Informing the Future of the Past Glossary#




Association of County Archaeological Officers (now ALGAO).


Association of District Archaeological Officers (now ALGAO).

Adoption of the HER#

Refers to the adoption by a local authority of a HER as the information resource on which planning decisions concerning the archaeological environment will be based. Required by the General Development Order 1995 and the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.

Address matching#

A geocoding process which matches the street address of a property to its location. This usually involves the matching of two database flies, the first containing the address of interest, the second the list of addresses and their co-ordinates


Archaeology Data Service: A trusted digital repository for data created as a product of research within the discipline broadly defined as Archaeology and the Historic Environment.


Association for Geographical Information.


Arts and Humanities Data Service: funded by the academic community to collect, catalogue and preserve digital data and distribute these for use in teaching and research. Service is no longer operational.


Arts and Humanities Research Council: A non-departmental public body which provides funding for arts and humanities research. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, along with the other UK Research Councils.


Associate member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.


Archaeological Investigations Project: an English Heritage funded project which monitored archaeological fieldwork generated through planning advice as a result of PPG 16.


Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers. Formed of ALGAO UK and constituent national organisations: ALGAO Cymru, ALGAO England, ALGAO Scotland


A Scheduled Monument condition reporting form.


A recording form for information about scheduled monuments developed by English Heritage in the early 1980s.


A computer database developed for the RCHME's (now English Heritage) to hold text-based information about monuments, archives and events. It holds the data on the National Record of the Historic Environment, Excavation Index and archive catalogues. This replaced NewHIS.


American National Standards Institute.

Anti-virus software#

Software that is designed to identify the presence of computer viruses and which provides facilities for their safe removal from a computer system. This software incorporates an index to currently known viruses, and as new versions are rapidly introduced, must be regularly updated.


Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


GIS software supplied by Esri.

Archaeological Objects Thesaurus#

A thesaurus that is maintained by the mda as part of INSCRIPTION to provide indexing terminology for archaeological objects.

Archaeology Scotland#

Formerly the Council for Scottish Archaeology, Archaeology Scotland is a national charity, helping people from all walks of life to get more involved with archaeology through learning, promotion and support for Scotland's unique historic environment. Archaeology Scotland coordinates Scottish Archaeology Month each September and publishes Discovery and Excavation Scotland, an annual summary of fieldwork undertaken across the country each year. See their website for more details.


‘The documents created or received and accumulated by a person or organisation in the course of the conduct of affairs and preserved because of their long-term value’ (International Council on Archives). An Archaeological Archive comprises all the records and finds from fieldwork.


The website and mobile phone app that give on-line access to the Historic Environment Records of the Welsh Archaeological Trusts. The system has been developed through a partnership of the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts, which in a expanded form now operates under the name HEROS. The word Archwilio is Welsh and translates as to explore, examine or audit.


GIS software supplied by Esri.


Archaeological Records of Europe Network Access: a project to search for archaeological sites and monuments from six European countries: UK, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Romania and Poland. The UK is represented in the project by the ADS.


Association of Regional and Island Archaeologists. ARIA represented the most senior archaeologists employed by or for local planning authorities in Scotland , but in 2006 merged with colleagues from England and Wales to form ALGAO UK.


American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The original standard encoding for digital data. More recently Unicode has allowed the use of other (than American English) languages' character sets.


Association for Information Management: promotes best practice in management of information resources.


Archaeological Standard Protocol for the Integrated Reporting of Events (Scotland). ASPIRE is a protocol specifying the data structure, data type and required fields for reporting archaeological information to the SMRs and RCAHMS. See the website for more details.


Archaeology Training Forum


A particular item of text, whether numeric or alphabetic, that is used to control the entry of terms into a unit of information.

Authority list#

A list of terms, whether numeric or alphabetic, that is used to control the entry of terms into a unit of information.


Drawing software often used with GIS.

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Backing-up data#

The process by which copies are made of computer data and placed in safe storage to provide a facility to restore information in the event of system failures or other losses (such as theft of computers).


British Archaeological Reports.


Buildings at Risk. In England this is now part of HaR.

Bath Profile#

An International Z39.50 Specification for Library Applications and Resource Discovery


British Education Communications and Training Agency.

Better Woodlands for Wales #

Better Woodlands for Wales was an improvement and new planting grant scheme for private woodlands, operated in Wales from 2006 to 2010 by the Forestry Commission (Wales). It was replaced by the Glastir agri-environment scheme in 2011.


A national Government initiative which sets out a duty for local authorities 'to deliver services to clear standards, covering both cost and quality, by the most effective, economic and efficient means available' (IDEA 2000).


British Geological Survey


British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography: an annual indexed list of archaeological publications for Great Britain and Ireland maintained by the CBA, with funding from national heritage agencies and others.


Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of places. BIM software is used to design, construct, operate and maintain diverse physical infrastructures, from services (water, wastewater, electricity, gas, refuse and communication utilities) to roads, bridges and ports, from houses, apartments, schools and shops to offices, factories, warehouses and prisons. More information can be found on National BIM Standard website.

Broader term#

A term that represents a parent to a term or other terms. The broader term is super-ordinate to its subordinate narrow term. One term may have many narrower terms and, in turn, each narrow term may itself have narrower terms.


British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

Building assessment#

A professional assessment of a built structure by an architectural historian, archaeologist or other specialist.


A zone of user-specified distance around a point, line or area feature. Buffers are commonly used as a means of identifying the proximity of features (for example, finding all archaeological monuments within a 1 kilometre corridor of a proposed motorway).


Best Value Performance Indicator.

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Computer Aided Design: software programme for the design, drafting and presentation of graphics. Originally designed for manufacturing drawing, now also used for mapping.


A dataset containing information related to landownership and rights. This usually takes she form of maps and descriptions of uniquely identifiable land parcels. For each parcel, legal information such as ownership, easements and mortgages are recorded.


Cadw (Welsh for ‘to keep’) is the historic environment division within the Welsh Assembly Government with responsibility for protecting, conserving and promoting an appreciation of the historic environment of Wales.

Candidate term#

A new term that has been proposed for inclusion in a thesaurus or wordlist.


A map enabled query system for Canmore.


Canmore is the window into the Historic Environment Scotland database. It brings together the results of the survey and collections material into one place and combines location information, site details and images on more than 300,000 archaeological, architectural, maritime and industrial sites throughout Scotland. Through MyCanmore users can add their own information and images to the national collection.

