One of the major ways in which an historic resources survey benefits historic preservation in a community
is that it builds public awareness of the community's built environment and historic heritage. As the survey
progresses toward completion, increasing amounts o information will be available to help achieve this
objective. Publications using this information are an efficient means of communicating preservation
concerns and recommendations to a variety of people in the public and private sectors-community
planners, local decision makers, residents, and educators. This section discusses ways of making survey
data available to a broad audience through a range of publications and promotional material.
What should be published once a survey is completed?
The decision of what and how much to publish depends on the community's own goals and priorities.
Among the factors to consider are the purpose to be achieved, the potential audience of the publication, and
the amount of money available for publication. Communities should be aware that publication may be the
single most expensive part of the survey process. A publication is evidence of local commitment to
ongoing preservation activity, however, and may be instrumental in generating enthusiasm and obtaining
support and funding for carrying out the overall community preservation plan and other preservation
A single publication that attempts to convey the full range of detailed survey information may be
overwhelming. The general public may be interested in some but not all of the information that is
important to the professional historian, archeologist, architect, or planner or to local government officials.
All may be interested in the historical, architectural, and archeological resources of their community, but
extensive explanation of methodology, standards and criteria, and development and alternatives for further
action may be of interest only to limited, particular audiences.
To make effective use of survey data, a community may want to schedule several publications reflecting
the varied interests of local citizens and organizations. General interest publications can provide
information on the architectural, archeological, historical, cultural, and environmental character of the
community. Publications that can make citizens aware of their cultural heritage and provide the impetus for
local preservation activity include summaries of local history and prehistory, guidebooks, historic and
archeological monographs, photographic essays, illustrated selections from the inventory, and leaflets on
individual properties or areas. Other ideas include the production of walking tour maps and posters
summarizing survey results or illustrating the community's heritage.
Publications containing more technical information may be used to communicate the goals and methods
developed in the preservation plan to local administrators and decision makers. These may summarize an
entire inventory, present the results of archival research, reconnaissance, or intensive survey as overlay
maps showing areas where particular kinds of historic properties may be expected, present the survey
process and methodology, and provide detailed guidelines for preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation.
The following types of information should be published as the results of surveys, though not necessarily all
in the same volume:
The name of the group or agency conducting the survey and identification of personnel involved,
A brief introduction to preservation and explanation of the reasons for undertaking the survey.
A brief description of the historic contexts, goals, and priorities that structured the survey.
An explanation of criteria used in evaluating properties.
An explanation of survey methodology.
A general description of the area covered by the survey.
A discussion of the historic property types representative of each historic context.
Particularly in the case of a reconnaissance level survey, a discussion of the likely locational
distributions of different historic property types.
Examples of, or a complete list of, the properties identified. A list of some or all properties in the
inventory. If a large number of structures and sites are included in the inventory, description of all
the properties may prove overwhelming to the general reader.
Illustrations of significant resources; maps, photographs, line drawings.
A discussion of the visual and physical interrelationship among environmental features, large and
small, manmade and natural. Discussion of the visual effect of new buildings juxtaposed with
older ones; pivotal structures with less important neighbors; the relationship of buildings to open
spaces. Discussion of natural features such as rivers, bluffs, and hills which define an area's
character; also other elements such as vistas and views, paths, focal points, edges and landmarks,
signs, graphics, landscaping, pavement, lighting, and street furniture. Discussion of pertinent
social and cultural characteristics of historic districts and other properties.
Outline of long and short term goals (as defined in the preservation plan).
Recommendations for community action based on the survey, and discussion of techniques and
strategies for accomplishing these objectives: legal and financial tools, sources of funding,
architectural and planning options.
Information explaining how, the survey may result in or affect local designations, and how the
local historic preservation commission and review process, if any, function.
Additional planning data, such as current building use, social factors, and zoning,
State, Federal, and local preservation activity, related groups, and programs.
Storage and repository systems; explanation of where and how to find information on properties
What are some considerations in production and distribution of survey publication?
The primary considerations in production and distribution are the format and quality of the publications
desired, the intended means of distribution, and the amount of funding needed. Funding a publication
usually involves resourcefulness, imagination, and persistence. Although a community should expect to
bear most, If not at all, of the cost of publishing, Federal and State funding sources can sometimes be
helpful; the State Historic Preservation Officer should be consulted for advice. Locally, businesses and
chambers of commerce may be persuaded to underwrite the cost of such publications; also, groups whose
members were involved as volunteers in the survey process may wish to contribute, as may other civic
groups and clubs. Realtors and organizations of Realtors may contribute to publication, particularly where
they are active in the sale of real estate in historic districts. Editors and designers may also be persuaded to
donate their time to production of the publication. An alternative means of paying for publishing costs is to
obtain the services of a local university or environmental press willing to undertake such a publication.
Bank loans may provide another means of funding publications; though rare, the technique has been used
successfully by several organizations.
In creating a publication, it is important to consider format and tone. Well-designed publications will
communicate the urgency and challenge of preservation efforts, educate residents and local officials, and
stimulate greater visual awareness; unwieldy, verbose, or visually unattractive publications can negate the
impact of the most interesting and valuable body of information. In tone, format, and content, a publication
should be designed to interest as well as inform those to whom it is directed. A well-designed publication
need not be expensive: imaginative use of line drawings, type copy, and paper color will enhance format at
relatively little cost.
Obtaining the services of a designer, and possibly an editor, may result in a more professional-quality
publication. Ideally, editors working on the project should have done similar work (with local historical or
environmental groups, for example), and have interest or experience in preservation. Designers should be
familiar with paper stock, typefaces, and page design, and be able to deal effectively with photographs,
drawings, maps, and other graphic material.
A printer is usually selected on the basis of bids, and the press selected is generally the one that offers the
best quality at the lowest cost, Usually a publication schedule is not worked out until the project is well
underway, at a point when the project manager can estimate the number of pages, amount of graphic
material, kind of paper, type of cover, and number of copies needed.
Distribution and promotion considerations apply primarily to general interest publications. For these
publications, alternative methods of distribution necessary to be considered: whether a publication is to be
distributed free of charge (i.e., to every house in a particular area, at a lecture, tour or other event, or at a
particular location), or sold, If sold, will it be sold by a particular organization or commercially, and at cost
or for profit?
Press releases and advertisements are useful in promoting a publication. Sending review copies to the State
Historic Preservation Officer and local newspapers, journals, and radio and television stations, and
publicity copies to municipal libraries, archives, and other public information centers, may encourage
review and display of the publication. Thought may also be given to visual or graphic promotion of the
publication; posters may be placed in post offices, grocery stores, libraries, and schools, or copies of the
publication may be displayed in store windows.
What are some alternatives to traditional publication?
It should be stressed that there is seldom a need to publish all the data resulting from a survey; what is
important is to make it available to those who need it for planning and related purposes. The basic survey
data should be maintained in flexible, open-ended files with appropriate catalogue systems, as discussed in
Chapter 111. Publications should present summary data, data needed to back up plans and
recommendations, and material of direct public interest.
In the storage and presentation of primary survey data themselves, micro publication may be useful an(]'
economical. The most common form of micro publication is microfiche, where each 4-by-6 inch plastic
fiche contains the images of up to 100 pages of text and pictures. Commercial microfilming companies can
generally produce multiple copies at a much lower per-page cost than printing companies. Such newer
technologies as videodisc recording should also be explored; videodisc recording is relatively inexpensive
and can handle a greater range of material than any other form of data storage and presentation, It also can
be integrated with computer systems and used in the analysis of data as well as in its storage and