Casefile Clues

25 February 2014

No Progress on Harvesting Issues of Prairie Farmer Magazine


Prairie Farmer magazine's
"NO TRESPASSING" signs
were seen across Illinois, Indiana,
and other Midwest states
I'm still working on locating a copy of the 1944 issue of Prairie Farmer magazine. My searches of websites, card catalogs, WorldCat, etc. have been frustrated by a few challenges which I'll summarize below.

More than one Prairie Farmer


It appears that there was more than one Prairie Farmer magazine. Fortunately during the time period of interest (1944) there was only one company publishing Prairie Farmer magazine. If I had been searching for an item in the 19th century, I would have had to be more concerned about different periodicals with the same name. City of publication, publisher name, etc. would have been good ways to distinguish one from another. Never assume there is only one publication with a given name.


More than one Prairie Farmer--In Another Way


Catalog searches indicate that there were multiple editions of this magazine for a significant part of its run--at least ones for Illinois and Indiana during my time period of interest. I doubt if Prairie Farmer was the only magazine to run this sort of production and this is something I'll keep in mind whenever attempting to locate copies of other trade magazines. There could easily have been localized content inserted with the material distributed in all regions where the item was distributed. 


There were Prairie Farmer directories 


Prairie Farmer magazine published rural directories in Illinois and Indiana right before the first World War. I was aware of these publications and have used them in the past. The problem is that these directories (generally one for each county) appear in search results when "prairie farmer" is used as a keyword search. Workarounds to avoid these items from clogging my results need to be used carefully.

Inconsistent Cataloging


Catalogers are wonderful humans. But they are humans and occasionally make errors. The time period of publication I need was when there was no standardization of entries and librarians cataloging these materials don't have an "inside front cover," standardized number, etc. to guide them.  Consequently there may be several World Cat entries for the same publication.

Different Formats


Some issues of this publication have been microfilmed or digitized. The microfilm copies sometimes appear as a separate catalog entry.

The Year


Pay attention to the time period the catalog entry indicates it covered. An entry for Prairie Farmer at Knox College (located in the town where I work), indicated they only had some issues from the mid-1900s, well before what I needed. Many libraries only maintain a current run of issues of this magazine which is still being published.

Screaming for Logs


I will be honest--I don't keep all the search logs that I should. However, this search has made me painfully aware that sometimes logs are necessary. I'm starting a search log and a correspondence log and hopefully will have samples of those up in a future blog post.

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