Donated Documentation

Note: This section covers all documentation created outside of the procedural requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. If needed, go to the page about submitting Section 106 mitigation documentation instead.

A wide variety of donated documentation is submitted to the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection. The main sources include:

  • Non-federal (city, county, or state) mitigation documentation
  • Projects donated by qualified historians, photographers, architects, and other professionals
  • Projects executed by historic preservation organizations, community groups, and other interested parties
  • Student projects

How to Submit Donated Documentation

The Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) review and process all documentation donated to the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection.

Early and sustained communication with HDP staff will ensure that submitted documentation meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation and can be incorporated into the collection. To promote the successful completion of documentation projects, the HDP recommends adhering to following process steps and best practices:

  1. HDP Coordination: Prior to initiating a documentation project, contact the HDP Collections Manager. The Collections Manager will assign an HDP staff contact to coordinate review and submittal of the proposed documentation.
  2. Project Planning: Before documenting a property, review the applicable HABS/HAER/HALS documentation guidelines to understand the substantive and technical format requirements of the documentation being produced. If executing the documentation through a contractor, these requirements can be used to ensure that the project is appropriately scoped, results in the required deliverables, and is executed by individuals with the requisite qualifications, experience, and skills.
  3. Project Development - Draft Documentation: Electronic copies of draft documentation should be sent to HDP for review during project development. Prior to submitting draft documentation, consult with HDP to define an appropriate review schedule based on the level, scope, and complexity of the documentation project. HDP review ensures that any potential issues with the documentation are identified early and addressed before the project work is complete. In addition to providing review comments, HDP office will also provide official survey numbers and title blocks (if applicable) during this stage.
  4. Submitting Final Documentation: Once any required edits have been made, contact HDP to coordinate submittal of the final documentation. To facilitate eventual transmittal to the Library of Congress, final documentation materials should be formatted, labeled, and organized in conformance with the HDP Transmittal Guidelines (pdf).
  5. Acceptance of Final Documentation: Once HDP verifies that submitted documentation meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and conforms with the applicable HABS/HAER/HALS documentation guidelines, HDP will issue an acceptance letter or other correspondence to the submitting party acknowledging receipt of the final documentation.
  6. Incorporation into the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection: Completed documentation packages are transmitted to the Library of Congress. All documentation incorporated into the HABS/HAER/HALS collection at the Library of Congress is available to the public copyright free and contributes the nation's largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation.


Donated documentation follows the same guidelines as all other documentation that becomes part of the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection. The main difference is copyright. Documentation that is created by or for the federal government is part of the public domain. However, creative work by individuals or firms is their intellectual property. For that reason, we ask that a signed Copyright Release Form (pdf) be submitted with donated documentation, to confirm that it is being donated to the public domain when it becomes part of the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection.

Last updated: July 3, 2024