TDL Update - May 2010

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TDL Spotlight: The 2010 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries

Texas Conference on Digital LibrariesThe 4th annual Texas Conference on Digital Libraries convened Monday, May 17, in Austin, Texas.

The Texas Digital Library has sponsored TCDL since 2007 as a means to bring together its members, as well as other interested parties in Texas and beyond, to explore topics related to digital libraries and the changing nature of scholarly communication.

For the first time, the conference was held at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Over the two days of the conference, participants had the opportunity to explore the theme of Collaboration.

Opening keynote speaker Les Carr, of the University of Southampton discussed some of the potentialities of digital repositories as groups and individuals continue to work together to shape the future of the Web. According to Carr, “the Web isn’t a thing, but an activity” and it is “being invented by all of us as we adapt our tools and change our practices.”

The closing keynote address, delivered by Reagan Moore as an informal discussion with the audience, focused on issues facing the preservation of data. Moore is the director of the Data Intensive Cyber Environments Center, which has developed a rules-based data grid software that the TDL is implementing as part of its efforts to develop a preservation network.

Data management systems have to become more sophisticated, Moore said, to deal with “all the ways you can lose data.” According to him, “there is no perfect solution except replication,” a process that is facilitated by iRODS.

Between the two keynote addresses, attendees heard about numerous digital projects underway within the TDL organization and at TDL member institutions. Just a few of those projects included:

  • Primeros Libros, an effort to digitize and federate a collection of the “first books” printed in Mexico before 1601, currently dispersed at universities across the US and Mexico
  • The Texas Center for Border and Transnational Studies, a collaboration between UT Brownsville and multiple other US and Mexico institutions that includes the digitization of cross-border documents.
  • The Lonestar Education and Research Network, a consortium of education entities in Texas that provides high performance network services that support education and research
  • Texas Learning Object Repository, a development project at TDL to develop an open, online repository of objects used in teaching and learning

In addition to the main conference speakers, attendees had the opportunity to hear about other projects through the poster session held on the evening of May 17. And following the closing keynote on May 18, three post-conference workshops provided the chance to learn and discuss topics related to metadata, electronic theses and dissertations, and other issues related to born-digital materials.

All conference presentations, including those from the main conference sessions and the poster session, are available on the TCDL 2010 website at

You can find photographs of the conference on the TDL Facebook page. ◊

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Co-Directors’ Message

Image of TDL co-directors Mark McFarland and John Leggett

TDL co-directors Mark McFarland and John Leggett

The Directors’ Message is a new feature that allows TDL’s co-directors, John Leggett and Mark McFarland, to directly address issues of concern to the TDL membership.

Earlier this May, the Texas Digital Library welcomed 125 of our members and friends to the 4th annual Texas Conference on Digital Libraries. We began the conference back in 2007 to give our members the chance to meet, interact, and learn from each other, as well as provide opportunities to learn about the work the TDL and other organizations are doing.

This year, the conference focused on the theme of Collaboration, a concept that is foundational to the mission of the Texas Digital Library.

As a consortium, the TDL benefits from and depends on the contributions of all its members – not just monetary contributions, but contributions of expertise and time — and this year’s TCDL gave us the opportunity to hear about and learn from the multitude of collaborations that are bringing success to the TDL enterprise.

Following the close of TCDL 2010, we begin the summer energized and excited about the work our members are doing, both in collaboration with TDL, with each other, and on their own. In this issue of the newsletter, you’ll hear about some of the exciting things happening at TDL, including organizational changes like the formation of a production support team and the addition of a new staff member, and new opportunities for member involvement, like the formation of the Vireo Users’ Group.

On behalf of the Texas Digital Library, we thank you for your participation with us at TCDL 2010 and in the important work we’re doing to ensure the accessibility and preservation of Texas scholarship


Mark McFarland & John Leggett

Texas Digital Library Co-Directors

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TDL welcomes new member to software development team

Joe DeVries

Joe Devries, TDL software developer

The Texas Digital Library is pleased to welcome Joe DeVries to the software development team.

Joe joined TDL in mid-April and is located in the organization’s Austin office. He has eight years of experience developing web applications using J2EE, C#, SQL, and PHP, including 5 years at Texas A&M University and three years at Portland State University.

Joe earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from Grand Valley State University.

He and his wife are expecting their second child at the end of the summer. ◊

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First-ever Vireo Users’ Group meeting held May 19

The inaugural Vireo Users Group meeting took place May 19, 2010, the day following the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries.

Members met in the Perry-Castaneda Library on the UT Austin campus to discuss how a users group could be organized to meet the needs of campuses using Vireo ETD software to manage the submission, approval, and publication of electronic theses and dissertations. Users Group co-chairs Laura Hammons (Thesis Officer Director at Texas A&M University) and Jason Thomale (Metadata Librarian at Texas Tech University) led the meeting, which included a presentation about Vireo development and discussion about the structure and purpose of the group.

