Administration and Programs
The Harvard Depository (HD), which completed its 23rd year of service in
FY 2009, 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.
As of the end of FY 2009, the Depository held in storage nearly 7.8
million items comprising various media, including books, records boxes,
microformats, films, etc. Of this number, books and archival material
comprise approximately 7.3 million items.
New accessions in FY 2009 were 478,543 discrete items. Books made up the
majority of new accessions, with 440,000 individual volumes
accessioned. Widener Library transferred 226,784 new items to the HD in
FY 2009. Other Harvard library clients with substantial transfer rates
were the Fine Arts Library (37,314), the Harvard Law School Library
(29,266), the Harvard–Yenching Library (58,945), and Government
Documents (17,072). MIT Libraries also transferred 50,001 books, the
largest by far of the non-Harvard HD clients. Records management clients
transferred 6,223 boxes of records in FY 2009.
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. All requested retrievals were delivered on the next business day or within 24 hours of the request.
220,301 items were retrieved in FY 2009, or 2.83% of total holdings.
Library users placed 159,397 retrieval requests using the HOLLIS–HD
request interface, an increase of 5.1% 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, nearly 61,000 requests. There were 13,056 retrieval
requests from Widener Library's Interlibrary Loan department in FY 2009,
an increase of 14% from FY 2008.
The HD courier vans made 6,479 customer deliveries over the course of
the fiscal year, an average of 26 individual stops per day for
circulation. Among these stops, the couriers delivered to clients 63,725
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 46,348 BSF of material to be reshelved. The
couriers also picked up 35,834 BSF of material being transferred to the
HD. The total volume of material carried by the HD courier vans totaled
145,907 BSF, an increase of 8% from FY 2008. The HD now runs three
courier vans on a daily basis to respond to the increasing circulation
At the end of FY 2009, stored media occupied 1,188,958 BSF, a net
increase of 54,069 BSF in FY 2009, or more than 95% 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 2009
comprised 82,670 BSF; ongoing consolidation of shelves and withdrawal of
records boxes and other materials resulted in the net increase of
54,069 BSF in assigned shelf space.
On April 22, 2009, the Harvard Libraries began a library-wide electronic delivery initiative, dubbed “Scan and Deliver.” At the HD, just one half-time staff member was assigned to the project, initially. The HD filled 634 requests in the first three months, an average of 10 requests filled each day. Request volume continued to increase steadily through the summer. At the beginning of the fall semester, the request level was high enough to warrant adding a second full-time staff member to handle the volume, allowing the original staff member to return to supervisory responsibility for the service.
Harvard–Google Project at the HD
The Harvard–Google Project took full 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
completed its sweep of the HD shelves in early April of FY 2009. 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 fragile book condition.
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 2009, the archive represented 90.5% of the database covered by
the first agreement, 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. JSTOR is composing a new continuation
agreement for the period of FY 2011–2013, to take effect July 1, 2010.
At the end of FY 2009, the titles associated with the continuation
agreement were 69.2% complete. Overall, more than 22 million pages are
archived at the HD.