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- About this Collection
- Background and Scope
- Related Resources
- Cataloging the Collection
- Digitizing the Collections
- HABS/HAER Highlights
- Technical Note: HABS/HAER/HALS Documentation
- Rights And Restrictions
Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey
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Cataloging the HABS/HAER/HALS Collections
The HABS/HAER/HALS Catalog has been compiled and maintained by the HABS/HAER/HALS office of the National Park Service since 1982. The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division has arranged for the data to be displayed in categories comparable to other Prints and Photographs collections.
The following comments explain the data categories and cataloging guidelines. They also point out which catalog record information is most useful for citing or ordering pictorial materials in research notes or publications. Since the original information accompanying a picture sometimes can be inaccurate, the Prints and Photographs Division is always glad to hear from researchers who have additional or better information. Please be aware that it usually takes several weeks to confirm information and make changes to catalog records. The on-line LC-HHH Catalog is updated with additions, corrections and revisions quarterly.
For general information about cataloging pictorial materials, see the Visual Materials: Processing & Cataloging Bibliography .
TITLE. The title is a compilation of elements from the National Park Service's HABS/HAER/HALS Database. In order, these are i) the historic name of the structure as recorded by HABS/HAER/HALS; ii) street address (urban: the number and street on which the structure is located, rural: the nearest public road); iii) city, town or vicinity in which the structure is located; iv) county or counties in which structure is located; v) state postal abbreviation for the state in which the structure is located.
Historic names can include building/structure uses (e.g., Chesterfield Blacksmith Shop); personal names that have become part of building names, listed by last name, first name, and descriptive building type (Guthrie, Woodie, Birthplace); historic districts (Savannah Victorian Historic District); and complexes, followed by the individual structure name (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Hangar No. 1.)
- "measured drawings" = architectural measured drawings
- "b&w photos" = black-and-white photographs
- "data pages" = written histories
- "photo caption page" = typed captions for the photographs
- "color transparency" = color transparencies
The description is also a reminder that the physical characteristics of the original object are quite different from a digital reproduction on a computer screen. Note: The dimensions of the documentation formats are not available in the catalog record.
(Search Tip: The term "drawings" may be used to isolate catalog records for surveys containing measured drawings, although the terms "photos", "page(s)" and "color transparencies" are not searchable terms in the catalog.)
See HABS/HAER/HALS Documentation
for more information on the documentation standards.
See Digitizing the Collections for more information on the process and specifications for digitizing the documentation to create the digital images available with the catalog records.
HABS, RI, 16-ASH, 101-
The collection ("HABS"), the state ("RI," for Rhode Island), the county ("16-" for Kramer, the sixteenth county alphabetized in Rhode Island), the city ("ASH," being the abbreviation for the town of Ashland), and the unique number assigned for the building within that town ("101-".)
The phrase "Unprocessed Items..." indicates that certain documentation is either at the HABS/HAER/HALS office, or has not yet been cataloged by the Library of Congress and is therefore generally unavailable to the public.
The date the documentation for a survey was compiled is not noted in the database, nor can a specific date be isolated, as documentation is often compiled over a period of months, and sometimes years. To find the specific date for a survey, consult the digital images for data pages where the compilers name and a date are often included. To find the specific date for a photograph consult the digital images's of the photo caption pages which often include the date and name of the photographer. To find the specific date for a measured drawing, consult the digital images for measured drawings where the delineators name and a date may be included. Dates for the structures, if available, are given in the NOTES field.
NOTES. The notes are a compilation of elements from the National Park Service's HABS/HAER/HALS Database. These include a project's Survey Number (e.g., HABS CT-22); Building/Structure dates and Building/Structure Use; the location of documentation not yet sent to the Library of Congress; and the existence of background field note material.
The project's Survey Number identifies either the HABS, HAER, or HALS program designation, the two letter state abbreviation as used by the Postal Service, and the structure or site number representing the approximate numerical sequence in which the structure was recorded by HABS, HAER or HALS in that state, i.e., HABS [program] CT- [state] 22 [approximate sequence recorded.] For complexes, an identifier of A, B, C, etc., is given for structures associated with the overall record entry.
The abbreviation ca., usually found in notes about dates, means circa and indicates a date that is approximate within several years.
SUBJECTS. The Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey uses an uncontrolled indexing vocabulary where different terms, such as "Car dealership" and "Auto dealership," are sometimes used for the same subject, because the material being cataloged used those different terms. The subject headings are actually the words in the Building/Structure Use Note field, and less than half of the records have entries in that field.
(Search Tip: Also use the "Keyword" search in the LC-HHH Catalog for a more complete subject search.)
The place names are expressed as hierarchical geographic "strings" to allow keyword access to states and territories as well as counties and cities; for example, "Virgin Islands-St. Croix County-- Christiansted."
RELATED NAMES. When multiple people or corporate bodies contributed to a building/structure, their names may be listed as related, or added, entries. Related names include, for instance, the architect(s), owner, builder, etc., when this information was recorded by the creators of the catalog records. If related names have not have been recorded in the catalog record, they may be found in the data pages (written histories.) (See DATE or CREATED/PUBLISHED for information on documentation historians or other compilers, photographers, and delineators.)
REPRODUCTION NUMBER. The reproduction order number is usually the Call Number or, for full-size measured drawings, the Survey Number. See How to Order for information needed to order photographs, measured drawings or data pages. Reminder: Also consult the note field when material has the call number "Unprocessed" - the material may not yet be at the Library of Congress.
CARD #. The control number, or card number, for each catalog record is a unique identification number. It can be used to do a quick number search when you want to see a specific record without repeating a long keyword or subject search. However, only some online catalogs provide an index by this number. (Available in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog only.)