Ensuring the Long-Term Preservation of Physical and Digital Information Resources

WRLC operates a Shared Collections Facility (SCF) that provides high-density, environmentally-controlled, retrievable storage for books, audiovisual or microform media, and archival boxes. We maintain the SCF at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% relative humidity to provide for the long-term preservation of the materials. As of January 2013, over 1.8 million print volumes and over 40,000 archival boxes are shelved in the SCF. In addition, WRLC has two units for low temperature storage specifically designed for film based media.

The WRLC, through its Preservation Advisory Committee, has developed policies and procedures designed to ensure the preservation and conservation of materials in all formats, whether shelved in the WRLC Shared Collections Facility or in the individual member libraries. Hands-on training for disaster recovery and emergency preparedness, attended by over 75 library staff, has been held at the WRLC Center. A directory of these trained library staff is maintained so that staff and supplies can be deployed in the event of small to medium sized disasters (100-300 volumes). A disaster recovery vendor is used for larger-scale disasters. As the amount and variety of special collections materials in the shared collections facility has increased, staff working in the SCF have received training in handling these materials.  

In addition to physical objects (analog data), the WRLC is actively involved in the creation and preservation of digital data in many forms. From 2001 until 2010 the WRLC operated a centralized digitization center where member institutions could send collection materials to be digitized. As a result of these efforts, as well as digitization efforts of individual schools, there are now 38 digital collections available for research use through ALADIN. 

 In 2012 the WRLC initiated a more collaborative, decentralized approach to digitization by taking advantage of the expertise, equipment and resources of the member institutions to digitize materials with content unique to individual schools, as well as content that reflects a common theme across the consortium. The WRLC Digital Practices Committee (DPC) is responsible for proposing policies relating to appropriate digital formats, standards, and metadata, and for determining the overall digitization priorities for consortial projects. As a result of this digitization activity there is approximately 4 terabytes of digitized collections content. Procedures for safeguarding these “born digital” materials have been developed collaboratively between the PAC and DPC. 


Page Updated: 02/28/2013 - 11:24