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About the CHRIS Inventory

The CHRIS maintains a wide range of documents and materials relating to historical resources. As used herein, "historical resources" comprise buildings, structures, objects, historic and archeological sites, landscapes, districts, and all manner of properties associated with past human activities. Historical resources in the CHRIS Inventory include those that have and those that have not undergone formal evaluation by federal, state, or local government agencies with respect to their historical significance. Pursuant to federal and state law, information within the CHRIS pertaining to historical resources of an archaeological nature is confidential, with access to and release of said information determined under criteria set forth in the CHRIS Operations Manual.


Types of information maintained at each Information Center (IC) may vary but always include:

(1) Resource Records (a series of recordation forms describing the location and content of a historical resources property); all Resource Records in the CHRIS are identified by a unique Primary Number and may also be identified by a unique Trinomial;
(2) Resource Location Maps (United States Geological Survey [USGS] 7.5' topographic quadrangle maps on which the locations and boundaries of recorded historical resources are delineated);
(3) Resource Database (select information regarding historical resources in that portion of the CHRIS Inventory maintained at an Information Center);
(4) Reports (documents pertaining to historical resources [other than Resource Records]); all Reports in the CHRIS are identified by a unique Report Number;
(5) Report Location Maps (USGS 7.5' topographic quadrangle maps on which the locations and boundaries of specific geographic areas investigated with regard to historical resources are delineated);
(6) Report Database (select bibliographic information regarding Reports filed at an Information Center).

Availability and/or format of the following types of information vary from Center to Center:

(1) National Register (historical resources included in the National Register of Historic Places);
(2) OHP Archaeological Determinations of Eligibility (archaeological resources assessed by the OHP with respect to National Register eligibility);
(3) California Register (historical resources included in the California Register of Historical Resources);
(4) California State Historical Landmarks;
(5) California State Points of Historical Interest;
(6) OHP Historic Properties Directory; and
(7) California Inventory of Historical Resources (OHP 1976).

Individual Information Centers may also maintain specific regional information relating to historical resources within the county or counties they serve, including, but not limited to:

(1) Local historical resources inventories;
(2) General Land Office plat maps;
(3) Historical and ethnographic maps, atlases, and photographs;
(4) Mining, soil survey, and other geological maps or reports;
(5) Ethnographic literature;
(6)  Historical literature such as local histories, cemetery records, and U.S. Post Office locations;
(7) Bridge, shipwreck, and local building inventories;
(8) Handbooks, textbooks, and other publications in archaeology, history, architecture, and historic preservation; and
(9) Historic contexts.

The records in the IC collections are not a definitive collection of all cultural resource record information pertaining to California historical properties. The CHRIS has one of the best and largest collections of information regarding archeological sites and previous surveys and is an essential tool in environmental and other research in this subject area. To ensure completeness, a researcher may want to consult other federal, state, and local records collections, as well as state, regional and local libraries. Some information that used to be available through the CHRIS is now available online. For more information, see our Other Sources of Information webpage.


Accessing the CHRIS Inventory

Access to the CHRIS Inventory is provided through the regional Information Centers to certain types of requestors in a variety of ways. For more information about who can access the CHRIS Inventory and how, see our Accessing the CHRIS Inventory page.


Digitizing the CHRIS

The Office of Historic Preservation and the regional Information Centers are currently in the process of digitizing the CHRIS Inventory. To learn more about the plans for completing this statewide digitization effort, see our Digitizing the CHRIS page. To view counties where digital information is currently available, and to see which types of data are available electronically in each county, see our Digital Data Availability page.