For immediate release | November 8, 2013

Preservation activities survey released

CHICAGO — "A Survey of Preservation Activities in Cultural Heritage Institutions: FY2012" is a pilot survey coordinated by the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS). Sixty-two cultural heritage institutions (library, museum, archives or historical society) with preservation activities completed the survey.

This survey is based on the Preservation Statistics survey program coordinated by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) from 1984 through 2008. Following the collection of the 2007-2008 Preservation Statistics data, ARL discontinued surveying its members about their preservation activities; this decision left the preservation community without a way to document, assess and analyze its collective current practices, staff and budget resources and strategic direction.

The report examines how respondents are organizing and administering traditional and digital preservation programs and chronicles their preventive preservation (disaster planning, environmental monitoring, outreach and education), conservation and reformatting / digitization activities. The report assesses trends in the preservation programs of academic and research libraries in the five-year span between the last ARL Preservation Statistics Survey in 2007 and this 2012 survey based on the responses provided by the 34 ARL members who participated in this pilot survey.

PARS realized the value of documenting and sharing preservation data and worked towards developing a survey not just for the library community but any cultural heritage institution with preservation programming. This pilot survey served multiple purposes:

  • to assess the preservation field’s true interest in and commitment to a long-term preservation statistics project;
  • to develop survey questions that reflect the varied activities of modern preservation programs in cultural heritage institutions;
  • to attune the preservation community to a survey that can and likely will change from year-to-year as preservation activities and responsibilities evolve;
  • to test the feasibility of an online survey platform for the collection of preservation statistics;
  • to begin the process to establish the survey as a component of PARS.

Find the report — including links to the survey data — online,, and the Preservation Statistics Project temporary home (including helpful links to related preservation surveys and the latest news about the upcoming FY2013 Preservation Statistics Survey) at:

The survey questionnaire for the FY2013 Preservation Statistics Survey is to be released in January 2014 and open through March 2014. Holly Robertson (preservation consultant), Annie Peterson (preservation librarian, Tulane University) and Nick Szydlowski (digital services and Institutional repository librarian, Boston College Law Library) are authors of the report.

Please contact the Preservation Statistics Survey team with any questions or feedback:

Other outstanding resources available from PARS:

Planning and Constructing Book and Paper Conservation Laboratories: A Guidebook edited by Jennifer Hain Teper and Eric Alstrom

The Preservation Education Directory 9th ed. rev. 2012

ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association


Charles Wilt

Executive Director

Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS)