Archives Preservation Program
The Archives Preservation Program provides preservation support to archival repositories in Bobst Library to ensure the long term preservation of archival collections. The program guides archivists and curators on industry standards and best practices in preservation for archival materials at all stages of collection management. This is accomplished through assessment and monitoring of the physical environment, surveys of storage conditions and condition of all collected formats, on-going training in preservation practice, and collaborative projects.
The Preservation Archivist assists archivists and curators in long term preservation planning based on condition, intended use and curatorial priorities. Assessment of data from condition surveys of archival collections indicates where policy creation can improve access and use, as well as improving storage conditions, to correct and prevent further damage. The data also helps determine project planning for conservators.
The Preservation Archivist also provides on-going training for full and part time staff to ensure preservation-conscious actions are taken with regard to access and use, processing and rehousing collections, and mold isolation protocol.
The Archives Preservation Program also offers field services for curators prior to acquiring new collections to evaluate their condition and make recommendations to accommodate collection needs.
The Preservation Archivist implemented a condition survey of archival collections held by the three collecting repositories in Bobst Library. This box-level survey assess the quantities, types, and condition of all containers, enclosures and all formats held by the three archival repositories in Bobst Library. Data collected in the survey is used to determine priorities for preservation actions, conservation treatments and collaborative projects.
A free, downloadable copy of the survey tool (a Microsoft Access database) and Condition Survey Manual can be found below. The tool itself is an adaptation of the tool created for the Mellon-funded 2004 Columbia survey project.
Following the condition survey, we implemented a survey of electronic media holdings in all three archival repositories. The survey tool used is an Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs for format and dropdowns that configure to the language used in the condition survey. A free, downloadable copy of the survey tool and manual can be found below.
For more information on the condition survey, see this blog post at The Back Table, a collaborative blog written by staff at the collecting archival repositories in Bobst Library; view this professional poster from the Society of American Archivists 2011 Annual Conference; look for the article titled "Is That Box Overstuffed? Implementing a Cross-Repository Condition Survey" in the January/February 2012 issues of Archival Outlook, published by the Society of American Archivists (publicly available online mid-2012).