Welcome to the Cambridge Historical Commission Digital Architectural Survey and History archive.

This site represents the first stage of refinement for organizing the digitized documents from first three drawers the commission's  10 file cabinets (37 drawers) full of documents concerning Cambridge's buildings and their history.  The collection includes formal documents, building-by-building inventory forms, clippings and ephemera.  Three drawers covering parts of East Cambridge were seleced as a pilot data-set to experiment with this digital archive.   The three drawers scanned fo rthis pilot  represent approximately 880 distinct places and approximately 4000 documents comprised of  about 7400 individual scanned pages.  

Two types of items to provide staff a means of discovering and attaching knowledge concerning places and documents:

Place Items represent different sorts of places, including: (Un-linked types below had no automatically-detected instances in our pilot data-set. )

  • Addresses -- Most of the data-generated places in CDASH at the moment are addresses.
  • Buildings -- Although CDASH is all about buildings, the distinction of address references to information about buildings will take some human intervention.
  • Sites -- A site may be a campus or complex with no buildings or many buildings.
  • Parks
  • Monuments
  • Roads -- there are many folders in CDASH pertain to streetscapes
  • Railways
  • Bridges
  • Landmarks  --  Could be a billboard or any well known non-building place. 
  • Water Features
  • Terrain Features

Document Items represent different sorts of documents found in the building files archive:  

Every document is related to a place item.  This makes it easy to discover all of the documents related to a particular place.  Place items provide the containers where information about the place can be consolidated.  Allieviating the need to store redundant informaion about places in the descriptive information about documents.  Users can selectively browse Historically Designated Places which could fall into any of the place categories, above.  

Map Browse:  A big part of this project involved the wrangling of several geographic data-sets to correlate the addresses associated with CDASH documents with geographic coordinates.  These coordinates in turn allow  us to associate the places and items with several other data-sets reflecting property assessment, and several sorts of historical designations.  And we can also browse Place and Document items on a map.  

  • Try the Map Browse.  At the moment, this function works best if you set the Search By Class: field to CDASH Place  to eliminate the display of lots of overlapping points for every document.

We are aware that the mapping interface has a lot of room for improvement.  This wil be a major goal for the next phase of CDASH development.  For a list of issues and planned solutions check out the Mapping Punch List section of the CDASH To-Do List