Preservation Surveys

Preservation Surveys are an important early step in establishing and maintaining a preservation program for your institution. Preservation Surveys focus on preventive care and mitigating deterioration and damage by analyzing the physical environment of archives and library materials. In addition to pinpointing areas of concern and recommendations for improvement, a Preservation Survey is a valuable tool in fundraising for collections care and often a prerequisite for grants and other funding opportunities.

Surveys focus on the various risks, both internal and external, to which collections are exposed. Depending on institutional need, these may encompass the total holdings of your organization or focus on a specific collection or collection format. Regardless of scope, these surveys will identify potential issues and solutions and guide short- and long-term preservation efforts.

At present, all Preservation Surveys will be conducted virtually, with a period of data gathering pre-empting a half-day virtual assessment. Organizations are encouraged to note all questions and concerns regarding collections care topics for discussion with their assessor. Our preservation professionals can often share creative and affordable recommendations and solutions to your preservation problems. See the Assessment/Survey FAQ to learn more about the virtual assessment process.

The Preservation Survey process encompasses a general evaluation of the institution’s preservation needs for the collections: environment, housekeeping, pest control, fire protection, security and disaster preparedness, collection storage, handling, exhibition, and treatment. Relevant staff members are interviewed to identify preservation needs. The main product of the survey is a report, including an executive summary that identifies priorities for action, specific materials in need of immediate attention, recommendations for remedial action, and establishment of short- and long-term preservation goals.

At the completion of the final report, the assessor will offer the organization several options for receiving a half-day support program intended to strengthen their ability to implement a recommendation in the Assessment. This program will be scheduled for six months after the site receives the final report and conducted remotely. These support programs will be built around subjects such as implementing an integrated pest management system, building housing enclosures, or environmental monitoring.


Criteria for Participation

Eligible Institutions that are nonprofit, cultural institutions or local governments in New York State that:

  • Hold historical records and/or library research materials, and
  • Operate programs to preserve such records and make them publicly accessible

If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact DHPSNY.

Application materials for DHPSNY's Planning & Assessment Services are accepted year-round and reviewed three times a year. Applications are currently being accepted for review and are due by Friday, November 12, 2021. 

DHPSNY's application forms are powered by Submittable. The online platform allows you to save your work and return if you are unable to complete in one sitting, as well as upload a variety of supporting materials directly within the form. 

Applications are reviewed by an advisory committee of library, archives, and conservation professionals.

Click here to learn more about DHPSNY's application review process. 

DHPSNY staff is available to assist you in completing the application form. Please contact the DHPSNY team for assistance, questions about eligibility, or additional information at (215) 545-0613 ext. 338 or



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