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Develop a Holistic Approach to Archival Collections Assessment

An accurate census of its archival collections enables an institution to act strategically in meeting user needs, allocating available resources and securing additional funding. The systematic gathering of quantitative and qualitative data about collections (including processed, under-processed and un-processed collections) makes possible the provision of adequate, consistent, collection-level descriptions; affords a better understanding of unmet preservation needs; and informs important decisions regarding collection management, processing priorities, and selection and other activities associated with digitization and exhibit preparation. Although a number of institutions have undertaken collections assessments, a single, commonly-understood approach does not exist.


This project was developed when OCLC Research staff noticed that collection assessment activities were receiving extramural funding, but that a single model for assessment did not exist.


Standard or "best" practice regarding collections assessment, including its methodologies and deliverables, would make it easier for institutions of all types to undertake collections assessments. It would also enable aggregation of information across and among institutions.


This activity:

  • defined archival collections assessment and possible components;
  • identified existing assessment instruments and methodologies; and
  • described the range of deliverables from these instruments and methodologies.


Most recent updates: Page content: 2011-11-30