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Mine Maps Just a Search Away

The university is playing a role in making Pennsylvania coal mines safer while preserving the heritage of coal mining.

IUP Libraries is assisting the Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety with the creation of a statewide database that will make mine maps readily available.

The bureau has provided IUP with a $125,000 Cruse digital camera to scan and digitize large-format maps. In conjunction with the project, Rosebud Mining Company of Kittanning has awarded IUP a gift of $36,777, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has provided a grant of $15,000 to help organize and process the collection.

In the wake of the 2002 Quecreek Mine accident, the bureau approached IUP to support about creating a database of mine maps to improve safety.

"From the beginning of the discussions, we readily agreed to support this important initiative," said Rena Fowler, dean of IUP Libraries. “Long before IUP was founded, coal fueled the rise of U.S. industry. It remains an essential resource and with it come risks and costs. The records of the industry are a resource themselves, and here at IUP, we have taken great pride in collecting these records in our Special Collections archive so that the past may serve the future.”

In 1998, the university received from CONSOL Energy, Inc., the records of Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company, which significantly added to the resources of the Special Collections archives. CONSOL Energy also has provided financial support to IUP to help organize the collection. The gift included R&P’s artifacts and files as well as mine maps that charted the location of the coal seams throughout the region, Fowler said.