September 2010

Directors’ Message: The Value of Membership in TDL

Dear TDL Members,

image of TDL co-directors

TDL co-directors Mark McFarland and John Leggett

Welcome to the new academic year! We would like to thank our member institutions for renewing their commitment to the Texas Digital Library consortium for the coming year. We trust that 2010-2011 is going to be an exciting and productive time for the TDL and its members.

The TDL provides essential services for publishing and preserving scholarly work in the digital age. Open access repositories and our other scholarly communications tools provide resources for sharing and preserving faculty research. And the TDL Preservation Network provides secure long-term storage for these assets, making sure they will be available far into the future.

Especially at a time when grant-making organizations increasingly require plans for data management and sharing (see the NSF article later in this newsletter for one example), these technological resources are crucial, and the TDL is ready and able to support the efforts of grant-seeking faculty who need these tools.

We know that the year ahead abounds with opportunities for serving the needs of libraries and faculty, and we hope our members will join us in seizing them. TDL Users Groups and Working Groups, training sessions, and TDL advocacy through bridge groups and faculty outreach all provide chances for member engagement. Whether you are a librarian, a graduate office employee, a software developer, or a faculty outreach coordinator, TDL depends on your skills and enthusiasm to succeed.

We encourage you to read this newsletter and go to our website (www.tdl.org), to learn more about what TDL is doing and how you can get involved. We’ve also created a new document, the TDL Guide, to give new and old members alike a comprehensive look at TDL operations, including ways that members can get the most value out of their membership in the consortium. The TDL Guide can be accessed at www.tdl.org/about-tdl/publications.

Thank you for being a part of the TDL’s work. We look forward to working alongside you in the year to come.

Sincerely,

Mark McFarland  &  John Leggett

TDL Co-directors

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Fall 2010 begins with key TDL development accomplishments

The Texas Digital Library began the fall by reaching several important milestones in its software development work: the open-source release of Vireo ETD management software, the launch of the Texas Learning Object Repository (TxLOR), and the move of the TDL Preservation Network into production.

“The development team has made significant progress on several projects since TCDL [in May],” said TDL chief technology officer Peter Nürnberg,  “and we are well positioned for more progress on PresNet, TxLOR and Vireo this autumn.”

Vireo Open Source Release

The release of Vireo as an open-source product will not change how TDL member institutions access and use Vireo.  (1) TDL will continue to actively support its members’ Vireo installations through development, optional hosting, user support, and training.  (2) TDL will release Vireo bug fixes and enhancements to members ahead of the release schedule for the open-source Vireo community. (3) TDL members will continue to have a voice in TDL development efforts related to Vireo through the TDL Vireo Users Group. (http://blogs.tdl.org/vireo/)   (4) TDL will continue to harvest ETDs from member repositories into the federated Texas ETD Repository and preserve them in the TDL Preservation Network.

Important information for members

As of September 1, 2010, the TDL released its Vireo submission and management system for electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) as an open-source application. Developed by the TDL with partial grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Vireo addresses all steps of the ETD process, from online submission to publication in an institutional repository.

Vireo is now available for download on SourceForge.net, the world’s largest open-source software development site. It is released under a New BSD License and is available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/vireo/.

As a result of the release, institutions and developers outside of the TDL consortium may download and use Vireo, as well as submit fixes and enhancements back to the Vireo community via SourceForge. When such enhancements are submitted, TDL will evaluate and potentially integrate them into future Vireo open-source releases.

TxLOR in Production

Following a final development sprint that concluded in early September, the TDL launched the Texas Learning Object Repository (TxLOR) on production hardware on Friday, September 10. The TDL has developed TxLOR as a statewide tool for storing and disseminating materials used in teaching and learning under a contract with the University of Texas System.

TxLOR consists of two connected systems: a submission workflow application and a DSpace repository for storage and dissemination of approved content. Learning objects and individual assets are submitted, reviewed, and approved through the submission workflow. Once approved, the assets are published via the SWORD protocol to the DSpace repository.

