This month, I’m pleased to announce my first installment of what I hope is a long-term project of some significance: A new online archive of surveys of historic Connecticut homes — mostly 18th century, and mainly of my particular region of the state. As of this week, I have the archive itself in place, and have also published my first completed survey.
My particular style of historic home survey focuses on framing, architecture, and their interplay. Each survey consists of a precise model of the house frame rendered in Trimble SketchUp, a copy of my field notes, an image gallery of all photographs and video taken while surveying the home, and a detailed survey report.
The survey report is the primary end-product. It presents the model, describes the home’s manner of construction in detail, and also compares its findings with any earlier surveys (or other known house histories) that had previously accounted for the home.
The archive has a main landing page corresponding to the “Historic Home Surveys” entry in the main menu of A Preservationist’s Technical Notebook. It includes much commentary on my motivation and strategy for writing these surveys, their content and structure, how I see them evolving over time, and a list of links to the surveys themselves.
Each historic home survey likewise has its own landing page, which can be navigated to via either the main menu drop-downs, or the links embedded in the main archive page. From there, one can readily select any of the content pages: field notes, image gallery, SketchUp model, or survey report.
Finally, I use self-hosted WordPress as a publishing platform, and tune my pages for online indexing and search (SEO). I also leverage geographic information wherever possible (via geocoding and geotagging), and in time, will attempt to integrate my survey models with Google Earth. I also proactively use social media (mainly Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook) to build awareness of my surveys within their intended communities.
I’d like to invite any of you interested in this sort of work to please give both the main archive page and recently completed historic home survey a review, and please feel free to share your thoughts and impressions, positive or otherwise. Also include any suggestions you might have for improving this format, or otherwise making it more useful to its intended audiences.