Partners for Sacred Places will make its Information Clearinghouse database, many of its unique documents, and other resources available to the preservation community through the Internet, thus greatly expanding the number of users served and the amount of data available to them.
Partners for Sacred Places was founded in 1989 as the nation’s only non-profit, non sectarian organization devoted to helping Americans preserve and care for sacred places of cultural and historic value. One of Partners’ core services is offering information and assistance to preservation organizations and congregations through a free Information Clearinghouse and other outreach programs.
The Information Clearinghouse is comprised of over 7,000 resources on the care and active use of older and historic religious properties culled from a wide variety of sources nationally. Much of the collection features resources which are unavailable elsewhere. The efficient dissemination of these Clearinghouse materials to the greatest number of people is paramount in our efforts to preserve this country’s historic religious sites the Clearinghouse information is only useful once in the hands of those individuals, organizations, and congregations actively working to save sacred places. Currently, the number of people who can be helped is limited by the amount of staff time available, and the caller cannot browse freely among the Clearinghouse references. The Internet represents an incredible opportunity for an organization such as Partners to reach its constituents: already, hundreds of preservation groups are on-line, as are many thousands of congregations with older and historic properties.
This project was comprised of two central components. The first was the creation of an Internet readable version of Partners for Sacred Places’ Information Clearinghouse database. The Clearinghouse database was integrated into a CGI/ Java based interface that allows it to be accessed over the Internet, using the File Maker Pro® 4.1 web server software package and CDML markup language on the server side. The database was then integrated into Partners’ web service.
Secondly, 190 technical resources on the care and preservation of religious properties were collected, organized, formatted, and linked through Partners’ Web site and integrated into the web-readable version of the database A meta-structure was designed for organizing and retrieving the technical articles through Partners’ web site. As well, an administrative tool using CDML and Java technologies was created to allow Partners’ staff to update the web site with new articles and to refresh the on-line version of the database. Finally, the database and scanned articles were integrated into Partners’ existing web site.
This project was made possible through Grant MT-2210-8-NC-11 from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).