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:

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.

Historic American Building Survey

Documents from the  (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.

Google Books

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.

National Park Service

The NPS has prepared information briefs on a variety of preservation and materials topics that are available for free download.

Forest Products Laboratory

The FPL also has technical information on construction materials.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Non-governmental national resource.

International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems, and Structures

A useful international resource is RILEM 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.

The Brick Industry Association

Provides useful technical information.

Portland Cement Association

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.

Local Building-Specific Information



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

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.

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.