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 [graphic] National Register Bulletin: Guidelines for Local Surveys: A Basis for Preservation Planning

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U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service


Chapter V

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 projects.

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 surveyed.

    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 presentation.



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