Time and again, I have reported on losses of historic documents, caused by fires, floods, earthquakes, burst water pipes, and even one building collapse a year or so ago. All of those sad events raise a question: "How can we salvage what is left?"
The quick answer is: "plan NOW for future disasters."
The Library of Congress Preservation Directorate has created a model Collections Emergency Response Contract that can be consulted by other institutions for their own collections emergency response contract development. The contract describes the services and associated requirements for stabilization and recovery of the institution’s collections when it is confronted with a disaster that affects or has affected its collections and the magnitude of the disaster outstrips the resources of the institution to respond effectively.
The Library of Congress stresses the following:
Advance planning to mitigate the risk and damage from disasters is key to institutional recovery after a disaster. There are actions that can be taken in advance to reduce damage to collections, and there are workflows that can enhance recovery of materials. Creating a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) will assist an institution in returning to regular operations after a disaster, even if collections are not immediately available for use. Recommendations are compiled here to provide a convenient, efficient access to key concepts for reducing risks and planning before disaster-related emergencies. These suggestions are general, and based on good practice in libraries, archives, museums, and other collections-holding institutions. They may be superseded by requirements of a specific institution or emergency, or by the instructions of civil defense or other emergency responders.
If you are responsible for any sort of archive, you might want to read the information that starts at http://goo.gl/py0bO.
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