Section 3 Searching for Information

In order to search for data in V-CRIS, you must be logged into the system using either an AH Editor/Viewer (architecture only) or an AH & AE Editor Viewer License (both architecture and archaeology). Data Entry Only licenses will not permit users to search for information. Search is available in the Public Viewer, however results are highly limited and do not include archaeology.

The Data Viewer will open in a new tab. Note different tabs for text-based search, map search, and historic district reports.

NOTE: Make sure you’re logged into VCRIS to see all data. If you navigate to the map viewer when you’re not logged in, you’ll see the public map viewer. This view of VCRIS does not include archaeology, individual architecture polygons, or details about sites or properties.

3.1 Searching by text attribute

The data viewer opens by default to text search on the archaeology tab. Additional fields will display using the Show Advanced Search Options check box.

Enter desired parameters. Most text search boxes perform a “begins with” search. For instance, 127-060 entered in the DHR ID field will return all records that have a DHR ID or an Other DHR ID that begins with the digits 127-060. Querying archaeology DHR ID by 44FX would return all records with a Fairfax County site number in DHR ID or Other DHR ID. Select multiple time periods for archaeology by holding down the Shift key while clicking several choices.

Field Query Type Details
DHR ID Begins With “FQ” won’t return records, but “44FQ” will return all records with that site number or Other DHR ID field.
Site Name Contains, Exact Phrase “Charles” returns sites with the word “Charles” anywhere in the name. Multiple words must be present in order. For example, “Charles Site” returns no result, although there is one record called Harris (Charles) Site
County/Independent City Select One, Contains Results that span multiple localities will be included.
Project Review File Number Begins With Known issue: This parameter doesn’t currently return results.
CRM Report Number Contains Different results are obtained for “AB,”, “AB-167,” “167,” and “16.”
Site/Component Category Select One, Contains Results that include multiple component categories will be included.
Site/Component Type: Select One, Contains Results that include multiple component types will be included.
Time Period Multi Select, Contains Select adjacent time periods. Returned records will contain all selected, but may contain additional periods.
Cultural Affiliation Select One, Contains Results that include multiple cultural affiliations will be included.
Survey Event Type: Select One, Contains Results that include multiple survey event types will be included.
National Register Eligibility & Staff Events Select One, Contains Returns any matching staff event, not only active evaluation status. For accurate status, consult the CRM Events portion of the site form.
Artifacts Contains, Exact Phrase Search by keyword/phrase in Artifacts Summary and Diagnostics and Summary of Specimens Observed, Not Collected. Terms must appear in order. Ex: Querying for “blue bead” would not return a record containing “bead, blue”
Comments Contains, Exact Phrase Search by keyword/phrase in Surveyor Assessment/Significance Statement, Project/Staff Notes, and Component Comments. Terms must appear in order.

For the best results, limit queries to as few variables as possible.

3.1.1 Results

After your query is executed, results will display in the Results tab. Clicking on an individual row will take you to the details of a record. Checking multiple boxes will enable PDF printing of multiple site forms or architectural records. Export Results will create an excel spreadsheet of all search results with many useful attributes.

3.1.2 Details

Clicking on the Details tab will display all the information on a DHR site form or property record in a screen-friendly format. Images and other files may be available in the File Attachments tab. To generate a printable version of the site form or property record, click the Printer Friendly PDF link.

The View in Map link will take you straight to the site or property in the map viewer. You can move back and forth between searches and results with the tabs.

3.2 Searching by map

3.2.1 Task: Searching for historic properties within an Area of Potential Effect

From the map, zoom to an area of interest. You can use the Address text bar or Tools Zoom to XY.

Methods of identifying features:

One-Click Identify – This displays basic information for the topmost feature visible. When working within districts, be aware that you might be seeing information for a larger shape.

Tools Identify

  • Custom Shape – identifies features within a polygon.

  • Point – drills down through multiple features to identify all overlapping features.

  • Buffer – creates a circular buffer around a point (for polygon buffers, see Markup below).

Tools Markup

Identifying your A.P.E and features within/around it

Select Polygon from the Markup menu.

Draw a shape, double-click to finish. Click Save and then What’s Nearby.

Enter your buffer parameters. This will select features inside your shape and within the designated buffer distance.

Notice that your buffered area now appears as a blue dashed line and results of your search display in the pane on the left.

For each layer you need, click Tools to see options for export to a spreadsheet or generating PDF records, depending on your requirements.

Interpreting Results

Evaluation Status refers to DHR’s concurrence decisions. A status of null indicates that a site or property has not yet been evaluated for its eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mapped boundaries are variable in accuracy. Our inventory has been growing for over 50 years. Some boundaries may be based on conjecture or digitization of imprecise hand-drawn boundaries. Consider each record to understand the degree of possible error.

Creating a Map of your Search Results

Checking the boxes beside each item in the results pane will highlight the feature green. In Map Layers, turn on and off labeling to see what is legible. Often this functionality will produce clear map.

The Print tool will generate a PDF map with a title, scale, legend, and North arrow. You can pan and zoom your map view around to adjust the output.

3.3 CRM Reports in VCRIS

Note: CRM Report Search works best with up-to-date browsers like Firefox and Chrome. Older versions of Internet Explorer might experience problems.

VCRIS includes the ability to search for gray literature/CRM reports in our archives. While about half of DHR’s gray literature collection is currently digitized, search in VCRIS will return results for our full collection to aid in research and will be updated on a roughly monthly basis. Users may download a .zip file containing PDFs and any accompanying files for individual digitized reports. CRM Reports in VCRIS are not currently connected to individual DHR IDs (archaeology site numbers or architecture property numbers) or to VCRIS projects; however this is a high priority for future enhancements.

How to Find and Download CRM Reports

Fom an individual site or property record, click Associated Files. If reports are available related to that DHR ID (as identified by our Archives database and VCRIS), there will be a CRM Reports link visible at the top of the screen.

CRM Reports Link

CRM Reports Link

From the Data Viewer, click the CRM Reports tab.

CRM Reports Tab

CRM Reports Tab

Enter desired parameters into the search box and click “Apply Filters” to search:

Search Parameters

Search Parameters

Your search results will be displayed. Click on an individual line to see bibliographic details and download files (if available) for a CRM Report record. If the .zip “Report Archive” icon is present, click it to download the CRM report PDF and any accompanying files.

Report Details

Report Details

To download a full table (CSV format) of DHR’s report holdings without logging in to VCRIS, visit

More reports will be added to VCRIS periodically. Contact DHR’s Archivist with questions.

Quatro Hubbard, Archivist
(804) 482-6102