Assets > Preservation Technical Notes Format Guide

NPS Technical Notes (select examples)

NPS Resources


Transcribed and modified from circa 1983 guidelines printed by the National Park Service.

This Preservation Tech Notes Format Guide is designed to assist authors in the preparation of draft manuscripts after abstracts have been approved. The Technical Notes focus on successful solutions to preservation problems; although experimental aspects of a particular case study may be noted, generally they should not be the primary theme of the Technical Note. Authors should submit typed double-spaced drafts, limiting the length to approximately 2500 words. Technical Notes are usually 2-4 pages (typeset), including illustrations, with 6 pages as the maximum.

If the subject of the Technical Note involves a case study, the following format should be used; general topics have more flexibility in terms of format.

Case Study Format


In the first two to three paragraphs, provide a brief description of the historic resource (i.e., building, structure, or object), the reasons for its significance, and the specific features and/or materials which will be the subject of the Technical Note.


Following the introduction, under separate headings, the preservation problems and solution should be clearly stated. Readers should be able to determine at this point whether the case study is sufficiently applicable to their preservation problem or area of interest. If possible, limit the problem and solution to the first 750 words of the typed text.

Work Description

The majority of the text would normally be included in the section/s dealing with the planning or preservation work. Sufficient detail should be provided to enable the reader to understand clearly how the work was undertaken and to be able to apply the process or technique in part or in total to another project. One or several headings can be used, such as "Fabrication" and "Installation," and ample illustrations and photographs for these sections should be provided.

Project Costs

For many of the Technical Notes, project costs will be of particular interest to the reader and may merit its own separate heading. Otherwise, the cost figures can be incorporated in other sections and also in the "Data Box" provided at the end of each Technical Note.

Project Evaluation

The text should conclude with a general evaluation of the project; in other words, what was learned and what might be done differently next time. This conveys an opportunity to convey further insights that were gained as a result of the actual work that would be of assistance to others undertaking similar projects. While the Technical Notes cover only successful endeavors, all of the project goals need to be met and any limitations of a particular treatment, for example, could be addressed here.

Project Data Box

Rather than include in the text names of specific products or proprietary methods, this information should be provided in the project data box. Among other information to include would be the name of the owner and the location of the historic resource, the principal individuals and firms involved in the work, project costs, and the dates the work was undertaken.

Careful, thorough documentation before, durign adn after any treatment must be undertakento develop a successful Technical Note.


The Technical Notes rely heavily on photographs and illustrations to show the conditions and problems which were addressed as well as the actual work. Photographs of existing conditions, work in progress as well as completed views should be provided wherever possible. They should be keyed to the text, dated, and captioned in sufficient detail to allow the photographs and drawings to convey on their own the substance of the text. An overall view of the building or object is needed for use on the first page. Photographs should be digital (2 mb and 1200x1600 at 72 pixels, minimum). Appropriate credits for each photo should be noted and, where applicable, signed permission for use of individual photographs in publication should be included. Submission of ample photographs will provide greater layout options; please indicate whether the photos need to be returned.


Either rough sketches or camera-ready drawings may be submitted. In the latter case:

  1. Include any text on a separate overlay as the text will be type set;
  2. Prepare drawings about 50% larger than the suggested print size, if possible, as this will provide greater flexibility in layout. Be careful that the line weights are sufficiently heavy that detail will not be lost in reduction and printing.
  3. Provide the name of the person who prepared the drawing.
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