Book Condition Survey for Baseline Assessment of Under-resourced Special Collections



This article fills a gap in the literature of item-level condition surveys intended for small or underfunded institutions, as well as those staffed without extensive expertise in rare books. The Book Condition Survey (BCS) uses a simple, web-based survey with pictorial representations for volunteer library staff members toeasily note degrees of damage to a collection of seventeenth- to nineteenth-century books and pamphlets. This article discusses the creation of the survey, training of staff, and implementation of the BSC. Data from the BSC have been used to identify means of improving the collection’s storage techniques, inform internal and external grant applications for preservation assistance, and deepen knowledge of rare books collections.The methods used for the creation and implementation of the Book Condition Survey could easily be adapted by other institutions to create an instrument suitable for their own assessment needs.

Keywords: special collections, condition surveys, small institutions

How to Cite: Spunaugle, E. D. (2022) “Book Condition Survey for Baseline Assessment of Under-resourced Special Collections”, Archival Issues. 41(2). doi: