BPG Written Documentation

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  • Book and Paper Group
  • Examination, Documentation and Analysis

In the broadest sense, conservation documentation consists of written and pictorial records of examination, sampling, scientific investigation and treatment of an object or collection. Such documentation is considered to be an integral part of a conservation professional's legal and ethical obligations as articulated in the AIC's Code of Ethics and Guidelines of Practice.1 The emphasis of this page is on those aspects of written documentation that form part of the practicing conservator's daily work, namely records of examination and treatment. Related topics such as photographic documentation2 and collection surveys are beyond the scope of this page and are mentioned only to convey the broad range of activities which fall under the larger subject of “conservation documentation.”

Written documentation is defined here as a collection of facts and observations made about an object or collection at a given point in time. Written documentation may take a number of formats according to circumstances, the type of object, the intended use of the document, whether an individual object or a collection is being discussed and will reflect the individual preferences of the professional conservator. In all cases the conservator should bear in mind the inherent inadequacies of written documentation to completely describe an object and supplement when practical and possible with photographs and other pictorial forms of communication.

The proper use of the terms report and record was discussed during the process of revision of the Code of Ethics and Guidelines of Practice (hereafter COE & GOP).3 In the proposed COE & GOP, the manner in which the two terms are used reflects the general distinction made by most conservators; that is that record implies the broader, sometimes less formal form of the information whereas, report implies a condensed, editorialized, focused and sometimes but not necessarily more polished form of the record. In article 27 of the final revisions of the GOP the distinction may be made as follows. “During treatment, the conservation professional should maintain dated documentation that includes a record or description of techniques or procedures involved, materials used and their composition, the nature and extent of all alterations and any additional information revealed. A report prepared from these records should summarize this information and provide, as necessary, recommendations for subsequent care.” It should be emphasized that the record and report are not mutually exclusive and in practice they are not always separate activities.

Original Compilers: Holly Krueger, Sarah Melching, Kitty Nicholson
For a full list of the original contributors to this page, see the section below on History of This Page below.
Wiki Contributors: Angela M. Andres, Melina Avery, Sofia (Sonya) Barron, Susan Cobbledick, Jessamy Gloor, Deborah Howe, Jen Hunt Johnson, Katherine Kelly, Kathy Lechuga, Holly Prochaska, Ashleigh Schieszer, Giselle Simon, Kristen St. John, your name could be here

Copyright 2024. The AIC Wiki is a publication of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). It is published as a convenience for the members of AIC. Publication does not endorse nor recommend any treatments, methods, or techniques described herein. Information on researching with and citing the wiki can be found on the Reference and Bibliography Protocols page.

Cite this page:

American Institute for Conservation (AIC). "BPG Written Documentation." AIC Wiki. May 21, 2024. https://www.conservation-wiki.com/wiki/BPG_Written_Documentation.

Purpose[edit | edit source]

  • To provide an accurate, complete and permanent written record of the condition of an object or collection at a given point in time.
  • To provide information helpful to the establishment of present and future preservation criteria and to add to the profession's body of knowledge.
  • To provide a record of technical analysis undertaken and interpretations of that analysis.
  • To record material and techniques used in treatment.
  • To substantiate changes which result from time, manner of storage, handling and treatment.
  • To increase appreciation of an object's aesthetic, conceptual and physical characteristics beyond the conservation profession.
  • To record information of historical significance.
  • To provide a record upon which a contract for services can be drawn and which can be used to avoid misunderstanding and/or unnecessary litigation.

Factors To Consider[edit | edit source]

Intended Use[edit | edit source]

Both the immediate and future intended uses of the document should be kept in mind when deciding on format, degree of detail and areas of emphasis. For example, if preparing a preacquisition examination report, one may focus on the extent of treatment and/or maintenance which may be required, anticipated special housing concerns, exhibition restrictions, evidence of the object's treatment history, etc. If an object is being examined to determine its suitability to travel, one may emphasize the types of conditions which would be most affected and any treatment which may be advised to mitigate the inherent risks involved with loans and travel. In many ways, the documentation should satisfy the test of reasonableness given the intended purpose that the exam or report is serving.

Intended Audience[edit | edit source]

Written documentation is prepared for both conservators and a broad range of non-conservators. If a report is prepared for a non-conservator, particular care should be taken to communicate the information clearly, accurately and with a minimum of jargon. In such cases, more attention may be given to explaining and defining terms used. Withholding and/or oversimplification of available information should not be the goal, but rather effective communication for the intended audience. Reports can be valuable educational tools and can provide an opportunity to increase appreciation of both cultural property and the conservation profession.

Resources[edit | edit source]

The amount of financial, time and personnel resources that are available may influence the degree and/or emphasis of written documentation. Resource restraints may make extensive documentation of a single item inappropriate, wasteful and not as ultimately useful as commenting on the collection as a whole.

Format[edit | edit source]

Written documentation may take a variety of forms ranging from handwritten treatment notes to lengthy narrative reports. In general, examination and treatment reports tend to fall within two broad categories, defined here as checklist and narrative. In practice the distinction between the two is less defined and a combination of the two styles is very common.

Checklist Style
A checklist consists of a list of categories or descriptors against which an object or group of objects is evaluated. It is especially useful when efficiency, consistency and economy of space are of high priority. An examination and condition report, treatment proposal and treatment report can all be in checklist form. The checklist report, especially one documenting the condition or treatment of many objects may be accompanied by a summary page which provides an overall description of the nature of the collection, its curatorial priority, any abbreviations used on the form, philosophy of treatment approach, etc. A checklist form can be very useful for documenting the minor treatment of a collection of similar objects, or for batch treatment. Checklist forms are not necessarily cursory and can be designed to record any level of detail deemed appropriate to the circumstances. Many conservators find a checklist form useful for its prompting aspect. Some use a checklist form to compile the raw data from which a narrative style report can be easily and quickly generated.
The checklist standardizes the response. This allows for compilation of findings and collection assessment in terms of frequency of particular conditions or treatments. Because it is a categorical response, certain subtle qualities of an item may be more accurately described in a narrative report. (RF)
Some conservators prefer to use a narrative format for written documentation as it generally allows for more directed and detailed discussion of object specific phenomena. A narrative report can be generated from a list of stock phrases which are word-processed for final presentation. It may be easier to explain and educate in this style of report. This form is most often used for documenting a single item or for objects of high intrinsic value.

Future Access[edit | edit source]

This section describes existing professional guidelines and principles regarding preservation of and access to written documentation. It also discusses the range of conservation professionals' practices for managing treatment records. In contrast to other sections of this page, information is presented in narrative as opposed to outline style because currently there is no standard practice for managing written documentation.

The AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice states that examination and treatment documentation is an essential part of professional practice and recommends the permanent retention of such records. Underlying this recommendation is the assumption that treatment records have a long-term value beyond the immediate needs of examination and treatment. Reasons for long-term preservation are:

  • to aid in the care of cultural property by providing information helpful to future treatment
  • to add to the conservation profession's body of knowledge
  • to provide a reference that can assist in the continued development of knowledge in conservation, art history, and historical studies
  • to protect against litigation and misunderstanding between client and conservation professional

Conservation professionals have a responsibility to preserve their own original records, preferably as part of an organized and systematic records management program. Laboratories within institutions that have staff archivists or records managers should follow the guidelines established by their institutions. Documentation of treatment done by conservators in private practice for institutions should also be incorporated into institutional archives for permanent retention. Conservators in private practice or within institutions without a records program will need to establish their own procedures for the maintenance of inactive treatment records and, if the practice or laboratory closes, for the disposition of these records.

Preservation of records is not an end in itself. It has as its ultimate goal the provision of access to these records in the future. To insure continued access, the Code states that copies of examination and treatment must be given to the owner, custodian, or authorized agent, who should be advised of the importance of maintaining documentation along with the cultural property that has received treatment. Further, the Code states, “The conservation professional should strive to preserve these records and give other professionals appropriate access them, when access does not contravene agreements regarding confidentiality.” This principle was confirmed and expanded by the AIC Archives Task Force in 1988 in their Statement on the Preservation of Conservation Treatment Records:

The American Institute for Conservation advocates the preservation of and access to records of conservators in private practice and those working in institutions.
Significance. Conservation records document the physical condition and treatment history of cultural patrimony; they possess long term research value beyond the years spanned by the career of the individual conservator. These records should remain permanently accessible so that future treatments can be based on all available knowledge. Such information will improve the quality of treatment, contribute to research into conservation techniques and materials, and assist historical studies.

To facilitate access, the AIC appointed an Archives Placement Liaison who serves as a clearinghouse on archival issues and helps place records of retired conservators into established archival repositories where they can be preserved (see section 5.4.1, Conservation Records Archive).

The question of access is linked to the issue of legal ownership of the content of records. Does the conservator (like an architect) own his records and have the right to provide access to his/her files? Or does the client (like a medical patient) have a right to the content of his/her records and restrict access? For conservators working within custodial institutions, the issue of ownership is not a problem, but for conservators in private practice or in regional centers that serve many clients, this issue could cause obstacles to releasing any information from their files to researchers treating similar objects in the future. Given the desire of the conservation profession to share information about treatment procedures and to conduct research on the long-term effectiveness of treatment, such restrictions would hinder the advancement of conservation. A compromise that protects the confidentiality of the client relationship while allowing the conservator ownership of the content of the records would be most desirable.

As part of their study, the AIC Archives Task Force requested that the AIC Legal Counsel investigate the issue of ownership of records from the point of view of access in an archives. His conclusions are relevant to conservation documentation in general. Doug Adler's Memorandum to Archives Task Force (June 18, 1987) concludes:

The authority supporting the conservator's ownership rights and the authority supporting the art-object owner's rights, while indicative of the respective proprietary ownership interests in the treatment reports, are inconclusive as to who actually owns the records: the conservator or the art/objects owners. It is impossible to predict with certainty the legal ramifications of a conservator's claim and donation to an archival conservator (i.e. archives repository). Courts could give ownership to either party, given the present state of the law. In light of these circumstances, then, our advice is to adopt a practical solution to the dilemma.
We recommend a written contractual release. The conservator could secure his rights in the records by a signed statement by the art-object owner that releases any and all rights to that might exist under the law. At the same time, the release would guarantee protection of the owner's name and other sensitive information related to the records, should the conservator decide to donate them to an archive.
This solution, moreover, adequately protects both interests involved. It gives the conservator ownership of his treatment records so that he may donate them to a repository. It also protects the art-object owner from public scrutiny of the sensitive matters of his possessions. Accordingly, obtaining a written release would be the most realistic legal method of protecting the ownership rights of all parties involved.

In practice, most conservation professional uphold the tenets of records preservation advanced by the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. Conservation professionals in various types of practice — in private practice or employed by custodial institutions or regional centers — create and retain records of examination and treatment. Conservation professional advise clients to retain copies of documentation with the cultural property that was treated, though their methods of communication vary; some counsel owners orally, others in writing. Records management policies and practices vary and can be informal.

In contrast to the consensus about creating and preserving documentation, legal ownership of treatment documentation is a concept that few conservation professional consider in their work, and written documentation is seldom regarded as property that is potentially proprietary. It follows that access to written documentation is inconsistently administered. When questioned, many conservation professionals identify the owner of the cultural property as the owner of the associated documentation. Still others, particularly conservators in private practice, recognize the concept and seek legal ownership of their treatment documentation through contractual agreements with clients.

As the Archives Task Force's Final Narrative Report points out, the conservation profession would benefit if its members were to take a consistent approach toward the issue of ownership because of its implications for long-term access to treatment documentation by future conservators, scientists, and scholars. The AIC should continue to promote an awareness and understanding of this issue through open communication with the membership. Further, it should work toward developing practical guidelines to assist conservation professionals in securing their rights in their records, as well as in managing them effectively and responsibly.

Permanence of Written Record or Report[edit | edit source]

Consideration should be given to the permanence of the written documentation conservators produce. To the extent practically possible documents should be produced on good-quality paper with permanent media and maintained in conditions consistent with the storage recommendations of paper-based collections.

Consideration may be given to off-site storage of copies of written records as a disaster mitigation effort where the ability to read these formats can be maintained.

Computer Storage of Documentation/archive should be considered for several reasons.

  • Ease of duplication for storage at other site.
  • Saving of paper and filing space.
  • Improvement in records access.
  • Greater ease of dissemination.
There is concern for the safety and preservation of machine readable data. There should also be concern for the storage, safety and cost associated with storage and retrieval of paper records. They are subject to fire, flood and aging and because of the great cost of duplication/storage at another or several sites, loss can mean complete loss of information. With machine data, it is easy and relatively inexpensive to make duplicate copies for storage at multiple sites. Magnetic media is vulnerable and must be recopied routinely to maintain it. Newer optical methods are now available for archiving data and this offers greater security. In any case, it is interesting to note that more 200,000 pages of text can be stored on a single 3" x 4" x 1/2" DAT tape or more than 30,000 pages on a single CD. (RF)

Content of Report[edit | edit source]

This section contains the kinds of information a conservator may use to describe an object and, if applicable, its housing, in examination and treatment reports. Generally, the information is presented in the order in which it would actually appear. Most conservators begin with a list of identifying characteristics and continue with a description of the object or collection and its components, an assessment of condition, a treatment proposal or other recommendations, and a treatment report. The exact arrangement of information within this basic sequence will vary according to individual preferences and needs.

Examination Report[edit | edit source]

Identification of Object[edit | edit source]

Enough of the following identifiers should be included to facilitate future identification of the object or collection

  • Owner or Custodian
  • Accession, Collection, Registration Number, or Other Identifiers as Appropriate
  • Artist, Maker or Institution/Agency of Origin
  • Title or Subject
  • Date or Period
  • Place of Manufacture
  • Dimensions generally measured from left and bottom edges: height given first, then width and finally thickness if applicable.
  • Image
  • Support
  • Secondary support
  • Inscriptions and Identifying Marks
  • Date of Record/Report
  • Author(s) of Record/Report
  • A record of any accompanying photo documentation or other visual/pictorial aids

Description[edit | edit source]

Materials, techniques, methods of fabrication. Items considered original should be distinguished from those that are not.


  • Support
  • Paper Type
  • Present Color
  • Present Surface Characteristics
  • Method of Manufacture
- Laid line intervals
- Chain line frequency
- Watermark
  • Medium/Media
  • Surface Coating


  • Mount (local, overall)
  • Lining (paper, cloth, other)
  • Fasteners
  • Seals, Ribbons, etc.
  • Other


  • Mat/Backing Material
  • Stretcher/Strainer
  • Frame, Glazing Material, Hanging Hardware
  • Inscriptions/Labels on Backing Material or Frame
  • Box-type container

Extraneous Attachments/Evidence of Past Treatment[edit | edit source]

  • Lining
  • Mount
  • Hinges (Old and Present)
  • Previous Repairs/Inserts
  • Tapes
  • Pressure sensitive
  • Water-based adhesives
  • Residual Adhesives
  • Paper Remnants
  • Fixatives
  • Inpainting
  • Surface Coating

Condition[edit | edit source]

Description of the physical, and visual qualities of the primary support, media, attachments, auxiliary support and/or materials, housing and frame.

Condition Characteristics

Some conservators prefer to describe the condition of media and support in separate sections, noting discoloration and mechanical aspects of each component. Some prefer to describe condition in descending order of seriousness, pervasiveness or prominence. Some conservators begin an examination report with a brief summary of the object's condition, e.g. “excellent, good, fair, poor.” Probable causes may be noted and linked to the descriptive portion of the report. It is important to distinguish between known and presumed causes. Discussions of inherent vice can also be included. The conservator should also remember to comment on the positive aspects of condition as well as the negative ones.

  • Discoloration
One should note whether the condition is overall or localized, superficial or embedded, and whether it applies to the media or the support.
  • Darkening or yellowing—slight, or pronounced
  • Stains from contact with poor quality material/mats, tape and adhesives
  • Fading
  • Foxing
  • Mold growth and/or stains
  • Tidelines/water and liquid stains
  • Staining induced by media
  • Flyspecks
  • Accretions
  • Surface soiling
  • Fingerprints
  • Previous retouching
  • Discoloration of surface coatings or sizing agents
  • Blanching/Opacity
  • Structural Condition
  • Embrittlement or flexibility
  • Tears/breaks
  • Losses
  • Pin or tack holes
  • Abrasion/skinning
  • Thinning
  • Overall planar distortions, i.e. cockling/buckling, bulges, draws
  • Creases
  • Folds
  • Wrinkles
  • Attachment to support/hinges, causing distortion
  • Flattened platemark, paper surface or design
  • Scratches
  • Trimmed edges
  • Media loss/abrasion
  • Cracking and flaking, cleavage, powdering or other structural insecurity of the media or surface coating
  • Softness due to loss of sizing

Location of Described Condition Characteristic

The location of the described phenomena should be clearly defined and may be accomplished in a variety of ways. Existing photographic documentation can also be referenced.

  • The object may be divided into quadrants or smaller grids and the condition located using the following designations: top left (T.L.); top center (T.C.); top right (T.R.); center left (C.L.); center (C); center right (C.R.); bottom left (B.L.); bottom center (B.C.); bottom right (B.R.).
  • Conditions may be located on a representative sketch or a scale reproduction of the object. A key to the symbols used on the illustration should be included.
  • Photograph
  • Mylar overlays of photograph
  • Photocopies of photograph or object if appropriate
  • Free-hand illustration or tracings of object
  • Conditions may be located in the text of the report using measurements taken from the bottom and left edges.

Testing and Analysis[edit | edit source]

See also Spot Tests

Objective of Testing or Analysis

  • To identify the support and media
  • May provide supporting evidence of an object's history and manufacture.
  • May identify inherent vice causes for conditions noted
  • May provide support for recommendations to follow
  • To identify the sensitivity of the support and media to prospective treatment material
  • To identify the level of risk of alteration to the integrity of the object, and projected results of the recommendations to follow.
  • To identify adhesives used to adhere attachments
  • To identify causes of staining and discoloration

Type of Testing

The kind of testing, procedure and instrumentation employed should be clearly described. Whether the testing was destructive (involves removal of material) or nondestructive (surface pH measurements) should be noted. Testing procedures which may be considered routine such as the determination of media sensitivity to treatment reagents and surface pH may be described in detail and kept in the conservator's records for reference.

Location of Test

  • Sample size and location of area from which it was taken
  • Location and area of test site

Interpretation of Results

Summary[edit | edit source]

Some conservators employ a separate section to summarize the information in the examination report. The summary may appear either at the end or the beginning of the condition description section. It is important to correlate condition and relative need (or lack of need) for treatment. This section can be used to describe the rationale for conservation intervention or treatment processes with reference to their relative risks and benefits. Lengthy discussions of the methodologies used may not be appropriate to include in every written document but can be extremely useful to posterity.

Treatment Proposal[edit | edit source]

  • Recommended Treatment/Treatment Options/No Treatment Indicated
  • Risks/Precautions/Benefits
  • Approval by Curator/Custodian
  • Time/Cost Estimate

Further Recommendations[edit | edit source]

Consideration may be given to prioritizing recommendations

Preventative Care

  • Environmental (includes light levels, temperature and relative humidity for both storage and exhibition).
  • Housing
  • Handling

Recommendations for periodic inspections to monitor identified conditions

Treatment Report[edit | edit source]

Identification of Object[edit | edit source]

The object or collection should be identified to facilitate future reference (see Identification of Object above).

Treatment Procedures[edit | edit source]

Description of Methods and Material Employed

A stepwise description of the methods and materials employed in the treatment should include how the materials were used, for how long, and the concentration and proportion of reagents. In some cases, generic descriptions of materials such as blotters, scalpels and cotton swabs may be adequate. Information such as the manufacturer or brand and lot or serial number may be indicated for some materials and equipment, especially those whose formulation may change at the discretion of the manufacturer. Some individuals and institutions maintain detailed descriptions of procedures and specifications for each product used in their own records and cross reference the material or procedure cited in treatment reports. A printout of material specifications can be attached with each report. Maintaining a sample from each batch of material could also be considered.

Results of Treatment (This will be in narrative form, unlike in the section above)

  • Degree of Success relative to projected/expected results
  • Predicted Stability of Treated State
Define short term/long term, relate to external factors. Some conservators hesitate to include this as they feel it is something beyond their realm of control.
  • Any necessary variation from proposed treatment encountered during treatment along with an explanation for the change. To the extent possible, variations encountered during treatment should be discussed with the custodian prior to or immediately following the change, and under some circumstances written approval for the change may be required.

Housing[edit | edit source]

This section is optional. It may be useful to include a description of the housing fabricated for the object(s).

Further Recommendations[edit | edit source]

May repeat those outlined in the examination report. Some conservators prefer to give recommendations for preventative care and the like in the treatment report.

Record of Photodocumentation[edit | edit source]

Examples of Examination and Treatment Reports[edit | edit source]

In 2016 and again in 2018, Book and Paper Group members, and in particular, the Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group, submitted examples of written documentation and electronic documentation systems. These are available as PDFs below.

Description and screenshot of FileMaker Pro conservation documentation database.
Description and screenshot of Microsoft Access conservation documentation database. Sample treatment report.
Description and sample treatment report.
Blank book conservation documentation form.
  • Conservation Documentation, Ashleigh Schieszer, Book and Paper Conservator, and Holly Prochaska, Preservation Librarian, The Preservation Lab, 2018.
Workflow summary, description and screenshot of Microsoft Access conservation documentation database, and a sample treatment report.
Description and screenshot of FileMaker Pro conservation documentation database. Sample treatment report
Description and screenshot of conservation documentation database.
Description and screenshot FileMaker Pro conservation documentation database. Sample treatment report
A blank printable form for documenting condition and treatment of books. This form was modified and used while the author was a graduate student at the Kilgarlin Center, University of Texas at Austin. She believes it was based on a model from the Huntington Library.
Blank form for recording description, condition, and treatment of books.

The 1994 print edition of the Paper Conservation Catalog (see History of This Page below) included examples of condition and treatment documentation forms from various institutions, including the Library of Congress, Winterthur Museum and Gardens, National Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, and NEDCC. They are not reproduced here, but are available online in the Appendix to the Written Documentation chapter (1994).

Documentation Terminology[edit | edit source]

BPG Glossary of Terms[edit | edit source]

The original "Glossary of Terms" from this page was moved to the BPG Glossary of Terms page.

This glossary is written for paper conservators, related professionals, and other persons who read written documentation created by paper conservators. The glossary's intent is to define specialized terminology used in condition and treatment reports which is not defined in general dictionaries, either adequately or at all. While a completely standardized vocabulary does not yet exist in the field, this glossary is an attempt to gather terms in general use and their meanings. Some terms are more widely used than others, and usage may vary according to individual conservators. Not included in the glossary are terms describing artist's techniques and media which have been well covered in a growing body of literature, such as William Ivins, How Prints Look, Felix Brunner, A Handbook of Graphic Reproduction Processes, Paul Goldman, Looking at Prints, Drawings and Watercolours, etc.

AIC Wiki Lexicon Terms[edit | edit source]

Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper[edit | edit source]

Guidelines for the accurate and consistent description of the materials and techniques of drawings, prints and collages. Published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Abbreviations and Phrases on Printed Images 1500–1900[edit | edit source]

This is a useful guide to the notations and abbreviations found on prints published by print scholar Ad Stijnman.

Illustrated glossary of paper conservation: damages and treatments - English, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek[edit | edit source]

Silvana Bojanoski and Márcia Almada. 2021. Illustrated glossary of paper conservation: damages and treatments - English, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek. Brazil, Fino Traco Editora LTDA. DOI: 10.52884/eft-gloscon.002 Also available on Researchgate.

Interdisciplinary Multilingual Dictionary[edit | edit source]

Conservation Terms in English, Polish, Dutch and French

Conservation Records Archive[edit | edit source]

Please note: This text is from the 1994 print edition of the Paper Conservation Catalog. It reflects a task force initiative that, as of November 2016, has not been sustained. The issue may be revisited in the future by AIC in the hopes of reviving the topic, or finding a new solution to archiving in the digital era.

AIC recognizes the long-term value of conservation records to improve the quality of future treatment, contribute to the studies of conservation techniques and materials, and assist historical studies. In 1987–88, the AIC Archives Task Force studied the feasibility of establishing a single archive to preserve the records of retired conservators in private practice. The members concluded that it would be more effective to create a Conservation Archives Network of repositories representing different geographic regions and different conservation specialties. As a result of the study, AIC appointed an Archives Placement Liaison who serves as a clearinghouse for information about the location of conservation records.

The AIC Archives Placement Liaison also provides assistance to conservators or their heirs who wish to place papers in an archive. Based on her experience, the Liaison will suggest an appropriate repository and help the donor make the initial contact. The actual process of negotiation and transferral is the responsibility of the donor. Contact AIC Headquarters for the name of the current Liaison. It also appears in the front of the AIC Directory under “AIC Delegates and Liaisons.”

AIC urges that institutions with conservation laboratories maintain and preserve treatment records as part of their permanent archives. Institutions that have work done by conservators in private practice should incorporate these treatment records into their archives for permanent retention. Access to these records should be given when it contributes to research or assists in the treatment of similar objects. (NCS)

