Heritage Health Information Survey, United States, 2014 (ICPSR 37419)

Version Date: Oct 31, 2019 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Lisa M. Frehill, Institute of Museum and Library Services (U.S.); Marisa Pelczar, Institute of Museum and Library Services (U.S.); Matthew Birnbaum, Institute of Museum and Library Services (U.S.); Benjamin Sweezy, Institute of Museum and Library Services (U.S.)


Version V1

HHIS 2014

The nation's libraries, museums, historical societies, archives, and scientific institutions hold in their collections 13 billion items, from furniture to photos and sheet music to soil samples. These make up the tangible objects of the United States' national heritage and are cataloged, shelved, stored, and protected. Digital collections are now reaching new audiences and challenging institutions large and small.

In 2004, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) supported Heritage Preservation in conducting the Heritage Health Index Survey (HHIS). This survey assessed the preservation needs of America's cultural heritage institutions and provided a benchmarking tool for collections care practice. Ten years later, IMLS took a look at where collections care and management challenges and opportunities stood. The 2014 survey included many questions similar to those in 2004 and introduced new questions about preservation of digital collections.

The data contains records for 1,714 collecting institutions. The sample was stratified by type of institution (archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and scientific collections) and size (large/medium or small). These institutions represent a universe of 31,290 collecting institutions. For the purposes of HHIS, eligibility was based on whether institutions had accepted preservation responsibility for collections of nonliving tangible and digital collections but excluded collections meant to be used by visitors or patrons and disposed of or replaced if they are lost or damaged.

Frehill, Lisa M., Pelczar, Marisa, Birnbaum, Matthew, and Sweezy, Benjamin. Heritage Health Information Survey, United States, 2014. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-10-31. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37419.v1

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Institute of Museum and Library Services

Alliance of American Museums (AAM) designated region

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2013 -- 2014

The purpose of the 2014 Heritage Health Information Survey (HHIS) is to provide information about preservation and conservation practices at U.S. collecting institutions.

Data were collected through an online questionnaire with links sent to all large/medium and some of the small institutions included in the original sampling frame. Small institutions for which there was no valid email address were sent a paper copy of the questionnaire.

All institutions categorized as either large or medium, along with small archives--11 of the 15 distinct strata--were automatically included. The remaining four strata, consisting of more than 44,000 small institutions initially identified by the survey contractor, were randomly sampled, at the following rates: historical societies (38 percent), libraries (23 percent), museums (14 percent), and scientific collections (73 percent).

Longitudinal: Trend / Repeated Cross-section

All collecting institutions known to the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2014.

survey data

The data includes information about respondent institutions, as follows:

  • Institutional Type and Governance
  • Environmental Controls
  • Preservation Activities
  • Expenditures and Funding
  • Collections Cataloging
  • Collections and Holdings
  • Staffing and Visitors

Of the 8,561 surveys that were sent via e-mail or regular mail, 1,714 institutions responded, for a 20 percent response rate. Institution type response rates were:

  • Archives: 35.7 percent
  • Libraries: 17.7 percent
  • Historical Societies: 19.7 percent
  • Museums: 22.4 percent
  • Scientific Collections: 14.6 percent
A further breakdown by institution size is available in the user guide.



2019-10-31 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.

The variable "WEIGHT" is included in the data. For more information about weight development, please see the included user's guide.



  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Free and easy access to data on the arts and on the arts' value and impact for individuals and communities