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HCL and HUL's Weissman Center Launch New Web Pages on Disaster Preparedness

The Weissman Preservation Center in the Harvard University Library and the Preservation & Imaging Department in the Harvard College Library have just released a completely redesigned emergencies section of the University-wide preservation web site, These new web pages contain information about emergency preparedness as well as emergency recovery. They offer lists of readings, suggested supplies, and procedures for responding to emergencies involving Harvard's library collections.

The new pages outline the components of a library emergency plan, and link to the forms or supporting documentation necessary to complete each component. There are forms with Harvard's emergency telephone numbers that have space to add local library staff phone numbers, a form for an IT equipment and software inventory, and a form for recording the distribution of copies of local plans. There is also a questionnaire for building and facilities risk assessment. Supporting documentation includes a description of the roles and responsibilities of members of the library's local emergency response team, a coding system for setting collection priorities, collections salvage information, and links to communications and insurance contacts at other Harvard web sites.

"We encourage every library to establish an emergency leadership group, become familiar with core literature, consider emergency response strategies and responsibilities, and develop and distribute documentation using the new web pages as a guide," said Jan Merrill-Oldham, Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian. "The Library Collections Emergency Team, made up of Harvard's preservation librarians and conservators, continues to develop strategies and skills to address the problems that are inevitable in a library system comprising large and important collections housed in many buildings. At the same time, the web has made it possible for us to provide new tools that the libraries can use to advance in-house emergency readiness. We urge you to explore and use the new resources, and call us if you would like assistance or have suggestions for improving or augmenting them."

For more information, contact Jane Hedberg at the Weissman Preservation Center (, 5-8596), or Nancy Schrock at HCL Conservation Services (, 5-8871).

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Last modified on Tuesday, September 17, 2002.