Card-index system#

A topical set of ordered cards maintained to provide an index to a collection: for example a card index to a library might be ordered by author's name.

CARN (Wales)#

Core Archaeological Record Index. The CARN database was developed as a public entry point to the Extended National Database for Wales, a national information resource for archaeology and architecture compiled by archaeological organisations across Wales. It has been superseded by the Historic Wales website.


Council for British Archaeology.


Countryside Character Network.


The Countryside Council for Wales was the statutory body which achieved, enabled and promoted nature conservation in Wales. It was responsible, with Cadw, for the compilation and maintenance of the Part 2 Register of Historic Landscapes in Wales and for administering the early years of the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme. It has now been incorporated into Natural Resources Wales (NRW).


Compact Disc/Compact Disc Read-Only Memory/Compact Disk – Rewritable.


The basic element within a grid or raster dataset.


The centre point of a polygon, often used to attach attribute information to an area such as a census ward. These may be mathematically derived or user defined.


Cultural Heritage National Training Organisation, formerly the MTI.


Comitte International pour la Documentation, Conseil International des Musees: the Documentation Committee of the International Council of Museums.


Chartered Institute for Archaeologists: is the professional organisation for archaeologists in the United Kingdom. It promotes professional standards and ethics for conserving, managing, understanding and promoting enjoyment of heritage. It was know as the IfA before being granted a Royal Charter in 2014.


Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals


Centre for Industrial and Medical Informatics


Countryside Information System


A grouping of terms representing concepts within a general subject area. The terms within a class need not be hierarchically related.

Codes of Practice#

Guidance notes issued by trade associations, professional associations and the like, regarding the conduct of their members.


Coflein is the online databse for the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) – the national collection of information about the historic environment of Wales. The name is derived from the Welsh cof (memory) and lein (line)

Collecting policy#

A policy document which defines the physical material which it is within scope of the HER to collect, this should also include a policy for appropriate disposal of inappropriate material. This document is separate to the recording policy (see below).

Compound term#

A term that is made up of two or more concepts. These are usually divided up into separate terms for each concept except where this affects the meaning or where its use is very well established.

Conservation area#

An area of historical and architectural character whose boundaries have been designated in local plans. Local planning authorities have special planning powers covering these areas which aim to preserve and enhance their character.

Conservation plan#

A plan produced by a local authority which identifies a conservation area and sets out plans for preserving and enhancing it. A Conservation Plan provides a single approach to understanding and managing the cultural significance of a place. It explains why a site is significant and how that significance will be retained in any future use, alteration, development or repair. The same approach can be used for historic gardens, landscapes, buildings, archaeological sites, collections or even a ship and is particularly relevant when a site has more than one type of heritage.


Refers to requests for information and professional advice made by planning authorities, developers, Government agencies and curators.

Co-operation Statement#

A 1998 statement on behalf of the RCHME, ALGAO and English Heritage setting out the current position relating to SMRs and a shared vision for their future development (RCHME, ALGAO and English Heritage 1998).


Numbers representing the position of a point relative to an origin. Cartesian co-ordinates express the location in two or three dimensions as the perpendicular distances from two or three orthogonal axes. Legal rights associated with the originators of material.


Land cover data.


Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. COSLA is the representative voice of Scottish local government and also acts as the employer’s association on behalf of all Scottish Councils.

Countryside Stewardship#

The new environmental land management scheme replacing Environmental Stewardship, the English Woodland Grant Scheme and capital grants from the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme in 2015. Countryside Stewardship provides targeted funding to farmers and other land managers who deliver effective environmental management on their land.


Continuous Performance Assessment


Continuous Professional Development


Contextual Resource Evaluation Environment consortium.


Cultural Resource Management.



Conceptual Reference Model.


Council for Scottish Archaeology - former name for Archaeology Scotland.


Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs maintained by the Landscape Modelling Unit (formerly Cambridge University Committee on Aerial Photography): a body which has been involved in undertaking aerial-photographic surveys for archaeological and environmental research and management and which holds an important collection of air photographs.


Museums Archives and Libraries Wales - the former name for MALD (Museums, Archives and Libraries Division of the Welsh Government.

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Diocesan Advisory Committee

Database Rights#

Legal rights associated with the originators of computer databases.

Data capture#

The process of capturing information into a computer system. This may involve direct input from a keyboard, scanning, digitising or transfers of digital data from external sources.

Data dictionary#

A reference work that sets out the data fields or units of information incorporated into a computer system or card index. A data dictionary specifies the information that it is appropriate to record in each field and any wordlists or thesauri to be used.

Data migration#

The planned movement of data to new formats and more recent versions of software.

Data model#

A generalised, user-defined view of data representing the real world and entitles therein. For example, the concepts of monuments and events, and their relationship is a model of 'real world' entitles expressed through a particular organisation of data.

Data standards#

Data standards set out what information it is important to record about a particular subject and how this should be carried out. The aim is to promote consistency in the way in which information is recorded to enable its retrieval.

Data transfer#

Transfer of digital data between one computer system and another.


Development Control.


Department for Communities and Local Government.


Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport


Disabilities Discrimination Act: 1995 Act of Parliament setting out equal rights of the disabled.


Dynamic Data Exchange: a protocol incorporated into the Windows operating system that allows one application to exchange data or to trigger an action in another application.


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. DEFRA was created in June 2001 from the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and from the environmental and countryside business areas of the then Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR).


Digital Elevation Model, or terrain model: a data model used to represent a topographic surface, often based on a grid with height value for each cell, or on a set of irregular triangles (later known as a TIN model).


Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Digital archiving#

Long-term preservation and future use of static digital data.


The process of converting or encoding existing maps from an analogue form (paper) into digital information, usually in the form of Cartesian co-ordinates. This may be via a digitising table or a tablet with a handheld cursor, or via a scanner.

Diocesan archaeologist#

Church of England archaeological adviser.

Disaster plan#

A plan which helps staff to react in the event of a disaster and to cope with the aftermath. The process identifies precautions to reduce the possibility of a disaster, procedures to meet immediate requirements in the event of a disaster and contingency plans for coping with the aftermath.


CBA's Defence of Britain project.


Department of the Environment.


Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) are persistent identifiers used to consistently identify an object such as an electronic document. DOIs have associated metadata which may describe a location, such as a URL, where the object can be found or the creator or publisher of the resource. Even though the metadata about the object may change, the DOI for a document remains fixed over the lifetime of the document.


Data Protection Act: 1998 Act of Parliament setting out the obligations of the holders of personal data to the subjects of that data.

Dublin Core#

A standard content-description model widely used on the internet.


Digital Video or Digital Versatile Disc/Digital Video or Digital Versatile Disc – Read Only Memory.


Digital exchange Format: a proprietary exchange format owned by Autodesk, originally for the transfer of data between CAD systems. Due to its simplicity, it is now widely used in the transfer of vector data between GIS, despite a number of limitations.

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Environmental Archaeology Bibliography.


Europae Archaeologiae Consilium


European Economic Area: includes all member states of the European Union plus some countries with associated status.


European Economic Community.

e-Gov metadata standard#

A list of the elements and refinements that will be used by the public sector to create metadata for information resources. It also gives guidance on the purpose and use of each element.


See English Heritage


Environmental Information Regulations, 2004.


European Landscape Convention


Entry Level Agri-Environment Scheme


Event-Monument-Archive model, see EMS.

EMS Events-monuments-source data model#

A logical data model which divides information about the historic environment into site investigation (event), site interpretation (monument) and reference sources. (Formerly known as EMA – Event-Monument-Archive)


A software interface between the operating system and the data together with the program needed to read it.


Extended National Database for Wales


National Association for Gallery Education.

English Heritage#

An independent charity looking after the National Heritage Collection on behalf of The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. Prior to April 2015 English Heritage was a non departmental government body and included statutory responsibilities, this part of English Heritage became a new organisation Historic England.

English Nature#

The statutory body which achieves, enables and promotes nature conservation in England.

Environmental record#

Records of the natural environment.

Environmental Stewardship#

Includes Mid-Tier (formerly known as Entry-level (ELS)) and Higher-Tier (formerly known as Higher Level (HLS)) in England, Tir Cynnal and Tir Gofal (in Wales) and Rural Stewardship Scheme in Scotland. Environmental Stewardship schemes are agri-environment schemes which provide funding to farmers and other land managers who deliver effective environmental management on their land.

ERDAS Imagine#

Imaging software product used with GIS.

ER Mapper#

Imaging software product used with GIS.


Environmentally Sensitive Area (designated by MAFF).


GIS and mapping software supplier which produces the Arc suit of products.

ETRS 89#

European Terrestrial Reference Framework.

Excavation Index#

Historic England's record of archaeological interventions in England.

exeGesIS SDM Ltd#

A commercial company which specialises in desktop mapping and text database solutions for conservation, environmental and local government organisations including the HER application HBSMR.

Extended National Database#

The Extended National Database for Wales was a physical set of data contributed by a partnership of national and regional record keepers, and which was primarily used for management purposes by those contributing bodies. It has now largely been replaced by internet data sharing technologies with the partnership of contributors now being incorporated into the Records Co-ordination Group of Cadw's Strategic Planning Board.

Extensive Urban Survey#

The Extensive Urban Surveys (EUS) project is part of a national programme of surveys of the archaeology, topography and historic buildings of England’s historic towns and cities, supported by Historic England. The programme was launched in 1992 and is usually undertaken at a Local Authority level. The outputs include reports on historic towns within an area and the enhancement of the HER.


European Union.

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Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers. An organisation of archaeological employers and managers that represents their interests within the profession and the business world


In computing, a firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall typically establishes a barrier between a trusted, secure internal network and another outside network.


Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (formerly FISHEN): a working party established to decide on terminology and develop wordlists and thesauri to be used in association with the MIDAS units of information.

FISH Interoperability Toolkit#

The FISH Interoperability Toolkit is a suite of tools which can assist with the process of moving large amounts of data between a wide range of information systems used to record the historic environment. Produced on behalf of FISH with funding from English Heritage (now called Historic England), the toolkit was first developed by Oxford ArchDigital in 2004 and redeveloped in 2012 by the Archaeology Data Service (ADS). The FISH Toolkit is hosted by the ADS.

FISH Terminology Working Group#

The Forum for Information Standards in Heritage Terminology Working Group (FISH TWG) is a sub-group of FISH, which helps support thesauri development within the heritage sector.


A computer record system based on a single data table in which a record consists of a row of data fields.


Finds Liaison Officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.


The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities. It does this in two ways; firstly, public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities; and secondly, members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities. The Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Recorded information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or video recordings.

Forward plan#

A management plan which takes stock of the current situation and sets out plans for the future.

Free Text Search#

A query made where there is no control of the terminology that is searched upon: for example a search on 'house' would find any instance where the word is used regardless of its context such as ‘terraced house’ or ‘house of correction’.

Freedom of access to information on the environment#

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The Regulations are derived from European law (EC Directive 2003/4/CE) on public access to environmental information in the UK. The principle behind the law is that giving the public access to environmental information will encourage greater awareness of issues that affect the environment. Greater awareness helps increase public participation in decision-making; it makes public bodies more accountable and transparent and it builds public confidence and trust in them. Replaced the repealed 1990 EC directive (90/313/EEC) concerning public access to information on the environment, implemented in Great Britain through the 1992 Environmental Information Regulations (SI 1447) by the DETR. Under these regulations environmental information relates to the state of any' water or air, flora or fauna, soil, natural or other land. The 'state' includes physical, chemical and biological conditions in the past, present and future. The 'land' includes all land surfaces, buildings, land covered by water and underground strata.


File Transfer Protocol: a way of transferring digital data between source and destination systems.


Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group Association. The Association represents local Farming & Wildlife Advisory Groups (FWAGs) across the UK. These groups help British farmers by providing independent environmental advice to help to understand the environmental value of their land and make the most of the agri-environment options available.

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A list of place names with their associated location, normally given as a grid reference. Gazetteers are published by the OS and other mapmakers and are used as an aid to finding the location of a place on a map sheet. In archaeology, gazetteers of site names and their locations are often included in journals and other publications. Gazetteers have a specific use in GIS, described separately.


In a GIS system, a gazetteer is a list of spatial entities, such as properties, or streets, held with their co-ordinates. Gazetteers are used in GIS for rapidly displaying a particular area on screen and also for searches. The gazetteer often forms the core of larger GIS-based applications, such as the National Land Information Service.


The Group for Education in Museums champions excellence in heritage learning to improve the education, health and well-being of the general public.


The element in a database used to identify the location of a particular record, for example, a postcode.


Geocoding is the process of converting addresses into geographic coordinates which can be used to place markers on a map, or position the map.

