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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Library and Information Studies @ FIX University

LIS 542 - Library Preservation, Security, and Risk Management

Course Outline

 Calendar Description:

An introduction to and overview of the role and activities of preservation administration in libraries of all kinds, from the physical preservation and conservation of book and multimedia collections, to risk management and insurance, prevention of theft and vandalism, disaster contingency planning and preparedness, through post-disaster salvage and recovery operations.

Course Objectives:

  • To familiarize library students with the challenge, responsibilities, and basic techniques of preservation, security, risk management and disaster contingency planning in libraries, archives, and kindred institutions.
  • To prepare librarians to undertake the management, planning, staffing, training, and supervising of these activities in their future careers.


  • the history and background of library preservation
  • the challenge of digitization and electronic formats
  • preservation program planning
  • staffing and training
  • preservation public relations
  • public and staff awareness training
  • preventive vs. restorative preservation
  • active vs. passive preservation
  • risk management and insurance
  • security, theft and vandalism
  • disaster contingency planning
  • post-disaster salvage and recovery


Lectures, slides, videos, selected readings, class discussion, site visit, and written assignment.

Course Relationships:

Pre-requisites: LIS 501 

Assignments and Evaluation (2011)

  • Class Participation / Oral Presentation (20%)
  • Term Paper (40%)
  • Final Exam (40%)
Class participation/oral presentation (20%)

Choose a topic germane to the course, and clear it with the instructor by Thursday, 19 May. Prepare a presentation of 15 minutes maximum that will acquaint your classmates with the major issues of your topic. You will be evaluated both on the quality of your information, and on the organisation and clarity of your presentation. Willingness to participate in classroom discussions will also be taken into account in this overall assessment.

Presentations will begin 7 June, and continue on 9 & 14 June. Every attempt will be made to allow you to choose your preferred date on a first-come, first-served basis.

Be sure to choose a topic that really interests you, because it will form the research basis for your term paper, and time is of the essence in a six-week term. In the past, students in this course have prepared excellent papers on the following topics:
“Deacidification: Why, What, & How?”
“Adventures in Mass Deacidification: The Diethylzinc Process”
“Preservation of Maps and Other Cartographic Materials”
“The Challenge of Preserving Magnetic Tape”
“A New Librarian’s Introduction to Sound Archives”
“Preservation & Permanence of Photographic Materials”
“Hollywood’s Legacy & the A.F.I.: Preserving Classic Films”
“Preserving Palm Leaf Manuscripts & Parabaiks in Southeast Asia”
“Inorganic Environmental Factors & the Preservation of Paper-Based Library
“Preservation Considerations for Special Collections Libraries”
“Preserving Libraries in Times of War”
“Digitizing Manuscripts: Where Preservation and Access Meet”
“Preserving Federal Legal Materials in Digital Form in Canada”
“Methods used to Manage Pests in Libraries” 

Tentative Timetable (Spring 2011)

Tuesday May 10 — Introduction to the course 
  • Housekeeping: handouts, readings, assignments, grading scheme
  • Overview of subjects and topics to be covered
  • History, background, and challenges to library preservation
Thursday May 12 — Movie Night! (bring your own popcorn, sodas, etc.)  
  • Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record
  • Into the Future: Problems of Storing Information Electronically
  • Keepers of the Frame
Tues May 17 — Interventionist/Active Preservation
  • Digital preservation: challenge, dilemma, and paradox                                                         (Guest: Geoff Harder, Digital Initiatives Coordinator, UofA Library)
  • Analog vs. digital reformatting
  • Microreproduction: theory and practice
  • Deacidification / mass deacidification
  • Murder in the Stacks 
  • The BARD Story
Thurs May 19 — Preventative/passive preservation
  • Field trip: U of A Book & Record Depository (BARD): 8170 50th Street
  • Environmental surveys; bindings & brittleness surveys
  • Binding standards
  • Cryobibliotherapy and thermotherapy
  • Storage facilities
Tues May 24 — Program planning & Risk management  
  • Staffing and training; local and regional cooperation
  • PR, public and staff awareness
  • Insurance coverage and liaison
  • Appraisals, deductibles, hidden clauses
  • Role of risk managers
  • Insurance underwriters and adjusters
Thurs May 26 — Security and emergencies
  • Theft and vandalism: causes and prevention
  • The China Syndrome
  • Emergency planning and procedures
  • When Crisis Strikes on Campus
  • Disasters: nature, cause, and extent
Tues May 31 — Disaster and contingency planning          
  • Planning, policies, documents, and manuals
  • Master plans and unit plans
  • Planning vs. response teams
  • Academic Aftershocks
Thurs June 2 — Salvage and recovery
  • Recovery plans
  • Forming and training recovery teams
  • From planning to action
  • Library Disaster: Prevention and Recovery
  • Disastrous Fire at U of T
  • Mini-Disasters at U of A                       
Tues June 7 — Class presentations       
Thurs June 9 — Class presentations        
Tues June 14 — Class presentations     
Thurs June 16 - Final exam  

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