Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning: A LITA Guide

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  • About the Authors
  • Reviews

Most library disaster plans focus on response and recovery from collection and facilities disasters, such as fire and floods. But because technology is becoming ever more integral to libraries' role in their communities, any interruption in service and resources is a serious matter.  A disaster's effect on internet and social media sites, electronic resources, digital collections, and staff and public infrastructure of PCs, tablets, laptops and other peripherals requires special consideration. Featuring contributions from librarians who offer hard-won advice gained from personal experience, this compendium leads readers through a step-by-step process of creating a library technology disaster response and recovery plan. This LITA guide

  • Outlines the three phases of technology disaster response, with examples of planning and implementation strategies from several different libraries
  • Describes how to conduct an inventory and risk assessment
  • Provides detailed case studies of recent large-scale technology disasters in libraries and documents how lessons learned have helped to improve technology disaster planning
  • Offers an in-depth look at future trends in cloud computing, mapping out the new field of disaster mitigation, response, and recovery planning
  • Includes useful resources such as checklists, templates, and a sample communications plan

Though libraries can never know when or how disaster may strike, with the help of this guide they'll be able to craft a response and recovery plan to weather the storm and get library technology back online as quickly as possible.

Part I: Creating the Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Plan

1    What Could Go Wrong? Libraries, Technology and Murphy's Law, by Mary Mallery
2    Inventory and Risk Assessment for Digital Collections, by Liz Bishoff and Thomas F. R. Clareson
3    Disaster Planning and Risk Management with dPlan, by Donia Conn
4    Disaster Communication: Planning and Executing a Response, by Denise O'Shea
5    Future Trends: Cloud Computing and Disaster Mitigation, by Marshall Breeding



Part II: Managing Techmageddon: Disaster Mitigation and Lessons Learned

6     The University of Iowa and the Flood of 2008: A Case Study, by Paul Soderdahl
7    Digital Disaster Recovery and Resources in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy: A Case Study, by Thomas F. R. Clareson

Appendix A: Disaster Communications Planning Template
Appendix B: Example of a Basic Disaster Communications Plan for a Public Library




Mary Mallery

Mary Mallery is the associate dean for technical services at Montclair State University Library. She has published articles and presented on library technology-related topics extensively. She is the book review editor for the Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship and a regular contributor to the Web Review column of Technical Services Quarterly. She teaches classes in database design and management as well as metadata sources for library professionals at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information as a part-time lecturer.

Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)

The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of ALA, educates, serves and reaches out to its members, other ALA members and divisions, and the entire library and information community through its publications, programs and other activities designed to promote, develop, and aid in the implementation of library and information technology.

"This guide makes a compelling argument for the value of technology disaster planning and supplies guidance on how to get started."
— Library Journal

"Any library that has yet to be touched by a natural weather disaster would want to review this volume and take to heart the title of the first chapter: ‘What Could Go Wrong? Libraries, Technology, and Murphy's Law.'"
— Booklist

"This title would be useful not only as a professional development resource for library directors, technology managers, and technology librarians, but as a textbook for library administration and preservation courses."
— Catholic Library World

"As a library executive for IT, I found the book to be useful regarding all areas for which my division should be prepared. Comparing the chapter topics to our actual preparedness reveals glaring risks at my institution. The book is written to engage all library administrators across a spectrum of technology skills. Individual chapters will be more applicable to librarians and IT staff working in specific areas, such as digital collections and cloud computing. This book would be an excellent resource to serve as the focus for a retreat on disaster preparedness for library and/or IT leaders."
— Technical Services Quarterly