Geodetic datum#

A set of parameters defining co-ordinates for all parts of the earth. For example, WGS 84 is the World Geodetic System for 1984. Varying datums are used to produce better local ‘fit’ of a spheroid (a ‘squashed’ sphere) to the actual shape of the earth – the geoid.


GIS Software produced by Intergraph.


GEo-spatial Metadata INteroperability Initiative or ‘UK GEMINI’ is a specification for a set of metadata elements for describing geospatial data resources for discovery purposes. It has been produced and is maintained by an AGI Standards Committee. It is a free of charge resource provided by the AGI for the benefit of the GI community.


A metadata Standard that replaced NGDF. Gigateway was closed down on 31 March 2011 having reached the end of its useful life. It was replaced by a new metadata service as part of UK Location. Guidance on the use and operation of the new service can be found on the website. These developments are part of the UK’s implementation of the INSPIRE directive and UK Location Strategy.


A Geographic Information System is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on the Earth's surface. GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map. This enables people to more easily see, analyse, and understand patterns and relationships.


Glastir is the all-Wales agri-environment scheme which replaced Tir Gofal in 2012. The scheme operates an Entry and Advanced levels and is run by the Welsh Government and now incorporates Woodland Creation, Woodland Management and Woodland Restoration elements formerly offered by the Forestry Commission's Better Woodland for Wales Scheme.


Geography Markup Language is the XML grammar defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium to express geographical features. GML serves as a modelling language for geographic systems as well as an open interchange format for geographic transactions on the Internet. Key to GML's utility is its ability to integrate all forms of geographic information, including not only conventional "vector" or discrete objects, but coverages and sensor data.


Global Positioning System: a position-finding system which uses radio receivers to pick up signals from four or more special satellites and compute WGS co-ordinates for the receiver.

Grandfather, father, son backup system#

A method for storing previous generations of data that are continuously updated, sometimes know as GFS

Grouping term#

A broader term used to gather a group of terms together but not to be used in recording.


Graphical User Interface is a type of interface that allows computer users to interact with electronic devices through graphical or pictoral icons and visual indicators such as buttons or secondary notation, as opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation.

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Historic Area Assessment: a method of studying historic landscapes of widely different types for a variety of purposes, including education and academic study, but most often to inform the management of change.


Heritage at Risk: a collective term applied to 'designated' heritage assets that are at risk as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development, or are vulnerable to becoming so.


Historic Buildings Records: a name used for local-authority records providing an information-management tool for both listed buildings and other buildings of local and regional historical interest.


A software package for HERs that implements the MIDAS data standard which was jointly developed by the RCHME (now Historic England) and exeGesIS SDM Ltd in partnership with ALGAO. An earlier version was called SMR.


Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland. The Council provides independent strategic advice to Scottish Ministers on issues affecting the historic environment.


Historic Environment Countryside Advisor.


Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland.


Historic Environment Farm Environment Record. Information on the historic environment features of interest within a defined area (typically a farm) submitted as part of a Countryside Stewardship application. The HEFER derives from the SHINE dataset and may include management advice.


Historic Environment Information Resources Network: a consortium of UK bodies hosted by the CBA seeking to co-ordinate inter-operability between information systems relating to the historic environment.


Historic Environment Information Resources: organisations with information systems relating to archaeology and the historic environment.


Historic Environment – Local Management/ HELM provides accessible information, training and guidance to decision makers in local authorities, regional agencies and national organisations whose actions affect the historic environment. Working with key partners, HELM aims to provide the tools to manage change in the historic environment with increased skill and confidence. English Heritage promotes the need for properly resourced and actively consulted historic environment departments, conservation officers, archaeologists and historic environment records. More than 40% of local authorities have now appointed historic environment champions to provide leadership on heritage issues.


Historic Environment Record: information services that provide access to comprehensive and dynamic resources relating to the archaeology and historic built environment of a defined geographic area.

HER Forum#

Historic Environment Records Forum, co-ordinated by Historic England and ALGAO (and formerly named SMR Forum), is a discussion forum for HER professionals. Discussions are held through an e-mail discussion list and twice-yearly meetings. Its Newsletter HER News is now part of the Heritage Gateway.

HER News#

Former newsletter of the HER Forum, which was published twice a year by English Heritage. It now part of the Heritage Gateway.

Heritage Asset#

A building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest.

National cultural heritage thesauri and vocabularies have acted as standards for use by both national organisations and local authority Historic Environment Records but until now have lacked the persistent Linked Open Data (LOD) URIs that would allow them to act as vocabulary hubs for the Web of Data. Through the SENESCHAL project key vocabularies from the England, Scotland and Wales have been published as linked open Data with persistent URIs. For more information visit the Heritage Data Linked Data Vocabularies for Cultural Heritage website.

Heritage 2020#

Heritage 2020: strategic priorities for England’s historic environment 2015-2020 is a sector wide framework which sets out how heritage organisations across England can work together add value to the work of individual bodies following on from the NHPP.

Heritage Gateway#

Historic England co-ordinates a partnership project with ALGAO and the IHBC to maintain a portal to local and national historic environment resources including the National Heritage List for England (NHLE), the National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) and local authority Historic Environment Records (HERs) by facilitating distributed searches to provide a rich and diverse experience to users wishing to explore England’s archaeological and architectural heritage.


Heros (Historic Environment Record Open System) is the name for the partnership of archaeological curators, originally formed by the Welsh Archaeological Trusts, that produce the open source Wales Historic Environment Record and Archwilio data management software systems.


Historic Environment Scotland (HES) was created in 2015 by bringing together Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. HES is the lead public body set up to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment.


The Heritage Information Access Strategy (HIAS) is an initiative and programme of work intended to secure an improved and more cost effective approach to the handling of digital historic environment data by Historic England and our partners in local authority historic environment records. The vision for the strategy is to create a single, logical, digital and shared national heritage record.

Hierarchical wordlist#

A wordlist containing a hierarchy but no other form of relationship.


An arrangement of terms showing broader and narrower relationships between the terms.

Historic buildings#

Buildings which are of national, regional and local historic interest, including listed buildings.

Historic England#

A non departmental government body which has statutory responsibilities involving designation, planning, grants etc as well as investigation, survey and supporting HERs in England.

Historic Environment Scotland#


Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland#

Our Place in Time – The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland (2014) is a high level framework which sets out a 10 year vision for the historic environment and is owned, not by Government, but by the people of Scotland. It identifies a set of strategic priorities which will help to align and prioritise sector activity towards a common goal. It is therefore owned, not by Government, but by the people of Scotland. The key outcome of the Strategy is to ensure that the cultural, social, environmental and economic value of Scotland’s heritage makes a strong contribution to the wellbeing of the nation and its people.

Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016#

The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 augments the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and gives Welsh Ministers certain additional powers in relation to Scheduled Monuments and Listed Buildings. It also places a statutory duty on Welsh Ministers to maintain Welsh HERs.

Historic Scotland#

Historic Scotland was an Agency within the Scottish Government which until 2015 was directly responsible to Scottish Ministers for safeguarding the nation’s built heritage, and promoting its understanding and enjoyment. In 2015 HS merged with RCAHMS to form HES, see also HES.

Historic Wales website#

The Historic Wales website provides access, through a map enabled portal, to combined core data from the National Monuments Record for Wales, the four Regional Welsh HERs of the WATs, Cadw's SAM and Listed Buildings Records and the National Museum Wales' artefact records.


Historic Landuse Assessment: an analysis of past and present land use in Scotland


HLAMAP is a web-based presentation of HLA data for Scotland that allows the user to view the data by Historic Land-use Type, Period or Category as well as by Relict Period and to print out a report of any selected area.


Historic Landscape Characterisation involves applying to aspects of landscape a long-established archaeological and historical method, the classifying and interpreting of material through identifying and describing essential or distinguishing patterns, features and qualities, or attributes.


Heritage Lottery Fund: the body which distributes a share of the income from the National Lottery to projects aimed at preserving and making accessible the nation's heritage.


Higher Level Agri-Environment Scheme


Homographs are terms that have the same spelling but different meanings. The meanings are usually differentiated from each other by using a qualifier within round brackets after the term, for example Bank (Financial) and Bank (Earthwork).

Howell and Redesdale Review#

A report examining the current situation facing local authority archaeology and wider historic environment services in England, particularly with reference to the role they play in fulfilling the requirements of the planning system.


Heritage Partnership Agreement: A statutory agreement which sets out an understanding of the significance of a listed building (or buildings) and agreed methodologies for routine works. The agreement can reduce the number of occasions when listed building consent is required.


Heritage Protection Reform.


High Water Mark.


Document files prepared in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) for, use on the World Wide Web. These documents incorporate text with links to images, digital data and other documents.

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International Council on Monuments and Sites: the international body responsible for preparing reports on sites proposed for inclusion on the World Heritage list for consideration by the World Heritage Committee.


Informing the Future of the Past.


Inter Governmental Group on Geographic Information.


Institute of Historic Building Conservation. IHBC is the professional institute which represents conservation professionals in the public and private sectors in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Institute exists to establish the highest standards of conservation practice to support the effective protection and enhancement of the historic environment.


Investors in People: the national standard for investing in all employees. It was drawn up after research into the UK's most successful organisations found common factors in their success: good communication, effective planning, and valuing every member of staff.


Inspiring Learning For All: an MLA produced framework that enables the ways in which museums, archives and libraries engage users in learning to be examined and evaluated.

Images of England#

Images of England was an English Heritage, HLF funded project to put a photograph of every Listed Building on the internet. It is still accessible via the Heritage Gateway.


ERDAS Imagine is a remote sensing application with raster graphics editor abilities designed for geospatial applications. It is aimed mainly at geospatial raster data processing and allows users to prepare, display and enhance digital images for mapping use in geographic information systems and computer-aided design software.


The national heritage reference dataset, a collection of wordlists and thesauri developed by various heritage bodies, both national and regional, that are recommended for use in conjunction with MIDAS.


The INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe) Directive (2007) mandates all European Union member states to share environmentally related datasets so that they can be easily accessed by other public organisations within their own country and in surrounding European countries. Key to delivering INSPIRE is the establishment of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs). SDIs embrace the policies, human resources and related activities needed to acquire, process distribute, use maintain and preserve spatial data.

Intensive urban surveys#

Historic England programme leading directly to the creation of UADs.


A global communications network made up of millions of computers. Access to the World Wide Web and electronic mail or 'email' are normally considered as the most important internet services.


Closed computer networks that are established by organisations to serve the computing needs of their staff.


Association for Industrial Archaeology's 'Index Record for Industrial Sites'.


International Standard Book Number.


International Standards Organisation.


Internet Service Provider: an organisation that offers services including access to the World Wide Web and email.


Information technology.


Integrated Transport Network.

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Land Management Information Service.


Local Area Network: a computer network maintained by an organisation to connect computers within a building or a single site.

Landform Profile#

OS vector dataset.


OS vector dataset.


A spatial reference system for the earth's surface. Latitude is an angular measurement N or S of the equator, longitude is an angular measurement E or W of the meridian at Greenwich, UK.

LB Online#

LB Online is a version of LBS accessible to Local Authorities and Statutory Amenity Societies via the internet.


English Heritage's Listed Building System: a computer database of the List of Buildings of special architectural or historical interest.


Listed Building System. The LBS is the EH database for managing information on Listed Buildings.


Landscape Character Assessment. (See also HLC above)


Landscape Character Types

Lead Role#

Refers to the lead role in respect of HERs in England for national Government currently held by English Heritage.


Local Government Association. The LGA promotes the interests of English and Welsh local authorities. It aims to put local councils at the heart of the drive to improve public services and to work with government to ensure that the policy, legislative and financial context in which they operate supports that objective.


Local Government Management Board.


Local Government Reorganisation.


Local Heritage Initiative: a national grant scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Nationwide Building Society to help people care for their local landscape, landmarks and traditions. The national scheme followed Countryside Agency pilot projects, which ranged from lime-kilns to local histories, wildlife sites to walls and way marks.


A form of agreement between two parties in which one party is permitted to carry out some action by another. For example, an OS licence permits the licence-holder to use or copy OS maps within specified conditions.

Linked Data#

Linked Data is about using the Web to connect related data that wasn't previously linked, or using the Web to lower the barriers to linking data currently linked using other methods. Linked Data describes best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs and RDF. For more information see the Linked Data website.

Listed buildings#

Buildings of special architectural or historical interest included in the Lists published by the DCMS.


The process of identifying buildings of architectural or historical interest and publishing them on the Listed Buildings list.


Local Planning Authority.


Learning and Skills Council. The LSC is responsible for funding and planning education and training for over 16-year-olds in England

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Institute which researches the interactions between society and land use.


Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.


