Having stipulated the documentation of the interventions as a basic principle of their works, upon their establishment the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments (ESMA) proceeded to form a documentation archive. Today (2007), 30 years after the works were started, the ESMA Archive, which has developed into the YSMA Documentation Office, comprises a virtual ark containing not only all kinds of documentation that has been produced and continues to be produced in the course of the works, but also documents-reproductions from other archives or donations from third parties related to the history and art of the Acropolis monuments, in particular the earlier interventions. Specifically, the Documentation Office comprises:
Drawing and plan cabinet
This holds all types of drawings that are produced during the course of the work, such as the general drawings that plot the preserved condition of the monuments prior to intervention, the drawings documenting the works on individual architectural members and indicating the interventions under way, technical plans of the organization of the worksites of the monuments or of the mechanical equipment for the work, plans indicating the damage and the surface conservation applied, and sketches. The plan cabinet also holds drawings by various research bodies collaborating from time to time with the ESMA on special projects, research drawings designed by engineers working on site, drawings reporting the diachronical phases of the Acropolis monuments, and copies of plans by other researchers related to the history and workmanship of the monuments. Finally, a special section of the Archive in recent years comprises the plans and drawings made from the start with the use of digital technology.
Here is kept the photographic documentation produced before (at the stage of study of the monuments), during and after completion of the interventions. The photographic documentation comprises black and white photographs to scale with films 120 and 36 mm., colour photographs to scale, colour positives and digital photographs. The photograph cabinet also includes a full series of contact prints of the above photographic material and a large number of printed photographs attached to special reports. Included also are copies of photographs from other archives that concern earlier interventions or the state of preservation of the monuments before the ESMA interventions (for example copies of photographs of the Balanos interventions from the archive of the Archaeological Society, copies of photographs of the Parthenon West Frieze from the decades of 1950 and 1970 from the archives of the Service of Anastelosis of Ancient and Historical Monuments of the then Ministry of National Education and Religion, and of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens etc.), negatives and printed photographs of the conservation and consolidation of the Acropolis monuments (top and slopes of the hill) by the Acropolis Ephorate during the decades of 1960 and 1970. Likewise a number of albums of the seventh decade of the 19th century with pictures of the monuments of Athens, a donation of the German Archaeological Institute in Constantinople.
A special section of the Photograph Cabinet comprises the cinematographic archive of the works. It includes the regular yearly, documentary motion-pictures of the interventions, as well as complete movies on the subject of the works and the monuments of the Acropolis, produced by the YSMA. The archival cinematographic material and the movies exist in negative form, video BETA SP and VHS, DVD disks and sound-track tape recordings.
Archive of written material
This comprises the hand-written daybooks of the works, notes written by the researchers, inventories of the members scattered on the Acropolis (over 18,000 records with written descriptions, drawings and photographs of the members according to the situation), systematic bibliography of reports in archaeological journals and monographs connected with the earlier restoration projects of the Acropolis monuments (some 1180 written records).
This contains the publications of the ESMA and the YSMA, independent volumes of studies and journals (around 900), offprints of articles from journals or collective scholarly publications (some 500) and an extensive appendix with notices from the Daily or Periodical Press about the YSMA interventions on the Acropolis monuments. The books and offprints are mainly specialized on the subject of restoration. A special section of the Library holds the archive of original studies, essays and proposals, which includes some 1500 volumes of typed studies, proposals, reports on progress and reviews of the works of the members of the worksites and of the working sections of the YSMA. In this archive are also the volumes of the Proceedings of the ESMA Conferences.