Stew of the Month: January 2015

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

Digitization Activities

With Jennie Knies’s departure, the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project has moved from Digital Programs and Initiatives to Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting.

Our film digitization vendor delivered the files for 47 deteriorated films from the Library Media Services collection, which will be ingested into the Films @UM collection next month. This project was funded through the work of the Digitization Initiatives Committee.

In December, Neil Frau-Cortes and Robin packed 300 books from the brittle Hebraica collection, to be shipped to a digitization vendor. This is the first digitization shipment of a multi-year project to digitize the unique books and serials in this collection.

Eric trained student digitization assistants Rachel Dook, Massimo Petrozzi, and Brin Winterbottom how to digitize open reel audio tapes by transferring episodes of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” from the 1970s. Their new capabilities will provide us more flexibility when scheduling in-house audio digitization.

Digital  Programs and Initiatives

The new year started out on a difficult note for DPI, with the official announcement that our fearless leader, Jennie Knies, would depart before the end of the month to take up the position of head librarian at the library of Penn State University, Wilkes-Barre campus. While we wish Jennie all the best in her new endeavors, and look forward to continued contact with her on the conference circuit out there in library land, her departure — after nearly 15 years of service to the UMD Libraries and more than two years as founding manager of our department — leaves a big hole in the division that will not be easily filled.  After we spent much of the month repeatedly attempting to execute the following command to no avail:

    mysqldump -f jennies_brain.db > filingcabinet/knowledge.sql

Jennie mercifully agreed to write it all down. 😉  Thanks, Jennie, for everything!

January also saw the adoption of our first official (non-journal) publication associated with our nascent e-publishing program. A Colony in Crisis: The Saint-Domingue Grain Shortage of 1789 (http://colonyincrisis.lib.umd.edu), is a series of “primary sources from an episode in the history of Saint-Domingue,” translated and curated by Abby Broughton, Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, and Nathan Dize. We say ‘adoption’ rather than ‘release’ or ‘publication’ because the Colony in Crisis website has been around for a while already, associated with a larger effort to make freely available a series of French Pamphlets from the Libraries’ Rare Books collection, the fruits of which can be browsed in the UMD French Pamphlets collection on the Internet Archive. By adopting the site into the e-publishing program, the Libraries are taking responsibility to support and ensure the continued accessibility of the authors’ work into the future.  Additional e-publications are in the works.

Software Development

The upgrade to Hippo CMS 7.8 has been completed.  We have taken advantage of the new Solr integration feature in 7.8 to migrate Jim Henson Works to Solr and, working with Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) staff, to add the new Score Collections Database.  Hippo CMS 7.8 also provides new application architecture features which will be implementing to increase performance and reliability.

Libi, the staff intranet,  was upgraded to Drupal 6.33 and a number of minor bugs were fixed.  This completes the first round of changes in response to coordination with the Libi subcommittee of the Library Assembly Advisory (LAAC).  The subcommittee is currently soliciting Libraries staff feedback on the future of Libi which will inform our future plans for Libi, which may include an upgrade from the outdated Drupal 6 to Drupal 7/8 or possibly a new implementation.

We have begun a project, along with Libraries’ HR,  to develop an online student application submission form and supervisor workflow integrated with the Libi.  This system will replace the current paper workflow for students to submit their applications and supervisors to review the entries for matching skills and available hours, which is a manual, time-intensive processing of reading through stacks of paper entries.

Database Finder was released roughly one year ago as an easier to use alternative to databases in Research Port, providing un-authenticated access to database information and improved search and discovery.  Working with Nevenka Zdravkovska, the Web Advisory Committee, and Subject Specialists we have specified a second round of improvements for Database Finder: 1) Research Port categories and sub-categories will be added to the database information along with a faceted browse, and 2) Categories will be linked to Subjects for contextual help and links from Database Finder to Subject Specialists.  The implementation project is still to be scheduled.

