Guide to the N. Joseph Woodland Papers
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1433
Creators:
Woodland, N. Joseph, 1921-2012
Dates:
1943-2012
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Some materials in French.
Physical Description:
3.5 Cubic feet
11 boxes, 1 map-folder
Repository:
The collection documents the career of N. Joseph Woodland, who, along with Bernard Silver, invented and developed the bar code.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection documents the career of N. Joseph Woodland, who, along with Bernard Silver, invented and developed the bar code. The collection includes papers relating to Woodland's early life and education, such as exams and transcripts; papers relating to his work with IBM, including correspondence, notes and notebooks, and technical drawings; patents; photographs; awards and honors; articles.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into five series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1943-2012
Series 2: International Business machines Corporation (IBM), 1951-2006
Series 3: Node Code, 1986-2003
Series 4: Consulting, 1987-2000
Series 5: Audiovisual Materials, 1990-2011

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Norman Joseph Woodland (1921-2012) was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Woodland also served during World War II in the Army as a technical assistant for the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University (1947) and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University (1956). He joined the Drexel University faculty as a lecturer in mechanical engineering in 1947.
In 1948, Woodland became aware of the need for supermarket inventory control through automated checkout. He conceived of the idea of using printed parallel stripes of varying widths to encode prices of items in 1949. Woodland, together with Bernard Silver (1921-1963), an electrical engineer, and fellow Drexel University faculty lecturer, defined a system to exploit the bar code invention to automatically capture item prices as well as inventory data. Woodland and Silver were issued US patent 2,612,994 for a classifying apparatus and method on October 7, 1952. Woodland and Silver sold their patent for $15,000 to Philco in 1961.
Woodland joined IBM in 1951 as a mechanical designer and later worked as a senior planner in artificial intelligence in general and expert systems. While at IBM, Woodland identified and applied existing and emerging technologies to enhance planned IBM products and systems. He worked in store systems marketing, long-range market planning, product planning, and artificial intelligence development. In 1983, he received an IBM technical sabbatical to work on expert systems and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University and to study these systems in use in Japan. A significant portion of Woodland's career focused on the bar code in general and supermarket automated check-out processes. His work laid the foundation for the creation of the universal product code (UPC symbol), for which ), for which he was an integral part of the IBM team's winning design, in his role as the person responsible for IBM's UPC symbol proposal to the grocery industry's symbol selection committee.
In 1992, Woodland won the National Medal of Technology for his invention and contribution to the commercialization of bar code technology, which improved productivity in every industrial sector and gave rise to the bar code industry. Woodland holds six patents.
Woodland married Jacqueline Woodland (née Blumberg) in 1951 and they had two daughters, Betsy Karpenkopf and Susan Woodland.

Administration
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Archives Center in 2017 by Susan Woodland, the daughter of N. Joseph Woodland.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
N. Joseph Woodland Papers, 1943-2012, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Articles -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Technical drawings -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bar coding Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Numerical control Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notebooks -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventors -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Examinations (documents) -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventions -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notes -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patents -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
International Business Machines Corporation Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives