A Microsoft Access relational database, the instrument is designed to work similarly to the Special Collections survey tool. It allows for, but does not require, collection of a great deal of detail about each item. Most fields provide drop-down menus to minimize keying and to assure consistent use of vocabulary. Technical terminology is based on that used by the Audio Engineering Society, Association of Moving Image Archivists, and other relevant organizations.
The instrument provides a mechanism for (1) recording quantities and types of audio and moving image materials in each collection, (2) documenting the physical condition of the media and their housings, (3) collecting information about existing levels of intellectual control and intellectual property rights, and (4) evaluating the potential research value of each collection. A five-point scale is employed to rank items from high to low in each area.
Basic survey-wide reports and collection-specific reports can already be generated. Additional detailed reports will be designed to rank collections by research importance, degree of physical damage, and lack of intellectual control, thereby allowing institutions to set priorities and establish long-term plans for preservation of their audio and moving image materials. The tool will also generate a report that will include a preservation priority ranking based on these factors.