When Jenny and I visited Benburb Priory in October we discussed the possibility of conducting a collection survey as part the priory’s preparation for applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Currently HLF encourage applicants to include a collection survey in funding applications and ask specifically for the British Library’s Preservation Assessment Survey. After doing a little research on their website I found the survey to be very thorough, however between training, purchase of the database and data analysis by the Preservation Advisory Centre it can cost as much as 1,000GBP. This is a healthy sum for a small institution looking for funding. Luckily, I recently found a potential tool to use as an alternative should the Preservation Assessment Survey be too expensive.
I was doing a little research on some conservation studios in Scotland and came across a useful tool for surveying collections called Condition Assessment Tool (CAT). It is a free downloadable tool that can be used by museum staff, volunteers as well as conservators to gather condition data and costs of conservation for a particular project. Additionally, CAT can also be used to audit the condition of a collection. I am still in the process of researching and trying out the program but am excited about its potential capabilities. As of right now I am not sure that it is a perfect substitution for the British Library’s survey, however CAT could be used as a first step in assessing the condition of collections.