Multi-Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside: this brings together spatial information form a number of key environmental schemes and designations from six government organisations. The MAGIC partners are: DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), English Heritage, Natural England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Department for Communities and Local Government..

MALD (Museums, Archives and Libraries Division)#

MALD (Museums, Archives and Libraries Division) is the division of Welsh government supporting museums, archives and libraries across Wales. Formerly known as CyMAL


GIS software used produced by the MapInfo Corporation.

Map projection#

A mathematical model used to convert three-dimensional reality into two dimensions for representation on a map, or within a two dimensional GIS database. All map projections have particular strengths: some preserve shape, others preserve distance, area and direction. All projections have limitations of which users should be aware.

Map scale#

The measure of reduction between the representation and the reality, be it a map or a spatial database. Scale is usually represented as a representative fraction of distance (for example 1:50,000, one unit of distance on the map representing 50,000 units in reality). The nominal scale of a spatial dataset has considerable influence over the possible application of the dataset. For example, it would not be sensible to compare data captured at a nominal scale of 1:625,000 with data captured at 1:1,250.


GIS software package.


Monuments at Risk Survey: funded by English Heritage and run by Bournemouth University.


The OS large scale digital mapping product.


A UK-wide organisation which supports the development and application of cultural information-management standards for museums and similar organisations (formerly the Museums Documentation Association).


The Marine Environment Data and Information Network (MEDIN) is a partnership of public and private sector UK organisations set up to promote good governance of marine survey data. Marine data is expensive to collect and provides a unique snapshot in time and location of the richness and condition of Scotland’s coasts and seas. MEDIN encourages the consistent application of standards to improve discovery of, access to and re-use of geographical data across the marine industry through a series of Accredited Data Archive Centres (DACs).


GiGateway metadata product.


Museums and Galleries Commission: the national body with responsibility for promoting standards in museums. The MGC was replaced by MLAC and then renamed Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries in April 2000.


Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.


Monument Inventory Data Standard, was the original data standard for inventories of monuments. It was agreed by representatives from organisations directly involved in the recording of England's monuments working together as the Data Standards Working Party, now FISH. MIDAS is a 'content' standard. Revised and re-issued as MIDAS Heritage in 2012.

MIDAS Heritage#

MIDAS Heritage (previously referred to as MIDAS is a British cultural heritage standard for recording information on buildings, archaeological sites, shipwrecks, parks and gardens, battlefields, areas of interest and artefacts. Maintained and managed by FISH. The data standard suggests the minimum level of information needed for recording heritage assets and covers the procedures involved in understanding, protecting and managing these assets. It also provides guidelines on how to support effective sharing of knowledge, data retrieval and long-term preservation of data.


Member of the Institute for Archaeologists.


A recommendation made by a conservation professional to mitigate any adverse impacts which may result from a development proposal.


Museums, Libraries and Archives Council: established to replace the former MGC on 1 April 2000 and immediately renamed Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, The name Resource has since been dropped in favour of MLA. MLA is the strategic body working with and for museums, archives and libraries, tapping the potential for collaboration between them. The organisation replaces the Museums and Galleries Commission (MGC) and the Library and Information Commission (LIC) and now includes archives within its portfolio.


Ministry of Defence.


An input-output device which is used to transmit and receive digital signals between computers across the internet.


A computer database developed for the RCHME (now English Heritage) to hold text-based information about monuments, archives and events. This was replaced by NewHIS, and now by AMIE.

Monument record#

A record in a card index or computer database which describes and indexes an interpretation of the archaeological or architectural features represented on a site.


Monuments Protection Programme: an English Heritage programme of site evaluation with the aim of adding to the schedule of nationally important Scheduled Monuments.


Manpower Services Commission: a government agency which funded programmes with the aim of giving work experience to people who had been unemployed for long periods of time. Many local government organisations ran MSC-funded schemes to capture information into SMRs.


Museums Training Institute, later CHNTO.


A term used to describe materials available on the internet which incorporate text, images, video clips and sound clips.

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National Assembly for Wales#

The National Assembly for Wales (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru; commonly known as the Welsh Assembly) is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly was created by the Government of Wales Act 1998, which followed a referendum in 1997. It has the power to legislate in 20 devolved areas, including the Historic Environment.


NCAP is the National Collection of Aerial Photography. It is one of the largest collections of aerial imagery in the world, containing tens of millions of aerial images featuring historic events and places around the world. It is the role of NCAP to collect and secure the future of these records, both digital and physical, to preserve them for generations to come, and to make them as accessible and available as possible. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, our operational and development costs are funded through commercial enterprise. For more information see the NCAP website.


National Archaeological Record: based on the card index developed by the OS's Archaeology Division. Passed to the respective Royal Commissions for England (later incorporated into the NRHE), Scotland and Wales in 1983.

National Archaeology Day#

Annual events organised by the CBA's Young Archaeologists Club to offer their members an opportunity to participate in activities organised in partnerships with museums, SMRS, archaeology units and others.

National Character Area#

National Character Areas, or NCAs, divide England into 159 distinct natural areas. Each is defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geodiversity, history, and cultural and economic activity. They are produced by Natural England.

National curriculum#

The curriculum taught in schools to children between the ages of 5 and 16 co-ordinated nationally in England by the Department of Education and in Wales by Learning Wales.

National Heritage Datasets#

A series of computer-based records maintained by English Heritage, including: National Record of the Historic Environment and the National Heritage List for England.

Narrower term#

A term that represents a specific sub-set of the concepts represented by another term. A narrower term can have more than one broader term.

Natural England#

Natural England brings together English Nature, the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service.

Natural Resources Wales#

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) was formed from a merger of the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, and the Forestry Commission Wales, and assumes some other roles formerly taken by Welsh Government. It was formed in 2013.

Negative events#

Archaeological investigations, such as watching briefs and trial trenches, that find no evidence for human activity. These are described and recorded as negative events. They are considered as important in evaluating the potential for human activity in the area or the effectiveness of a particular field technique under certain conditions.


A computer database developed for English Heritage to hold text-based information about monuments, archives and events. This replaced MONARCH, but has been superseded by AMIE.


The National Geospatial Data Framework: a forum for discussion about common spatial descriptions within key geographic databases. The NGDF has produced the UK Standard Geographic Base (UKSGB) and also a metadata standard suitable for use with spatial information.


National Grid Reference: a spatial referencing system for the British Isles developed by the OS. A National Grid Reference locates a point north and east of a point of origin that lies close to the Isles of Scilly.


