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Preservation: practical information sheets

Practical information sheets: conservation

A restorer replaces defective parts of a book block or binding, or even the complete binding, respecting the original document as far as possible.

Removal of adhesive tape using Gore-Tex®

By Véronique Belon-Slougui

Adhesive tape, commonly known as “scotch tape” or “sellotape”, is often found on works of art, either because it has been used by artists themselves, or because it is part of a poor quality fixing or conservation process. This information sheet proposes a method for removing these materials which are deleterious to graphic materials.

Aqueous cleaning and deacidification

By Véronique Belon

Aqueous cleaning and deacidification are preliminary steps taken prior to applying paper strengthening methods such as filling, backing, and splitting. Aqueous washing can be used to eliminate products of degradation and dirt embedded in paper. The purpose of deacidification is to introduce an alkaline charge into the paper.

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 87 Ko – 19/05/03 – 1 p.]


By Dominique Bardoz

Filling consists of filling in holes and consolidating weaknesses and tears in degraded graphic materials using paper fibers.

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 152 Ko – 19/05/03 – 2 p.]


By Dominique Bardoz

Backing consists of consolidating the outside of a fragile document using a synthetic or cellulose material (e.g. Japanese paper or Manila hemp). We recommend that the above-mentioned materials be used for backing; accordingly, this information sheet only applies to those materials.

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 105 Ko – 19/05/03 – 1 p.]


By Véronique Belon and Christiane Lequien

Splitting is a method used to manually or mechanically strengthen paper documents. It involves splitting a document in two along its edge and inserting a reinforcing material (which may be either paper or synthetic).

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 165 Ko – 19/05/03 – 2 p.]

Attaching boards

By Alice Robin

Board tacketing (left) and board slotting (right)

Board tacketing (left) and board slotting (right)

This refers to the partial or complete refixing of a detached board to its book block. It may either be undertaken as a standalone process or form part of a longer conservation process. This will depend on various factors: - a priority concept – either boards are initially reattached for a collection and more intensive work is carried out on selected works from that collection at a later stage, or the utility value is considered the most important factor for the selected works, and this process is the only one applied; - a mechanical concept – in some cases, and in particular for heavy and oversize documents, this type of intervention is supplemented by work on joints and paper hinges.

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 186 Ko – 19/05/03 – 2 p.]

The mouled spine-former

By Anne Quensière

This method consists of creating a natural cloth hollow over a mouled Japanese paper spine-former on a cord binding. This technique was tested in the United Kingdom on a book entitled “Annotationes in Libro Evangeliorum”, printed in 1641 in Amsterdam and belonging to Merton College, Oxford.

La coque moulée [fichier .pdf – 150 Ko – 3 p.]

Conserving wood boards

By Thierry Aubry

Wood boards were used to protect books throughout the Middle Ages, and were gradually replaced by cardboard from the late 15th century onwards. Why and in what circumstances should they be conserved or replaced? How should they be handled so as to better preserve them?

La restauration des ais de bois [fichier .pdf – 1591 Ko – 17 p.]

Preservation binding

By Alice Robin

Dressing spine panels with Japanese paper (left) and headbands (right)

Dressing spine panels with Japanese paper (left) and headbands (right)

This limp parchment binding can be used to preserve the following: a book block that no longer has any binding; a book block with a degraded binding that is of no historical value; or more than one leaf or document to be bound within the same binding. In this sense, the objectives of preservation binding are no different from those of ordinary mechanical or manual binding. However, its distinctive characteristic lies in its technique and the use of materials dedicated specifically to preservation.

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 141 Ko – 19/05/03 – 2 p.]

Preservation treatment of old leather bindings using Japanese paper

By Sébastien Durand and Marc Gacquière

The treatment of bindings using Japanese paper is an alternative to available treatments using leather. The choice of treatment depends on the document in question, the values inherent in it, the nature of any deterioration, the intended use, etc.

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 195 Ko – 19/05/03 – 2 p.]

Preservation treatment of old leather bindings using leather

By Marie-Christine Geffard and Thierry Aubry

Like treatment using Japanese paper, treatment using leather is used to restore various functions to a book (utility, aesthetics, etc.) which have disappeared or diminished by remodeling the degraded leather components (using new leather).

la fiche pratique [fichier .pdf – 189 Ko – 19/05/03 – 2 p.]

Friday, April 1, 2011