Stew of the Month: March 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

We have received files for the remaining volumes of the University of Maryland Schedule of Classes that were digitized from microfilm; quality assurance will be completed over the next month and they will be uploaded to the Internet Archive. Eric Cartier uploaded 24 volumes of the AFL-CIO News (see photo below for an example with interesting metadata) and 29 volumes University of Maryland Schedules of Classes to the Internet Archive, both held in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), and digitized from print and received back last month. These digitization projects were funded through the DIC proposal process.

GeorgeMeaneyJerryLewis1967
Jerry Lewis presenting a plaque to AFL-CIO president George Meaney in 1967

Elizabeth Caringola submitted the sample batch of digitized microfilm for the 2014-2016 NDNP grant. After this sample is approved, she will start production batches of around 10,000 pages. Babak and Liz also submitted the first grant report for the 2014-2016 cycle to NEH and the Library of Congress detailing the progress with the project.

Liz has also been working with her students to promote interesting digital images from digitized Maryland newspaper pages available on Chronicling America by starting a Pinterest board.

Robin worked with Joanne Archer, Anne Turkos, and other SCUA staff to ship 3,446 photographs from the Diamondback newspaper photo morgue to a digitization vendor. This shipment is the first half of the first phase of the two-year project to digitize nearly 18,000 photographs. The project is funded through the DIC proposal process.

Digital Programs and Initiatives

Alice Prael has begun work on updating the current Best Practices for Digital Collections. The new Best Practices will improve the organization and functionality by moving from a standard document to a wiki platform and will be updated to include our newest projects, initiatives, and processes.

Early in the month, Josh Westgard attended the DuraSpace summit in Washington, DC, where discussion focused on Duraspace’s three main products, Fedora, DSpace, and VIVO, all of which are of interest to, or currently in use by the Libraries. He also participated in the community-driven Fedora 4 development process, including helping to draft the requirements for an audit service, and attending, along with colleagues from SSDR and Metadata Services, the DC Area Fedora Users Group meeting at the National Agricultural Library.

Software Development

Development of the new online student application submission form and supervisor database has continued. We have hit a technical snag in our new Wufoo form caused by a limit of 100 fields per form and the way that “fields” are counted so will need to create a workaround.  Implementation has begun on the supervisor database and workflow implemented in the Staff Intranet, Libi, implemented in Drupal.

Working with the Library Web Advisory Committee, we have established high-level objectives and major milestones for the Responsive Web Design (RWD) project for the Libraries’ Website. The timeline calls for planning during the Spring, implementation over the Summer, final testing and content updates in the Fall, and release scheduled for January, 2016. We have completed selection of Bootstrap as the RWD framework and Unify as our starting template, based in part on our successful use of both tools in the Beyond the Battle: Bladensburg Rediscovered special collections exhibit. The next step of creating wireframes for key page layouts is in progress.

Hippo CMS received improvements to its Solr Database feature, currently used only by the  SCPA Scores Database, laying the groundwork for several new databases, such as SCPA Recording, Maryland Digitized Newspapers, and Plant Patents.  Databases are in general chosen to be disseminated using this feature when they have simple metadata and little to no content requirements.  This is a lighter weight alternative to full ingest into Digital Collections.

We are finalizing preparations for bringing online the new Fedora Commons Repository version 4.  This soft release will target minimal services only, with no data migrated from the existing Fedora 2. By bringing the service up in production well before the full release, we will be able to incrementally test and add new procedures. This will increase reliability and confidence in the service when it comes time to bear the full weight of our digital collections.

User and System Support

In late February, the John and Stella Graves MakerSpace was asked to assist with making a few 3D printed items for an exhibit at the Shady Grove (Priddy) Library in March. Eileen Harrigton requested the 3D printed models of human and hominid skulls as a part of an interactive exhibit on evolution. By 3D printing actual scans of the fossils, attendees were able to pick up the models and get a better and closer look at the skulls.

Interestingly, Archeology and 3D printing/scanning have some things in common. Both utilize careful planning on removal of debris from the item. For 3D printed item, sometimes supports are printed and need to be removed after the printing is finished, a lot like the removal of debris and dirt around fossils.

