Penn State Project staff received the county-by-county surveys of newspaper holdings from the State Library for their 15-county area. Project staff were advised to check these surveys against county histories to identify titles not ‘unearthed’ for the production of want lists.
Penn State Project staff set up their office, gathered supplies, collected reference sources and county histories, and drafted a work plan for the year.
University of Pittsburgh Project hired Faye Liebowitz as Cataloger.
Faye Liebowitz, from the University of Pittsburgh and Patricia Morton, Head of the State Library’s Cataloging Section were selected by the State Library to represent the Project at the three-day training program for newspaper catalogers at OCLC, Dublin, OH.
University of Pittsburgh Project hired Cathy Sorensen as Cataloger.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) hired Kathy Cole as field cataloger. When Kathy resigned later in the month HSP hired Barbara Kurimchak to take over the field cataloger responsibilities.
The State Library hosted a two-day training program for Project staff and The Free Library of Philadelphia staff. Training topics covered newspaper cataloging and union listing, handling fragile newspapers, and instruction on identifying pertinent characteristics of microfilm.
The Penn State Project staff opted to begin their Project work by conducting field work first since the Penn State University Libraries Pennsylvania newspaper holdings were relatively small in number. The first Pennsylvania Newspaper Project site visit was conducted on February 25, 1985 by the Penn State Project staff. This first site visit was to the Aaronsburg Library, Centre County.
See 1985 (February through December) Monthly Reports generated by the Penn State Project staff for details on their cataloging accomplishments, statistics and discoveries. Counties completed by the Penn State Project staff in 1985 were:
Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Union, Columbia, Potter, Northumberland, Tioga, Bradford, Lycoming, Snyder
University of Pittsburgh Project staff provided quality control and final CONSER authentication of all titles cataloged and data compiled by the Penn State Project staff for central and north central Pennsylvania.
The Free Library of Philadelphia received State Library Title I funding from the Library Services and Construction Act (not NEH funds) to catalog its Pennsylvania newspaper collection following Project guidelines. The University of Pittsburgh Project staff provided the CONSER authentication for these titles cataloged.
The Project Advisory Council, representatives from the four regional cataloging sites, and Jeffery Field from NEH met on May 15 and heard status reports on the USNP national program and from each of the four cataloging sites. Other topics discussed included criteria for microfilming, publicity and communication, and potential sources for matching funds.
The State Library Project hired Susan Bryson and Karen Brosius. Due to the hiring delay, five counties originally assigned to the State Library staff were transferred to the Penn State Project staff.
Project staff at Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh were invited to contribute articles to Cataloging & Classification Quarterly.
State Library Project staff and David Hoffman observed the Penn State Project staff “in action” on site visits to Mt. Carmel and Shamokin libraries and historical societies, Snyder County.
A draft “Plan for Microfilming Newspapers” was prepared by David Hoffman, State Library for the Technical Committee’s review. The plan included the criteria for the selection and processes to be followed. Project catalogers would be involved in the process to nominate titles for consideration and the Technical Committee would review recommendations for microfilming, and determine which papers were to be filmed.
Project cataloging staff from all four sites met at the University of Pittsburgh along with Bob Harriman from the Library of Congress to share work experiences and resolve cataloging inconsistencies.
David Hoffman reported his findings to the Technical Committee on the usefulness of hand-held film viewers for Project staff in the “rapid scanning of microfilm for changes in mastheads.” Regrettably no extra (Project) funds were available to purchase the devices in quantity for distribution. Project coordinators were encouraged, however, to purchase the viewers for their cataloging staff using another budget line.
Project staff at the State Library and Penn State investigated the use of “Electronic Mail” to facilitate communications between the two sites.
Project catalogers met at the Pennsylvania Library Conference, Lancaster, PA. Their main agenda item was to review changes to the cataloging workform, condition report and microfilming score sheet. The need to have a “ready” slide show and script for local presentations was also discussed.
The State Library submitted an NEH grant application, an outright funding request of $22,487.60, to employ a coordinator for the microfilming program.
With one-full year of field work completed, the Penn State Project staff found of the 171 sties visited, 81 were private collectors, or about 47% – almost half! In central Pennsylvania, private individuals represented a significant source of obscure titles.
Cumulative statistics for Pennsylvania Newspaper Project entries in the OCLC database, from the beginning of the Project in January 1985 through December 1985 were:
New cataloging records created: 831
New Local Data Holdings records created: 2,359
These figures represented workforms which had final CONSER authentication at the University of Pittsburgh.