National Register Information System

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The National Register Information System (NRIS) is a database of properties that have been listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places. The database includes more than 84,000 entries of historic sites that are currently listed on the National Register, that were previously listed and later removed, or that are pending listing.[1] The database includes approximately 45 pieces of data for each listed property.[2] Accuracy of the NRIS database may be imperfect. For example, a 2004 paper addressed accuracy of spatial location data for part of the NRIS content.[3]


Efforts to digitize the database began as early as 1968,[4] but the database was not fully digitized until 1986. By 1994 it had come to be used in answering more than 4,000 public queries per year. As a digitized index to the National Register properties, the "NRIS has opened access to the National Register documentation that was not possible a decade ago", according to Diane E. Miller, chief of a unit in the Interagency Resources Division of the National Park Service (NPS).[5] A published article by Diane Miller describes the digitization of the NRIS database starting in the 1980s. Another article, "Computerizing the National Register of Historic Places" in CRM: Cultural Resources Management (21:4) (1998) also describes the digitization.[4]


Versions of the full database are periodically made available for downloading by the public. For example, as of June 2013, the downloadable version includes NRIS data for most sites listed in years before and including 2010. Meanwhile, the live NRIS database in use at the National Register includes new listings that are announced weekly.[6] Several private websites also host mirrors of the database, including and

A search interface within the National Park Service's NPS Focus system provides access to a skeletal record of NRIS data, as well as to photographs and documents describing properties listed on the National Register. The skeletal record includes a simplified set of the information in NRIS about all sites listed through August 2012.[7] The NPS Focus search screen allows searching by NRHP listing name or other property identifiers.[8]

Usage of the NPS's NRIS database is described at various U.S. state historic preservation agency locations, including for example, in Maine.[9] It is listed as a library resource of the Mesa County libraries, of Mesa County, Colorado.[10]


  1. ^ "Introduction—Documentation". National Park Service. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  2. ^ "Chapter 18: Searching for Women in the National Register of Historic Places". Restoring Women's History Through Historic Preservation. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2003. p. 303. ISBN 9780801870521. 
  3. ^ Nicole Edwards; Kevin Kuhn; Kurt Donaldson (June 2004). "Digital Conversion, Accuracy Improvement, and Product Generation for the National Register of Historic Places in West Virginia" (PDF). 
  4. ^ a b "Notes to Chapter 18: Searching for Women in the National Register of Historic Places". Restoring Women's History Through Historic Preservation. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2003. p. 422. ISBN 9780801870521. 
  5. ^ Diane E. Miller (1994). "National Register Information is a Hidden Treasure" (PDF). Cultural Resources Management. National Park Service (17:2). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-02-15. 
  6. ^ National Register of Historic Places: Weekly List Actions
  7. ^ "National Register Information System–Status". National Park Service. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  8. ^ ""Advanced" search query for U.S. Registered Historic Places". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ Maine Historic Preservation Commission FAQ for Maine residents
  10. ^ NRIS as a library resource

External links

  • "National Register of Historic Places: National Register Information System" site Primary site for downloading the entire NRIS database.
  • "National Register of Historic Places NPS Focus" search screen Primary access page to search the NPS Focus database for individual NRHP-listed properties; search results include selected fields out of NRIS' many fields. There is no on-line searchable interface that yields all NRIS fields for a given property.
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