UF Digital Collections and dLOC, FAQ

Changes coming to UF Digital Collections (UFDC) and Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)

Pardon our dust!  UF Digital Collections (UFDC) and Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) are undergoing major renovations during 2021-2023.  The new beta sites will launch November 29, with major work continuing through 2023.  A preview will be available here after October 25.  Old links to collections or pages may not work, though links to item PURLs will continue to work through the transition.

Please share feedback, which will be used to inform ongoing improvements, and any questions: LTS-UFDC@uflib.ufl.edu.

Major dates and migration resources:

  • Oct. 25:
    • New system in alpha. See this guide for internal activities from now through beta release and after.
    • Note: collection contents will not be correct. Structural/technical metadata has not been regularly updated. On 10/15, the team discovered 3 (instead of 1) ways to represent collections. With now 3 ways known, the programming is being updated and the system has to be reindexed, which takes 11 days. This will be done prior to the release
  • Nov. 29: New System in Beta: The new UF Digital Collections (UFDC), Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), and Florida Digital Newspaper Library, will release on Nov. 29, 2021.  The prior system will be available at original.ufdc.ufl.edu.
  • For any questions, contact LTS-UFDC@uflib.ufl.edu.

Below is the in-development FAQ for the new system.

User FAQ

  • What are the biggest changes?
    1. The new sites will be mobile responsive! This means that users on phones, tablets, and other devices will have an easier time using the site, and the site is vastly improved for general usability and accessibility.
    2. The Florida Digital Newspaper Library has its first-ever portal! The new portal is: https://fdnl.patron-stage.uflib.ufl.edu/
    3. Users can search within titles! This is the most requested feature and new with the new system!
    4. User can now search by date! This was another highly requested item and is now in place.
    5. Users can download the large Jp2 image files easily (see below for more on JP2 files)! Every item has a download link, and folks can directly download images.
    6. AskA is the contact, and it is easy to use! In the old system, the contact form had serious barriers for users (super small font at the bottom of page, and 7 required fields).
    7. The first page users see is the citation page (example). This was highly requested, with users confused when seeing page images without metadata as the first thing.
    8. Other than permanent links, links have changed.
    9. Collection pages are now written for enduring relevance, instead of timely project information or upcoming events. Nearly every collection page is rewritten – please let us know if we missed anything or have any typos!
    10. Some collections no longer exist. The Libraries completed the first-ever collection cleanup, removing unused and extraneous collections, going from over 900 to ~468. The collections are now more useful and usable for users, but this is nearly a 50% change.
    11. LTS is the contact for any system questions. The original UFDC grew out of production, and the original site will continue to be the production system until planning and documentation is in place for changes, so the former site was tied to both the production group and LTS for support. Now, LTS provides full support, just like for other web systems in the Libraries.  For any questions, contact LTS-UFDC@uflib.ufl.edu.
    12. The biggest and best changes are under the hood and in more mature technical practices. The new system utilizes modern development practices. There are changes from deployment processes, proper development routing (test for development, staging for review, and live – with three systems/processes needed to ensure things work), proper processes (starting with a dress rehearsal before full beta go-live), test coverage (meaning when things are fixed, they are tested and automatically validated for future, so there is no more having the same bug), and more that mean we can expect higher up time, fewer problems, and a more solid and maintainable system overall.
    13. After confirmination to use METS as the source of truth (with no other source available), METS are being seen more, and there are extensive data consistency and integrity issues with structural and technical metadata not updated for years. While these are not system problems, the improved system makes the problems more visible. Because these are metadata problems, they need metadata fixes, and the team is working on solutions. Please report any problems and questions; we are still collecting information on the extent of the issues, and working to implement solutions as quickly as possible.
  • Searching in an item?
    • Can search terms be highlighted on the page image? This is pending additional work, which are queued for 2022-2023.
    • When I search, do I have to search again once I get to the item? Yes, for the beta release. We are looking at passing through the searches and display options for that, which are queued for 2022-2023.
  • Terms:
    • Title sets: refer to publications that were published in successive order. This collection provides access to newspapers, journals, magazines, newsletters, and other serial publications.
    • Genre: in library terminology, genre means the form or type of material. Clicking on genre brings up the list of all available, including newspapers, serials, audio, birth records, and nearly 200 more.
    • Jp2 files: JP2 is a type of image file that has higher resolution, and this is what enables the zoomable image views. For more information on Information on free JP2 viewers, see the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Irfanview software is available as freeware to view, convert, and batch convert JP2 images.
  • Citing items, bookmarks and saved searches: What are the recommended tools?
    • Use Zotero for saving items and citations, and for citation management.
    • Use Hypothes.is for annotating and noting pages.
  • What if I’m using the original UFDC?
  • Searching for text in an item and nothing shows?
    • In October 2021, we discovered thousands of items with text files that are blank (example). These are the same as in the original UFDC. We are currently investigating the problem. Once scope is known, we will look to a solution.
  • How do I search for Aerials?
    • If using the map search, please note that the coordinates are estimated based on a calculation and are not exact. Also, only about half have coordinates.
  • Statistics: what does a view mean?
  • Downloads: Can I bulk download files for an API or a collection?
  • API: How do I use the API or what other data access points are there?

Technology

  • How is the new system built?
    • The new UFDC uses standard technologies and practices in use by other webscale systems as with UNT, Europeana, NARA, Getty, and others. Technologies include: Python, APIs, ElasticSearch, ReactJS, PostgreSQL and more. The new UFDC has separate production and patron databases and operations. Technology documentation will be updated in 2022-2023 as part of TRAC.