User and System Support

Mobile carts for conference rooms

As User and System Support (USS) spoke to users of the Libraries conference rooms, it became apparent that these spaces are hosting both static and dynamic events. In some cases people, chairs and tables remain in place for the whole event whilst other meetings involve movement of attendees and rearrangement of furniture to facilitate discussion. When the time came for updating the technology in The Dean’s Conference Room and rooms 7113 & 7121, USS decided to provide portable and easily used equipment.

cart1

Each of the three carts have:

  • 70 inch TV
  • HDMI laptop connection with adapters for multiple types of connections: Mac, Windows, Android phone…
  • DVD/VCR player
  • high definition web camera and a high quality microphone
  • wireless keyboard and mouse
  • USB hub to transfer documents to a mini-PC (for example, take your PPT on a thumb-drive and upload it – remember to delete it from the mini-PC afterwards)
cart3
Clear instructions for users.
Back of unit: the small red box is the mini PC
Back of unit: the small red box is the mini PC

3D printing was utilized on the carts; Preston created and printed custom brackets to hold the laptop and microphone cables neatly.

The main benefit of these carts is mobility; they can be quickly unplugged and moved to another space in the library as needed. [Carts must be returned to their original room at the end of meetings.]  A battery backup keeps things powered on for up to 10 minutes while the cart is being moved or if we lose power. Other benefits include web meetings and recording using Adobe Connect. The “all-in-one” piece design makes them visually appealing and easy to use.

We have had positive feedback on their use: Tim Hackman (Director, User Services & Resource Sharing), says “they’re easy to use and self-explanatory”. Eric Bartheld (Director of Communications) reports that “It’s very easy for a presenter to plug in his or her Apple laptop – which wasn’t the case before.  Great improvement”.

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

The Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team continues to support the consortium’s existing shared systems while preparing for the next generation of systems. In January, the team responded to 113 Aleph Rx submissions and 25 e-resource requests. Timely responses to these requests have helped libraries in the consortium perform their daily operations and pursue new initiatives to make their work more effective and efficient.

David Steelman researched some workflow issues with Aleph Rx submissions and, with the team’s review, has modified the interface to make submitting requests more intuitive. No issues have arisen with request submissions since the modifications were implemented.

The team continues its investigation of Kuali OLE, participating in regular meetings with other partners and testing system functionality in all functional areas. Hans Breitenlohner and David S. developed and shared with the OLE community a PERL script for copying bibliographic import profiles, making the process of creating new bib loaders much less error prone. In anticipation of expanded testing by College Park staff and members of the USMAI Next-Gen ILS Working Group, a Zoho Projects site has been created to facilitate communication and documentation during the testing. Plans to provide a stable testing environment have also been made.

Metalib (a.k.a. ResearchPort) is in the middle of a migration from aging hardware to its new virtual machine environment. With Hans leadership, the team is currently testing and fixing bugs in order to prepare for a production cutover tentatively scheduled for late March.

Staffing

David Dahl joined us in early January as Director of the CLAS team. He has had a busy first month as can be seen from his USMAI/CLAS blog entry above.

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Projects hired two new student assistants to assist in metadata collation, quality review, and outreach. Melissa Foge and Kerry Huller are both candidates for Master of Library Science in the College of Information Studies.

The Hornbake Digitization Center welcomed three new digitization assistants, Caroline Hayden, Ryan Jester, and Marlin Olivier, all first-year students in the College of Information Sciences.

Welcome to DSS, David, Melissa, Kerry, Caroline, Ryan, and Marlin!

Aaron Ginoza has joined SSDR as a participant in the job enrichment program.  Aaron will be working roughly four hours per week for six months, with these enrichment objectives:  1) participate in the responsive design project for the Libraries’ website by increasing web technology skills (HTML/CSS/Javascript) and researching responsive design options, 2) implementing social media improvements for the website and 3) learning the software engineering workflows for web development.

Conferences, workshops and professional development

“‘Is This Enough?’ Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives Media,” a session that Bria Parker, Vin Novara, and Robin Pike proposed to the ICA-SUV conference, was accepted. They will co-present in July 2015.

Francis Kayiwa attended OCLC’s Developer House in Dublin OH from December 1-5, 2015. Developer House is a place where library technologists can gather together for five days to share their perspectives and expertise as they hack on OCLC web services. Working with other technologists from other organizations, Francis helped create a “Today in History” beta application. See for more information on Developer House Project.

Francis Kayiwa also attended the Code4lib Conference in Portland Oregon from February 9th – 12th. Francis co-taught a half day pre-conference on the use of Docker technology. Docker is relatively new software containerization software that is used to provide software as service.

Appointments

Babak Hamidzadeh has accepted an invitation to serve as Senior Advisor of Information Science for SESYNC, the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center based in Annapolis. The center is “dedicated to accelerating scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems” with projects as diverse as storm water management and North America Beavers. Babak hopes, with this appointment, to align and link directly technical development in both organizations, namely UMD Libraries and SESYNC.

Stew of the Month: November-December 2014

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

Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with Joanne Archer, at UMD Special Collections, to coordinate sending 40 wire recordings from the Arthur Godfrey Collection, 160 open reel audio tapes from the WAMU Archives, and 229 volumes from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) archives, labor collections, university publications, broadcasting serials, political serials, and Maryland state documents to multiple vendors for digitization. Eric Cartier and students in the Hornbake Digitization Center digitized and uploaded a batch of 83 volumes of the MARAC newsletter to the Internet Archive.

Software Development

DSS has joined as a development partner in the creation of the DuraSpace supported Fedora 4, which we will used to replace our existing Fedora 2 based architecture for Digital Collections.  Though late arrivals to the multi-year development effort we intend to participate in the ongoing development of the core Fedora 4 platform in parallel with our own implementation.  Fedora 4.0.0 was released on November 27.  We have begun the process of setting up our own development server and investigating the technology options available to us.

User and System Support

The year 2014 was a very productive year for User and Systems Support (USS). This year, 7,155 service requests were created in Sysaid. The following projects were accomplished during the year:

  1. During this period, USS was involved with various major projects such as the creation of the Makerspace, & Laptop bar to the replacement of over 100 staff computers and public access computers.
  2. USS supported the Terrapin Learning Common (TLC) spaces in various branch libraries from the specification of the type of equipment to purchasing of equipment such as video cameras, Google Glass and Oculus Rift. Working with library TLC staff, USS has increased the loaner laptops from 45 to over 100 laptops. The additional laptops have significantly helped reduce student wait time.
  3. USS was able to convert a one-button studio created by the staff of Princeton University into a one-button cart for UMD. The one button cart is a portable recording station for students and faculty to create videos. It can be used anywhere by just plugging it into a power outlet. Once plugged, the students can use it without assistance
  4. Last year, USS experimented with a 3D printer from Makerbot. They expanded their horizons and worked with other departments such as Public Services to open 3D printing services to the student community. In the beginning, students sent in requests to print souvenirs such as shot glasses but are now using the 3D printers for class assignments and projects. In this year alone, USS has successfully printed over 300 items, which equates to over 2,274 hours of printing. USS staff also provided over 25 consultations to students that needed assistance with creation and printing of their items. Our next task is mastering 3D scanning and how to provide needed support to our patrons who need help scanning 3D objects.
  5. USS also compiled statistics from Sysaid for 2014. As previously mentioned, 7,155 service requests were created in Sysaid. This number includes all departments that used Sysaid too. The service requests ranged from installation, troubleshooting, and resolving of problem reports from different services such as Researchport issue, catalog issues and various online database related problems. Of the 7,155 opened requests, USS closed 5,665 service requests, which is 79% of all service requests opened this year. In comparison to 2013, that is a 28% increase.
  6. In 2014, USS also expanded its community outreach initiatives. On April 26th, 2014, better known as Maryland Day, USS showcased many of our new gadgets in the Presidential Suite, which included the 3D printer and Google Glass. Students and alumni were very excited and engaged by the opportunity to see and experiment with our newest technology offered by the Libraries. For UMD’s homecoming, we were selected to showcase some of the Libraries newest technology available to the campus community. We were a big hit among attendees and experienced a lot of interest and excitement about our various services.
  7. On December 13, 2014, USS hosted ProjectCSGirls, a national nonprofit, dedicated to closing the tech gender gap by cultivating a love for technology and introducing computer science to girls starting from adolescence. This program attracted over 55 girls of various ages and from different schools. USS staff provided technical support that made the program run smooth and was certainly a success.