National Heritage List for England: A list combining historic environment designations together comprising: listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens, registered battlefields, protected wrecks and World Heritage Sites.


National Heritage Protection Plan (England).


National Information Standards Organisation.


National Library of Air Photographs: a collection of vertical and oblique aerial photographs providing complete national coverage of England. Maintained by the English Heritage Archive.


National Mapping Programme: an English Heritage project to map the archaeological resource known from aerial photography and to provide a more reliable framework for classifying and dating sites.


National Monuments Record (England) was a directorate within English Heritage established by the RCHME. The NMREs collections including aerial photographs, ground photographs of buildings and archaeological monuments, plans, sketches and drawings are now curated by The English Heritage Archive. The NMRs databases of monuments and events is now know as The National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE).


National Monuments Record for Scotland referred to the record, collections and public service of RCAHMS. Canmore provides online public access to the information held in RCAHMS sites and Collections.


National Monuments Record (Wales), is the national collection of archaeological and historical archives in Wales. It houses texts, plans, drawings, surveys, ground and aerial photographs of buildings and archaeological monuments and is curated by the Royal Commission on Ancient Historical Monuments in Wales (RCAHMW)in Aberystwyth. Information from the NMRW is accessible digitally via Coflein and the Historic Wales websites


National Museum Wales. Formerly known as the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, the National Museum was originally founded in 1905 in Cardiff. It now incorporates a number of sites including the national history and archaeology collections based at the St Fagans National History Museum.


A basic spatial entity within the vector data model which represents the beginning or end of segment.


New Opportunities Fund: one of the agencies established by the Government to distribute funds from the National Lottery.

Non-preferred term#

A term that cannot be selected for indexing or retrieval, it is treated as synonymous with another term, the preferred term.


National Occupational Standards, form the basis of the Government's strategy for vocational qualifications and training.


North of Scotland Archaeological Service.

Noun phrase#

A phrase which acts in the same way as a noun. Terms in wordlists consist of nouns and/or noun phrases.


National Planning Policy Framework. The NPPF is supported by Planning Practice Guidance.


National Planning Policy Guideline (Scotland)


National Record of the Historic Environment, a database of monuments and recording events in England maintained by English Heritage and available online via the PastScape Website.

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On-line Access to the Index of Archaeological Interventions: a partnership project between English Heritage and the ADS funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme.


Optical Character Recognition.


Open Database Connectivity: a set of protocols that allows a database application held on a client machine to interact with a different database application held on a server across a network. For example, using ODBC an Access database on a work station can query and exchange data with an Oracle'database on a network server.


Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, see DCLG.


Online Guide to Archaeological Research: maintained by the CBA.


Object Linking and Embedding: a protocol that is incorporated into the Windows operating system. It allows programs to communicate with each other and is used to link or embed objects creating a compound document, for example an Access form might contain a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet or a Maplnfo workspace. Linking means that data is retrieved from its original file. Embedding means that data from the original file is copied into the compound document.

One Scotland, One Geography#

One Scotland – One Geography; a geographic information strategy for Scotland (2005) sets out a proposed approach to the more systematic and effective use of geographic information in the development and delivery of policy and services to the benefit of the people of Scotland.

Oracle Database#

Oracle Database (commonly referred to as Oracle RDBMS or simply as Oracle) is an object-relational database management system.


Ordnance Survey.

OS Archaeology Division#

The division of the Ordnance Survey, established by O G S Crawford in the 1930s, which identified and recorded archaeological sites and monuments for inclusion on Ordnance Survey maps. The Division was disbanded in 1983 and its responsibilities and archives passed to the three UK Royal Commissions (RCHME, RCAHMS, RCAHMW).

OS card index#

Card index of archaeological sites and monuments formerly maintained by the OS Archaeology Division.


OS map projection.


National Geoid Model.


National Grid Transformation.


Oxford University Committee for Archaeology

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P #

PaG #

See Registered Parks and Gardens also used as short hand for the Parks and Gardens Registration System.


Positional Accuracy Improvement Programme completed by the (OS) in 2006.


Planning Advice Note (Scotland)

Passwords #

These are codewords, normally made up of a mixture of letters and numbers, that are used to limit entry to computers, networks and other systems to authorised persons.

Pastmap #

PastMap brings together map-based information from many different sources, providing a single point of access to information about the archaeological and architectural sites and landscapes of Scotland. Hosted by Historic Environment Scotland in partnership with Scottish SMR Forum and local government archaeological curators, PastMap includes information about World Heritage Sites, Scheduled Monuments, Listed buildings, Gardens and Designed Landscapes, The Battlefields Register, Conservation Areas, most Local Authority Historic Environment Records and Canmore. For more information visit the Pastmap website.

PastScape #

Online resource developed by Historic England which provides an easy-to-use way to find information about many of England’s ancient and historical sites, buildings and monuments. The information within PastScape is taken directly from the National Record of the Historic Environment. These records contain descriptions of any interesting archaeological details, pictures (where available) and links to maps and aerial photographs on other websites.

PC #

Personal Computer: a desktop computer which incorporates a monitor, keyboard, central processing unit and memory storage space used to run applications software.


Personal Development Plan


Practitioner member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

Pilot project #

A project which is designed to test the effectiveness or potential of a particular approach.

Pixel #

A picture element of a raster image as displayed on a screen or raster plot.


Planning and Archaeology in North West Europe, European funded project.

Planning advice #

Professional advice about the implications of proposed developments.

Planning Policy Wales #

Planning Policy Wales sets out the land use planning policies of the Welsh Government. It is supplemented by a series of Technical Advice Notes and procedural advice given in circulars and policy clarification letters. The approach to the Historic Environment is covered in Chapter 6.

Planning Practice Guidance#

A series of guidance notes produced by government to support the implementation of the NPPF. The Planning Practice Guidance covers a range of topics from advertisements to waste and water supply and includes specific guidance on 'Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment'.

Point #

A spatial entity that represents the simplest geographical element. Represented in the vector data model as a single x, y co-ordinate and in the raster, as a single cell.

Polygon #

A representation of an enclosed region defined by a segment or a series of segments that makes up its boundary. Polygons may have attributes describing the region they represent, such as the period(s) for a historic town.

Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) #

Established by the DCMS with the British Museum to promote the recording of archaeological objects found by metal-detector users and others


Planning Policy Guidance Note: a series of guidance notes issued by the DoE identifying issues to be taken into consideration by local planning authorities. (England)

PPG 15 #

Planning Policy Guidance Note 15: Planning and the Historic Environment, now replaced by the NPPF.

PPG 16 #

Planning Policy Guidance Note 16: Archaeology and Planning, now replaced by the NPPF.

PPS5 #

Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment, this replacedPPG 15 and PPG 16 and has now been replaced itself by the NPPF.

Preferred term #

A term which can be selected for retrieval and can be used for indexing.


Primary Reference Number.

Protected Wreck #

These are wreck sites in UK waters which have been identified and designated for protection by the DCMS.

Public Enquiry #

A process in which evidence may be presented by members of the public and other parties to an official body for review and for their recommendations. The location of new developments (such as roads or airports) is an example of a subject which may go to public enquiry.

Public Record Office #

The national organisation responsible for curating archive collections that include national government papers.

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R #


Royal Air Force: the RAF has been engaged in aerial photography and other remote-sensing techniques since its inception. In the ten years after World War II, the RAF undertook routine aerial-survey programmes to produce vertical photographs for use by the OS in mapmaking.


Redundant Array of Independent Disks.

Raster #

A data structure composed of a grid of cells. Groups of cells represent geographical features; the value in the cell represents the attribute of the feature.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England: the national body established by Royal Warrant in 1908 to compile a record of ancient and historical monuments in England and make recommendations concerning their preservation. In 1999, the RCHME was merged with English Heritage.


Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. In 2015 RCAHMS merged with Historic Scotland to form Historic Environment Scotland (HES). See also HES


The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, is the national body of survey and record. It publishes the results of surveys and investigations into archaeological and historic monuments and buildings and curates the National Monuments Record for Wales (NMRW).


Regional Development Agency, these were set up in 1998 and abolished in 2012.


Relational Database Management System.

Recording policy #

A policy document which defines the breadth and scope of the information recorded in the HER. This document is separate to the collecting policy (see above).

Recording-practice guidelines #

Desk manuals for use in HERs, Historic England and the NMRs that are based around national data standards but which aim to provide practical guidance on how to record in the local situation. They may include guidelines on sources, monument categories, adding and editing records, etc.

Recording standards #

Agreed standards for recording information within a computer system or card index. See Data standards and Data dictionary.

Record map #

This refers to the maps (most commonly at 1:10,000 scale) used to record the location of sites or monuments in HERs/SMRs prior to the introduction of GIS.

Records management #

The function of managing records to meet operational business needs, accountability requirements and community expectations.

Registered Battlefields #

A register of battlefields of special historical interest, to draw attention to the importance of these sites. For English battlefields it is compiled by Historic England.

Registered Parks and Gardens #

A register of parks and gardens of special historical interest, to draw attention to the importance of these sites. For parks and gardens in England it has been compiled by Historic England (formerly English Heritage). Parks and Gardens dating from 1939 or earlier are included in the register and the gardens are graded (I, II* or II) to indicate their interest.

Relational database #

A database which structures data in the form of tables. Each table contains information relevant to a particular feature, and is linked to other tables by a common value. For example, two attribute tables could be lined to a spatial data table via a geocode, such as a postcode, or a unique identifier.

Remote sensing #

The science of acquiring information about the earth using instruments which are remote to the earth's surface, usually from aircraft or satellites (but geophysical information is also relevant). Can provide the ability for the rapid acquisition of data for large areas.

Research frameworks #

Research Frameworks are an agreed set of research topics developed through the collaboration of experts in the field. They help to co-ordinate and prioritise research across the sector.

Resolution #

The resolution of a digital dataset expresses the size of the smallest object which can be depicted. The term is most commonly associated with the raster data model where the resolution of a raster or grid is equal to the size of the cell in the real world.


Royal National Institute for the Blind


Royal National Institute for the Deaf

Rubber Sheeting #

A process which adjusts the relative positions of features within a dataset in a non-linear, or non-uniform way. It is used to transform the co-ordinates of maps with different scales, orientation or co-ordinate systems.

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SHED Strategy#

The Scotland's Historic Environment Data (SHED) Strategy is a sector-wide initiative to improve access to information about Scotland’s historic environment. See SHED


Selected Heritage Inventory for Natural England. A single, nationally consistent dataset of historic environment features across England that could benefit from management through agri-environment schemes.

SMR Forum#

The Scottish SMR Forum is a discussion forum for circulating information and considering issues relating to Historic Environment Records (HERs) and Sites and Monuments Records (SMRs) in Scotland. The forum includes representatives from Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, as well as local authority HERs and SMRs, and others. See SMR Forum



A list of concepts or terms that normally shows equivalence, hierarchical and associative relationships. A thesaurus is a flexible indexing and retrieval tool.

Thesaurus of Building Materials#

A thesaurus of construction materials for monuments relating to the built and buried heritage. Maintained by Historic England and FISH.

Thesaurus of Event Types#

A thesaurus used for recording archaeological and architectural investigative, data collection exercises; from intrusive interventions into the resource to non damaging survey events. Maintained by Historic England and FISH.

Thesaurus of Monument Types#

A thesaurus used for recording most types of monuments relating to the built and buried heritage in England, covering individual heritage assets, complex structures and building assemblages. Maintained by Historic England and FISH.



Urban Archaeological Database: a form of detailed Historic Environment Record coverage, carried out in historic towns and cities which have rich and complex below-ground archaeology. Most UADs now form part of the Historic Environment Record which covers the town or city in question.


Uniform Resource Locator: a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. Also colloquially termed a web address.


Vector Data: #

A GIS file format in which geographical features are expressed as geometrical shapes. Different geographical features are expressed by different types of geometry, including point, line and polygon format.


Welsh Government#

The Welsh Government (Welsh: Llywodraeth Cymru) is the executive of the devolved National Assembly for Wales. The government was established in 1999 as the Welsh Assembly Government by the Government of Wales Act 1998, which created a devolved administration for Wales in line with the result of the 1997 referendum on Welsh devolution. The government is responsible for tabling policy in devolved areas for consideration by the assembly and implementing policy that has been approved by it.


A standard list of terminology used to control information recorded in a specific field in a database.



Extensible Markup Language is a standard for creating markup languages which describe the structure of data. It is not a fixed set of elements like HTML, but rather, it is like SGML (Standard Generalised Markup Language) in that it is a metalanguage, or a language for describing languages. XML enables authors to define their own tags. XML is a formal specification of the World Wide Web Consortium.


United Kingdom Forum for Structured Information Standards