January 2022

Scholars Portal Newsletterr

In This Issue:

Confused by an acronym? Check out the OCUL Acronym Glossary. If there’s something we’re missing, you can email ocul@ocul.on.ca to suggest an addition!


What’s New at Scholars Portal?

  • Join us in welcoming Jessica Hymers as our new Metadata & Electronic Access Specialist!
  • This fall we kicked off our new Learn with Scholars Portal webinar series talking about digital preservation and web accessibility. This webinar series allows Scholars Portal staff to share some of the deep expertise we have developed in specific areas related to Scholars Portal services. Registration is open for the next webinar in the series on January 27, about usage statistics and web analytics.
  • Scholars Portal Dataverse will be upgrading to version 5.8 and will be unavailable on January 31 from 10AM to 6PM EST. Keep an eye out for a blog post about the new features later this month!
  • Ask a Librarian opened for the winter semester on Monday, January 10, with the usual hours: Monday-Thursday 10-10, Friday 10-5, and weekends 12-6. The winter schedule will run until Thursday, April 14, with a closure on Monday, February 21 for Family Day.


New Content

New on Scholars Portal Books:

  • We have a new collection of international university presses from De Gruyter, which includes a number of Open Access monographs.
  • We have started receiving new 2022 collections for Canadian University Presses and other major ebook collections.
  • A new collection, Scholars Portal Books: Open Access, is now available in Alma. This collection includes all of the Open Access monographs on the Scholars Portal Books platform.

New geospatial datasets in Scholars GeoPortal:

  • City of Ottawa Historical Data & GIS: We’re partnering with the University of Ottawa and Carleton University to provide open access to historical City of Ottawa OC Transpo transportation route datasets, covering multiple years in the portal. Next up in this project, we’re planning to add Ottawa historical fire insurance maps.
  • Historical National Topographic System 1:50,000 Scale Maps, Data, & GIS: This collection provides open access to digitized historical maps at the 1:50,000 scale, covering towns, cities, and rural areas in Canada over the period of 1948 to the early 21st century. All Ontario map editions are now available in the portal.

New surveys in ODESI:

  • Canadian Alcohol and Drug Survey, 2019: Measures the frequency and harmful effects of alcohol use, cannabis use, and other drugs.
  • Labour Force Survey, August to November 2021: a monthly survey on the labour market activities of Canada’s working population.
  • Impacts of COVID-19 on Healthcare Workers: Infection Prevention & Control, 2020: a crowdsourced dataset that collected information related to job type and setting, training, personal protective equipment, infection prevention, control practices and protocols.
  • Survey of Financial Security, 2019: The 2019 Survey of Financial Security (SFS) provides a comprehensive picture of the net worth of Canadians. Information was collected on the value of all major financial and non-financial assets.


Spotlight: Telling Her-Stories with Permafrost at the University of Ottawa

The spotlight is an opportunity for members of the OCUL community to share how Scholars Portal services fit into their work. This edition’s spotlight was contributed by Satya Miller at the University of Ottawa Library.

Telling Her-Stories: Documenting COVID-19 in Your Voice is a small-scale pilot project at the University of Ottawa Library where women can contribute stories of their experiences during the pandemic in Canada to a unique digital archival collection. Throughout history, women’s voices and perspectives have often been left out of the narrative, especially during major world events. Contributions to the project are stored permanently as part of our Women’ Archives, which houses more than 170 archival fonds and collections related to the history of women and the women’s movement in Canada. The team members include project lead and creator Yoo Young Lee (Head of Information Technology), Marina Bokovay (Head of Archives and Special Collections), Roxanne Lafleur (Digital Humanities Technician), and me Satya Miller (Digital Archivist).

The project website is bilingual and created on Omeka by our in-house expert Roxanne. The website is where women can learn about the project’s goals, terms and conditions, and submit their story through the contribution form or email at elle-her@uottawa.ca. Stories can be shared in any digital format such as text, image, audio, or video. We welcome stories in any form or expression. The contributor is asked to provide a title, date, and description of their story upon submission. At this point, they can choose to keep their identity private and not have their name displayed to the public.

Here follows a high-level overview of the workflow processing the digital stories for long term preservation and access using Permafrost services (Archivematica and Ontario Library Research Cloud (OLRC)) and our Access to Memory (AtoM) instance.

Once the story is received, the digital file is saved to our network drive where it is virus scanned. The descriptive metadata in Dublin Core is exported from the website through Omeka’s METS export plug-in. The resulting xml file contains provenance information such as the website URL, time, and date the file was submitted.

The digital file and other supporting documentation are packaged together in preparation for ingest into Archivematica. Using Exactly, the package is bagged according to BagIt specifications and saved as a zip file to provide checksums and integrity throughout the transfer process. The package is then uploaded to Archivematica where a series of microservices is performed to produce the final archival information package (AIP) for long-term storage on the OLRC. Lastly, the digital file is made available to the public online on our archival database on AtoM where users can browse the collection.

The project is still ongoing, and we welcome contributions. To learn more visit https://biblio.uottawa.ca/omeka2/her-stories-covid-19/

Satya Miller is the Digital Archivist at the University of Ottawa Library.


The Nitty-Gritty

New and improved features:

  • In our ongoing efforts to improve the accessibility of Scholars Portal Journals, we are working on bringing more prominence to the HTML full text content. If an article has HTML, it now appears immediately on the page rather than needing to click a button to display it. We’ve also made improvements to make the site easier to navigate for screen readers.
  • As part of the ongoing project to preserve the contents of the Scholars Portal Books platform, titles belonging to the Duke University Press and Taylor and Francis collections have been processed for preservation. Together this represents almost 103,000 books. Additional collections are currently being staged for preservation processing.
  • During the fall term, the Scholars GeoPortal received a significant amount of large dataset requests transferred to Globus, totaling over 17 terabytes of data.
  • We have developed a migration roadmap for Permafrost clients. In early 2022 clients will be upgraded to Archivematica 1.13.1, followed by migration of stored data to OLRC2. Included in 1.13.1 is a fix submitted by a member of our team that enables the full use of Amazon S3 and Swift/Horizon as a transfer source in Archivematica.
  • The OLRC team added the ability to upload larger files (up to a recommended size of 5GB), multiple files at a time, and complete directories in the Horizon dashboard.

Bug fixes:

  • All systems were analyzed for the log4j2 vulnerability and patched if necessary.
  • The ODESI team has made some tweaks in order to optimize the search engine for Boolean searching on the French version of the website.
  • The journals team fixed a bug that made some table of contents display incorrectly.
  • We made several fixes to our SUSHI server for automated harvesting of Journals usage statistics. COUNTER 5 statistics can now be harvested directly into Alma Analytics.
  • The RACER team fixed a bug that caused patron accounts to expire.
  • The Dataverse Metrics dashboard was updated to more accurately reflect published datasets which have a draft version in chart visualizations.

Many thanks to all those who reported bugs to us or assisted in testing! If you spot any problems, please report them via our built-in feedback forms or to help@scholarsportal.info.


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Scholars Portal is committed to providing all users with equitable access to our consortial services and resources. To provide feedback on the accessibility of this newsletter or to request an alternative format, please contact help@scholarsportal.info.

Next edition: May 2022

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