Following the meeting, the group has begun determining roles within the Users Group to interact with the TDL development team and will create a web presence on the TDL-hosted WordPress installation. The website will be at

It is the hope of TDL program coordinator Ryan Steans that the group can provide opportunities for on-the-ground users of Vireo to help each other develop best practices and provide communal support for using the software, as well as offer a forum for soliciting member needs for future development of Vireo. “This group is going to provide a valuable resource to our user community,” Steans said, “especially as we prepare to make Vireo open-source in September.”

The Texas Digital Library plans to release Vireo as an open-source application in September 2010. The software, which allows for online submission of ETDs by students and thesis office management of the document through an expert management interface, was developed by the Texas Digital Library with grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.  Currently, three TDL member institutions use Vireo to manage their ETD programs, and the software is in testing at several other institutions, including the Angelo State University, UT Medical Branch, the University of Houston, the University of Illinois and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For more information about Vireo, please visit the TDL website or contact the TDL at ◊

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Texas Tech takes on production support role for TDL

Natalie Bueno, programmer at Texas Tech, heads the TDL production support effort.

To better handle support questions arising from deployments of TDL services, the Texas Digital Library has created a dedicated production team to take ownership of all aspects of TDL deployed systems, including installation, configuration, maintenance and support. In addition to more efficiently handling production and support issues, the creation of the team will free the software development staff to focus solely on development projects such as PresNet.

TDL member institution Texas Tech University, where Lance King has operated the TDL helpdesk since September 2009, has taken on the responsibility of staffing the production effort, with Natalie Bueno and Matthew McKinney taking on installation, configuration, and maintenance tasks that cannot be resolved at the helpdesk level.

Other TDL team members contributing time to the production team include CTO Peter Nürnberg, systems administrator William Sidney, software developer Dan Galewsky, and program coordinator Ryan Steans.

Members encountering technical issues with their TDL-deployed services should continue to notify TDL through the helpdesk email ( or web form ( ◊

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TDL Development Update: Summer 2010 to focus on PresNet, TxLOR

PresNet development continues

The Texas Digital Library development team continues work on the development of PresNet, the network architecture TDL is developing to preserve the organization’s digital assets in a geographically distributed network.

The team began dedicated work on PresNet in March 2010, creating the infrastructure and processes for packaging and moving copies of all TDL-managed assets (such as the federated ETD collection, journals, blogs, etc.) from TDL servers to its partner organization, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). The TDL is using 10 terabytes of storage space at TACC, located on the UT Austin campus, for securing the TDL assets. The TDL is using iRODS, a rules-based data grid software system, for automating some of the preservation-related tasks.

TxLOR to be completed by end of summer

PresNet development will constitute half of the TDL development team’s scheduled work for the summer of 2010. During the remaining time, the team will focus on completing the Texas Learning Object Repository and delivering it to the UT Systems office by September.

The Texas Learning Object Repository is a statewide learning object repository that stores and disseminates materials used in teaching and learning. The former UT TeleCampus, the online education unit within the University of Texas System, contracted with TDL to provide technical development services for the project.

DSpace statistics package under evaluation

The TDL is currently evaluating a statistics package for DSpace, which will provide usage reports to repository managers. TDL contracted with an outside developer for the creation of the package, which will be made available to TDL member institutional repositories once the evaluation is complete. Additional information about the DSpace statistics package will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead. ◊

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TDL announces summer 2010 training courses

The Texas Digital Library will offer four training courses for TDL members during summer 2010.  All training sessions will take place at Baylor University in Waco. For more information about location and cost, visit the TDL training page.

The following courses will be offered:

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Texas Tech Libraries wins international award for video

An image from an animated video produced by Texas Tech Libraries

An image from the animated video “Raider Red promotes the 3D Labs.”

The Texas Tech University Libraries Office of Communications and Marketing has received an award in the Creativity 40th Media Competition, a program of the Creativity International Awards.

The animated video, “Raider Red Promotes the 3D Lab,” earned the silver award in the public service film/video category.

This year’s media competition garnered hundreds of entries from all over the world representing 16 countries, four Canadian provinces and 23 U.S. states. Winners were selected based on outstanding creativity and design.

Established in 1970, Creativity International Awards is based in Louisville, Ky., and is one of the longest-running independent international advertising and graphic design competitions in the world. A print, web, advertising and media design competition, each year the judges choose the best from all over the world to be reproduced in the 400-page Creativity Awards Annual Book published and distributed by HarperCollins.

For more information, please visit ◊

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