March 2011

Directors’ Message: TDL services and their value to faculty

Dear TDL members,

TDL Faculty Communication Services

Electronic peer-reviewed journals

Journal management and publishing software hosted by TDL

Conference management

Website, proceedings, and management software hosted by TDL

Blogs and wikis

Hosted WordPress and Mediawiki instances

Faculty homepages

Hosted web pages to display online work

As you know, the TDL provides members with the means to build digital repositories that collect and disseminate the scholarly output of their universities.

However, it also provides a range of additional scholarly communication services that allow individual faculty members to publish scholarly work. These “faculty communication services” include hosted electronic journals, hosted conference websites, scholarly blogs, and research wikis.

These tools are hosted by the TDL for the benefit of member faculty, who pay nothing to use them. As a result, a researcher who wants to fill a void in existing scholarship by launching a new peer-reviewed journal can do so. Likewise, scholars who want to share their ideas and engage with an audience online can create a blog – one that belongs to the community of scholars and librarians that make up the TDL.

As these services benefit faculty directly, they enable libraries to continue to be invaluable resources to their faculty in an age of changing scholarly communication. And by encouraging digital publishing models that provide access to scholarship openly on the web, libraries can mitigate the effects of rapidly rising costs of scholarly communication.

We encourage our member libraries to make sure their faculty are aware of these resources, and to take advantage of the brochures and other materials in the Member Resources section of our website that can be used for promotion on your campus.


Mark McFarland & John Leggett

TDL Co-directors

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Texas Digital Library developing preservation-related DSpace plugin

conceptual image of secured dataThe Texas Digital Library software development team began a multiple-week series of development sprints in March devoted to the TDL Preservation Network. The goal of the current effort is to create the means for local repository managers to select content from their DSpace repositories to be sent to PresNet and to retrieve their content from PresNet in a DSpace-ready format.

The TDL Preservation Network stores digital assets in a dark archive at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. In the current iteration of the PresNet, all TDL-hosted data is sent to the network, which replicates the assets at TACC’s geographically dispersed partner data centers. The DSpace plugin under development would give local repository managers control over how to use their PresNet allocations and implement their own preservation policies.

“Preservation isn’t free either in financial or staffing terms,” said TDL chief technology officer Peter Nürnberg, “So preservationists need to be able to make decisions about what materials ought to be preserved long-term and what materials don’t require it.”

The TDL team is led by developer Joe Devries. A team from the Digital Initiatives group at the Texas A&M Libraries is providing direction on the desired functionality for the DSpace preservation interface. That team includes TDL co-director John Leggett and Head of Digital Services and Scholarly Communication Holly Mercer.

During the first sprint of the series, which concluded March 17, the team built a DSpace interface for nominating content for preservation. Content can be selected at the Community, Collection, or item level.

The TDL team previously developed a web interface for selecting content for harvest to PresNet, and that interface can still be used for non-DSpace preservation. However, by building a PresNet interface within DSpace, the TDL hopes to match the existing work processes of the repository managers at its member institutions.

“The DSpace plugin lets people interact with PresNet in terms they are familiar with,” said Nürnberg. “And it means they don’t have to switch tools to do preservation.”

Development on the DSpace preservation plugin will continue for several weeks. No deployment timeline has been developed for moving the new functionality to production DSpace installations.

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Tech Teams Update

The Tech Teams Update highlights the work of the TDL technical staff.

Software Development Team

— See story above.

Installation, Configuration & Management Team

— Upgraded blog service to WordPress 3.1.

— Provided support for OR11 website and for pushing latest TxLOR to production.

— Created staging version of Open Journal Systems for evaluation.

Support Team

— Responded to help requests as they came through the TDL Helpdesk.

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New faces join TDL member schools UT Austin and Angelo State

The Texas Digital Library works closely with our member libraries to provide services to faculty, and it is pleased to welcome two new librarians to the TDL family. Both are involved with maintaining and promoting digital resources on their respective campuses.

Colleen Lyon, UT Libraries

photo of Colleen Lyon

Colleen Lyon

Colleen joined the University of Texas Libraries in early 2011 as Digital Repository Librarian.

She came to UT Austin from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she served as science librarian. While there, Grand Valley State was just getting its institutional repository off the ground, and many of the biology and other science faculty she worked with were enthusiastic about the potential of Open Access and digital repositories. When she got the opportunity to continue working with digital repositories at UT, she couldn’t pass it up.

According to Colleen, researchers in the natural sciences have embraced digital repository technology more quickly, partially as a result of data sharing and management mandates from funding agencies like the NIH and NSF. “But there’s also tremendous potential within social sciences and humanities because of all the unique collections these areas have,” she says. “How else are researchers going to not just make these materials available to people, but also preserve them?”

