Assessing collections

A while ago, I blogged about a then-new project on archival backlog surveys. Since then, we’ve established a working group, shifted our focus, and made much progress. I’ve been getting a few queries about the project, so it’s time for an update.

The project is looking at what we are calling “archival collections assessment.” Archival collections assessment is defined as:

The systematic gathering of quantitative and qualitative information about collections, including un- and underprocessed collections. An assessment or survey will provide needed context for some sort of decision making in regards to collections.

The group is examining a range of archival surveys or collection assessment activities, and has developed an instrument to compare the different methodologies with one another. Why the shift from “backlogs” to “collections assessment”? While many of the projects we are looking at were focused on backlogs, others included processed collections as well.

I’ve posted a list of the projects and methodologies we are currently looking at. If you have others to suggest, drop me a line, or leave a comment below. Many thanks to the working group: Martha Conway (University of Michigan), David DeLorenzo (University of California, Berkeley), Christine Di Bella (Institute for Advanced Study), and Sarah Stauderman (Smithsonian Institution).

A revised description of the project is available on our website.