We want to thank everyone for their support and we look forward to an impactive, collaborative and innovative 2015 as we move USS to the forefront library sphere/services.

I will like to thank all User and System Support staff for all their hard work in accomplishing the projects list above.

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

OLE status: The Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team put a lot of effort into the OLE project in the period from mid-October to mid-November, and at the CLD meeting on November 20 delivered a detailed report of what the team had learned and accomplished to that point. Work on OLE continues: Mark Hemhauser has focused on identifying the necessary data elements for requisitions to advance to encumbered purchase orders, for invoices to appear paid in the ledger/budget summary report, budget structure functionality, and initial investigation of consortial use of acquisitions. Hans Breitenlohner and David Steelman have been working closely with the systems librarians to analyze and address problems as they are uncovered. David has been collaborating with Mark to document problems with purchase orders and invoices, and has taken the initiative to file a number of specific issue reports in the Kuali organization’s JIRA feedback portal. David and Hans have both worked on the problem reported by Linda Seguin regarding display of bibliographic records with Hebrew characters.

Following up from the November CLD meeting, Heidi Hanson and Ben Wallberg (DSS) met with Lea Messman-Mandicott and Betty Landesman of the USMAI Next Generation ILS Working Group, along with Chuck Thomas and David Dahl, to discuss strategies that will support the USMAI in understanding and evaluating the OLE system. Specifically, we are looking into how to give members of the Next-Gen ILS Working Group (and/or its sub-groups) access to our local “OLE sandbox” for testing at some time early in 2015.

Aleph support: From mid-October to mid-December, David Wilt has responded to requests for 20 ad hoc reports for 8 different campuses, 4 parameter change/notice text changes for 3 different campuses, and a request for a RapidILL extract for College Park. David also wrote specifications for multiple recurring reports for College Park, which Hans has now added to the reports schedule.

Linda Seguin worked on a number of requests related to bibliographic record loading and clean-up. For brittle Hebraica items that College Park is having digitized for HathiTrust, Linda created a new item process status (IPS), modified the HathiTrust extract program, updated items, loaded bibs and suppressed holdings/bibs as appropriate. For Health Sciences (HS), Linda loaded Springer ebook records using their old special loader. Since practices have changed since the last time this loader was used, considerable data cleanup was needed post-load. Since HS reported that this would be their second-to-last load of Springer records, we decided it was not worth updating the loader program itself. Linda also worked on Ebrary record cleanup for Towson, deleting all Ebrary PDA records that were for unpurchased titles. Catching up on a backlog of updates to the Ebrary Academic Complete collection, Linda loaded 27 files of new records and processed 22 files of deleted records. A complex deletion specification had to be developed in order to avoid deleting ebook titles that TU also holds in other packages.

Mark Hemhauser worked on creating a licensing database report for USMAI licenses; modification of serials claim letter address for College Park; continuing to advise Towson and UMBC on their move to shelf ready and loader issues related to it; update of USMAI page on the shelf ready loader. Mark also did some maintenance support for the College Park journal review web tool.

David Steelman, responding to an Aleph Rx request from UMBC, created a new version of the Equipment Availability page that would allow UMBC to generate their own page with any equipment that they want, by providing the system numbers for the equipment in the page request.

ResearchPort, SFX (FindIt), EZProxy support: In November, we upgraded EZproxy to the newly released version, 5.7.44, allowing us to disable SSL v3, which is vulnerable to Poodle attacks (the security exploit, not the dog). Ingrid Alie worked on correcting A-Z targets list for the Center for Environmental Science (CE) Research Port journal section so that it is in alphabetical order. Ingrid also worked on correcting the ScienceDirect database cross search for Health Sciences, Towson, UM Eastern Shore, Bowie, UM College Park, Salisbury, UM Law, Morgan State, and UMBC, because Elsevier is retiring their Federated Search platform. Cross search is now working for all of these campuses. Ingrid also generated a list of all database configurations from the proxy server for Towson.

