Documentary Heritage Program Collection Assessment Grants Available

As part of the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives (DHP), METRO is offering grants to three archives in New York City and Westchester County to fund a collection assessment for purposes of preservation planning. The assessments are specifically tailored for smaller collections or sub-collections (approximately 3000 items maximum) that are preparing for near-term preservation reformatting projects or that need an assessment in order to apply for implementation grants or similar funding. Please read on for additional details and instructions for applying. 

Assessments will be conducted by DHP Consultant, AudioVisual Preservation Solutions (AVPS). Collections under consideration should be contained to only one of the following:
  1. Magnetic media (audio and/or videotape)
  2. Motion picture film
  3. Still photography.
As a stipulation to receiving an assessment, the Archivist or another representative must agree to speak at a professional conference or other professional event with the other awardees to discuss their collection and outcomes of the project. The event and/or panel will be selected and organized by METRO and AVPS and located locally.
Additionally, an administrative level staff member from the organization must provide a letter of commitment with the assessment application, addressing how they will leverage the deliverables of the assessment and agreeing to participate in an Administrators Roundtable event. The event will be organized by METRO and AVPS and located locally.  The Administrators Roundtable will be a gathering of regional library and archive administrators or collection managers to discuss current challenges and solutions to preservation in the emerging media environment. A White Paper covering the proceedings will be distributed by METRO and may become the basis for future programming, research, or resource development to support the library and archive community.
Key activities in a planning assessment include:
Data Gathering
  • Onsite visit to perform sample collection assessment, inventory, and facilities assessment
  •  In-person interviews or questionnaires with key stakeholders
  •  Analysis of current database or catalog systems
  •  Analysis and assessment of file-based holdings
Recommendations & Findings
  • Narrative of assessment findings
  • Technical Prioritization Based on Formats and Condition
  • Storage Requirements for Housing, Environment, Facilities
  • Destination Formats for Preservation, Mezzanine, and Access Copies
  • Selection of Reformatting Vendors or equipment for in-house reformatting
  • Basic Reformatting Workplan
  • Full Narrative Report
  • Dynamic Workbook Planning Tools
    • Total Assets by Format, Durations, Reformatted File Capacities
    • Reformatting Quotes from Vendor(s) or In House Equipment Costs (If client already knows they prefer one or the other)
    • Rehousing and Equipment Costs
    • Labor Costs
As a grant recipient your responsibilities will include:
  • Providing a primary point of contact for communication and coordination of interviews and conducting the assessment
  • Participation of key stakeholders in scheduled 60 – 90 minute interviews, or completion of questionnaires
  • Providing access to the collection on agreed upon dates and times
  • Providing any existing relevant paper or electronic documentation about the collection
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on the deliverables
You do not need to clean, straighten or prepare in any other way. The assessments are designed to optimize your time and to be as simple as possible.
To Apply: 
Please use the online application form at form includes links to templates for the Administrator’s Letter of Commitment and the Panel Presentation Commitment Letter. Completed and signed copies of these letters must be submitted as part of the application process.
Efforts will be made to select grantees representative of the broad diversity of organization type and size within the METRO service area. Selection will be weighted towards organizations that can best demonstrate a clear vision and support for implementing or seeking funding for implementation of a preservation plan based on the assessment.
Applications must be received by 4:00pm, February 29th, 2012. Awardees will be notified in mid to late March, with onsite assessments to be planned for April and early May. Please direct questions to Joshua Ranger, Senior Consultant, AudioVisual Preservation Solutions,
These assessments are made possible with funds from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the New York State Education Department.
Jason Kucsma
Author: Jason Kucsma
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