stew of the month: August 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.

Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting

Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

The Historic Maryland Newspaper Project is kicking off Grant Cycle 4. Currently in the works, collation for Maryland suffrage news (provided in partnership with the National Woman’s Party), along with a handful of non-English language titles published out of Baltimore, including Baltimore Wecker (German, 1856-1867), Il Risorgimento Italiano nel Maryland (Italian, 1922-1930), and Katholische Volkszeitung (German, 1874-1888).

Other Digitization Activities

Rebecca Wack, Digital Projects Librarian and former project manager for the Historic Maryland Newspaper Project, has changed roles and offices and can now be found in the Hornbake Digitization Center as the Digitization Services Librarian. At Hornbake Library, Rebecca plans to implement new training procedures for digitization assistants, boost outreach and services within the libraries and across campus, and build-up on-site AV digitization services. If you have any feedback regarding existing digitization services or requests for services you’d like to see offered in the future, please contact Rebecca at

Robin Pike submitted the final vendor quotes and the digitization sole source to the Business Office. We await beginning FY19 vendor digitization projects funded by the Digitization Initiatives Committee. Robin also worked to get information from curators for the vendor quotes outside of the digitization sole source; some quotes have progressed further than others. Robin also consulted with Preservation and Conservation and curators to best prepare materials for vendor digitization

Robin worked with Bria Parker, Adam Gray (both DMS), Laura Schnitker, Joanne Archer (both SCUA), and Josh Westgard to ingest the files and metadata from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters collection, funded by a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant. the collection is now online and linked to the finding aid. The project digitized 597 recordings, over 353 hours, 624 files, and 606 metadata records. Laura, Joanne, and Robin collaborated to write and submit the final report to CLIR, which documented all files and metadata and project expenditures, as well as this project’s impact.

Robin and Rebecca worked with Hilary Thompson (USRS) to contribute language related to digitization and capacity to comply with the Big 10’s special collections loan best practices.

Digitization Assistants Vanessa Barker, Cecilia Franck, Brahm Persaud, and Sydney Schneider have worked digitizing a Maryland family manuscript collection, and have completed digitization of the first phase of Spanish Plays, and a small collection of reels from the Martha Brooks collection.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

Open Access Fund

The UMD Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund is now accepting applications for 2018-2019. Eligibility requirements and guidelines, along with a link to the online application form, are available here.

Prange Asset Migration

DPI collaborated with SSDR to migrate 2.41 terabytes of digital assets (478,840 jpg files) from our Fedora 2 digital collections repository to our new Fedora 4 repository. These assets are part of one of our largest digital collections, the Prange Children’s Books collection. While this migration should have little immediate effect on the public-facing website (in fact, one of the goals is to make it ‘invisible’ to the end user), it does represent a significant undertaking, and in terms of raw bytes constitutes a large proportion of all the content that was available to the public in our Fedora 2 repository. With this move now complete, our Fedora 4 repository is now operating truly ‘at scale’ with multiple terabytes and well over a million digital resources under management in the new system.

Avalon Media Repository Pilot

The Avalon Media Repository pilot is officially underway, and the kickoff “big tent” meeting with stakeholders from Special Collections, the Performing Arts Library, and DSS took place on August 30th.

UMD Libraries currently uses Sharestream’s MediaManager product as its content management system for digitized time-based media accessed through the Libraries’ legacy Digital Collections interface. While this commercial solution has made it possible for the Libraries to make audio and video from its collections available online, the application and its integration with Digital Collections has several constraints that make it challenging for curators, repository managers, and metadata specialists to efficiently manage large-scale media collections. DSS, SCUA, and MSPAL stakeholders wish to internally pilot the Avalon application to test its suitability as a replacement media management application.

Success or failure of the pilot will be measured according to the following broad requirements:

  • A media repository solution for specialized materials must support digital curation standards and workflows throughout an item’s lifecycle, including ingest, preservation, description, and access control.
  • A media system must provide a variety of users and stakeholders with the tools to effectively manage content at scale without creating choke points and backlogs.
  • A media system must support open, accessible technologies that can be customized by UMD Libraries staff (repository managers and developers) to meet local needs, and support interoperability and transmission between systems.

