Surveying work in the repositories

Preservation Risk Assessment

The Preservation Risk Assessment carried out between 2005 and 2007 aimed to identify the greatest risks to The National Archives' collection. It was based on a model developed by Dr R Robert Waller specifically for assessing risks to cultural heritage collections.

The results showed that existing policies and procedures, such as security measures and Reading Room rules, are highly effective in managing risks.

Outcomes from the Preservation Risk Assessment will help to prolong the life of the collection by informing strategic planning and preservation priorities.

  • AE Bülow, Risk management as a strategic driver for a large archive (Collections, Vol 5, no 1, Winter 2009, pp 61-72)
  • AE Bülow, Collection management using preservation risk assessment (Journal of the Institute of Conservation, Vol 33, no 1, 2010, pp 65-78)

Mapping The National Archives' collection

We are mapping the collection held at The National Archives in terms of material, condition and storage requirements. First we will exploit existing information on The Catalogue and The National Archives' document ordering system, incorporating information from other databases and visualise this information using specially developed CAD software.

In a second phase, we will fill knowledge gaps with information gathered from other ongoing work at The National Archives, such as cataloguing projects and condition surveys.

Mapping the collection will help us to identify future projects to improve storage and prioritise records for future conservation. It will also inform recruitment by indicating skills likely to be required in the future.

Lifecycle cost modelling

This project is investigating the feasibility of using a dynamic lifecycle costing model to evaluate future collection care scenarios, as a basis for efficient allocation of resources.

Econometrics in collection management

This project aims to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive econometric analysis of the influence of different preservation and conservation activities on the permanence of the collection. (Econometrics applies statistical techniques to the field of economics and demonstrates whether relationships exist between certain variables.)

Risk rating tool for Domesday Book

Given the complex issues surrounding the loan requirements of Domesday book, we developed a risk-based tool to aid decision-making. The tool considers chemical degradation, light and travel. This work has informed how we evaluate requests to borrow Domesday.