Veritas Huloar
Red Spacer

Administration and Programs

Harvard Depository


The Harvard Depository (HD), which completed its 22nd year of service in FY 2008, is a high-density, offsite storage facility shared by the Harvard libraries and located 30 miles west of Cambridge. Research libraries and consortia worldwide have emulated the innovative design of the Harvard Depository. HD web pages, revised extensively in FY 2008, can be found at


As of the end of FY 2008, the Depository held in storage nearly 7.3 million items comprising various media, including books, records boxes, microformats, films, etc. Of this number, books and archival material comprise approximately 6.7 million items.

The Google Scanning Project is taking advantage of the large number of public-domain books located at the HD. A project team of HD staff began work in March 2007 retrieving eligible books for the project and will continue through the project’s end. The collections housed at the Depository will make a substantial contribution to the success of the project, as a high proportion of the collections were transferred into the archival environment due to low-use and book condition.

New Accessions

New accessions in FY 2008 were 454,877 discrete items. Books made up the majority of new accessions, with 447,000 individual volumes accessioned. Widener Library transferred 194,581 new items to the HD in FY 2008. Other Harvard library clients with substantial transfer rates were the Harvard Law Library (57,102), the Harvard–Yenching Library (64,501), and Government Documents (20,773). MIT Libraries also transferred 48,762 books, the largest by far of the non-Harvard HD clients. Records management clients transferred 7,876 boxes of records in FY 2008.


227,357 items were retrieved in FY 2008, or 3.11% of total holdings. Library users placed 151,579 retrieval requests using the HOLLIS HD request interface, an increase of 4% over the previous year. All non-HOLLIS requests for services and supplies are submitted through interactive forms on the HD web site and account for the remainder of the retrievals (more than 75,000 requests). There were 11,426 retrieval requests from Widener Library’s Interlibrary Loan department in FY 2008, consistent with FY 2007.

Eleven library depositors recorded more than 2,000 retrievals each, some substantially more than 2,000, and comprised 93.5% of all library retrievals. Records management clients had 5,361 retrievals over the course of FY 2008.

The HD courier vans made 6,171 customer deliveries over the course of the fiscal year, an average of 25 individual stops per day for circulation. Among these stops, the couriers delivered to clients 63365 BSF (book storage feet: i.e., one records box is the equivalent of 2.21 BSF, and one book is approximately .1 BSF) of retrieved material, and brought back to the HD 43,992 BSF of material to be re-shelved. The HD staff continued its excellent performance by successfully fulfilling 100% of the valid retrieval requests that were submitted, a remarkable achievement that has become an expectation among clients. The HD now runs three courier vans on a daily basis to respond to the increasing circulation figures.

Physical Space        

At the end of FY 2008, stored media occupied 1,134,907 BSF, a net increase of 45,203 BSF in FY 2008, or more than 89% of existing capacity. In the film vault, 18,110 BSF were occupied of a total of 19,386 BSF, or 93.4% of capacity. New transfers to the HD in FY 2008 comprised 79,802 BSF; ongoing consolidation of shelves and withdrawal of records boxes and other materials result in the net increase of 45,203 BSF in assigned shelf space.

At the end of FY 2008, available archival storage space in aisles 1–28, where books are shelved, amounted to just 85,642 BSF, or enough available shelving for 2.6 years. Therefore, the next storage module is in construction beginning in April of 2008 and will be completed by mid-July of 2009. The new module will have sufficient capacity for five more years of growth, at the minimum, 2010–2015. The capital project will also include additional film cold storage (40 F., 35% relative humidity). The completed construction project will add capacity of 300,000 BSF of archival space and 37,000 BSF of cold storage for film. Also being added are an expanded processing area, additional restrooms and staff lockers, and a workroom for facilities and equipment management. Existing project space will be renovated to become garage and loading dock space for two delivery vehicles.

JSTOR Dark Archive Project

Beginning in FY 2005 and continuing under a two-year agreement, a non-circulating archive was created at the HD of paper material digitized in the JSTOR journal database through October 2003. By the end of FY 2008, the archive represented 87% of the database, with supplemental volumes arriving daily. Meanwhile, a continuation of the agreement was successfully negotiated to include the journal titles added to the archive after the initial agreement was struck, more than 15 million additional pages. This agreement will continue the relationship with JSTOR through 2010, with additional annual agreements thereafter to include titles added to the continuously growing database. At the end of FY 2008, the titles associated with this second agreement were 35% complete.