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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Winter 2004

Fairy Rings Grow Slowly: The Turfgrass Information Center, Not-for-Profit Alliances and an Endowment Campaign

Pete Cookingham
Turfgrass Information Center
Michigan State University


Since beginning as a cooperative project of the Michigan State University Libraries (MSUL) and the Turfgrass Research Program of the United States Golf Association (USGA) in 1984, The Turfgrass Information Center and it's flagship database, the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF), have continued to grow and diversify. With roots clearly reflecting an initial emphasis on primary research-reporting literature, particularly poorly-collected grey literature sources, the database now indexes and links to all levels of the turfgrass science and management literature, whether online or offline. Initially launched as a subscription-based data set, the Center and the MSU Libraries look forward to the day when TGIF will be made available to any interested users via the web. An endowment campaign, now underway, seeks to stabilize long-term funding for the Center, and at the same time expand the scope-of-coverage of indexed materials, and, particularly, provide a framework for cooperative full-text and enhanced-content activities. At present, several archive serial runs are being loaded in scanned-image format, along with hosting the first electronic turfgrass journal. All such launches are joint projects with outside organizational cooperators, and all include increasing levels of integration with the bibliographic file (TGIF) itself. Other original content, including scanned images, digitized video, scanned plans, etc., is also being made available on a project-by-project basis. A current project features published and unpublished content generated by individual members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), which includes directory-like lists and links, biographical and descriptive content, scanned architectural plans, and digitized video interviews. The MSU Libraries are hopeful that making the index and supporting content, when cooperators are willing to provide such content, available to the world-at-large, will mean that "one piece of the puzzle" of the mosaic of sub-disciplines within agriculture and natural resource management, will be done well and fully, regardless of geography of content origin or use.

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