Heritage Resources Management (HERM) 671

Documentation and Condition Assessment (Revision 1)

HERM 671

Delivery Mode: Grouped study (14 weeks online and 1 week onsite)

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Professor approval

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Program: Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management

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In this course, students are given the opportunity to explore new ways of observing and thinking about the built environment through practical application of documentation methods and fieldwork exercises. All of the assignments are based on fieldwork.

Recording the physical characteristics of historic structures and landscapes is a cornerstone of monitoring, preventive maintenance, and conservation. The information produced by such documentation guides decision making by property owners, site managers, public officials, and conservators. Rigorous documentation may also serve a broader purpose: over time, it becomes the primary means by which scholars and the public can apprehend a site that has changed radically or disappeared.

The growth of the field of conservation has brought with it vast quantities of heritage information collected using a variety of techniques, from long-established practices such as photography and hand sketching, to emerging technologies including building information modelling (BIM) and digital fabrication. Thorough documentation plays a vital role in defining a heritage place’s significance, integrity, extent, and threats, and is crucial to understanding, protection, and management. It is essential that heritage professionals understand the various recording techniques that are available to them, as well as their applications.

Course Structure

HERM 671: Documentation and Condition Assessment consists of twelve units of online grouped study and an In-Residence Project:

  • Unit 1: Recording Historic Places for Conservation
  • Unit 2: Statements of Significance in Canada
  • Unit 3: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Digital Inventories
  • Unit 4: Creating a Site Photographic Portfolio
  • Unit 5: Introduction to Field Notes
  • Unit 6: Recording a Floor Plan Using a Total Station
  • Unit 7: Making a Cross Section Using Rectified Photography
  • Unit 8: Photogrammetry
  • Unit 9: 3D Scanning
  • Unit 10: Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
  • Unit 11: Historic Building Pathology
  • Unit 12: Emerging Technologies
  • In-Residence Project

Course Objectives

Once students have completed this course, they should be able to

  • understand the role of visual information gathering in historic conservation, and be able to follow relevant national and international standards.
  • outline the strengths and limitations of particular recording techniques.
  • understand recording techniques both as creators of documentation and as informed users.
  • analyze historic sites using the recording techniques taught in this course.
  • understand the relationship between recording and good conservation decision making.
  • integrate information gathered through the recording techniques taught in this course into coherent presentations.
  • apply an interdisciplinary approach to their final In-Residence Project, ultimately completing a graphic and historical record of a historic site.

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must successfully complete the following activities and assignments, and they must participate in the onsite residency part of the course. They must achieve a minimum course composite grade of 60%.

Activity Grade Weight
Discussion Participation 10%
Moderation of One Unit Discussion 10%
Assignment 1: Understanding the Historic Place 10%
Assignment 2: Making a Preliminary Site Inventory 10%
Assignment 3: Preparing a Site Photographic Portfolio 10%
Assignment 4: Hand Recording and Site Field Notes 10%
Assignment 5: Group Presentation on In-Residence Project and Preliminary Integrated Project Dossier 10%
Assignment 6: Group Integrated Project Dossier (from In-Residence Project) 30%
Total 100%

Course Materials

All materials for the online grouped-study portion of the course are online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, March 1, 2018.

Updated March 01 2018 by Student & Academic Services