White Paper: A Methodology for Surveying Photograph Collections


"A Methodology for Surveying Photograph Collections" is a Preservation White Paper authored by Melissa Banta with Paul Messier, Andrew Robb, Brenda Bernier, and Robert Burton in 2012.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has provided support for the development of a methodology specifically for inventorying and assessing the condition of photograph collections across multiple repositories within large-scale institutions. The first of these projects, undertaken in 2002 by the Weissman Preservation Center in the Harvard University Library, included a general condition survey of photographs housed in 50 repositories throughout Harvard. In 2005, the Library of Congress adopted the survey model developed at Harvard to assess its own collections totaling approximately 12 million images. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, followed in 2008, using the model to survey more than 30 photograph collections located throughout the institution. “A Methodology for Surveying Photographic Collections” examines these three case studies and versatility of the survey methodology in addressing common challenges as well as issues specific to each institution.