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

AIC Preprints of Papers Presented at the 15th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, May 20-24, 1987.
Abt, Jeffrey. “ Creating and Using a Computerized Treatment File,” Computer Technology for Conservators: Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax, May 13-16, 1985. 63-84.
American Association of Museums. Caring for Collections: Strategies for Conservation Maintenance and Documentation, A Report on an American Association of Museums Project. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums, 1984.
Anon. "Developments of a National Conservation Treatments Database. A Progress Report from the Preservation Services Branch, National Library of Australia,” The International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship 4, no. 1 (1985): 102–104.
Anon. “What Happens to All The Conservation Treatment Reports?” The Abbey Newsletter 11, no. 3 (1987): 36.
Ashley-Smith, Jonathan. “The Ethics of Conservation,” The Conservator no. 6 (1982): 1–5.
Bisht, A.S. “Documentation in a Conservation Laboratory through Computers: Problems and Prospects,” Conservation of Cultural Property in India 23 (1990): 63–77.
Blaha, M.R.; Rice, P.F. and Y. Yamashita. “Conservation Information Management Systems: Today and Tomorrow,” Computer Technology for Conservators: Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax (13–16 May, 1985): 137–150.
Bradley, Susan. “Conservation Recording in the British Museum,” ILC Paper Conservator no. 7 (1983).
Brite, Rebecca. “Parlez-Vous Computer?” Museum News 66, no. 6 (1988): 12–14.
Browning, B.L. Analysis of Paper. New York and Basel: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1977.
Clapp, Anne F. Curatorial Care of Works of Art on Paper. New York: Nick Lyons Books, 1987.
Christie, Sigrid. “Why Documentation?” ICOMOS Bulletin no. 7 (1987): 99–103.
Conservation Unit. Science for Conservators. Book One: An Introduction to Materials. London: The Conservation Unit, 1987.
Conservation Unit. Science for Conservators. Book Two: Cleaning. London: The Conservation Unit, 1987.
Conservation Unit. Science for Conservators. Book Three: Adhesives and Coatings. London: The Conservation Unit, 1987.
Corfield, Michael. “Conservation Records in the Wiltshire Library and Museum Service,” ILC Paper Conservator no. 7 (1983): 5–8.
Craft, Meg Loew and Sian Jones. “Written Documentation,” AIC Ninth Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (1981).
Drown, Duncan. “Record Keeping - Notes from a Private Restorer,” ILC Paper Conservator no. 7 (1983): 17.
Ellis, Margaret Holben. The Care of Prints and Drawings. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), 1987.
Geake, H. and E. Geake. “Chipping at the Past,” Electronics World + Wireless World 97, no. 1662 (1991): 286–288.
Goldman, Paul. Looking at Prints, Drawings, and Water-colors: A Guide to Technical Terms. British Museum Publications in association with the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1988.
Greenfield, Jane. “A Form for Recording Early Manuscript Bindings,” The Abbey Newsletter 8, no. 3 (June 1984): 45–46.
Guinchat, Claire and M.J. Menou. General Introduction to the Techniques of Information and Documentation Work. Paris: UNESCO, 1983.
Holland, Harold. “The Use of the Apple Macintoshtm for Conservation Laboratory Applications,” Computer Technology for Conservators: Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax (13–16 May, 1985): 85–100.
Holm, Stuart A. Facts and Artifacts; How to Document a Museum Collection. Cambridge: The Museum Documentation Association, 1991.
Hopkins, Diane. “DBASEII Programs for a Conservation Condition and Treatment Report System,” Computer Technology for Conservators; Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax (13–16 May, 1985): 151–181.
Hopkins, Diane. “Systems Analysis and Design: An Overview,” Computer Technology for Conservators: Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax (13–16 May, 1985): 41–62.
Horie, C.V. Materials for Conservation. London: Butter-worths, 1990.
ICOM Preprints, Ottawa, 6th Triennial Meeting (21–25 September, 1981): 4 vol.
IIC-CG. Computer Technology for Conservators: Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax (13–16 May, 1985).
International Organization for Standardization. Documentation and Information. Geneva: ISO Central Secretariat, 1988.
Jackson, Don and Sandra R. Blackard. “ARTWAREtm: Practical Software for Conservators,” Computer Technology for Conservators: Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax (13–16 May, 1985): 125–136.
James, Cassandra. “Exhibition and Loan Forms,” 3rd Annual Seminar For Archivists and Librarians on the Conservation of Archival Materials, Austin, TX (1984): 1–16.
Jones, Stephen G. and D. Andrew Roberts. The Data Protection Act and Museums: Implications for Collection Documentation, Duxford: The Museum Documentation Association, 1985.
Keene, Suzanne. “Conservation Records – Editorial Introduction,” ILC Paper Conservator no. 7 (1983).
Kesse, Erich; Gilbert, Richard and Michelle Bailey. Written Documentation: Forms Used in the Presentation of Archival and Library Materials. Gainesville: University of Florida Libraries, 1989.
Kinzer, Margaret and Liza Kirwin. “Drawings and Sketchbooks in the Collection of the Archives of American Art,” Drawing 10, no. 5 (1989): 97–102.
Lagerqvist, B. and J. Rosvall. “Documentation and Data Processing in Integrated Conservation,” Science. Technology and European Cultural Heritage: Proceedings of the European Symposium, Bologna (13–16 June 1989): 821–824.
Maxson, Holly and Virginia N. Naude. “Record Keeping: Who Wants to Know?” AIC 17th Annual Meeting, Cincinnati (1989).
McCredie, Athol. “Relationships Between Conservators' Codes of Ethics and the Conservation Policies of Institutions - Common Threads, Conflicts and Failings,” New Zealand Museums Journal 21, no. 1 (1991): 6–9.
Miles, Gwyn. “Conservation and Collections Management: Integration or Isolation,” The International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship 7, no. 2 (1988): 159–163.
Museum Documentation Association. Entry Form Instructions; Museum Documentation Association, Museum Documentation System. Cambridge: Museum Documentation Association, 1981.
Museum Documentation Association. Exit Form Instructions: Museum Documentation Association. Museum Documentation System. Cambridge: Museum Documentation Association, 1986.
Museum Documentation Association. MDA Museum Codes. Duxford, Cambridgeshire: Museum Documentation Association, 1984.
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Perry, Roy. “Tate Gallery Conservation Department Records,” ILC Paper Conservator no. 7 (1983).
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Richardson, Susan and Susan Wilson. “Using a Portable Microcomputer for Condition Reporting on Location,” Computer Technology for Conservators: Proceedings of the 11th Annual IIC-CG Conference Workshop, Halifax (13–16 May, 1985): 115–124.
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Roberts, D. Andrew. The State of Documentation in Non-National Museums in Southeast England. Cambridge: Museum Documentation Association, 1986.
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Stolow, Nathan. “Condition Reporting for Major International Exhibitions,” ICOM Preprints, Ottawa, 6th Triennial Meeting (21–25 September, 1981): 4.
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Taylor, Dan and Mark Rawitsch. “Beyond the Cards: An Introduction to Documenting Historical Collections with Video Tape,” History News 44, no. 2 (1989): 1–4.
Taylor, J.M.; Wainwright, I.N.M.; Livingstone, F.R.; Rioux, M. and P. Boulanger. “Poster Session 1: Applications of a Laser Scanner in Conservation: Recording and Replication,” Symposium 86. The Care and Preservation of Ethnological Materials: Proceedings, Ottawa (1986): 262–263.
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1 The AIC membership is to vote on the most recent revision of the COE and GOP in the summer of 1994. It was used as a guideline in preparation of this chapter but it should be kept in mind that it was not officially adopted at the time of publication of this chapter.
2 Photographic documentation is treated thoroughly in other publications, specifically Dan Kushel, “Photodocumentation for Conservation: Procedural Guidelines and Photographic Concepts and Techniques,” available through the AIC.
3 For a more in-depth discussion see the Ethics and Standards Committee Supplement Number 4, AIC News, March 1992.

