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Special Collections, Archives, and Preservation (SCAP): Preservation Plan

There is nothing more to the credit of a library than that every man finds in it what he seeks, having failed to find it elsewhere. - Gabriel Naudé (1667)

Preservation Goals & Objectives

"A library will never be much benefited if that which is collected with so much pains and industry should be lost for want of care." - Gabriel Naudé (1667)

I. Objectives - Why we preserve

A. The broad goal of a preservation plan is to ensure that materials significant to the collection remain available to the library’s present and future users. More specifically the library has prioritized the particular items or classes of items to be preserved and then determined the most appropriate preservation method.
B. With few exceptions preservation of the intellectual content of library material is paramount to preservation of the physical item, content over form or format.
C. The library approaches preservation with a progressive approach which includes:

  1. Preventative measures - reducing likelihood of damage, loss, or destruction
  2. Binding and other repair work
  3. Format conversion

II. Preservation Approaches - How do we preserve

A. Understand treatment options
    1. Preserve original, replace, reformat,

  • boxing
  • shrink-wrapping
  • tying
  • restricted use
  • move to offsite storage
  • move to special collections
  • withdrawal
  • making a paper facsimile (often done in-house, and a couple people mentioned sometimes printing from a quality reviewed copy available online)
  • digitizing (some pointed out that they only digitizing if the time is in the public domain)
  • purchasing a replacement (microfilm replacement for serials)
  • repairing

    2. How much can we do - availability of staff and treatment facilities
    3. Cost effectiveness of the treatment
B. Develop a method of evaluating individual items for preservation treatment
    1. AcqCat Preservation Processing - Feb. 2010 Intranet
C. Establishing guidelines for appropriate repair or restoration work for each book, or if surrogates are acceptable; which items are repaired and which substituted
    1. Preservation in original format
        a. Treatment options
            i. Simple repair   
            ii. Reback/Spine repair
            iii. Phase box
            iv. Commercial Binding
            v. High End repair   
            vi. Single item conservation
        b. Selection of appropriate option
            i. Factors - In-house repair vs. binding; cost to rebind vs. time of staff & materials
    2. Surrogate
        a. Preservation of intellectual content through reformatting or data migration
        b. Options
            i. photocopy
            ii. film
            iii. digitize
            iv. purchase replacement

III. Establish preservation priorities - What do we preserve
    A. What is our role with regard to:
        1. Georgia legal materials
            a. Do we wish to view ourselves/promote ourselves as a unique state library of last resort for Ga. legal materials
        2. Other materials
            a. Federal/states
            b. Foreign/international
    B. Assignment of preservation priorities and decisions concerning disposition of materials should acknowledge collection goals
    C. Develop a method of evaluating individual items for preservation treatment; selection of material for preservation
        1. First, recognize that we can not preserve everything; some items are selected for non-preservation (withdrawal) or deferred preservation (put it back on the shelf, for now, perhaps just tie or H-band)
        2. Factors
            a. Subject - availability in other libraries; importance of the item to the collection
            b. Format - age and longevity of format, suitability and availability of alternative formats; obsolete format
            c. Age - physical condition, artifactual value of an item
            d. Use - policies regarding housing and handling, past and potential use



Preservation Policies

In developing a preservation plan it's valuable to have a general understanding of the physical state of the collection. How has our collection held up?
Such an assessment or survey records a fairly generalized impression of the collection and at a broad view should reveal the extent of the need for preservation and conservation. We should be able to make estimates on how much of the collection may need what type of treatment  

Collection Survey

A survey of the physical condition of the print collection was conducted between July 2009 and July 2013. Approximately 10% of the collection in open stacks was surveyed, first looking at the binding type and then looking at the physical condition.

The survey was conducted by student workers often working on the survey only and hour or two at most during their shift. They were trained to identify the various types of bindings and conditions by a member of the Cataloging staff. In total 33,661 items were examined. Of these 1707 items were classified as non-traditional binding. This represents 5% of the collection. Non-traditional binding types breakdown as follows:

Binding Type Number Percentage*
Pamphlet 197 11.5
Comb 68 4.0
Velo 300 17.5
Spiral 20 1.1
Stapled 443 25.9
Oversize 3-ring 356 20.8
Compression 323 18.9

*Percentage of the non-traditional bindings

External Conditions

The balance of the sample, 95%, had what we catagorized as traditional binding, leather (3%), cloth/hardbound (82%), or paperback/soft binding (15%).

The good news is that about 75% of the sample did not have particularly noticeable external conditions. Of the 25% that did, the noted conditions breakdown as follows:

External Conditions Percentage*
Red rot 0.82
Peeling 3.4
Misshapen 0.6
Torn or Crack 3.29
Stained or discolored 9.7
Evidence of mold/mildew 0.12
Evidence of bugs 0.01
Water damage (extensive damage,
as in warping)
Top edge of spine worn 11.8
Spine separation (all or partial) 1.5
Tape on spine 1.2
Spine missing (all or partial) 0.5

*Percentage of those with problem conditions. Represents 33% of the sample as some items had more than one issue.

Internal Conditions

Problematic internal conditions effected 60% of the sample. The conditions present breakdown as follows:

Internal Conditions Percentage*
Brittle pages 3.33
Loose pages 1.3
Mold 0.15
Insect damage 0.15
Water damage (extensive damage,
as in warped or unreadable pages)
Stained pages 3.2
Torn pages 1.9
Foxing 5.1
Yellowing of pages 33.2
Loose flyleaf 1.9
Broke text block 0.7
Loose/broken hinge 8.9
Missing pages 0.16
Pages damaged 0.74
Tape on pages 0.72

*Percentage of those with problem conditions. Represents 62% of the sample as some items had more than one issue.


Given the age of the collection it is in fairly good condition. Yellowing pages is the most common internal condition. Eventually yellowed items become brittle. The process cannot be stopped but can be slowed down.

  • Avoid sunlight
  • Filter on flourescent lights
  • Avoid humidity extremes
  • Storing books to allow air circulation


Review a portion of the collection on an annual basis. Goals:

  • Dust individual items
  • Identify non-traditional bound items for evaluation. Bind retained titles.
  • Identify traditional bound items for repair
    • Increase capacity for in-house repair


  D. Review used to identify materials for preservation, storage, or deselection
    E. Brittle Books programs

      KFM2430 1660 .A23 - item for decision tree

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