1091Map Turns out statistics and metrics are a hot topic right now. The library is looking at 5-year trend data, and PARS is taking a look at statistics gathering in preservation programs, so looking at our data seems like an appropriate topic for this month’s 1091 Project posting.  It has been 6 years since ARL ceased collecting our preservation statistics and many preservation programs have revamped their collecting practices in order to better reflect what they are doing.  It will be interesting to see what Duke’s Conservation Department has done, and also hear what our readers are doing.

ISU Preservation has not made any changes to the basic ARL preservation statistics structure.  We continue to track Levels I-III based on estimated time allotments, non-book treatments (photographs and flat paper) by item count, digitization/reformatting, enclosures, and library binding also by item counts.

After taking the PARS Preservation Statistics survey and looking at our 5-year trend data, I’m struck by how useless our data is and how much we need to rethink what we are doing.  Binding data is the only data gathering that does not need an explanation.  Significant changes in monograph and serials binding numbers are directly related to serial cancellation projects, the implementation of deferred monograph binding, and the move toward e-journals and e-books.

Library BindingAs for treatments, we had a spike in flat paper treatments in 2011-12 because of the August 2010 flood that damaged the architectural drawings housed at the General Services building.  Most of this work was done by our volunteer/intern, Martha, and students.  What is most deceptive are the book treatments (levels I-III) that have gone down in total numbers but in fact level II and III have increased.  This type of data gathering does not accurately reflect the amount of time that has been shifted to more complex treatments, and administrators looking at this would not be aware of this discrepancy.

TreatmentsIn 2008, Digital Initiatives was brought under the Preservation Department and we began tracking our digitization efforts for the Digital Collections (also a part of Preservation), Digital Repository, and Special Collections & Archives.  We create digital masters for preservation purposes and provide access copies for the DAM and repository.

DigitizationWe started tracking interactions with the public as a way to measure outreach.  ISU is a land grant institution and part of our mission is to combine research with service to the citizens of Iowa.  Although, we cannot provide conservation services, we do provide consultations if individuals are interested in bringing their objects into the Conservation Lab.

OutreachFinally, what is not represented are the staffing numbers.  Our administration only represents budgeted FTE whereas I find actual FTE more significant as we look at production statistics.  Looking at budgeted FTE, our staffing levels have been flat over the five years which includes the addition of the Digital Initiatives unit, staff turn-over, and the loss of a position through a University early retirement program.