Book and Paper Group Wiki

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The Book and Paper Group Wiki is a publication of the Book and Paper Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation. The BPG Wiki is a forum for members and conservation practitioners to learn about topics and emerging trends in book and paper conservation and share their expertise with colleagues. It is intended to be a comprehensive record of treatment-related topics, arranged systematically with descriptive details. Like all wikis, the site's contents are collaborative and dynamic works-in-progress. You can:

  • Search the entire AIC Wiki by using the "search" box at the top of each page.
  • Browse the Book and Paper Group Wiki by using the Navigation Portal at the bottom of any BPG Wiki page.
  • Get Involved by contacting the BPG Wiki Coordinators at

The BPG Wiki grew out of two earlier BPG publication projects - the Paper Conservation Catalog (PCC) and the Book Conservation Catalog (BCC). A full history of the PCC, the BCC, and the BPG Wiki can be found on the History of the BPG Wiki page.

Scope of the BPG Wiki[edit | edit source]

The BPG Wiki contains information on the examination, documentation, conservation treatment, housing, storage, and exhibition of materials treated by book and paper conservators, including parchment, papyrus, scrolls, and other materials and formats that might not fall within strict definitions of "books" and "paper". History, manufacture, and degradation mechanisms of book and paper materials are also discussed. Our pages address concerns related to both museum and library settings. We strive to include content about materials originating from a wide variety of cultural and geographical contexts, although we acknowledge that many of our pages emphasize materials from European and/or English-speaking contexts.

Using the BPG Wiki[edit | edit source]

Scroll to the bottom of any BPG Wiki page to view our Navigation Portal, which contains links to every BPG Wiki page arranged by topic. BPG Wiki pages are also inter-linked within the pages themselves. While our portal makes a distinction between "Paper Conservation Topics" and "Book Conservation Topics", we expect that conservators from either specialty will find useful information in both sections.

At the top of each page, compiler(s) and contributors are listed. The compiler is the current point person for a page, or for more complete pages that are not actively being edited, it may be the person who was previously responsible for coordinating work on the page. Contributors include anyone who has ever edited the page or submitted content, which could be a single photograph, several paragraphs, or a bibliography. To view the edit history and previous versions of any page, click the "History" link near the top. To view or contribute to a discussion of the content of any page, click the "Discussion" link near the top. When citing BPG Wiki pages for publication, please follow our instructions for Citing the BPG Wiki.

Content Overview[edit | edit source]

The tables below detail a typical sequence of actions involved in the documentation and conservation treatment of paper objects and books, with links to relevant BPG Wiki pages.

Paper Conservation
General Assessment Documentation and treatment of a paper object begins with a general assessment, including a visual examination and any technical examination necessary. The information gathered is documented in the examination report. This documentation identifies the object, the support, and the media, provides a description of the object, details any distinctive characteristics, such as the presence of watermarks, and details the condition of the object, including the presence of mold, foxing, any media problems, and any support problems.
Testing and Analysis Testing and analysis can provide more information on the materials present, the condition of the object, and provide information on what treatments can be undertaken without damaging the object. This can include spot tests, fiber identification, microchemical testing, and instrumental analysis. Any testing or analysis that is performed is included in the examination report.
Treatment Proposal Based off of the general assessment, testing and analysis performed, and any ethical considerations, a treatment proposal is developed.
Treatment Treatment of the object can include: surface cleaning, hinge, tape, and adhesive removal, backing removal, humidification, washing, alkalization and neutralization, stain reduction (including use of chelators, conditioned water, or bleaching), sizing, resizing, consolidation, fixing, facing, mending, lining, filling losses, drying and flattening, and inpainting. Some supports, such as parchment, require specialized treatment procedures. All treatment undertaken is documented in the treatment report, including photographic documentation of the work completed.
Housing and Storage The object is then matted and framed or given other appropriate housing, including clam shell boxes, portfolios, folders, or encapsulation. It can then be exhibited or placed in appropriate storage.
Book Conservation
Selection Books may be selected for preservation by conservators, curators, or other custodians of collections based on a variety of factors including value, condition, usability, and cost of treatment.
Assessment and Proposal

A general assessment is performed, and documentation is prepared describing aspects of the book such as covering material (leather, paper, parchment, or cloth), boards, board attachment method, decoration, fastenings and furniture, endbands, endpapers, sewing/leaf attachment method, text/support material, and media. Depending on the book's format and geographic or cultural origin, these features may vary, and documentation forms may be adjusted as needed. Relevant information on the book's textual contents, social context, and cultural significance may also be included. The book's condition is described in detail and documented through photographs. Based on the assessment, a treatment proposal is developed.

Treatment Treatment of books may include actions such as leaf reattachment and sewing repair, board reattachment, washing and alkalinization of the textblock, and more. Leather may be used as a repair material in some cases. For the textblock, treatment techniques may be similar to those used in paper conservation, including surface cleaning; hinge, tape, and adhesive removal; humidification; drying and flattening; sizing and resizing; consolidation, fixing, and facing; mending; and filling losses. All treatment undertaken is documented in the treatment report, including photographic documentation of the work completed.

Treatment and documentation approaches may differ for circulating collections versus special collections. Certain formats such as scrapbooks and atlases, foldouts, and guarded structures may present unique challenges. Different techniques may be used depending on the book's covering material (leather, paper, parchment, or cloth). Treatment approaches may also differ depending the region or culture from which the book originates, and conservators should seek to educate themselves as necessary to perform culturally sensitive treatments.

Housing Protective housings for books may include phase boxes, cloth clamshell boxes, corrugated clamshell boxes, and more. Unbound materials may be encapsulated.

Translations[edit | edit source]

Several BPG Wiki pages have been translated for our users' convenience and are available in PDF format, linked at the top of the original (English) page. Translations of select pages are currently available in Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese, with more languages to come. If you would like to volunteer on a translation project, please contact the BPG Wiki Coordinators at

Contributing to the BPG Wiki[edit | edit source]

The BPG Wiki depends on volunteers, and contributions are welcome. Working to create or improve a section of the wiki will enable you to become intimately familiar with the research that has been done on that topic to date. Collaboration with colleagues will help you to expand your network. You might learn some new skills. You can add your name to the list of compilers and add another citation to your resume.

If you would like to be involved in the BPG Wiki, contact the BPG Wiki Coordinators at The Contributors Toolbox and Help Wanted pages contain resources and information for contributors.

BPG Wiki Coordinators[edit | edit source]

The BPG Wiki is overseen by two volunteer Wiki Coordinators who report to the BPG Publications Committee chair. One coordinator oversees paper conservation topics and the other oversees book conservation topics. Wiki coordinators are responsible for overseeing revisions, raising awareness of the wiki, keeping BPG members informed of its progress, recruiting contributors, organizing editing events, and assisting anyone that comes forward with research and expertise they want to share. Like all BPG volunteer positions, the Wiki Coordinators serve on rotating, renewable three-year terms.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion[edit | edit source]

The BPG Wiki supports diversity, equity, and inclusion within the field of conservation and cultural heritage. We see a lack of diversity in several areas of the BPG Wiki, including leadership, contributors, and content. We are committed to increasing diversity of the wiki’s content while working to eliminate existing barriers to wiki contribution, so that all of our colleagues, in all stages of their careers in conservation and allied professions, can participate. We welcome your feedback in this area.

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). "Book and Paper Group Wiki." AIC Wiki. June 14, 2024.

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· Artists' Books

Circulating Collections

Circulating Collections · Case Binding