Reports 1988

The Monthly Reports constitute the core of this website. Daily activities while on the Project were recorded in the requisite Monthly Reports which have been reproduced here in their entirety, exactly as they were written between January 1985 and February 1988. Images taken during the same time period have been added to the text for visual interest.


January 1988 [This Monthly Report written by Sue]

It’s official – the Penn State Site of the PA Newspaper Project will close its doors at 5 p.m., February 26, 1988.

A meeting with Dr. Barbara Smith, Dr. Peter Gottlieb, Dr. Lee Stout and me has taken place to determine the disposition of office files and equipment. The Compaq PC (ZAC) and data disks, printer and manuals, all of which were purchased by the Project, will be sent to the State Library in Harrisburg.

Files pertaining to Penn State will remain at the University. Already West 308 [our office in Pattee Library] has taken on a “cleaner” look as title histories, newspaper articles, cards and other memorabilia are removed from the walls, doors and other surfaces

Left to do:

a)assembling all Lehigh County surveys, site information, holdings and history notes to send to Amy Newell in Philadelphia since HSP (Historical Society of Philadelphia) will be covering Lehigh County;

b)continuation of searching OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) and cataloging about 50 miscellaneous newspaper titles, many of which were not on OCLC, are not fro PA, and will require original cataloging;

c)answering on-going correspondence and addressing other outstanding issues and questions which had been categorized as “low-priority”

d)clearing out the office physically – emptying desks, packing items for storage/removal, and tying up other loose ends (too numerous to mention).

A.Cataloging and Related Tasks

Searched and put in final form 329 LDRs (Local Data Records) from Lehigh University in Bethlehem. Worked closely with Ken Vepreck, Serials Head at Lehigh U. to corroborate the work we did with his expectations for the data entry onto the OCLC database.

He had requested copies of all the LDRs we completed at Lehigh U. with our updated and/or original work spelled out. Following receipt of these forms, several phone calls ensued to clarify various issues raised by Ken.

Cataloged 70+ Susquehanna County titles and shipped them off to Pittsburgh. (30 counties – Done!!)

Inventoried newly acquired newspaper titles on microfilm for East Stroudsburg University – part of the Readex [Newspaper]Collection of Early American Newspapers. These were sent to Paul Beatty, Serials Head at East Stroudsburg University.

B.Other Activities

A slight snag in accessing private collectors’ files was brought to my attention recently. James V. Brown Public Library in Williamsport, Pa. apparently directed someone to the State Library in Harrisburg (which is listed as the “holder” for privately held collections). It seems that questions are being directed to the Newspaper Division of the State Library, rather than to the Interlibrary Loan Department. The problem has been discussed with Mr. David Hoffman and the issue will be addressed at the upcoming Technical Committee meeting.

C.News Items

On a happy note: I was offered (and have accepted) a full-time position at Penn State University as Serials Receipt Librarian, effective March 1, 1988.

On a much sadder note, long-time friend of the Project and ex-newspaperwoman Viola Pletcher, age 92, of Galeton, Potter County, died on January 15, 1988. Viola followed the Project initially through newspaper articles, then via correspondence with us on a regular basis. She faithfully sent us news clippings of the demise, birth, and merging of Potter County newspapers from 1985 – 1987, to ensure that the correct changes were recorded “in our Project”. She will be missed by many.

LINK to Viola Pletcher vignette


February 1988[This Monthly Report written by Sue]

The October 29, 1841 issue of the Luzerne Democrat, and Farmer’s and Mechanic’s Journal cites several reasons for ceasing publication of its paper:

“We are nearly out of paper, out of cash, out at the elbows, out of health and need recruiting”.

Working on the PA Newspaper Project, we recorded many such dates of deaths of newspapers, and now, we hereby write of our own. For this Report marks the ending of the PA Newspaper Project Cataloging Site at Penn State University. But, unlike the Luzerne Democrat, and Farmer’s and Mechanic’s Journal’s reasons for ceasing, the reason for the Penn State site closing its doors is due to its success.

We not only successfully fulfilled our contract with the State Library [in Harrisburg], to inventory 15 original counties in one year, but also had written several extensions to the original contract enabling us to cover 30 counties in three years, almost half the State [there are 67 counties in Pa.].

The success was a result of the combined efforts of a host of people and resources. The ground work was laid by David Hoffman at the State Library in Harrisburg. A well thought-out plan divided the State into sections (with various sites). Much planning and coordination of effort was involved in creating standards statewide (with OCLC and Library of Congress) to ensure uniformity of procedures at each site.

A warm friendship developed among the PA Project Librarians at other sites, and regular meetings and a multitude of phone calls provided essential communication links and an avenue to explore and share ideas.

Meetings at the national level were exciting forums at which to compare the variety of ways in which different states were organizing individual state projects, and to garner new approaches to similar problems.

At Penn State, Dr. Barbara Smith delivered expert direction, along with the flexibility, support and trust needed to establish goals and procedures to conduct the work at our Site. The University Library itself contributed considerable resources in various ways: a fully functional office, Xeroxing services, overhead costs, telephone access, and a totally supportive staff.

Here finally, we pause to thank especially, Denise Conklin, our cherished and valuable assistant; Dr. Peter Gottlieb and his extremely cooperative staff; Dr. Charlie Mann and Sandy Stelts; Penn State Room staff, Jack Pontius, the good folks in Microforms, Suzanne Striedieck, Karen Nadeski, the excellent secretarial support for East505, and Karl Proehl and Amelia Harding in the Maps [Department].

Our hats off to all of you!


SUMMARY STATISTICS – JANUARY 2, 1985 – DECEMBER 31, 1987 Cataloging Site



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