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10 Annex : Useful forms for recording conservation survey data

Survey form A : The building
Survey form B1 : Conditions in the interior spaces
Survey form B2 : Additional data for storage and exhibition rooms.
Survey form C1 : The condition of collections
Survey form C2 : Single book and document condition report


The six forms reproduced on the last eight pages of this annex were developed over a period of many years and are the result of much experience in the field. They were first used at the Library of the Boston Athenaeum in the early 1970s and were later expanded into what is essentially their present form by conservators at the North East Document Conservation Center. They are also being used with much success by graduate and continuing education students in their field work while studying library and archives conservation management at the University of Kentucky's College of Library and Information Science, and at Wayne State University.

These survey forms provide an orderly method for recording for later use the large amount of information that has to be collected in the course of a conservation survey to determine the preservation needs of libraries and archives. Using these forms as guides is by no means the only way to tabulate the mass of information accumulated while doing a conservation survey of a building and the environment, the conditions inside the building, and the state of repair (or disrepair) of the multitude of books, and documents, maps, prints, broadsides, microforms, photographic materials, moving picture and television film, and audio and video tapes and disks that have been placed there for safekeeping. This system has been working satisfactorily for many years, but other systems undoubtedly work just as well.

Suggestions for things to look for in the process of gathering the data to enter on the forms are included in Sections 4 and 5 of this RAMP study's text.

Form A, one page, is for help in collecting general information applying to a building as a whole.

Form B1, also one page, is for recording data pertinent to a single room (or space) in the building. When a survey has been completed there should be a completed B1 form for each stack area, exhibition and reading room, staff room, the administrative area, the furnace room and any machinery rooms, attic and basement storage areas, and the janitor's spaces. Depending on the size and type of library or archive being evaluated, some of the B1 forms will be crammed with data. Others will be only sparsely notated.

Form B2, which requires three pages, is primarily for recording more detailed information, than is on the B1 forms, in regard to storage and exhibition rooms where the books and records are stacked or displayed. It is also useful for more detailed appraisal of other spaces that have potential for later use as storage and exhibition rooms.

Form C1, a single page, is intended for assembling data in regard to the various categories of materials or for different collections of the books and documents.

Form C2, one page, is for recording the condition of single books or other items of particular importance. The detailed information on this form is also helpful in the establishment of lists of priorities for preservation treatments.

Form C3 was devised for use in lieu of or in addition to the C1 forms in large establishments, where there are a wide variety of materials and many named collections, in order to reduce the number of C1 forms required to complete the survey.

Survey form A : The building

Date of survey
By whom

The location and climate

The building

- Type of construction and age
- Exterior condition
- The roof

Interior climate control

- Heating
- Cooling
- Humidity control


- Type and location of intruder alarms
- Monitored by type and location of fire detectors location
- Automatic Extinguisher
- Portable extinguishers

General comments

- Staff experience and conservation facilities

Survey form B1 : Conditions in the interior spaces

Date of survey
By whom

Location in building
Length - ft. Width - ft. Height - ft. Temp. - C Rel. Hum. %

Room contains

- Stored in


- natural
- artificial
- u.v. control

Heating and Cooling Arrangement

Humidity Control


Fire Hazards

- electrical
- heating
- other

Water Hazards

steam or water heating pipes
building leaks

Evidence of


Temperature extremes
Humidity extremes

Damage by light
Other damage

Survey form B2 : Additional data for storage and exhibition rooms.

The room

- The room contains
- How stored


- location in the building
- dimensions
- windows (number, where, what type, their condition)
- materials requiring special storage (microforms, etc.)

Climate control

- air pollution level
- temperature range (two weeks winter, two weeks summer)
- relative humidity range
- Heating: Hot water, steam, hot air, electric
- Air conditioning: Air filtration


- direct sunlight and hours of exposure
- artificial lighting
- incandescent
- fluorescent
- fluorescent with ultraviolet filters

Flood Control

- Position of potentially damaging water or steam pipes.
- Position of not watertight windows.
- Location of drains.
- Amount (cubic feet) of the storage space below ground level

Fire protection.

- Location of extra valuable materials in this room.
- Heat sensors: number and location.
- Smoke sensors:
- Automatic extinguisher heads: number and location.
- Portable extinguishers: frequency of inspection?
- Liaison and agreement with fire department?


- Is the room open to the public?
- Perimeter alarms-what kind and where:
- Motion detectors:
- Other precautions:

Biological attacks

- Evidence of insect activity, rodents, mould or mildew?


- What kind and how arranged?
- Is there enough of it?
- Are materials shelved properly?
- Sufficient space between shelves?
- Books upright standing on end?
- Books not tightly packed?
- Oversize books laying flat.
- Document boxes laying flat?


- Are the room and the materials in it clean?
- Housekeeping methods?

Exhibition facilities

- Number, kind and placement of cases.
- Type of lighting. Ultraviolet filtration?
- Temperatures in the cases?
- Relative humidity "
- Method of supporting exhibited books?

How are they kept open?
How long are materials on display?

Survey form C1 : The condition of collections

By whom

Name of Collection

- Type of material.
- Stored in room - on the - floor
- How stored?

Condition of the Collection

(a) Appearance?

- Wear and tear?
- Soil and surface dirt?
- Staining?

(b) Acid damage?
Paper pH?

(c) Fungus damage?
Mildew spores
Mould stainsPaper pulping

(d) Insect damage? - Extent

(e) Damage by rodents?

(f) Water damage? - Extent? - Recent?

(g) Damage by light? - Source?

General Comments

Survey form C2 : Single book and document condition report

By whom?
Book or document
Stored in Room

1. Item no longer usable Treatment needed
a. Paper disintegrates if handled Replace or
b. Paper contains lignin Reproduce
c. Item needs major/minor repair  
d. Item is mutilated  
2. Item usable for limited period if carefully handled  
a. Paper bad but still intact Replace or
b. Paper moderately good but not permanent Reproduce or
c. Paper contains lignin Minor repair only
d. Paper in need of major/minor repair  
e. Binding needs major/minor repair  
f. Poor quality binding  
g. Item is mutilated  
3. Item is now in good condition but not of permanent quality  
a. Good quality paper Repair or
b. Fair quality paper Replace in future
c. Paper contains lignin  
d. Binding needs major/minor repair  
e. Poor quality binding f. Item is mutilated  
4. Item is usable for indefinite period if repaired  
a. Excellent paper Repair
b. Sturdy binding  
c. Binding needs major/minor repair  
d. Poor quality binding but will hold  
5. Item usable for a long time, excellent paper, good binding  
a. Mutilated Repair mutilation
6. Poor quality or improper storage container Replace

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