National Center for Preservation Technology & Training

Peter Stott (pstott@JADE.TUFTS.EDU)
Mon, 4 Apr 1994 00:04:06 -0400

[crossposted to the above lists, with apologies for duplications.]


In 1986, the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment issued a report
entitled "Technologies for Prehistoric and Historic Preservation," based
on a series of workshops held in 1985 and 1986. One of its core
recommendations was to call for the creation of a Federal Center for
Preservation Technology.

Now, as a result of initiatives from a number of different quarters
-- and many readers of this discussion group may have been involved in
these initiatives -- this new Center is actively moving forward.

As a result of the passage of P.L. 102-575 (Title IV) in 1992, the
National Center for Preservation Technology & Training is established at
Northwestern State University (NSU) in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Several
preliminary reports have been, and are being, prepared to determine the
focus of the Center without duplicating the work of other National Park
Service units or other organizations already working in the field.

Five functions have been identified for the Center:

1) To develop and distribute preservation and conservation skills and
technologies for the identification, evaluation, treatments,
monitoring, and interpretation of prehistoric and cultural

2) To develop and facilitate training for Federal, State, tribal, and
local cultural resource professionals, cultural resource managers,
technicians, and others working in the preservation field;

3) To apply technology benefits from research by other agencies and
institutions to the preservation field;

4) To facilitate the transfer of preservation technology among Federal
agencies, State, tribal, and local governments, universities,
national and international organizations, and the private sector;

5) To cooperate with related international organizations including,
but not limited to, the International Council on Monuments and
Sites, the International Center for the Study of Preservation and
Restoration of Cultural Property, the International Institute for
Conservation, and the International Council on Museums.

The acting director of the Center has requested one of the
participating institutions, the U.S. Committee of the International
Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) for its recommendations
concerning national and international databases and other types of
information resources that the Center might make available. The ICOMOS
report will also propose an information management structure, and some
suggestions for developing new databases for the preservation community.
It is our intention that the Center should be able to provide technical
and financial assistance to organizations for this purpose.

We have identified already a wide range of internet resources,
especially gopher and web servers, and discussion groups. However, we
would be very glad to have the comments of this list on how the goals of
the Center might best be met; and how the Center could best serve your
institution or discipline.

For instance:
* the Center should certainly run gopher and web servers, making
available information about individual NPS parks and sites, as well
as making fully available the National Register and other national

* the Center could offer to provide an archive for all relevant
Internet/Bitnet discussion groups, adding a wais search engine to
query all archives simultaneously;

* the Center could facilitate (technically and/or financially) the
linking of State Historic Preservation Offices to the Internet,
together with the relevant databases that those offices operate;

* the Center could actively participate in the development and use of
Open GIS to allow geographic applications to query data sets in
many different computer environments;

* the Center could work actively with kindred organizations in both
the U.S. and abroad to develop a global network of shared

The list of possible activities is vast, and one of the challenges
will be to prioritize its tasks.

We encourage interested readers to submit ideas and other
suggestions -- as well as cautions -- for inclusion in the Center's work
program, which will be prepared over the next several months.

Readers may respond either to the writer, at the address given
below, to the List if the subject merits discussion, or to the acting
director of the Center, E. Blaine Cliver, Chief, Preservation Assistance
Division, National Park Service <>.

Peter H. Stott

Peter Stott
Heritage Conservation