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18 evaluation form. Some verbal comments were received. Gen- tops at the poster session and discuss the project concept with erally, people felt that some sort of tool like the HPST was project personnel. URS distributed 30 copies of the HPST CDs needed, but it would be difficult to get SHPOs to use this type as well as handouts with the ECREL website URL informa- of tool. Some state employees believed that they already had tion. No evaluation forms were returned as a result of this tools that provide the same or a similar function. poster session. Informal comments at the session were gen- As described above, the HPST was also tested by some of erally positive. Most people felt that tools like these were the participants at the 2004 Santa Fe historic preservation and strongly needed, but that more support (in the form of fund- transportation working conference. A few of the participants ing and training) would also be needed to get the SHPOs to requested a CD and, upon returning to their offices, asked use them. their staff to evaluate the tool. Demonstration/Review of the HPST and ECREL at 2004 Santa Fe Historic Preservation EVALUATION RESULTS and Transportation Conference Appendix E contains the complete set of received evalua- Conference attendees were given the opportunity to use tions, a list of individuals who provided comments on either both prototypes and were asked to complete a very abbrevi- tool, the responses from the evaluation forms, and the Santa Fe ated evaluation form. Nine people completed the forms. conference participants' responses. A summary of the evalua- Reviewers represented the following states or tribal groups: tion results is presented below. Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and White Moun- tain Apache Tribe. In general, the response was that the tools "showed promise" and could streamline the review process. Evaluation Forms The caveat was that getting people to use them would be a challenge. Relatively few people completed the evaluation forms. URS After the conference, several individuals worked very hard received nine evaluations of ECREL and two of the HPST to try to get additional feedback from their respective staffs. (and the latter were both completed by URS CRM staff). The following highlights some of the key observations made Responses were received from the following states: Arkansas, by these staff. Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin. In general, the respondents were enthusiastic about ECREL and thought the HPST had merit. Minnesota DOT All respondents felt ECREL should be completed (i.e., more documents should be added) and maintained on a permanent Beth Hobbs (an IT focus group member) worked with two basis. While other websites contain cultural resource docu- other CRM staff members in her office to review the HPST. While they did not complete the evaluation form, they did pro- ments, ECREL is unique in that it facilitates the search for a vide written comments on potential enhancements of the tool wide variety of documents in one place, presents document and stated that they were "very excited about its possibilities." metadata in a useful format, and provides several different search options. Most reviewers did not think that ECREL would increase the number of historic contexts produced; California Department of Transportation however, they did feel that this tool would result in better his- (Caltrans) toric contexts when they were created. The HPST's future was more problematic. The testers felt that the idea had Margaret Buss (NCHRP panel member) worked with URS merit, but wondered if anyone would use it unless forced. to present ECREL and the HPST to members of her staff. Implementing the HPST will require changes to existing After they had reviewed and commented on the prototypes, processes, maybe even replacement of current procedures she invited SHPO staff to her office for a similar presentation and tools. ECREL, on the other hand, augments existing pro- and discussion. Again the response was largely positive. Ms cedures and tools. Buss noted that In the group session [of Caltrans staff] . . . most of the com- Poster Presentation at the 2004 TRB ments on ECREL revolved around concerns for 1) security Annual Meeting of confidential information, and, more important to the group, 2) concern about ensuring the context statements were As noted previously, a large, colored poster that described vetted by SHPOs, that is, that they were considered good, sound research and represented an official view of some kind. the two prototype IT tools was available for viewing at the The tool itself was easy enough to use; there were no sub- TRB Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C., in January stantive comments about ways to improve the tool itself, only 2004. Conference attendees were able to use the HPST on lap- concern about who would be arbiter/manager/approver of the
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19 contexts posted. Aside from that concern, everyone was enthu- send HPST to a couple of CLGs [Certified Local Govern- siastic about the concept of being able to share contexts and ments] who were sophisticated on computers to see if they research. could use it in building their local surveys, and the State Parks archaeologist was very enthusiastic about using it for Regarding the HPST, Buss noted that Caltrans management their current inventory effort within all the State Parks. I con- tacted all of them after a couple of weeks to see if they had "is reluctant to impose it if our SHPO doesn't require it . . ." tried it and had feedback. The response from SHPO was that However, Caltrans is already developing electronic tools and they hadn't played around with it and probably wouldn't do may be able to integrate the HPST into these tools, so Cal- much with it unless directed by their bosses, who didn't trans could begin to compile contexts in the HPST format. attend the presentation, and the State Parks staff archaeolo- gist didn't return my call. In addition, Buss said that two Caltrans staff The general consensus from these reviewers was that both demonstrated both ECREL and HPST to about seven SHPO staff members plus one senior archaeologist at State Parks. prototypes are worth pursuing, but, without specific direction They all thought both were great ideas but had no specific from their managers, SHPO and DOT staffs are not going to feedback on how it worked. The SHPO staff were going to invest any time to adequately test these prototypes.