The Smithsonian Institution is currently planning to develop a collections assessment tool - a "collections scorecard" per se - to measure and report performance in the area of collections stewardship, inform our strategic planning, and to leverage support for collections. Our challenge is to develop performance metrics based on levels of best practice that are relevant and meaningful across museums and collecting units of different disciplines, scales, and organizational structures.

As part of a larger environmental scan, we are conducting a survey in order to identify and document the variety of collections assessment and survey tools used by museums, archives, and libraries world-wide to measure collections stewardship. Through this survey, we also wish to solicit input regarding professional interest in developing and implementing collections assessment tools which might be beneficial to the entire field.

We invite and encourage you to participate in this survey.

For the purpose of this survey, we refer to a collections assessment as a tool to evaluate policies, practices, and conditions based on established professional standards and best practices.

A report of the findings of the survey will be available by the end of the year.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

*** Due Date: Responses to the survey are due by October 6, 2008 ***

We thank you in advance for your participation.

Bill Tompkins
National Collections Coordinator
National Collections Program
Smithsonian Institution