Support for USMAI Groups and Committees: Linda established 13 new Listserv email lists in support of USMAI advisory groups and subgroups, and communities of interest/practice.

Mark Hemhauser served as Chair and Heidi Hanson served as a member of the search committee for the Director of the CLAS team. We were busy with interviews in October and early November, and were very fortunate to bring the search to a successful conclusion. David Dahl will begin as the new Director for CLAS on January 12, 2015.

CLAS team gets a nod: Elaine Mael at Towson wrote an article about the merger of Baltimore Hebrew University into Towson’s collection. “ITD” (DSS’s former name) gets mentioned quite a bit:

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=99263274&site=ehost-live

Staffing

Peter Eichman joined SSDR as our new Senior Software Developer.  Peter’s academic background is in linguistics and philosophy. He is a UMD alumnus (B.A.s in Linguistics and Philosophy), and also holds an M.A. in Philosophy from USC. He is very familiar with UMD, not only as a student but also as a staff member, having worked for the ARHU Computing Services office and the National Foreign Language Center as a web application developer.  Peter’s first project will heading the major Digital Collections upgrade to Fedora 4.

Stew of the Month: August 2014

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

New Technologies

This past summer, User Services and Systems (USS) initiated a project with the Public Services Division to convert the former Reference desk space in the front of McKeldin Library into a “Laptop Bar” to provide seating and power for students using their personal laptops in the library.  USS acquired power surge protectors in the shape of pyramids to be placed on the tables for student use. PSD acquired bar-style chairs for the area. The Laptop Bar was completed by the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester and has been a major success. Students started using the space immediately. Below are before and after photos:

Before:

 b41b43 b42

After:

aft1 a2  a3af4

Collection-building

Statistics

In the process of gathering our ARL statistics for FY2014, we can note the following increases in our Digital Collections and DRUM holdings since June 30, 2013 (2013 numbers in brackets):

  • Images/Manuscript records in Digital Collections: 17,376  [13,990]
  • Film Titles in Digital Collections: 2,673 [2232]
  • Audio Titles in Digital Collections: 356 [200]
  • Internet Archive titles: 4,382 [3,906]
  • Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection: 7,936 [4,450]
  • DRUM (e-theses and dissertations): 9,511
  • DRUM (technical reports & other): 5,581
  • DRUM TOTAL: 15,092

Those numbers are the result of hard work from staff throughout DSS, as well as content selectors and creators from throughout the Libraries.

ArchivesSpace

ArchivesSpace is the open source archives information management application for managing and providing web access to archives, manuscripts and digital objects.The UMD Libraries has been running a sandbox version of ArchivesSpace for use by Special Collections and University Archives for many months.  In August, DSS completed a Service Level Agreement for the production version of ArchivesSpace, and Paul Hammer (SSDR) converted the existing sandbox server to a production instance.

Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection

We are proud to announce that all of the Prange Digital Children’s Books (8082 of them) have been loaded into our Fedora Digital Collections repository.  However, as is often the case, the final cleanup takes the longest amount of time.  Paul Hammer (SSDR) and Jennie Levine Knies (DPI) worked together with Amy Wasserstrom  and Kana Jenkins in the Prange Collection to troubleshoot the final 200 books that have load issues. Graduate Assistant Alice Prael (DPI) also assisted in cleaning up duplicates and comparing data lists in order to help identify the problem records.

Aeon

On August 1, Special Collections and University Archives officially began using a hosted version of Atlas System’s Aeon software. Aeon is automated request and workflow management software specifically designed for special collections, libraries and archives. Jennie Knies and Paul Hammer worked with Special Collections staff to implement request buttons in both ArchivesUM and Digital Collections to pass metadata to Aeon forms to automate the patron request process.

Digitization Activities

Robin Pike worked with vendors and collection managers to solidify digitization contracts for materials that will be sent to digitization vendors during FY15. The formats represented in the digitization projects include books, serials, pamphlets, photographs, microfilm, open reel audio tape, wire recordings, VHS tape, and 16mm film. The collection areas represented in the projects include Special Collections and University Archives (labor collections, university archives, mass media and culture, rare books, Prange collection materials), Special Collections in Performing Arts, Library Media Services, and Hebrew language materials from the general collection.

