Until 2009, we and all of the preservation departments among ARL libraries (that's the Association of Research Libraries) contributed our statistics to a collective preservation statistics report, which ARL gathered and put together each year. For many years, this annual document was a helpful resource for observing how preservation activities change over time, both within and across institutions. It was also useful to be able to compare the size, focus, and specific activities of preservation departments at various research libraries. Unfortunately, in 2009 the ARL Board decided to cease collection of preservation statistics.
However, Preservation Services still plans to gather statistics on our activities, because we find it helpful for our own ongoing review and assessment processes. What kinds of statistics do we keep? Well, here’s just a sample of what we gathered from the past fiscal year:
- The number of books sent out for binding by a commercial vendor, including what types of binding services were done and the associated cost.
- The number of films assessed and re-housed, along with general information about the types of damage found.
- The number of books sent out for mass deacidification by a vendor.
- The number of new acquisitions processed and prepared for shelving.
- The number of brittle books reviewed and replaced or reformatted.
- The number of items given conservation treatment, along with detailed information about the types of treatments performed and the level of difficulty/amount of time spent on each treatment.
A summary of our statistics is always included in our department's annual report, so although we won't be contributing this year's stats to ARL, they are still available for other libraries and preservation departments who are interested in sharing data. And we hope that ARL or another organization will come out with a new aggregation of preservation statistics soon!
Written by Helen Bailey.