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6 (NADB) project. Second, many states question the utility of Tool 2: A "Historic Significance Attribute Table" for national systems to address local and regional issues, and these organizing and documenting information used to states do not want to see database queries being passed off as make decisions on resource significance. This tool a substitute for thorough background studies for projects. would provide an electronic mechanism for capturing One of the more surprising results of the nationwide sur- decision making in a somewhat standard format, fol- vey is the indication that historic contexts are rarely consulted lowing National Register guidance (e.g., National Reg- and are not frequently updated, even though the survey respon- ister Bulletin 15). This tool, along with Tool 1, eventu- dents noted that they considered historic contexts to be useful ally became the HPST in Phase 2. tools in determining resource significance. DOTs and most Tool 3: An MS Access database application that stan- federal agencies rely mostly on consultants' reports for signif- dardizes resource inventory data for use in evaluating icance decision making, and SHPO staff rely mostly on their resource significance. This database would include the personal experience. Historic contexts were ranked fourth and above "Historic Significance Attribute Table" and a way fifth in value in the decision-making process by DOTs and to link data to existing historic contexts. Tool 4: A common electronic format that would SHPOs, respectively. Further, only 14 percent of the SHPOs replace existing historic contexts, National Register and 22 percent of the DOTs report using historic contexts nomination forms, and Consensus of Eligibility doc- 100 percent of the time in significance determinations. In addi- uments. These documents would be scanned, indexed, tion to problems of infrequent use, the linkages between con- and then made searchable using key words. Documents texts and resource inventories are poor and hard to access. from a sample of states would be used to develop and While 60 percent of the SHPOs report some kind of linkages, test this prototype. This tool eventually became ECREL only 20 percent of them report computerized linkages. in Phase 2. To further explore the trends noted in the survey responses, Tool 5: ESRI's Geography Network as the mecha- follow-up questions were developed and e-mailed to all SHPOs nism for making the above IT prototypes accessible and DOTs that responded to the original survey. Ten SHPOs to potential users across the country. and nine DOTs answered these follow-up questions. The comments received suggest that even in states where historic contexts are reported as being used regularly, the decision- PHASE 2 making process is rarely systematic and formalized. These The following sections describe the Phase 2 approach to responses also supported observations that contexts are not developing and testing prototypes for the five above-listed IT used because they are out of date (or never developed) and tools. In Phase 2, Tool 1 was evaluated independently from often do not provide specific guidance relevant to the kinds the others because it was seen as a stand-alone tool; thus, of problems commonly encountered in historic preservation the following sections discuss Tool 1 independently from the compliance projects (i.e., problems complying with Section other tools. 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended). To deal with the day-to-day requirements for mak- ing significance decisions, agencies fall back on staff experi- Tool 1: A Historic Context Development Tool ence and knowledge and assess each resource on a project-by- project basis. The purpose of the Historic Context Development Tool Based on the results of the literature search and nationwide was to provide a method by which consistent electronic ver- survey, URS proposed several IT tools for improving the col- sions of historic context documents could be generated. The lection, organization, and management of data for making tool was intended to be a stand-alone system that any user decisions on resource significance. The NCHRP panel over- could install on his or her desktop computer and use without additional training. A user guide and example would be pro- seeing the Phase 1 study recommended that prototypes for vided with the application. five of these IT tools be developed and tested in the next The first step in developing a prototype Historic Context phase of study: Development Tool was to complete a requirements definition document and to prepare a design of the tool. Some basic Tool 1: An electronic "Historic Context Development requirements for this tool were specified in the Phase 1 study, Tool." This tool would contain all of the necessary com- but additional requirements needed to be identified and doc- ponents of a historic context as defined in the Secretary umented. URS was to also evaluate existing standards that of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation could be used as the basis for this tool. The best candidate in Planning. The purpose of this tool would be to assist terms of existing standards appeared to be the National Reg- agencies in the creation of historic contexts and to pro- ister's Multiple Property Submission form. Examples of his- duce contexts in a format that could be accessed and toric contexts were also to be collected and a small number shared electronically. This tool, along with Tool 2, even- selected as models. These models were to be used to guide tually became the HPST in Phase 2. the development of the tool with respect to