The DSpace site for TxLOR is available at the following URL: http://tdl.org/txlor-dspace/.

Ownership of the TxLOR project is transferring from UT TeleCampus to UT San Antonio. TxLOR project manager Junius Rowland will continue to manage the on-going development of TxLOR , and the TDL will continue to provide technical development work on the repository in Fall 2010 under its existing contract.

Currently, the repository is populated with learning objects developed as part of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Texas Course Redesign Project, which is intended to revamp entry-level college courses to improve learning outcomes and reduce costs. The TxLOR team, led by Rowland, will continue to ingest these materials from other institutions and enlist a group of faculty to use and evaluate the system as TxLOR expands its user base.

TDL Preservation Network

In September, the TDL technical teams successfully deployed the TDL Preservation Network in a production environment. The PresNet currently harvests content from TDL-hosted repositories, journals, and other TDL services and delivers the packaged content to the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), a world-class advanced computing facility located on the UT Austin campus.

“All TDL managed assets are being preserved at TACC and their supercomputing partner in Indiana,” says Nürnberg. The TDL currently contracts for 160 terabytes of storage space at TACC.

Move to JIRA Studio

Along with its progress on various fronts, the team has moved development work onto a hosted software called JIRA Studio. The issue tracking elements of the application provide TDL members with a window onto to the progress of all TDL development projects and support tickets. According to Nürnberg, JIRA Studio “will provide our partners with greater insight into what tasks are being worked on by the team.”

Any questions about TDL development efforts can be directed to the TDL program coordinator at info@tdl.org or 512-495-4403. ◊

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Tech Teams Update

The Tech Teams Update is a new feature intended to provide information about the work of the TDL technical staff, which includes:

  • a Software Development team with members in Austin and College Station;
  • an Installation, Configuration, and Management (ICM) team located in Austin;
  • a Support team located in Lubbock.

Development Team

See the story “Fall 2010 begins with key TDL development accomplishments” for more information about recent software development efforts.

Currently, the team is working on a Vireo sprint focused on bug fixes, with a planned second sprint beginning September 27. The second sprint will focus on feature enhancements, with Laura Hammons serving as product owner on behalf of the Vireo Users Group.

ICM Team

The ICM team provides systems administration and second-level production support.

Recent activities of the ICM team include:

  • Release of Vireo Open Source on Sourceforge;
  • Moving TXLOR to production systems;
  • Currently evaluating cloud computing as Disaster Recovery option;
  • Currently setting up test server with Ubuntu private cloud for use in testing and QA.

Support Team

The TDL Support team provides frontline user support to TDL members.

Recent activities of the Support team include:

  • Responding to help requests as they come through the TDL Helpdesk;
  • Configuring JIRA Studio for use in tracking help requests and Support team projects. ◊

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New data management plan requirement for NSF grants

A growing number of funding agencies are instituting requirements for sharing, managing, and preserving data collected in the course of research. One such requirement from the National Science Foundation (NSF), will require the submission of a Data Management Plan (or DMP) to supplement grant proposals.

As a provider of tools that support access to research and long-term preservation of digital assets, the Texas Digital Library is a valuable resource for researchers submitting grant proposals that require data management and data sharing plans.

About the NSF Data Management Plan Requirement

The NSF will announce in October 2010 a requirement for grant applicants to provide a Data Management Plan to be submitted alongside all grant proposals beginning in January 2011. The plan will take the form of a two-page supplementary document that is subject to peer review.

Though more specific guidelines on the DMP requirement will come in the October announcement from NSF, the Data Management Plan would presumably describe how applicants intend to collect, control, share (if appropriate), and preserve data and information assets related to their research.

Generally speaking, the plan would likely include information such as:

  • the type of data to be collected;
  • how long data will be retained;
  • what format data will exist in;
  • how data will be disseminated;
  • what publication delays might be necessary; and
  • what data storage and preservation tools the researcher will rely on.

Data Management Plans and the TDL

The requirement will affect faculty members and researchers at TDL research institutions who are seeking NSF grant funding, and it is a requirement TDL can provide assistance with through technology services that aid in disseminating, storing, and preserving data.

Grant-seeking faculty may require assistance in preparing their Data Management Plans, particularly in identifying resources available to them. The TDL offers technological resources that can be extremely valuable to these researchers in implementing Data Management Plans, and TDL encourages librarians and others at member institutions to make these resources known to their faculty members.

These resources include:

Open access repositories: The TDL hosts institutional repositories for each of its member institutions, as well as subject repositories for special projects. These repositories are Google searchable and offer researchers a venue for providing access to their research.

Preservation tools: The TDL Preservation Network packages and archives data deposited in TDL institutional repositories. The TDL uses iRODS software for packaging and moving content and contracts with Texas Advanced Computing Center for 160 terabytes or archival storage.

For additional information about the NSF Data Management Plan requirement, or about data management generally, please visit the Data Management section of the TDL Wiki. ◊

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Welcome Javelinas! Texas A&M-Kingsville joins the TDL

The Texas Digital Library is excited to welcome Texas A&M University-Kingsville as the consortium’s newest member.

The oldest continually operating public institution of higher learning in South Texas, Texas A&M-Kingsville is home to the James C. Jernigan Library, headed by Library Director Carol Tipton.  The Jernigan Library serves some 6,200 undergraduate and graduate students as well as more than 350 faculty members at the university.

TDL is excited about the possibilities for working with Texas A&M-Kingsville and knows the university  will be a valuable partner to the TDL community. ◊

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Open Access Week is coming October 18-24

OA Week headerOpen Access Week is a worldwide event designed to promote the concept of free and immediate online access to research, and it allows academic research institutions the opportunity to educate faculty, students, and others about the benefits of Open Access. This year, Open Access Week will be held October 18-24.

The Texas Digital Library provides its members with the ability to offer faculty members scholarly communication services that can be used for Open Access scholarship. These services include:

The TDL encourages members to use Open Access Week as an opportunity to educate faculty on the availability of new models for publishing research, including via Open Access peer-reviewed journals and deposit in their institutional repositories. Several TDL members including Baylor University and Texas A&M University will be holding events.

For more information about Open Access Week and the Texas Digital Library, visit the TDL’s Open Access webpage or the official website of Open Access Week 2010. ◊

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TDL Users Group Roundup—fall meetings and more

TDL Metadata Working Group

The TDL Metadata Working Group met on Tuesday, September 14, at Baylor University to discuss its agenda and goals for the coming academic year.

The group’s purpose is to provide TDL with general metadata expertise and to develop educational resources and best practices related to metadata for TDL members. It has made significant progress towards its three principal goals: (1) creating best practices for images and datasets (2) creating metadata training courses and (3) developing a metadata information website.

Among its accomplishments are

  • the creation of the TDL Metadata website, located at http://blogs.tdl.org/metadata, which provides information resources about metadata, as well as updates on MWG activities;
  • the development of a “data dictionary” of core descriptive metadata elements that will serve as the basis for developing best practices for images and datasets;
  • a draft of a white paper detailing results of a survey of metadata needs at Texas academic, cultural, and educational institutions;
  • plans to offer a metadata course for spring 2011 entitled “Dublin Core and More: How to Create Descriptive Metadata Records for Digital Objects.”

More information about the Metadata Working Group, including a full summary of the most recent meeting can be read on the TDL Metadata Working Group blog at http://blogs.tdl.org/metadata/.

TDL Vireo Users Group

The steering committee of the TDL Vireo Users Group released a prioritized list of “top 20 features” the group would like to see in future releases of the Vireo ETD submission and management system.

