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Actions for access: tools to prioritize
within collection care

This Preservation Advisory Centre/RLUK training day was held on 9 December 2011 at the British Library Centre for Conservation.

In all organisations, and especially in cash-straitened times, priorities in collection care have to be established. Organisations have to choose what is most important to protect and make available to use and choose which preservation actions will most effectively achieve their aim of long-term access to collections in libraries and archives. This event looks at a selection of tools used to establish the priorities in collection care allowing participants to consider how the tools could be used in their own organisations. By the end of the day, participants will be able to:

  • Give examples of tools used to establish priorities in collection care
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of prioritization tools
  • Decide on the appropriateness of using either a predetermined or custom tool
  • Recognise how tools could be used in their own organisations.


Why did you attend this training day?

  • To learn tools that will assist in prioritizing our collection care. We are reviewing our closed access store collections in the near future. Prioritization will be an important aspect of this review.
  • Planning for new fit for purpose storage area for special collections - how tools could help to ensure we use this opportunity to make improvements as much as possible.
  • To get a greater awareness of collections/preservation management tools, so I can contribute to their implementation/use within the library.
  • To look at bigger picture and to see how conservation fits into collection care. Explore prioritization tools.
  • Start of new position for me where I am instigating conservation at my institution. I am interested in PAS and survey tools and how they can inform our conservation programme.

What did you learn?

  • I learned that there are a variety of off the shelf tools that can assist in prioritizing collection care. I also learned that bespoke tools can also be just as useful depending on the size and needs of your organisation.
  • Tips for creating my own database and surveying. About the RAPT tool, which I didn't know about previously.
  • Differences between Benchmarks and PAS. When I would use the different tools and how to plan for a collection care survey - determine end goals.
  • I learnt the importance of using nationally recognised collection tools to assess collections.
  • A lot - to be honest I only had a vague idea of the content and methodology of preservation assessments.

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

  • Implement a survey asap and take the opportunity to look at whole collection rather than a bitty approach.
  • I will be able to inform and train staff and volunteers and set a target date for survey and completion.
  • Raise issues and share with those in estates who are planning a BS compliant store. Review risks for this process in the longer term.
  • Possibly wouldn't take a different approach from what I had been planning, but I feel better informed and now know who I can ask when in doubt.
  • I will suggest to senior management that a collection care prioritization plan would be of value and would provide focus in collection care initiatives.


10.15 Registration
10.30 Welcome and introductions
10.40 Principles of prioritization
Alison Faraday, Preservation Advisory Centre
11.00 Preservation Assessment Survey
Julia Foster, Preservation Advisory Centre
11.50 Break
12.10 Benchmarks in Collection Care
Jane Thompson-Webb, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Creating a bespoke tool to survey a collection
Penny Bonning, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
14.20 Risk Awareness Profiling Tool
Tanya Pollard and Sharon Robinson, Museum of London
15.10 Break
15.25 Demonstration of tools
16.00 Planning for prioritization
Alison Faraday, Preservation Advisory Centre
16.45 End