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Collection and Item Assessments and Consultations

A collection-level or item-level assessment can be used for budgeting and to support fundraising efforts and grant applications.

For a description of the assessment timeline and instructions on how to request a proposal, visit Working With Collection Assessments or download a printable Assessment Fact Sheet to share with administration or planning teams.

Collection-level Assessments

Collection-level assessments focus on a specific collection—often made up of several formats—within an institution. Examples are audio materials, photographic materials, negatives, rare books, maps, or architectural drawings. An NEDCC conservator or audio preservation expert will visit the institution to assess the collection, making recommendations for its care, including overall preventive maintenance actions as well as treatment options. A collection-level assessment may also identify groups of objects and individual objects in need of treatment and provide treatment proposals along with ball-park cost estimates for treatment at NEDCC. Priorities for a treatment program are included in the written report and can also be used to prioritize items for digitization.

A Collection-Level Assessment will…

  • Focus on the objects within the collection and their current storage;
  • Provide a broad overview of the condition of the collection as a whole;
  • Recommend next steps for the long term care of the collection; 
  • Evaluate the general condition of a sample of materials and provide recommendations for long-term preservation; and
  • Help with creating policies for access of the collection.

Outreach Conservator Tahe Zalal discusses the preservation of a rare document at the Charleston County South Carolina Register of Deeds with Michael Miller.Item-Level Assessments

Item-level condition assessments focus on a preselected group of artifacts. These assessments are more detailed in their object-level evaluation of materials than collection assessments and generally consist of in-depth examination of a relatively small group of objects (usually less than 200, depending on format). Treatment priorities are developed and ball-park cost estimates are prepared.

Item-level assessments are often an appropriate next step after an inventory is done and a collection-level assessment has been completed. Condition assessments are performed by members of NEDCC's audio and conservation staff and can be undertaken for a group of books, works of art, photographs, negatives, archival materials, or audio formats with less attention to addressing general preservation needs.

An Item-Level Assessment will…

  • Provide specific information about each object;
  • Establish individual conservation priorities and condition levels;
  • Provide recommendations for the long term care of a specific items within your collection; and
  • Assist with internal decisions about treatment of your materials.

CONSULTATIONS

NEDCC conservators provide consultation services on many conservation issues. Please call NEDCC to discuss a customized consultation. Some of the most popular include:

  • collection storage and housing
  • exhibit practices

LEARN MORE about our staff

Read about the experience and qualifications of the NEDCC Staff.

QUESTIONS?

Complete information about how to work with NEDCC on a collection assessment, visit:  Working with NEDCC on a Collection Assessment, or download a printable Assessment Fact Sheet, to share with administration or planning teams.

Contact:

Michael Lee,  
Director of Paper and Photograph Conservation
(978) 470-1010 ext. 228

Bexx Caswell-Olson,
Director of Book Conservation
(978) 470-1010 ext. 234

Bryce Roe,
Director of Audio Preservation Services
(978) 470-1010, ext 237