I often wonder whether we should be exploring more ways to deliver information to subscribers. Is the Internet the obvious way? How about fax subscriptions? Or information on demand? What kind of information is needed most, and what kind can we provide most easily? Before jumping off the deep end, I decided to ask readers what their preferences were.
The last time we surveyed readers of the Abbey Newsletter was eight years ago. We sent a questionnaire to individual subscribers and published the findings in the July 1988 issue on p. 80. Response was about 50%. Over 50% of the respondents said their favorite topics were book conservation, hand bookbinding and paper conservation (fourteen percent of them were preservation administrators who used to work at the bench).
The majority of readers, however, have never been surveyed. These are the readers who get the Abbey Newsletter routed to them at work and whose names are not in the mailing list. If the loose questionnaire sheet is no longer with the newsletter when it gets to them, I hope they will photocopy this page, fill it out and send it in.
Subscribers who can take about five minutes to fill in this questionnaire can send it to Abbey Publications, 7105 Geneva Dr., Austin, TX 78723, or fax it to 512/929-3992.Ellen McCrady, Editor
Please indicate with + or - whether you would like to see more or less coverage of the topics below. If you have no preference, just leave it blank or put a zero. There is room for a few write-in topics too.
Each topic below should be understood to include only preservation aspects, e.g. "Science and technology" covers the technical aspects of paper conservation, deacidification, and so on.
1. Administration _____
2. Storage environment _____
3. Deacidification _____
4. Photocopying & microfilming ______
5. Digitizing texts; digital libraries ______
6. Disasters & security _____
7. Pests and mold _____
8. Bookbinding _____
9. Book conservation _____
10. Book and paper permanence _____
11. Conservation of art on paper _____
12. Archival paper conservation _____
13. Papermaking _____
14. Leather & parchment _____
15. Photographic materials _____
16. Long-term preservation of digital records ______
17. Sound recordings _____
18. Science & technology ______
19. Supplies & materials ______
Please rank order the suggestions below according to the priority you, as a reader, would give it. Use "1" as the highest priority. You can add your own comments and suggest alternatives below.
The options I have been considering are listed below. Some of them might involve a surcharge or subscription price increase, but others may not. Your response to this part of the questionnaire will help me decide which options to follow up on.Ellen McCrady
______ Publish 11 or 12 issues a year instead of 8. This may be possible in 1998. The subscription price would have to increase.
______ Publish on a regular schedule. Like increasing the publication frequency, this would mean much thinner issues during the conference season.
______ Send out an index oftener than once a year. This could easily be done, because the annual index is updated for each issue before it gets back from the printer.
______ Offer fax subscriptions as an alternative to paper copies sent by mail. This might be an attractive option for overseas subscribers or subscribers in countries with unreliable mail delivery. Domestic subscribers could have fax subscriptions too.
______ Print the Newsletter on a pastel colored paper that would make it easier to find in a pile of papers, without making it harder to photocopy.