Architectural Survey on the Web

The Cambridge Historical Commission Architectural Survey Collection is ten file cabinets full of information on buildings -- demolished or extant -- in the City of Cambridge. The collection includes systematic architectural survey records for each building in the city, clippings, photographs, maps, ephemera, and more. The collection is actively managed with several new entries each week.  Forty file cabinet drawers are filled with folders, each named according to a Street Address or address range. Some folders show additional information on their name-tab to designate a Named Place, such as  Buildings, Streets and Squares, Canals, Bridges... Some folders also designate specific subjects, such as "City Hall Brick and Mortar Studies".


The Cambridge Digital Architectural Survey Project (C-DASH) has been a multi-year effort to digitize and publish the Architectural Survey.   Through a semi-automated process, the scanned files are sorted into a hierarchy of Documents, categorized by Document Type.  Each document is related to a Place of a given Place Type.  For named places, information from folder names is used to assign articulated Place Name, Building Type and Subject information. 

The C-DASH digitization process uses the address reference pencilled on each document and folder to assign geographic coordinates -- providing a means of associating the C-DASH places with other geographically referenced data including antique maps and the Massachusetts Cultural Information System (MACRIS).  

Try It!

The easiest way to understand C-DASH is to pan and zoom around on the map.  Gray markers,sepia_marker_hollow.png, represent Address locations.  Colored markers, sepia_marker_hollow_yello_halo.png, represent Named Places.  Hover over markers to see the name or address.   Click a  marker to browse the documents associated with that place.  Click a  document entry to view the scanned document with some metadata, including a link to the folder where the document resides in the collection.   

The C-DASH archive is based on the popular open-source digital archiving platform Omeka-S. The customized Omeka Theme and Modules created for C-DASH are documented and made available for re-use at the CDASH project development web site.