Records searches are the primary means through which CHRIS information is disseminated. A records search consists of a review of cultural resources data on file at an Information Center (IC) within a specific geographic area. Searches are performed on a fee-for-services basis whether done by IC staff or in-person by a researcher. The State Historical Resources Commission sets the CHRIS IC Fee Structure.

There are three categories of records searches:

  • Non-confidential: generally for planning purposes. Product is a checklist (Summary Records Search) or narrative letter (Extended Records Search) stating whether there are known resources in the study area and offering a recommendation as to sensitivity for recorded and unrecorded cultural resources.
  • Confidential: provided to qualified researchers (see information below on establishing qualifications). Product includes records and reports as requested on the Data Request Form. Certain records, such as for archaeological sites, are restricted from disclosure under federal and state laws, thus researchers must meet access requirements to obtain this data.
  • Specific to a Memorandum of Agreement or Subscription, including agreements with Native American Tribes such as under the THPO-Tribe Access Policy. For additional information, contact the appropriate IC.

Limited information about built environment resources is available through the Built Environment Resource Directory (BERD). Note: Information in the BERD is not comprehensive, and absence of resources listed in a search area does not mean there are no historical resources present, rather it likely means that the OHP does not yet have a record of those resources.

How to Access the Inventory

Non-Confidential: Individuals requesting a non-confidential search should contact the relevant IC to arrange for a records search. Minimum fees are $150, unless another agreement is in place. Provide PDFs of maps and aerial photographs, with GIS spatial data if available, for the area to be searched, as well as a project description and the reason for the request (e.g., a City or County is requiring it, or there is federal involvement).

Confidential: Individuals requesting confidential data must have an Access and Use Agreement on file (see instructions below). To obtain data for a specific study area, researchers must complete a Data Request Form (LINK to fillable PDF) that references the approved Access and Use Agreement. Provide PDFs of maps and aerial photographs, with GIS spatial data if available, for the area to be searched.

Note: Authorized users must meet, at a minimum, either the Secretary of the Interior's Professional Qualifications Standards, the California State Personnel Board Specification for State Historian II or Associate State Archaeologist, or meets the California Business and Professions Code requirements for a state licensed Landscape Architect, plus additional experience requirements stipulated by the State Historical Resources Commission on July 31, 2009.

Instructions for Completing the CHRIS Access and Use Agreement Form

To establish an Agreement, download and fill out the CHRIS Access and Use Agreement. Individuals seeking access under an existing Agreement (e.g., employees of a consulting company), must complete and sign an Authorized User Form and a Statement of Qualifications, and attach a resume or curriculum vitae in PDF format. Submit the Agreement to any of the nine ICs; the IC Coordinator receiving the form will sign it on behalf of the CHRIS and assign it a number. To temporarily share CHRIS data with a third party not covered by your Access and Use Agreement, complete and submit a Conditional Use Agreement to the appropriate IC(s).

  • Agreement Number: Leave this blank. The IC Coordinator who receives the agreement will assign it a number.
  • Issued To ("recipient"): Enter the name of the entity (typically an organization such as a firm or an agency) that is entering into an agreement with the CHRIS. A good rule of thumb is that the recipient should be the same entity that possesses the checking account that will pay for record search fees incurred under the agreement.
  • Region/Office: If the organization has one location only, enter "home" or "headquarters." If the organization possesses many offices, enter the location at which you work (e.g., "Sacramento office," or "Central Valley region").
  • Address/Phone/Fax/Email: Enter the contact information for the office listed above.
  • Issued By/Date Issued/Expiration Date: Leave these blank.
  • Printed Name of Recipient: Enter the name of the entity that is entering into an agreement with the CHRIS.
  • Signature/Date of Responsible Individual: Typically this refers to an office manager, a cultural resources manager, the president of a company, or some other individual who will shoulder responsibility for ensuring that the recipient adheres to the terms of the agreement.
  • IC (on behalf of the State Historic Preservation Officer): Leave this section blank.

Instructions for Completing the Authorized User Form

  • Access and Use Agreement Number: The authorized user will be making CHRIS data requests under the terms of an existing Access and Use Agreement. Enter the number of that agreement.
  • Held By: Enter the name of the entity that holds the agreement under which the authorized user is gaining access.
  • Access and Use Agreement Number: Same as above. Enter the agreement number.
  • Print Name/Date/Signature/Title/Company Name: Enter the name/title of the authorized user. Sign and date the form.

Instructions for Completing the Statement of Qualifications

  • Fill out your contact information, check your applicable qualifications standards, and sign and date.
  • Attach a resume or curriculum vitae in PDF format to substantiate your qualifications. 

CHRIS Historical Resources Consultants List

A recent technical issue is temporarily preventing access to the online consultants list database. Efforts are underway to resolve the issue. In the meantime, please click on the link below to download and view a spreadsheet version of the list:

CHRIS Historical Resources Consultants List 
Note: This list is offered as an informational courtesy and does not constitute an endorsement by the Office of Historic Preservation nor the CHRIS ICs of any consultant or firm represented on the list.

The Consultants List is maintained by the Eastern Information Center (EIC) on behalf of all the ICs. There is a fee to be listed as a consultant, but no charge to query the list. Per the rules of the CHRIS Information Center Rules of Operation Manual, the fee for listing is $150.00 per year. Consultants applying to be listed must complete the Consultants List Format and Fee Worksheet , plus the appropriate discipline-specific form or forms (see below), and submit them to the EIC. 

Consultants List Format and Fee Worksheet
Discipline-specific Forms:
Architectural History
Historic Architecture