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NCAR Graphics and NCL Records

Identifier:  - 04-00-NGRAP

Scope and Contents

Using computers to produce images as visual aids in understanding complex data has played an important role in atmospheric research since the early 1960s. Under different organizational structures since 1964, software developed within a single project at NCAR has undergone an unbroken evolution in making significant contributions in the area of computer graphics tailored to research in the atmospheric sciences. This collection documents that evolution.

The materials not only document specific advances but reflect the development of a branch of computer graphics in general. The project continues to thrive, indicated by the fact that there were 4,000 unique downloads of the software in 2010. This collection offer unique documentation of a project that has had a cohesive history and record of achievement for almost fifty years. Materials include correspondence, manuals, proposals, reports, photographs, and other files documenting various aspects of computing history.


  • 1964 - 2010
  • Majority of material found within 1974 - 1999

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


5.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arrangement is by original order. The collection is organized into 11 series housed in 5 record cartons:

Series 1: Administration, 1975-1994 Series 2: Business Model, 1986-1998 Series 3: Conferences and Workshops, 1992-2000, undated Series 4: Correspondence and Memos, 1964-2002 Series 5: History, 1967-2002 Series 6: Manuals, 1964-1999 Series 7: Proposals, 1986-1994, undated Series 8: Reports, 1965-2001 Series 9: Student Projects, 1988-1993 Series 10: Audio-Visual Series 11: Artifacts

Physical Access Requirements

The collection must be viewed in the Archives during normal business hours.

Separated Materials

NCAR Graphics and computing manuals that are part of the NCAR Library collection were removed from the archival collection. Those titles include: NCAR-TN-166+IA, The SCD Graphics Utilities, Gregory R McArthur, 1981 NCAR/TN-161+IA, An Introduction to the SCD Graphics System, Gregory R McArthur and Lofton R Henderson, 1981 NCAR/TN-284+IA, NCAR graphics installer's guide: Version 2.00. Clare, Fred, 1987 NCAR/TN-283+IA, NCAR graphics user's guide: Version 2.00, Fred Clare, 1987 NCAR/TN-342+STR, NCAR Graphics Generic Package Installer's Guide / Version 3.00a, Fred Clare, 1990 NCAR/TN-341+STR, NCAR Graphics Guide to New Utilities: Version 3.00, Fred Clare and Dave Kennison, 1989 NCAR/TN-354+STR, Survey of NCAR User Needs for Visualization Tools, Ray George and Bob Lackman, 1990 NCAR/TN-62+IA, 6600/7600 Primer, J C Adams, 1974 NCAR/TN-267+IA, The NCAR GKS-compatible Graphics System, Fred Clare, Lofton Henderson, Stu Henderson, Barbara Horner-Miller, John Humbrecht, Dave Kennison, 1986 NCAR/TN-169+PROC, Planning for the 1980's / Proceedings of the First Annual Computer Users Conference, Linda Besen, 1981 NCAR/TN-109+IA, Efficient FORTRAN Subprograms for the Solution of Elliptic Partial Differential Equations, Paul Swarztrauber and Roland Sweet, 1975 NCAR/TN-111+IA, Data Sets for Meteorological Research, Roy L Jenne, 1975 NCAR/TN-89+STR, Ascent Reference Manual, J C Adams and P A Rotar, 1972 Library Routines, Jeanne Adams and Paul Rotar, 1969

Processing Information

This collection was processed over several months in 2010-2011. The archivist arranged the collection according to original order and rehoused the materials in acid-free folders, enclosures, and boxes. Fred Clare, a retired NCAR Graphics employee, added annotations to the finding aid at the folder level. Dick Valent, also a retired NCAR Graphics employee, assisted Mr. Clare in the identification of several photographs found in the collection.

Kathleen Legg and Fred Clare
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Archives Repository