Everything But the Kitchen Sink (A Preservation Case Study)

Learning Objectives

  • Students will think through how to respond to a disaster scenario.


You are a staff member in a large organization that collects a wide variety of traditional and electronic records. Your stack space has a sophisticated HVAC system that is capable of maintaining ideal temperature and humidity in several zone for a variety of materials. Air is filtered appropriately, and lighting is controlled by motion sensors. The archive space is on the main floor of a several story building. Unfortunately directly above the archive space is a staff break area with kitchen facilities, and Friday before a three day weekend there was a staff get together in this space. Somehow things got out of hand. There are pictures on Facebook if your are curious, but despite the evidence and the good times had by all, the kitchen sink either became clogged or damaged. This caused it to dump an unknown quantity of water into the archive space. Not enough to float an ark, but close. Somehow the water shorted out the HVAC, and lead to no temperature and humidity controls over the weekend. This resulted in an ideal mold germination environment. You return on Tuesday to the aftermath of the party now apart of the archives.


  • What are your first steps as part of a recovery process? Think first that there is no disaster plan for this organization, and you must proceed into recovery without guidelines. How will you access issues caused by the sink? How will you recover?
  • If there was a disaster plan, what important features should it contain and issues should it cover? What type of supplies should have been set aside for such a disaster?


Mallery, Mary. 2015. Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning : A LITA Guide. Chicago: ALA TechSource, 2015. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed March 20, 2018)

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