Beginning in about 1850, papermakers began using wood fiber to produce their paper. Wood fiber makes strong, consistent paper, but it requires harsh chemicals to break the wood down into fibers suitable to produce paper. As a result, residual chemicals remain in the paper after it is produced. Until the 1980s, most paper production in the world involved harsh acids that were left in the paper causing it to become weak and brittle over time. Most paper produced in the U.S. and in Western Europe is now alkaline in nature and will last for several hundred years. All recycled paper is acid free.
Advantage Covering Material
Advantage (called Type II in the past) is a bookbinding material made from a thick, strong, coated paper with cross linked fibers to add strengthen. The coating helps protect the materials from damage from water, dirt, and abrasion. While strong, this material is not as strong as many bookbinding cloths. It is used in library binding for economy type products that are not expected to meet the library binding standard. It comes in several colors. Click here to see the colors available.
Automated Binding Software
Binders will usually provide larger libraries with automated binding software to help them process materials for binding. The two most common systems are ABLE and LARS. This software helps a library communicate exactly what they want stamped on the spine of the volume, the color of the cloth to use, the binding type to use, the color of the stamping, and it helps provide records of what was sent for binding. The software saves time—and therefore costs—for both the library and the bindery.
Acidic papers begin to break down as the acids in the paper destroy the fibers. The result of acid degradation makes the paper brittle and weak. This process also often makes the color of the paper turn yellow or brown. Paper can become so brittle that it will literally crumble to bits in your hands. Both heat and moisture act as catalysts in paper to increase the acidic degradation of paper. Books with brittle paper cannot be bound. They usually need to be reformatted. Brittleness of paper can be tested using the double-fold test (see below).
Buckram is a special cloth specially designed for bookbinding. F-grade buckram is the cloth that is specified in the library binding standard. It is an extremely strong material made from a poly-cotton blend and given an acrylic coating to protect the cloth from damage from water, dirt, and abrasion. Buckram comes 15 different colors. Click here to see the colors available.
C-cloth is a bookbinding cloth made from a poly-cotton blend and coated in acrylic coating to protect the cloth from damage from water, dirt, and abrasion. It is an extremely strong cloth, but is not as strong as F-grade buckram. It is used in library binding for economy type products that are not expected to meet the library binding standard. It comes in a variety of colors. Click here to see the colors available.
This is the process where the library binder checks through the volume being sent for binding. They check to see if the volume is complete (especially for periodical bindings), to see if issues are in the correct order, and to check to see what leaf attachment method is most appropriate. This is also the time when the customer’s instructions are checked to make sure the volume is processed according to their wishes. Finally, special needs are identified for the volume, such as the need for a pocket or such.
Collection Condition Survey
This is a statistical method of analyzing the condition of the materials housed in a library’s collection. The questions asked as part of the survey and the size of the sample are dependent on the informational needs of the library. Generally, more than one survey is needed to gather all the information needed to produce an effective preservation plan for a library. Conducting a statistically valid survey is not difficult, but it does require care to insure the data gathered are valid and meaningful to the library’s planning efforts. Many preservation grants require that a condition survey be conducted in the library before money is award for preservation or digitization.
Conservation treatment is the process of hand binding a volume or restoring it by a trained professional conservator who knows how to use special techniques and non-damaging materials to preserve an item for many years. Conservation treatment is a labor intensive process by highly trained and educated professionals, so it can be expensive, but it is very effective especially for rare and valuable materials.
Crash, Super, or Spine Lining
The cloth or other material placed on the spine of a text block designed both to consolidate the text block and to secure the case binding to the text block. Library binding uses a very strong, but flexible spine lining material far superior to what publishers provide
There are a wide variety of custom made enclosures for books and other materials. These enclosures, or boxes, are made using archival materials and are individually constructed to exactly fit the book or item. There are economy boxes and high end boxes. Enclosures are generally used for materials that are too damaged or brittle to be rebound, but do not warrant the cost of conservation treatment or digitization.
Libraries and individuals must have a preservation plan for making sure their digital files will last for as long as they are needed. Because of the rapid changes in technology, digital files can become obsolete in a very short time without a plan to migrate the files forward to newer technology. Talk to your digitization provider about your digital preservation needs.
