Technical Information Resources

Sources for technical information in preservation technology abound on the web, with more being added all the time. The following links have been compiled:

The Getty Research Institute provides access to AATA Online (formerly the Art and Archeology Technical Abstracts), a comprehensive database of over 100,000 abstracts of literature related to the preservation and conservation of material cultural heritage:

Documents from the Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) have been digitized and are available from the Library of Congress for viewing online:

A fabulous resource for period publications on architectural materials and construction technology is Google Books. Many seminal and very early works are available for full view and download, some even in multiple editions:

The National Park Service has prepared information briefs on a variety of preservation and materials topics that are available for free download:

Other federal agencies also have technical information on construction materials, including the Forest Products Laboratory

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is another, non-governmental national resource:

A useful international resource is RILEM, the International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems, and Structures which has several active technical committees in areas of interest to preservation professionals, including mortars and assessment of both timbers and masonry structures through non-destructive testing:

Many manufacturer’s organizations such as The Brick Industry Association, provide useful technical information:

Downloadable information is often only available to members, but most organizations provide an option for non-members to purchase publications, either in hard copy or via download. The Portland Cement Association has a particularly useful set of links to technical information on cement and concrete:

Locally useful building-specific information resources can also be helpful, including:



Two organizations are actively engaged in research supporting historic preservation and materials conservation:

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, located in Natchitoches, Louisiana provides matching grants for preservation-related research topics, presents training classes, and pursues research initiatives on specific topics. Research reports are from grant-funded projects and from their own work are available for free download as pdf files; hard copies can also be ordered:

The Getty Conservation Institute is currently performing scientific research and studies related to architectural conservation and historic preservation, including lighting and climate control in historic buildings, lime mortars and plasters, museum lighting, and salt research. Past projects of interest include studies in seismic stabilization and stone conservation. Several reports are available for free download in pdf format. The GCI is involved in numerous other activities related conservation of cultural heritage around the globe: