Book Conservation Wiki

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Welcome to the Book Conservation Wiki, compiled by members of the AIC Book and Paper Specialty Group. Its primary purpose is to become a practical guide to techniques, treatments, materials and technologies which are currently being used by book conservators. It will reflect the exciting variety of approaches people are taking-- so if you're a practicing book conservator, this is the place to talk about the particulars of the profession. The page is maintained by BPG Publications Committee Wiki Coordinator for Books, Michelle C. Smith.

Content published in the Book Conservation Wiki does not constitute an endorsement or approval of the procedure described. It is not designed to substitute for the consultation of a trained book conservator. If you are considering repairing a book, it is recommended in the strongest terms to seek out a professional conservator, preferably a Fellow or Professional Associate of AIC, as there are large risks associated with attempting to perform repairs yourself. Often times it leads to more complicated, expensive, and time-consuming problems down the road. To find a conservator, please visit AIC's Find A Conservator page.

Book Conservation Research, Tips, Treatment Examples

This list includes all the articles currently published on the Book Conservation Wiki. BPG Wiki editors are welcome to add their research to the top of this list.

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Topics in Book Preservation

BPG Wiki editors are welcome to add their research to the top of this list.

- Book Storage, including:

- Selection for Preservation

- Exhibition, Supports, and Transport

- Conservation in Support of Digitization

- Emergency Response and Recovery

- Environmental Control and Storage

- Materials, Equipment, and Tools used in Book and Paper Conservation

Describing Book Objects and Conservation Treatments

Book Conservators uses many sources to describe the book objects they work on, and to describe the details of their treatments. Some helpful reference sources are ABC for Bookbinders, Etherington and Roberts, Middleton, Szirmai, ABC for Book Collectors, and many more. Yet among these sources there are often incongruous overlaps, gaps, or slightly conflicting information.

"Language of Bindings Thesaurus"

In 2015, the Ligatus Research Centre led by Dr. Nicolas Pickwoad published Language of Bindings Thesaurus (LoB) which presents precise terminology in a somewhat flexible framework to better describe book objects. Many of these terms are also linked to topics in the Getty's Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (and here). The BPG Wiki will attempt to follow the terms and framework of the Language of Bindings Thesaurus in order to have a clear foundation that conservators can refer to in their discussions of treatments.

The terminology and framework of BPG Book Conservation Wiki will follow the LoB as much as possible. (The LoB database is made available under the ODC Attribution License.) One of the basic principles of the LoB seems to be that the best way to describe book objects is describe their component characteristics in specific detail. In fact, taking a step back, there does not even seem to be a generic definition of "book" in the LoB. This oversight is probably intentional, and reflective of their disinterest for the cliched rhetorical question of "what is a book?" With nearly infinite variations of style, structure, technique, and provenance for book objects, generic descriptors like "book" really do not come close to adequately describing any information that would be of interest to conservators.

Where to Start

The broadest, "highest-level" terms that are defined seem to be bookblocks and their bindings, so they are presented here as foundations from which to go forward to build a professional dialogue according to accepted vocabularies and definitions. We are more interested in hosting discussions about the use and appropriateness of terms rather than simply copying and pasting text already available from the Thesaurus without comment. Expansions on the Wiki of any book component introduced on the Language of Bindings Thesaurus, from bookmarks to sewing thread and beyond, are most welcome.

  • Bindings are described as "the structures and, if present, the covers used to hold together and protect the leaves of a bookblock and which allow them to be opened at the fore-edge."
  • Bookblocks are "all the leaves bound together in a single volume and enclosed within a single binding. The word textblock describes all the printed or written leaves whether they are bound or not, and can be used to differentiate the written or printed leaves from the endleaves within a bookblock where this is necessary."

There will certainly be subjects that are not well covered by the LoB Thesaurus -- such as Scrapbooks -- and in these instances the Book Conservation Wiki would do well to put use nomenclature from other sources such as Etherington & Roberts and more. To be discussed at the AIC Annual Meeting 2016 in Montreal.

Copyright 2020. The Book and Paper Group Wiki is a publication of the Book and Paper Group of the American Institute for Conservation. It is published as a convenience for the members of the Book and Paper Group. Publication does not endorse nor recommend any treatments, methods, or techniques described herein. Please follow these instructions for citing the BPG Wiki, keeping in mind that the Wiki is a work in progress and is frequently updated. The BPG Wiki coordinators can be reached at [email protected].

Book and Paper Group Wiki
Using the Wiki

·Contributors Toolbox ·Reference and Bibliography Protocols ·Accessing Conservation Literature (AIC) ·Help Wanted ·Template for New Page

Materials and Tips

·Annual Meeting Tips Sessions ·Materials, Equipment, and Tools ·Adhesive Recipes and Tips ·Conservation Supply Sources (AIC) ·Gels, Thickeners, and Viscosity Modifiers (ECPN) ·Oddy Tests (R&A) ·Instrumental Analysis (Paintings) ·Technical Examination (Paintings) ·Microchemical Testing (R&A)


·Selection for Preservation ·Exhibition, Supports, and Transport ·Imaging and Digitization ·Housings ·Encapsulation ·Integrated Pest Management (AIC) ·Environmental Guidelines (AIC) ·Environmental Monitoring (AIC) ·Agents of Deterioration (AIC) ·Light Levels (AIC) ·Pollutants and Contaminants (AIC) ·Emergency Preparedness & Response (AIC)

Conservation History and Ethics

·AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice ·Culturally Sensitive Treatment ·Conservation Ethics (AIC) ·History of Conservation and Conservators (AIC) ·History of the BPG Wiki