The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 6
Oct 2003


Heritage Health Index

by Nadina Gardner
Assistant Director for Libraries & Archives,
Heritage Preservation

Heritage Preservation, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and with major funding from the Getty Grant Program and additional funding from the Bay Foundation, the Peck Stacpoole Foundation, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, has developed the Heritage Health Index, a comprehensive national survey of the condition and preservation needs of collections in U.S. libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and scientific research organizations. Approximately 15,000 institutions will be asked in 2004 to participate in the survey, which is designed to gauge the extent and urgency of national preservation needs and provide a snapshot of the nature and depth of current conservation and preservation commitment.

Preliminary tests of the questionnaire from 105 representative institutions revealed that of this group:

However,

Interviews with test participants included comments that "the survey was inclusive, yet focused" and that it covered all aspects of conservation and preservation. Most respondents spent between one and three hours completing the questionnaire. Many commented that this process of self-assessment gave them more accurate information about their own operations. One participant said, "We realized some of the work needs to be done before we even write a grant application to help with our archival curation project. It was definitely a beneficial exercise."

Check http://www.heritagepreservation.org for updates on the launch of the survey. For additional information about the Heritage Health Index, contact Kristen Laise, Director, <klaise@heritagepreservation.org,> or Nadina Gardner, Asst. Director for Libraries & Archives, <ngardner@heritagepreservation.org.>

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