University of Oregon

Historic Preservation Research Guide

This guide lists key resources for researching historic preservation. The Architecture and Allied Arts Library (Eugene) and the Portland Library & Learning Commons are primary service points for collections and services in this area.  See the related guide for Architecture.

For assistance, contact
 Ed Teague <>
(541) 346-1954

Dictionaries | Books | Articles | Inventories | Directories  
Images, Plans, Maps | Organizations | Codes | Theses, projects

Dictionaries, encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World.  Cambridge, 1997. v.1-3. AAA REF NA208 .E53 1997.
  • Illustrated Dictionary of Architectural Preservation: Restoration, Renovation, Rehabilitation, Reuse.  McGraw-Hill, 2004.  AAA REF NA105 .B87 2004.
  • Oxford Reference Online: Art & Architecture provides full-text of Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Dictionary of Modern Design, Oxford Companion to Art, Oxford Companion to Western Art & more.
  • Oxford Art Online, accesses the extensive Grove Art Online, the most extensive scholarly art and architecture encyclopedia, and other encyclopedias.
  • What Style Is It?: A Guide to American Architecture. Preservation Press, 1983.  AAA REF NA705 .P6 1983.


  • LibrarySearch accesses books and other cataloged materials owned by the UO Libraries as well as articles from selected databases.  Read more about Library Search and how to use it.
  • Google Books is a useful source for finding information buried in books, some full-text online.


There are many databases that index articles in journals and trade magazines useful for preservation research.  Clicking on the  FindText which appears with citations helps you locate an item in the library, online, or elsewhere.  Multi-database searching is a feature that can be employed to expand searches beyond one database.

  • Academic Search Premier. Contains indexing for more than 8,000 publications, with full text for approximately 4,600 of these titles. ASP focuses on academic, social sciences, humanities, general science, education and multi-cultural journals.  
  • AATA Online ; Abstracts of International Conservation Literature, is a comprehensive database of more than 100,000 abstracts of literature related to the preservation and conservation of material cultural heritage.
  • Avery Index to Architecture Periodicals.  The principal architecture database indexes 2,000 periodicals published worldwide on architecture, landscape architecture, planning, interior design, and preservation. Coverage is from the 1930s (with selective coverage dating back to the 1860s) to the present.
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers consists of digitized historical Oregon newspapers dating from the 1850s to the 1920s.    See also the parent digital collection, Historic American Newspapers, sponsored by the Library of Congress.
  • An Index and Summary of Oregon Building Information in the Portland Daily Abstract (1906-1910). Compiled by Michael Shellenbarger, UO Historic Preservation Program, this index cites articles from a key Portland building periodical published during a major period of the city's development.
  • Web of Science The most comprehensive coverage of science, humanities, and social science articles, 1965-present. In addition to keyword, author, and source searching, uses cited sources as discovery and analysis tools.  

Historic Sites Records & Inventories


  • The Special Collections & University Archives department of the UO Libraries holds a large collection of Oregon city directories.
  • has an extensive online collection of city directories, yearbooks, census data.  This link goes to the Oregon directories. 
  • The Internet Archive has a growing collection of digitized city directories.
  • [Crane Directory] (Crane's Direct-Mail Service, 1931) is a valuable resource that cross-references Portland street names after the 1931 renaming project.

Images & plans

Some sources for architectural plans, images, with descriptive information:

  • ARTstor, over 200,000 architectural images including Quick Time panoramas (QTVR) are included in this database of over 1,000,000 images of cultural objects.
  • AAI:  Art & Architecture Images Database, created by the UO Visual Resources Collection, provides access to thousands of images.
  • Building Technology Heritage Archive.  Reproductions of trade catalogs and house plan catalogs from the 19th century on.
  • Sears Home Archive. From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Company sold more than 100,000 homes through their mail-order Modern Homes program
  • Google's Image Search, Google Earth, and Google Maps (with street view) can be useful tools to find images or verify building information
  • Databases like the Avery Index enable refined searches to help locate plans, sections, etc.


Preservation agencies, societies, organizations

Local, State, Regional


  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of America's historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. Excellent list of related web links.
  • Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, Dedicated to the preservation and conservation of historic landscapes in all their variety, from formal gardens and public parks to rural expanses. Excellent list of related web links.
  • Association for Preservation Technology, promotes the best technology for conserving historic structures and their settings. The APT Bulletin is accessible online via JSTOR.
  • Directory of State Historic Preservation Officers When beginning research or a project related to preserving historic structures or resources, your first stop should be to your SHPO to inquire about the programs and services offered in your State
  • HABS/HAER, Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, federal program documents important architectural, engineering and industrial sites throughout the United States and its territories.
  • HALS, Historic American Landscapes Survey,U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Like HABS and HAER, HALS is a federal program charged with recording historic landscapes in the United States and its territories. Homepage has excellent information and links.
  • National Council for Preservation Education,  excellent source for training, employment, and other links, including international.
  • National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service. Nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Coordinates and supports public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Excellent links to resources, procedures.
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation, private nonprofit organization provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize our communities.
  • Preservation Directory, over 1,300 online preservation organizations, programs and historical societies in North America. Click on the map of your state for organizations in that location.
  • Preserve America, Directs Federal agencies to improve their management of historic properties and to foster heritage tourism in partnership with local communities
  • Recent Past Preservation Network, promotes preservation education and advocacy to encourage contextual understanding of our modern built environment.
  • Save Outdoor Sculpture!  SOS! is a joint project of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Heritage Preservation.


Building codes & standards

Theses, Terminal Projects


Page author:  Edward H. Teague,  Updated: 11/11/2014

Created by annie on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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