2018-12

Between September 2017 and September 2018, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) successfully added a “search-export” feature to its What’s Out There database, the nation’s most comprehensive online database of cultural landscapes and their designers. Now numbering more than 2,100 site essays, 900 designer profiles, and 12,000 images, the constantly growing database is a carefully vetted, easily navigable resource available free to the public, requiring neither a subscription nor organizational membership. In addition to being featured prominently on TCLF’s website, the database is also optimized for handheld devices and utilizes the user’s GPS information to display all landscapes within a customizable radius of the user’s location. Although the database has always been accessible online, the search results were not exportable. This meant that while users could query the database, they could not obtain the data in a form that could be manipulated to further aid in research initiatives. With this project having successfully concluded, visitors to TCLF’s website can now download search results from the database in the form of an electronic CSV (Common Separated Values) file, including the popular Excel spreadsheet.

Sample WOT site essay, with GPS mapping, expandable Media Gallery, and Relatable Content.

Landscapes in the database are classified using a taxonomy of sixteen styles (e.g. Picturesque, Arts & Crafts, Italianate), 29 types (e.g. Public Park, Commemorative Landscape, Campus), and 46 subtypes (e.g. National Park, Rural Cemetery, Land Grant College). Each essay links to a comprehensive glossary of styles, types, and subtypes, as well as to related landscapes, biographical essays about the site’s designer(s), and an online Media Gallery. Users can now export lists of landscapes from the database by style (e.g., all Modernist landscapes or all Modernist landscapes in Florida) or by typology (e.g., all public parks or all public parks in Florida); or they can export the search results after further filtering the characteristics of both type and style (e.g., all Modernist public parks in Florida). Conversely, users can also obtain and download search results based on the designers (or Pioneers) of the landscapes, also filtered by type, style, or location (e.g., all Modernist landscapes designed by Daniel Kiley in Dallas, Texas). As with searches ordered by landscape, the results of searches ordered by Pioneer are displayed on-screen with the option to “Export CSV,” which then renders the list of results for download in a file format chosen by the user. Static help text and scroll-over prompts have been established to aid the user in obtaining the best search results.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119