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Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a world class museum of railroad history in Strasburg, PA.

Volunteers on the LADRS Project
Library and Archives Data Retrieval System

Green Eyeshade Gang.This is the story of a successful, long-term commitment of dedicated volunteers.

Work started many years ago, when members of the Friends of the Railroad Museum began compiling lists of books and archival holdings. Then early computers were used, followed by more sophisticated hardware, software, and procedures. Efforts became more formalized when volunteer Earle Compton (front row, right) applied his corporate skills and organized the "Green Eyeshade Gang," which undertook focused effort to identify and record the massive amount of material in the archives -- much of which was valuable historically but had been acquired in undocumented batches.

Initially, the Friends of the Railroad Museum provided funds to make supplies and computer infrastructure available for the project. Then, the North American Railway Foundation provided project funding to move the project to a new level allowing online catalog searching on the museum's web site. Most recently, the Friends have stepped up their support of the program, and the Norfolk Southern Foundation has lent financial support.

With the advent of advanced computer systems and the provision of financial resources, the long-term volunteer efforts provide the foundation for a program that has not only organized and preserved valuable historical records, but made them available for researchers and the public to examine online, and for future generations. This has entailed careful planning, coordination, and application of professional standards.

Today, work continues, identifying materials, assigning them proper descriptions and classifications, and entering the information in the proper databases. Special care is taken to protect the items from deterioration.

The FRM's Computer Committee, led by Jim Alexander and George Burbage, have joined with the Library and Archives Committee, led by Bob Donecker, to provide a coordinated effort. The team has most recently been heavily involved in promoting sustainable institutional support for the system. Here are some of the current faces working on this project.

Volunteer Management Team
Providing Leadership, Implementation, Technical Standards
Bob Donecker
Data Standards & Preparation
Jim Alexander
Project and Grant Management  / Webmaster
George Burbage
Computer / Database Development / Technical Services
Some of the Hard-working Volunteers
Moessner.  Friends of the Railroad Museum volunteers perform record identification, classification, description development, and data entry, in close coordination with the Museum's professional staff. Overall direction is provided by the Museum Director, who assures that Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission standards are observed.

Return to Main Library and Archives Page

Over 42,000 volunteer hours have been invested on this project to date!

Read an overview of the project from our April 2011 Milepost magazine.

Information about these and other museum volunteer opportunities here.



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