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Knowing the need

Knowing the need: optimising preservation for library and archive collections February 2013 (PDF format) 1.16MB

Building on the findings of the 2006 report, Knowing the need: optimising preservation for library and archive collections uses evidence from 86 Preservation Assessment Surveys carried out between 2006 and 2011 to provide an overview of the strengths and weaknesses in preservation practice, and the actions that need to be taken to ensure the long-term usability of collections.

The report recommends action in three areas to improve the long-term usability of collections and to optimise the application of preservation strategies.

1. Organisations must gain a greater understanding of their collections, in particular:

  • the materials, their vulnerabilities and tolerances
  • demand levels, taking into account any future programmes to increase use
  • existing condition and usability.

2. Weaknesses in preservation practice in the areas of storage environmental practice and emergency control planning should be addressed.

  • Routine preservation housekeeping activity, particularly cleaning of storage areas and appropriate storage furniture for diverse collection items should be in place.
  • Organisations should capitalise on the opportunity presented by the release of new guidelines to improve environmental practice, to target improvements towards items in greatest need, and to achieve greater energy efficiency.
  • Emergency control plans should be regularly reviewed and staff trained in their implementation.

3. Surrogacy should be re-examined as a preservation strategy.

  • Clarity should be achieved on the application of surrogacy as a preservation strategy.
  • Clarity should be achieved on the requirements for a digital object to act as a preservation surrogate.
  • Existing centralised resources listing the availability of surrogates should be investigated as a means of informing surrogacy and digitisation programmes.

Update - 20 March 2013