Digitization assistants completed projects for the campus community. Audrey digitized Athletics media guide covers that will be used to produce posters, which will be gifts for an upcoming alumni event. Several assistants digitized photos of Terrapin football players, which will be used in the new Terrapins in the Pros interactive exhibit at the Gossett Team House.

Abby digitized Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference programs. Additional MARAC publications will be digitized this year, both in-house and through the Internet Archive, making this regional resource more available to archivists everywhere.

Software Development

Working with the Web Advisory Committee, Shian Chang and Cindy Zhao completed a refresh of the Libraries’ Website interface.  The update includes addition of the new UMD responsive wrapper, as required by a new campus brand integrity program (see http://brand.umd.edu/websitepresentation.cfm), change of the main menus seen on every page to a new “mega menu” dropdown style, enabling users to view more options with integrated explanatory text, and new social media image bar on the bottom of homepage.  This refresh is part of a general plan for constant, iterative improvements to the website and a specific plan to ultimately convert the entire site to a responsive design.

SSDR has been planning on adding Solr client capabilities to Hippo CMS for some time, but discovered recently that Hippo CMS 7.8 comes with a  Solr Integration feature out-of-the-box, supporting both index/search for internal Hippo documents and search for external documents.   Mohamed Abdul Rasheed reviewed the functionality and determined the external search feature capable of handling our needs.  He started work migrating our existing Digital Collections interfaces (Digital Collections, Jim Henson Works, World’s Fair) to the new Solr based search as well as adding new database searches for Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) scores and recordings databases. The databases will continue to be maintained by SCPA staff in FileMaker Pro but exported to CSV, imported into Solr, and exposed through the Libraries’ Website for search and discovery.

Services

USMAI (University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions Consortium)

Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) implementation: Consortial Library Applications Support (CLAS) team members have been participating in weekly teleconferences with University of Pennsylvania staff who are working on UPenn’s OLE implementation. Both groups are discovering that key implementation documentation necessary for bringing up a test instance is missing. At present, we have OLE software installed on a local server, but it is populated with demo data. We have not yet been able to load our own data for testing. We are hopeful that forthcoming teleconferences will provide the information and guidance we need to proceed.

USMAI Advisory Groups: As interim Chair of the Digital Services Advisory Group, Mark Hemhauser completed a first meeting with the Reporting and Analytics Subgroup and the Metadata Subgroup, where he shared the information from CLD about Advisory Group funds and reporting plans. Mark also shared information on membership terms and the group chairs with the USMAI Executive Director. The CLAS team also compiled a list of current email lists and reflectors supporting USMAI communications and sent it to the Executive Director. Linda Seguin revised the Groups page on the USMAI staff web site, added new group pages, and created and distributed editing logins to each advisory group/subgroup.

SFX support: Linda revised SFX parsers to get both Romanized and vernacular text in Aeon request form for College Park’s Prange collection. Linda revised the Aleph Source Parser to get publication information from the new(ish) MARC 264 field for use in SFX linking. Linda and Ingrid Alie added the HathiTrust local target to Salisbury University’s and the UM Health Sciences and Human Services library’s SFX instances.

Circulation support for USMAI: David Wilt set up new Item Statuses in Aleph for the University of Baltimore and College Park; produced ad hoc reports for Frostburg, Bowie, Towson, University of Baltimore, College Park, Saint Mary’s, and UMBC; and completing a patron load for Eastern Shore. David also worked on setting up the booking function in Aleph for Shady Grove.

Acquisitions/serials support for USMAI: Mark exported data from the USMAI licensing database for College Park’s licensing evaluation project; produced a variety of subscription reports for College Park as part of a database clean-up project; produced a special claims report for Morgan State; and helped staff at the University of Baltimore identify a problem with dirty order data after fiscal rollover and provided training on order closing procedures and order clean-up. Mark also flipped the budget code to make corrections on 75 orders, saving UB staff a lot of manual effort.

