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Writing and using a preservation policy

This Preservation Advisory Centre training day was held at the British Library Centre for Conservation on 11 June 2012.

A preservation policy provides a framework for thinking about the long-term aspects of collections management. This development day on preservation policies explains the purpose and benefits of a preservation policy, provides guidance on writing a policy for your organisation and gives examples of how policies are used by a number of different organisations. By the end of the day, participants will be able to: define what is meant by preservation explain what a preservation policy is and how this links to other strategic and business planning documents identify what needs to be included in a preservation policy describe issues that need to be considered when implementing a preservation policy create an action plan for writing or reviewing their own organisation's preservation policy.

Previous attendees found that the day helped with 'distinctions between policy, strategy, guidelines and action plans'; and provided 'practical information regarding how to develop an effective policy and what to include/exclude from it'. The day is led by preservation and collections management consultant Jonathan Rhys-Lewis (ACR).


Why did you attend this training day?

  • We do not have any policies in place at the moment so would like to learn as much as possible as we have many preservation issues such as mould, damp, red rot which need addressing.
  • Recently moved to a new store. Opportunity to update and improve policy. What to include/exclude.
  • To enable me to write a preservation policy for our special collections and archives.
  • Find out how develop a concise and relevant policy.

What did you learn?

  • A great deal about how the success of a preservation policy depends on its integration within an institution.
  • Difference between policy and strategy. How much/little to include in each.
  • Everything! How to write an effective policy and get buy in for it.
  • How it is not enough to just write a policy - you need to promote/evaluate as well.

What will you do differently as a result of attending this training day?

  • Review current policy document and encourage colleagues to help produce a better version.
  • I will collaborate with other staff and put in place measures to ensure once it is completed it is adhered to e.g. intranet and training.
  • After the policy is complete try to get it signed off as high up the institutional ladder as possible.
  • Start writing a policy.

Other comments

  • Excellent course, very interesting. Excellent presenters.
  • A stimulating day. Now need to get back to base and put the learning into practice.
  • A very helpful event, as usual. Thanks to all.
  • Good pace to the day. Good location.


10.15 Registration
10.25 Welcome and introductions
10.30 Definitions
10.40 Purpose of a preservation policy
11.40 Break
11.50 What to include in a preservation policy
12.50 Lunch
13.45 Format of a preservation policy
14.30 Case study: Frederik Bearman, Preservation Librarian, UCL Library Services
15.00 Break
15.15 Writing exercise
16.00 Implementing a preservation policy
16.30 Discussion and questions
16.45 End