Records > Documentation


Principles for the Recording of Monuments, Groups of Buildings and Sites, ICOMOS, Sophia, Bulgaria, 1996

MacLean, Margaret G.H. Capturing the Past: Documentation and Conservation, Conservation, J. Paul Getty Trust

What is Documentation? in Introduction to Archival Organization and Description:Access to Cultural Heritage, Getty Standards and Digital Resource Management Program, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Trust

"Cultural heritage institutions whether archives, libraries, or museums gather, preserve, and interpret the record of human thought, word, and action. The collections of these institutions come in many forms and are managed according to different curatorial traditions. Yet archivists, librarians, and curators share mutual activities that reflect common social, administrative, fiduciary, and legal responsibilities.  Among these is the need to document the origins, nature, and physical characteristics of the materials they collect and preserve.

Among archivists the term documentation has several meanings. It refers to a process: a broad range of activities undertaken to create descriptive tools to make collections easier to use, to establish the authenticity of holdings, and to satisfy administrative needs. Documentation can also denote the products of this process, the descriptive tools themselves: inventories/registers and catalog records. Finally, the materials in archival collections can be considered documentation in that they provide documentary evidence and information concerning people, events, activities, objects, and ideas."

There are three primary reasons for documenting the collections of cultural heritage materials.

  1. To facilitate users' discovery of materials
  2. To establish the authenticity of holdings
  3. To satisfy administrative needs


HABS/HAER Guidelines: Recording Historic Structures and Sites with HABS Measured Drawings

"HABS/HAER Guidelines is intended to be a comprehensive guide for producing existing-condition measured drawings of buildings and other structures, as well as natural and man-made sites in the realm of landscape architecture.  This manual will guide documentation teams through an intensive process that will culminate in a set of graphic documents produced to standards of the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) Division of the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. Recorders wishing to submit their documentation to HABS for transmittal to the Library of Congress are especially encouraged to follow the procedures outlined here."

Graphic (Drawings)

HABS/HAER Guidelines for Recording Historic Sites and Structures using Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD)

These guidelines address the application of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation to the use of computer-aided drafting (CAD) software in the production of two-dimensional HABS/HAER measured drawings.  This document is intended as an ADDENDUM to Recording Structures and Sites with HABS Measured Drawings (hereafter referred to as the HABS Guidelines) and Recording Historic Structures and Sites for the Historic American Engineering Record (hereafter referred to as the HAER Guidelines).  Reference should be made to the HABS and HAER Guidelines for any issues not addressed in this document.

AutoCAD 2002, Autodesk, Inc.

Autodesk® Architectural Desktop. Recommended software for the developmet of drawings for collections management, planning, budgeting, and project development.

CAD Layer Guidelines, second edition.

"The AIA’s CAD-layer naming protocol is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration to make it possible for all members of the design and construction team to find the graphic information they need quickly among the hundreds of CAD-drawing layers for structure, plumbing, wiring, ductwork, ceiling, flooring, et al.

"The second edition expands layer designations for remodeling projects; provides a single format instead of the original long and short formats; accommodates interior design, telecommunications, and other fields; adds guidelines for using reference files; simplifies the methods for indicating drawing annotation; defines CAD layers for product information from manufacturers; and coordinates the CAD Layer Guidelines with the National CADD Standard from the National Institute of Building Sciences, the Uniform Drawing System from the Construction Specifications Institute, layer standards from the U.S. Department of Defense Tri-Service CADD/GIS Technology Center, and new international CAD layer standards."

CADD Primer, Mailmax Publishing, New York

CADD PRIMER is a beginner's reference book on computer aided design and drafting. A major portion of this book is free. You can download more than 70 pages of useful information that describe CAD terms, principles and applications. 

"Recording Historic Sites and Structures Using Computer-aided Drafting (CAD)," HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 2000, 2 pages. [PDF format file]

Recording Structures and Sites with HABS Measured Drawings, HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 1993, 75 pages, 61 illustrations.

Recording Historic Structures and Sites for the Historic American Engineering Record. HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 1996, 242 pages, 146 illustrations.

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