Helen K. Bailey

Master of Science in Information Studies
Certificate of Advanced Study in Library and Archives Conservation
University of Texas at Austin, School of Information

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Austin High School Archive Scrapbook Collection Assessment

This collection-based preservation assessment was performed in the spring of 2009 as a term project for the graduate course INF 392G: Management of Preservation Programs, instructed by Maria Esteva at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information.

Executive Summary of Findings

In the spring of 2009, Stephanie Gowler and Helen Kuncicky, graduate students in the UT School of Information, conducted a condition assessment of the scrapbook collection at the Brian Schenk Archive at Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas. This non-circulating collection consists of 179 scrapbooks, with dates ranging from 1913 to the present. The scrapbooks were created by various individuals and organizations affiliated with the high school over the course of its 128 year history.

The goal of this assessment was to evaluate the physical condition of the collection and identify measures that could be taken to improve its condition. We conducted an item-level survey of the entire scrapbook collection, utilizing a survey instrument designed to identify damage caused by inherent scrapbook structure, usage, and storage conditions.

The survey revealed that many of the scrapbooks are exhibiting signs of physical and chemical deterioration due to the materials used for their construction, usage, and storage environments. These include acidic degradation of paper, bending and tearing of items, broken bindings, soil, and insect damage. Potential causes for future damage were also identified in the current storage and handling practices.

To address these concerns we created a list of recommendations, prioritized according to ease and cost of implementation. The recommendations range from boxing items and improving general storage conditions to item-level reformatting and conservation treatment. Due to the lower cost and time commitment of the housing and storage recommendations, we suggested that these changes be made as soon as possible. Estimations of costs were given for all recommendations, including materials and labor. We believe that implementing these recommendations will have a positive effect on the long-term preservation potential for this collection.

Download a PDF of the full collection assessment report.

© 2008, Helen Kuncicky Bailey. Creative Commons License Updated April 25 , 2010.