Colleen is seeing to the day-to-day management of the UT Digital Repository (UTDR) and is working to increase outreach and promotion of the repository within the library, primarily through internal training and professional development opportunities. She wants to promote the UTDR, which UT hosts on its own, alongside the set of complementary scholarly communications services (like journals and blogs) offered through the TDL.

The UTDR team has had a couple of encouraging successes since she joined UT Austin. One success was recruiting the Undergraduate Research Journal to add its back and future issues to the UTDR. Secondly, the repository will be adding a collection of educational CD-ROMs produced by UT’s Environmental Science Institute as part an outreach lecture series.

Susan Elkins, Porter Henderson Library at Angelo State

photo of Susan Elkins

Susan Elkins

Susan Elkins joined the Porter Henderson Library at Angelo State University in 2010. She serves as Electronic Serials Librarian.

Susan came to ASU from Columbia, South Carolina, where she worked in database management for Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and where she obtained her MLS degree at the University of South Carolina.

As Electronic Serials Librarian, Susan manages access to databases and handles cataloguing of electronic resources, among other duties. She is also working closely with the ASU graduate school to implement the TDL’s Vireo electronic thesis and dissertation management system.

In terms of working with TDL services, Susan says that “electronic theses and dissertations are our main focus right now. We’ve begun using Vireo and published our first theses to the institutional repository this semester.”

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News Briefs: Conferences, meetings, and other TDL happenings

Open Repositories 2011: Register before May 6 for discounted rates

The Texas Digital Library encourages members to attend the Sixth International Conference on Open Repositories (OR11), which will take place June 7-11 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin. The TDL is providing technical and organizational support to OR11, which is hosted by the University of Texas Libraries.

OR11 is an annual conference that brings together an international community of stakeholders engaged in the development, management, and application of digital repositories. The program includes presentations, panels, posters, tutorials, and workshops, as well as user group meetings for repository technologies, including DSpace.

Find out more about OR11 on the conference website, hosted by the TDL, at

TDL Metadata Working Group meets April 1

The TDL Metadata Working Group will meet at Baylor University on Friday, April 1.

The Metadata Working Group provides the TDL with general metadata expertise and addresses the following needs: (1) developing best practices for metadata; (2) educating stakeholders on all aspects of metadata; and (3) providing guidance on current status and future trends in metadata development.

Upgrade of Blogs to WordPress 3.1

On March 2, the Texas Digital Library upgraded its blog service to the latest version of WordPress (WordPress 3.1). The upgrade did not cause any major changes, but it did fix a known security bug and also added some new features, including easier internal linking, more convenient admin menu bar, and a streamlined writing interface.

You can read about these changes (and others) in more detail in the TDL Wiki.  The themes and content of existing blogs should remain unchanged as a result of the upgrade.

For additional information about the update, you can also visit or contact the TDL Helpdesk at

Texas ETD Association conference rescheduled for March 31

The annual conference of the Texas ETD Association will take place Thursday, March 31 at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The conference was originally scheduled for February 10 but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Please visit the TxETDA conference website for additional details.

TDL governing board to meet in April

The Governing Board of the Texas Digital Library will hold a strategic planning meeting in Austin on April 14, during the week of the Texas Library Association (TLA) conference.

The TDL Governing Board consists of library deans and directors from six TDL institutions: Baylor University, Texas A&M University, Texas State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, and the University of Texas at Austin. The Board provides advice, guidance, and long-term perspective on the services and administration of the TDL.

The Texas Library Association Conference will be held April 12-15 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

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Training classes scheduled for April and May at Baylor University

image of training room with computersThe Texas Digital Library (TDL) welcomes faculty and staff from all TDL member institutions to participate in the training courses offered through the TDL Training Program. These courses provide expert instruction and hands-on experience related to services and technologies hosted by Texas Digital Library for its member institutions.

TDL member Baylor University hosts all sessions of the TDL Training Program. For more information about location and cost, visit the TDL training page. To register for any course, visit the registration page hosted by Baylor.

The following courses will be offered in April 2011:

NEW!  Descriptive Metadata for Digital Objects

Monday, April 18, 2011| 9 AM – 4 PM

This new course designed and led by the TDL Metadata Working Group provides students with an understanding of descriptive metadata through hands-on experience in creating descriptive metadata records for digital objects.

Possible audience includes repository managers, catalogers, metadata specialists, students, or anyone who works with digital objects.

Creating and Editing a TDL Research Wiki

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | 9 AM – 12 PM

In this course, students receive instruction on the use, support, and promotion of wikis for scholarly and instructional purposes. Students gain hands-on experience using MediaWiki, the open-source software employed by the TDL Research Wiki service.

This course is intended for university staff, librarians, and TDL members wishing to provide support for wikis to institutions’ faculty and staff. Individual faculty and staff members interested in setting up a wiki are also encouraged to attend.

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