The Preservation Handbook Online

Table of Contents

I. Preservation
II. Assessment
III. Collection Assessment
IV. Agents of Deterioration
V. Monitoring collections
VI. Materials
VII. Storage
VIII. Conservation
IX. Disaster Planning
X. Housekeeping
XI. Resources / Suppliers
XII. Preservation Grants


Whether you have been given the task of designing a new building, or transforming an existing space into an archival facility site assessment will be the first step to avoid possible threats to your collection. Planning a site assessment will take detailed planning to determine what information your facility will need and how much money has been allotted for the assessment. "Planning is the most important component, because in this phase the basic skeleton of the entire project is formed. What issues must be considered and defined in planning, and in what order? Begin by outlining the goals and objectives of the survey: what kind of information is wanted? Are you interested in learning about general features of the library building itself and their implications for preservation? Are you interested in examining the storage conditions (environment, light, conditions of the stacks)? Do you want information about the nature and condition of the housing of collection (how many acid folders, broken document boxes, etc.) or are you trying to learn the exact condition of the individual items in your care?"iv Following the site assessment, a collection level assessment will be helpful in planning effective preservation measures and possible conservation treatment.


Resources and needs will dictate the detail level an institution assessment involves. Two types of surveys can be utilized depending on desired outcome, qualitative and quantitative.


IV. Smith, M.A. and Garlick, K. (1988) Surveying library collections: a suggested approach with case study. Technical Services Quarterly Vol. 5(2) Hawthorn Press Inc.