National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

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Standards & Guidelines

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation define the products acceptable for inclusion in the Heritage Documentation Programs (HABS/HAER/HALS) collections in the Library of Congress as measured drawings, large-format black & white photographs, and written histories. They require that the documentation captures the significance of the site or structure; is accurate and verifiable; has archival stability; and is clear and concise.

The Guidelines provide advice and technical information on meeting the standards. Most important, they outline an approach to historic architecture, engineering and landscapes that helps ensure the documentation will meet the Secretary's Standards while creating a comprehensive understanding of the site or structure. They also provide recommendations on research methods and report organization, line weight and sheet layout, photographic paper and negative preparation, and the disposition of field notes.