Vol. IX, No. 1

May, 1996

Record Keeping for Resource Management

Records of archaeological sites for cultural resource management need to be more complete than they usually are, because the information has normally been gathered with other needs in mind. "... the focus of most state inventories has been primarily on answering questions [such] as: Where is the site located? When was it occupied? Is it eligible for the National Register? Is it being damaged? By what, or by whom? This information may be more than adequate for site interpretation, but not enough for resource management." That is the argument put forth by Robert Thorne (National Clearinghouse for Archaeological Site Stabilization, Center for Archaeological Research, University of Mississippi) in a short piece on site conservation databases for the National Park Service (published as Brief 17, April 1996, by the Departmental Consulting Archaeologist, Archaeology and Ethnography Program of the Natinal Park Service - available from NPS Archaeology and Ethnology Program, P.O. Box 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127). Mr. Thorne has designed two relatively simple recording forms for gathering appropriate information about sites - the kind of information needed for proper cultural resource management. Mr. Thorne hopes that the forms will provide a model for others, and they are good without being burdensome. However, there seems to have been little attempt to consider the ways the information might be accessed by computer searching; so one might do well to take the information categories suggested and add to or modify them to make the use of the information fuller and more efficient with the aid of computers.

For other Newsletter articles concerning the use of electronic media in the humanities, consult the Subject index.

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