Aleph database support for USMAI: Linda and Hans Breitenlohner ran a new extract of College Park holdings for their participation in HathiTrust. Linda sent a sample file of book records to RapidILL for UMBC. Linda also deleted withdrawn/purged items for UMBC, College Park and Health Sciences, and with assistance from Heidi Hanson, loaded bibliographic record sets for UMBC, the Center for Environmental Science, and Health Sciences.

Aleph system support: The CLAS team and DSS staff are monitoring a recent pattern of Aleph slowdowns that have been occurring this month. We are currently restarting the Aleph server manually when slowness is reported.

Staffing

Peter Eichman joined DSS as a Contingent-I Systems Analyst in SSDR, providing broad software development support for UMD and Consortial applications. Peter is a UMD alumnus (B.A.s in Linguistics and Philosophy), and has also worked for the ARHU Computing Services office and the National Foreign Language Center as a web application developer.   Peter started on August 19 and is currently working on improvements to Aleph Rx, the DSS issue tracking tool for Aleph.

On August 22, Josh Westgard, graduate assistant in DPI, graduated from the iSchool’s MLS program in Curation and Management of Digital Assets.

Ann Levin, the DSS Project Manager, left the UMD Libraries in August.  Ann made a significant impact during her time with DSS, developing documentation procedures and working on several projects, most notable the Prange Digital Children’s Book Collection.

Amrita Kaur joined the DSS staff as the Coordinator. Amrita has worked for the University Libraries for many years, and was most recently in the Architecture Library. Welcome, Amrita!

Events

The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project hosted UMD Libraries’ first public Wikipedia edit-a-thon on August 18. 24 people attended, either in-person or virtually through an Adobe Connect meeting (recording available here https://webmeeting.umd.edu/p37wtrvy3iw/). We invited speakers from Wikimedia DC, the Library of Congress, as well as our own Doug McElrath, Jennie Knies, and Donald Taylor, to share information about resources to be used during the editing portion of the event. Participants enhanced and added articles related to Maryland newspapers and Wikimedia DC’s Summer of Monuments project and uploaded digitized images from our National Trust Library Historic Postcards Collection to WikiCommons.

Conferences and Workshops

Trevor Muñoz, Karl Nilsen, Ben Wallberg, and Joshua Westgard attended the Code4Lib DC 2014 conference at George Washington University on August 11-12.  Josh Westgard led a session on spreadsheets.  This was a topic he suggested at the start of the unconference planning, so the unconference protocol was for him to moderate the discussion.  The participants in the session talked about strategies and tools for managing data stored in spreadsheets, or data that must pass through a spreadsheet while migrating from one storage location to another.  One highlight of the discussion was the description of csvkit (https://csvkit.readthedocs.org), a Python module for the cleanup and manipulation of data stored in csv files. A breakout group split off in order to begin learning csvkit later in the conference.

Josh Westgard attended a one-day workshop on “Building Data Apps with Python” offered by District Data Labs (http://www.districtdatalabs.com).  The workshop covered application set up, best practices for application design and development, and the basics of building a matrix factorization application.

Jennie Knies, Liz Caringola, Robin Pike and Eric Cartier attended the Society of American Archivists annual conference in Washington, DC on August 11-16. Robin currently serves as the chair and Eric serves on the steering committee of the Recorded Sound Roundtable. Robin chaired and presented on the panel session Audiovisual Alacrity: Managing Timely Access to Audiovisual Collections. Eric contributed audiovisual clips from UMD’s collections for the first AV Archives Night, a networking event featuring content from attendees’ repositories, hosted by Audiovisual Preservation Solutions at the Black Cat. Liz Caringola was a panel speaker for the session “Taken for ‘Grant’ed: How Term Positions Affect New Professionals and the Repositories That Employ Them.” Karl Nilsen gave a talk on database curation and preservation as a part of a panel on stewarding complex objects. Download the slides from DRUM: http://hdl.handle.net/1903/15573. His talk was based on Research Data Services’ efforts to curate and preserve the Extragalactic Distance Database, an online data collection that was created by astronomers at UMD and other institutions.

Liz Caringola attended one of the weeklong Humanities in Learning and Teaching (HILT) workshops offered by MITH “Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage.”  Karl Nilsen completed the HILT digital forensics course.