StaffGuide: Preservation

Preservation information and resources

Mission

The Preservation Unit oversees the protection and treatment of the University of Arkansas Libraries' physical collections in order to facilitate long-term preservation and access for all users.

In other words, we're involved in...

  • preservation planning
  • conservation
  • proper care and handling of collections materials
  • environmental monitoring
  • integrated pest management
  • disaster response and recovery
  • commercial binding
  • collection security

Why?

A preservation program is designed to maintain collections as a whole in the best possible condition, for as long as they are needed, by minimizing and preventing damage. Preservation encompasses policies, principles, and practices for preventive strategies, and conservation encompasses the treatment and repair of individual items to slow decay or restore to a usable form.

Preventive collection care is the most cost effective and efficient means of extending useful life of a collection. Remedial actions, such as binding, repair, conservation treatment, and reformatting, are performed to ensure continued access to collections. The administrator of a preservation program is often responsible for seeking outside funding to further preservation goals, managing preservation employees, and coordinating with other departments on preservation needs.

Preservation and conservation encompass a range of activities associated with maintaining materials for use in original physical form or in other usable ways appropriate for the institution and collection.

Who?

The Preservation Unit is located in Mullins Library in Rooms 216 and 216A, and reports to the Head of Content Services.

Mary Leverance, Preservation and Conservation Coordinator, oversees the work of the unit, and focuses on the preservation program and preventive conservation for the Libraries' collections.

Lindsey Williams, Preservation and Binding Specialist, focuses on conservation and binding for the Libraries' collections.

Student workers assist with various tasks related to incoming and outgoing commercial binding.

What about digital?

Digital preservation, as defined by the Digital Preservation Coalition, is a formal endeavor to ensure that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable. While the Preservation Unit is interested in the digital preservation of materials in the Libraries, we do not play an active role in it.

The Digital Services Department and Special Collections manage digital preservation for their individual holdings. If you would like to learn more about digital preservation practices, contact Amy Allen, University Archivist.