Processing Prospectus Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection

The Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection, widely known as the "Noer slides", includes photographic materials taken from the 1920s through to the 1980s. Most are glass-mounted slides, although there are also some cardboard-mounted slides, negatives, positives, and 8 and 16 mm films. The number of items is estimated at around 27,000, though that total includes a significant number of duplicates and derivatives.

Primarily shot by O.J. Noer, and later Charlie Wilson, Jim Latham, and others, the scope of locations and content from that time period is extraordinary, ranging from turf experimental plots to golf courses and athletic fields throughout North America. Featured are equipment, personalities, maintenance practices, disease and pest control, and, of course, fertilization issues and test plots. Although this was a "use" collection, heavily utilized by Noer and later others in support of Milorganite's Turf Service Bureau presence on the lecture and consulting circuit through the '40s, '50s, and '60s, the condition of much of the material is generally good.

The collection ledgers (maintained until 1974) include several indices, as well as on-slide annotations, that will be priceless as background data to help create a digital archive of much of this material, accessible via the World Wide Web, and interwoven with the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database.

To make this wealth of content available to a wide audience in support of turfgrass education, research, and outreach, as well as to local historians and golf and other turf facility managers, etc., the materials must be systematically cataloged, digitized, preserved, and hosted online. Because there are duplicated, missing, damaged and degraded items, not all will require the same handling. A summary, though not necessarily sequential, process would include the following actions:

  1. Cleaning and sorting.
  2. Scanning to produce three versions: a high-resolution archive TIFF, a thumbnail, and a "use" digital image (jpeg).
  3. Color and other digital image corrections, as/if necessary and possible.
  4. Creation of a Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) record for each item, including harvesting of the seven typed ledgers, on-slide annotations, and supplemental indexing and description by a reviewer. About 10,000 of the items have more limited descriptive information available, and those will require more effort to re-create as much of that data as possible.
  5. Creation of online search and browse interfaces within a public website for users to identify images of interest, in addition to retrieval from within the TGIF database itself.
  6. Ongoing storage and maintenance of the digital versions.

We hope that users of the material will help to identify people, places, equipment, weeds, or whatever is of interest in the items.

The image collection is available at: http://archive.lib.msu.edu/tic/noermmsd/about.htm

Please use the links to email us what you see that we don't yet know about. Click the imageā€™s corresponding link in the ā€œMore Detailā€ column to get the full record display to see everything we know about the image - and please provide feedback if you see or know about the image beyone or different from what is included there.

For further information about becoming involved in this effort, please see the 2011 Annual Report, page 23 for an update regarding fund-raising efforts for this site.

Our special thanks to the O. J. Noer Research Foundation, the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association (WGCSA), and the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF) for their lead efforts in this project.