Knowing the Need: Optimising preservation for library and archive collections

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Knowing the Need Conference, 1 March 2013. Presentation by Caroline Peach.

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Knowing the Need: Optimising preservation for library and archive collections

  1. 1. Knowing the NeedOptimising preservation for library and archivecollectionsCaroline Peach, Head of Preservation Advisory Centre1 March 2013
  2. 2. Knowing the Need State of preservation, 2006-2011 86 Preservation Assessment Surveys 30 library collections; 56 archive collections 35,216 items surveyed Representative of circa 50 million items www.bl.uk/blpac/ktn.html 2
  3. 3. Preservation Assessment Survey Tool to generate an overview of preservation needs, running since 2000 Developed for library and archive collections Versions also available for photographic collections and museum collections Assesses: access & use, significance, preservation measures, condition & usability, and damage Preservation Priority Bands What if…? Modelling for changes Benchmarking against wider practice 3
  4. 4. Knowing the Need: aggregating the dataWhy pull it all together? Common strengths and weaknesses Common reasons for strengths and weaknesses Opportunities for collaborative working Gaps in support Advocacy 4
  5. 5. Knowing the Need – key findings Access and use 5
  6. 6. Knowing the Need – key findings Access and use 6
  7. 7. Knowing the Need – key findings Significance and retention 7
  8. 8. Knowing the Need – key findings Preservation measures 8
  9. 9. Knowing the Need – key findings Condition & usability  Good Robust and stable. Usable for any purpose. May have very slight visible damage which does not impede its use in any way. The damage will not increase with normal use.  Fair Disfigured or damaged, but stable. It can still be used with extra care and attention.  Poor Poor condition, with signs of deterioration. Use will cause further damage. It should be in a restricted use category or used under close supervision.  Unusable Completely unsuitable for production to users. It is so fragile and damaged that it is certain to suffer further if handled. Or it has mould or pest infestation. 9
  10. 10. Knowing the Need – key findings Damage 10
  11. 11. Knowing the Need – key findings Damage 11
  12. 12. Summary of needs There are cataloguing backlogs to be addressed and there is a need for greater online access to catalogues Improvements in collection storage are required Improvements in environmental management are required Improvements in emergency control planning are required 12
  13. 13. Optimising preservation If the measures to slow down deterioration or damage are not in place, why are they not in place? How do we optimise the application of preservation strategies? 13
  14. 14. Consistently challenging  Storage  Environmental management  Emergency control planning  Is it a problem?  Is it a big problem?  What do we do about it? 14
  15. 15. Optimising preservation A range of strategies to slow deterioration and minimise damage How do we prioritise? How do we optimise impact? Why are we preserving collections – for the good of the stuff, for the ability to use the stuff in the future? 15
  16. 16. Optimising preservation Condition & usability 16
  17. 17. Optimising preservation Condition & usability 17
  18. 18. Optimising preservation Demand 18
  19. 19. Optimising preservation 19
  20. 20. Optimising preservation Demand 20
  21. 21. Optimising preservation Understand the problem you’re trying to solve Ask the right questions Choose the right tool Use the tool in the right way 21
  22. 22. Optimising preservation  Goal of preservation is long-term use and re-use of collections  Know the collections  Understand use  Understand the impact of use  Know the collections 22
  23. 23. Organisations must gain a greater understanding oftheir collections Understand the materials, their vulnerability and their tolerances Understand demand levels, current and future Understand the existing condition & usability of collections 23
  24. 24. Weaknesses in preservation practice in the areas ofstorage, environmental practice and emergencycontrol planning should be addressed Maintain routine preservation housekeeping activity. Improve environmental management strategies and their application. Target improvements and aim for greater energy efficiency. Review emergency control plans regularly and provide training and support for staff involved in their implementation. 24
  25. 25. Re-examine surrogacy as a preservation strategy Achieve clarity on the application of surrogacy as a preservation strategy Achieve clarity on the requirements for a digital object to act as a preservation surrogate Investigate centralised resources providing information about surrogates to understand their use in wider digitisation and surrogacy programmes 25
  26. 26. Next steps? British Library Preservation Advisory Centre to work with others to address local training needs or the initiation of regional programmes Support to understand and implement new approaches to managing the environment Coordinated emergency response resources Research into the cost-benefit of different preservation strategies Coordination of a strategic approach to the use of digital objects as preservation surrogates 26
  27. 27. Opportunities PD5454: 2012 and PAS198: 2012 Collections demography research project Copac collection management tools project Archives accreditation BRA Archives at risk report 27
  28. 28. Thank you…  Caroline Peach British Library Preservation Advisory Centre caroline.peach@bl.uk www.bl.uk/blpac 28

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