History of This Page[edit | edit source]

BPG Wiki
In 2009, the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) launched the AIC Wiki with funding assistance from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), a division of the National Parks Service. Along with catalogs from other specialty groups, the published Paper Conservation Catalog and the unpublished Book Conservation Catalog were transcribed into a Wiki environment.

In 2016, the BPG Wiki Coordinators reformatted this page by removing the numbered outline format, renaming sections, and improving internal links. The "Glossary of Terms" was moved to the BPG Glossary of Terms page. This page was the subject of October 2016 and January 2019 BPG Wiki Calls for Content.

Paper Conservation Catalog (print edition 1984-1994)
Prior to the creation of the AIC Conservation Wiki, this chapter was created in 1994 as Chapter 5: Written Documentation of the 9th edition of the Paper Conservation Catalog, (print edition 1984-1994) by the following:

Compilers: Holly Krueger, Sarah Melching, Kitty Nicholson
Contributors: Craigen W. Bowen, Irene Brückle, Jane Douglas, Robert Futernick, Margaret Holben Ellis, Karen Garlick, Michelle Hamill, Claire Hoevel, Maria S. Holden, Harold Holland, Jane E. Klinger, John Krill, Cella Manea, Sue Murphy, Maria Pukownick, Pamela Y. Randolph, Nancy Carlson Schrock
Editorial Board: Sylvia R. Albro, Sarah Bertalan, Antoinette Dwan, Holly Krueger, Elizabeth Coombs Leslie, Catherine I. Maynor, Catherine (Kitty) Nicholson, Kimberly Schenck, Ann Seibert, Dianne van der Reyden, Terry Boone Wallis
The section on "Future Access" was prepared by Maria Holden and Nancy Schrock with editorial assistance provided by Karen Garlick

Book and Paper Group Wiki
Wiki Editor Resources

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 · Adhesives · Adhesive Recipes and Tips · Leather Research · Conservation Supply Sources (AIC) · Gels, Thickeners, and Viscosity Modifiers (ECPN)

Examination, Documentation, and Analysis

Glossary of Terms · Visual Examination · Written Documentation · Documentation of Books · Watermarks · Fiber Identification · Spot Tests · Analytical Techniques (PSG) · Non-destructive Testing and Instrumental Analysis (PMG) · Oddy Tests (R&A) · Microchemical Testing (R&A)


Selection for Preservation · Exhibition, Supports, and Transport · Choosing Materials for Storage, Exhibition & Transport (AIC) · Imaging and Digitization · Housings · Matting and Framing · Encapsulation · Collection Care (AIC) · Integrated Pest Management (AIC) · Environmental Guidelines (AIC) · Environmental Monitoring (AIC) · Agents of Deterioration (AIC) · Light (AIC) · Pollutants (AIC)

Disaster Recovery

Emergency Preparedness & Response (AIC) · Stabilizing Wet Paper (AIC) · Stabilizing Wet Books (AIC) · Stabilizing Wet Skin and Leather (AIC) · Mold

Conservation History and Ethics

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

Book Conservation Topics
Structural Elements of the Book

Endpapers · Endbands · Sewing and Leaf Attachment · Book Boards · Board Attachment · Book Decoration · Fastenings and Furniture

Covering Materials

Animal Skin and Leather · Cloth Bookbinding · Paper Bookbinding · Parchment Bookbinding

Treatment Techniques

Washing of Books · Alkalinization of Books · Leaf Attachment and Sewing Repair · Board Reattachment · Use of Leather in Book Conservation

Bookbinding Traditions

Bookbinding Traditions by Region or Culture · East Asian Book Formats · Ethiopian Bindings · Greek-Style Bindings · Western African Books and Manuscripts

Specialized Formats

Scrapbooks · Atlases, Foldouts, and Guarded Structures

Circulating Collections

Circulating Collections · Case Binding