The prioritized list of features is the result of a weeks-long process undertaken by Vireo Users Group members, who submitted ballots indicating desired feature requests and enhancements. The steering committee for the group compiled and examined the ballots to develop the “top 20” list.

Read more about the process and next steps on the VUG website. You can see the list of prioritized features in the VUG wiki.

TDL PresNet Users Group

The PresNet Users Group Steering Committee met on September 22 via teleconference to discuss the group’s mission statement and goals for the coming year.

The steering committee is chaired by Michele Reilly, Head of Digital Services at the University of Houston Libraries. Other members of the committee are Jason Thomale (Texas Tech University), Gail Clement (Texas A&M University), and Wendy Martin (University of Texas at Austin).

The PresNet Users Group helps to guide development of preservation policy and provides feedback to the TDL development team about member needs for preservation infrastructure.

TDL Technical Interest Group

The TDL Technical Interest Group (TDL-TIG) is in the process of setting priorities and considering plans for a fall meeting. Those interested in participating in the group can join the TDL-TIG listserv by e-mailing tdltig@tdl.org.

The group is chaired by Matt Zimmerman, Manager of Digital Services at UT Southwestern Medical Center Library. It brings together web developers, programmers, system administrators and others who are involved in the implementation of TDL services at their institutions. ◊

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UT Brownsville/Texas Southmost College to hold “TDL Fair” in October

The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) is holding a “TDL Fair” on Tuesday, October 5, to educate faculty and students about the services available to them through their membership in the Texas Digital Library.

Members of TDL staff will be present at the fair to talk to faculty, staff, and students at the university about the TDL and the tools for publication and preservation of research that it provides. TDL will also be meeting separately with several groups to discuss projects already in progress.

UTB/TSC joined the TDL consortium in 2009. Among other projects, the UTB/TSC library is developing a subject repository in a TDL DSpace installation devoted to Border Studies research. The repository is a key element of a cross-institutional “Border Studies Resource Center” under development at UTB/TSC.

You can read more about the Border Studies Resource Center in this Member Story on the TDL website. ◊

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New communications resource provides comprehensive look at TDL

The TDL Guide: Essential Information for Members offers a wealth of information about the TDL organization, its operations, and services.

In order to improve communications with our existing and prospective members, the TDL has created a one-stop reference guide for all matters related to the Texas Digital Library.

The TDL Guide: Essential Information for Members is now available on the TDL website. We hope both new and long-time members will download the Guide and use it to get the most out of their membership in the TDL consortium.

The TDL Guide includes information about the following topics:

  • The mission and goals of the TDL
  • TDL technical infrastructure
  • Users groups and other opportunities for participation
  • TDL projects and services
  • TDL software development methodologies
  • User Support services
  • Necessary local support for TDL services
  • TDL staff and organizational structure
  • Membership benefits and levels

The Guide also includes a quick reference chart that lists important contacts and online resources, as well as color brochures and hand-outs members can use to discuss TDL with faculty and other constituencies at their universities.

The TDL Guide is available as a PDF document and can be accessed on the Publications page of the TDL.org website.

We encourage all members to download and read the TDL Guide. Any questions or comments can be addressed to the TDL program coordinator at info@tdl.org. ◊

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Upcoming Texas Digital Library training courses for Fall 2010

The Texas Digital Library (TDL) welcomes faculty and staff from all TDL member institutions to participate in classes covering the full range of TDL services and technologies.

TDL training sessions are held at Baylor University in Waco.

Please visit the Baylor University registration page to sign up for classes. Additional information about location, parking, and cost can be found on the TDL Training page. ◊

October 20—9 AM to 4 PM

Online Conference Management with OCS

October 21 —9 AM to 4 PM

Journal Management with Open Journal Systems

November 15 —9 AM to 4 PM

Intro to DSpace

November 16 —9 AM to 4 PM

ETD Management with Vireo

December 15 —9 AM to 4 PM

Using WordPress to Create Blogs and Websites

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