Major disasters such as fire, floods and earthquakes can strike library collections at any time. Typically, the most significant library collections are the heritage, archival, unique or local history materials and/or legal deposit collections. In our 21st century libraries such significant collections are hybrid; not only do they contain physical materials such as books, manuscripts, photographs and audio-visual collections, they also contain growing collections of digital materials – both ‘digitised’ and ‘born digital’. However typically disaster plans for library collections focus on managing just the physical collections. The digital collections are managed separately; commonly the disaster planning role is assigned to IT systems.
An ALIA Research Grant has supported research to further investigate the management of disaster preparedness among Australia’s state and national libraries. To date the research findings indicate in principle support for the development of a high level framework for an integrated disaster plan that aligns disaster responses across all collection formats – physical and digital. The State Library of Queensland has a background of expertise and recent practical experience in disaster preparedness, and a number of its experienced staff have agreed to participate in the development of a template for an integrated disaster plan as a ‘proof of concept’.
The presentation focuses on the challenges and potential and anticipated benefits of an integrated disaster plan framework, and summarises the progress towards developing an integrated template.
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