1
Preston removing supports and rough edges on the 3D printed skull

3D scanning is also used in archeological dig sites. It is used to quickly record accurate positional details and measurements before removal, and full 3D scans after the item is removed from the ground.

2
A technician 3D scanning a human skeleton using a handheld 3D scanner
3
The actual 3D scan of the skeleton above

After the scan is complete, it can be imported into a modeling program like Autodesk Design to clean up the scan and make it ready for 3D printing. After the initial cleanup, the file can be exported to a .stl file (stereolithography) and printed.

4
A 3D scanned Homo Erectus skull being processed in Autodesk Design

 

The files that were requested came from a website that has many 3D scanned fossils. (http://africanfossils.org/) The models took approximately 20 hours in total to print and one hour to do finishing details like support removal.

5
The finished 3D printed skulls for the event. From left…Homo Sapien, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus.

 

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

DSS has been working on an exciting opportunity with the consortium and a few other Maryland academic libraries to put together a shared institutional repository (IR). DSS presented a proposal to the consortium for a 2-year pilot, which was accepted. The IR will be named Maryland Shared Open Access Repository (MDSoar, for short). The partners of the shared IR will rely on DSS’ 10+ years of experience managing DRUM. Similar to DRUM, MDSoar will use DSpace as its repository platform. DSS staff are currently working with the IR partners to configure the IR with an anticipated launch date of June 15, 2015.

The CLAS team continues its work on the Kuali OLE initiative, participating in weekly meetings with other OLE implementation partners from around the world and developing a sandbox environment in support of College Park’s and USMAI’s testing and evaluation of OLE. In April, the team will welcome in six consortium volunteers to test and evaluate OLE for its potential as the next ILS for the consortium.

Members of the team also attended the USMAI Next Gen ILS Working Group meeting on March 11th to discuss OLE, Aleph, and the next steps for moving to a new ILS over the course of the next several years.

The CLAS team responded to 101 Aleph Rx submissions and 32 e-resource requests. Additionally, members of the team have worked with campuses on such initiatives as implementing single sign-on at Salisbury, enhancing workflows for reporting library fines and fees to the Bursars’ Office at University of Baltimore, and assisting with the UMBC’s transition to shelf-ready orders from YBP.

Staffing

Mark Hemhauser’s last day in the office was March 13th. He is heading to University of California at Berkeley to fill a role as Head of Acquisitions. We wish him the best and hope that he’ll send some good weather our way!

Conferences, workshops and professional development

Eric Cartier was interviewed by the hosts of Lost in the Stacks, “the one and only Research Library Rock’n’Roll show” on WERK 91.1 FM at Georgia Tech. The episode discussing audio digitization, the WMUC radio station and digitization project, and personal digital archiving aired on April 3.

Robin Pike co-proposed a pre-conference workshop called “Managing Audiovisual Digitization Projects” with consultant Joshua Ranger from AV Preserve and vendor George Blood from George Blood Audio, Video, and Film to the Society of American Archivists. She received confirmation that the workshop will be held on Monday, August 17, 2015 in Cleveland, OH as part of the annual conference pre-conference program.

Graduate Assistants Alice Prael (Digital Programs and Initiatives) and Amy Wickner (SCUA) found out they will be presenting their student poster “Getting to Know FRED:  Introducing Workflows for Born Digital Content” at the Society of American Archivists annual conference in August.

Liz Caringola recently achieved certification as a Digital Archives Specialist, a program is administered by the Society of American Archivists. Over the past two years, Liz has taken a variety of workshops and webinars on different aspects of digital archives and sat for the cumulative exam on February 24 in College Park.

Peter Eichman, Bria Parker, Ben Wallberg, and Joshua Westgard attended the Washington D.C. Fedora User Group Meeting on March 31 and presented to the group on the status of our Fedora 4 implementation.

Eric Cartier and Liz Caringola attended the Spring 2015 MARAC/NEA Joint Meeting in Boston from March 19-21.

David Dahl attended the ACRL 2015 Conference in Portland, OR from March 25-28. He presented as part of a panel entitled “A Tree in the Forest: Using Tried-and-True Assessment Methods from Other Industries”.

 

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.