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Terminology (removed section)[edit source]

Note: I just removed the following section about terminology from Book Conservation Wiki page. I'm not sure that the BPG Wiki needs to choose one terminology list to follow, and until Diane Knauf and I have discussed this further I wanted to pull these instructions from the page. I believe this content was originally written by Evan Knight (it was added by him in 2016). I also made some edits/contributions before deciding to move it here, including the addition of online-only terminology resources like the AIC Lexicon and BPG Glossary of Terms, which were not previously mentioned, and changing the name of the section from " Describing Book Objects and Conservation Treatments" to "Terminology".-Msmith (talk) 16:34, 14 August 2020 (CDT)


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 Book Collectors (Carter 2004 8th ed), ABC of Bookbinding (Greenfield 1998), The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding (Szirmai 1999), Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology (Robert and Etherington 1994 electronic edition), Books Will Speak Plain (Miller 2010), and many more.

Some online-only resources include the Getty's Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), CAMEO (Conservation and Art Material Encyclopedia Online), the BPG Wiki Glossary of Terms, the AIC Wiki Lexicon, the Ligatus Research Centre's Language of Bindings Thesaurus (LoB), and others.

Among these sources there are often incongruous overlaps, gaps, or slightly conflicting information.

Language of Bindings Thesaurus[edit source]

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 the Getty Vocabularies' Linked Open Data (LOD) project. 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[edit source]

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.