To afford sufficient testing time and workflow development, the Avalon pilot should last one year, and then stakeholders should assess success or failure of the project.

Software Development


We upgraded MD-SOAR to DSpace version 6.3.  The same upgrade for DRUM is in user testing and should be completed in September.

Digital Collections

The code and configuration for a new template/theme for use on the website has been completed and promoted to production. This also includes a new search interface for all content loaded into our Fedora Content Repository, currently at version 4.7.5. Once released the new home page will offer two search boxes, one for our current Fedora repository and one for our legacy Fedora 2 repository. The new feature has been turned over to curators to finalize the page content in preparation for public release.

We also updated the authorization systems for Fedora and several of our supporting backend applications.  They are now using the campus Grouper instance to manage authorized users. Grouper is an enterprise access management system designed for the highly distributed management environment and heterogeneous information technology environment common to universities. Operating a central access management system that supports both central and distributed IT reduces risk.  Grouper is part of the TIER Initiative.


We updated the REDCap application in development to use Shibboleth federated identity management for authentication.  This improves the current REDCap managed user table method by providing Web Single Sign On with campus users directory id and password and improves security by using campus HR systems to automatically disallow access once an employee leaves the university.  However, due to the proximity to the start of the semester, deployment to production has been deferred to the end of the semester.

Under Development

  • Upgrade to BloomReach Experience (formerly Hippo CMS) version 12
  • Bento style cross search of information resources
  • Bento style cross search for Special and Digital Collections
  • ArchivesSpace Aeon plugin for requesting materials

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

The CLAS team responded to 118 Aleph Rx submissions and 21 e-resource requests from across the consortium’s libraries in August.

Data Warehouse

Efforts continued in three main areas: Requirements, Reporting, and ETL. CLAS team members had at least fifteen (official) meetings and a number of other one-on-one discussion during the month as the effort ramps up. All Aleph Oracle and configuration tables that will be sourced for the data warehouse are now identified. Research into methods for extracting necessary data from Aleph continued, with key decisions expected in early September. Team members continue to make progress on defining requirements. It’s a laborious process but will go a long way toward simplifying the development process and laying the foundation for good documentation of the data in the data warehouse.

EDS Results Display Improvement

Last winter, USMAI’s UX Subgroup proposed a modification to the display of catalog results in EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) that would hide ebook records that were only held by other USMAI libraries. These are items that are inaccessible to the user, resulting in user frustration. Since that time, CLAS has worked with EBSCO to develop logic that filters out these results. The filter is now implemented for all USMAI libraries that use EDS.

New USMAI e-resources

Patrons at USMAI libraries now have access to five new database products starting this fiscal year. In August, CLAS configured these new resources to ensure that off-campus access was available and full text linking worked through SFX.

Library Technologies, Inc. is closing

USMAI has used Library Technologies, Inc. (LTI) Authority Express and Authority Update Processing services since 2006 to clean up bibliographic records in Aleph. LTI recently announced that they will be going out of business in March 2019. Over the next few months, USMAI’s Metadata Subgroup will be leading the effort to identify a replacement service.


A new feature was released in August that hyperlinks author and subject values in the simple item record. This, along with more uniform subjects being encouraged by autosuggest options during item submission, will provide additional avenues of discovery within MD-SOAR.


Brahm Persaud, Digitization Assistant, has left DCMR to concentrate on his internship before graduation in the spring. We wish him well!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Dave Durden attended the 2nd Workshop on Scientific Archives in Washington, DC on August 13 and 14. Presentations topics of interest included data management from an archival perspective, the relationship between research data and scientific archival records, and novel methods of capturing the scientific record in the digital era.

Kate Dohe attended the ArchivesSpace Member Forum on August 14.

Robin Pike and Rebecca Wack attended the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting from August 12-17, including a pre-conference workshop Robin took on using command line interface.