Digitization (sometimes call scanning) is the process of reformatting a print item into an electronic format. After an item has been digitized the digital file can be used to reprint out of print books, reprint brittle damaged books, or it can be used to provide the text electronically from a web page for library patrons.
Double-Fan Adhesive Binding
This method involves chopping or grinding the spine off of the bound item producing loose sheets. The loose pages are then glued together using a "double-fan" method. The double-fanning process insures that "adhesive" is placed not only on the edge of each loose sheet, but also a little onto the surface of each page. This method insures that a much larger surface area of each sheet is adhered to the adjoining sheet. It is kind of like tipping all of the pages together. The result is a much stronger binding. There have been some tremendous advances in adhesives in recent years. Adhesives are stronger and more flexible than ever before, making this binding method the preferred library binding method for most materials.
Double-Fold Test for Brittle Paper
An effective way to test to see if paper is brittle is the double-fold test. This test involves folding a corner of a page over on top of itself as if you were dog-earing the page. Crease the fold and then fold the paper in the opposite direction on the same fold line. This constitutes one double-fold. Do this twice. If, at any time during this process the corner breaks off, the paper is brittle. Generally speaking, this test only needs to be performed on materials printed earlier than the 1950s. Avoid creasing the page in such a way that text might be damaged if the corner breaks off, but if possible, fold the corner so that the fold is at least ½ - ¾ inch from the tip of the corner. Generally, if a page can pass a double-fold test the volume can withstand library binding or conservation treatment.
Endsheets or Endpapers
The first and last pages of a text block. They are glued to the inside of the case binding to securely hold the text block into the case. These are called pastedowns. The free sheet remaining is called a flyleaf. Generally, the endsheets are made of thicker, stronger paper to provide extra support. In library binding, the endpapers also contain an alkaline buffer to help further preserve the bound item.
This is a binding method offered by most library binders. In a flat-back binding the text block is not rounded and backed, so it has no shoulders. in some cases, the cover hinge is much wider than on a rounded and backed book. Most binders offer flat-back bindings on their economy products. Some binders offer this binding style on all of their products. Many people find a flat-back unattractive. There has also been some testing that shows flat-back bindings do not hold up as well over time as rounded and backed bindings. All PUR bindings (see below) have a flat back binding, but they hold up much better than other flat-back bindings.
It is possible to have the graphic information from the original cover scanned, printed in color, and laminated to produce a new cover for the books. This is a very attractive binding option that preserves the information and the aesthetics of the original binding. This is very good option for public libraries.
This is the distance from the edge of the text in a bound volume to the inside gutter of the book. Inner margin is an important consideration when making binding decisions. If text runs through the gutter of a book, it may be lost if the book has to be rebound.
In the past many binders offered the ability to take original paperback covers, laminate them between paper and a plastic coating, and incorporate that laminated cover into the new binding. Some binders still offer this service. Bridgeport National Bindery will digitize the original cover, print a facsimile on archival paper using a high-quality color printer, and will laminate the paper cover with a clear, strong plastic coating to protect it and add strength to the cover.
This term refers to how the pages of the text block will be fastened together for the binding. Leaf attachment methods include sew through the fold, double-fan adhesive binding, and oversewing. The leaf attachment method employed by the publisher can effect what options are available for library rebinding, but do not necessarily dictate what leaf attachment must be used.
Library Binding Standard
A library binding standard has been used for many years in the binding industry. The current standard is a joint standard approved by ANSI, NISO, and the Library Binding Institute (LBI). The standard is called: ANSI/NISO Z39.78 - 2000(R2011) Library Binding. It is available electronically for free online at: http://www.niso.org/standards/index.html. It is important to always check with your library binder to see if they follow the standard.
Metadata is data about data. Metadata is the data that is used to organize digital files so they can be accessed, searched, copied, migrated, and printed. There are several types of metadata including structural metadata, which describes the digital file in computer language. Preservation metadata, which provides the information needed to allow the file to be migrated to another format or computer system in the future or to access it through an immolator. Descriptive metadata, which is the indexing needed so a user can search the files for information they want. All digitization projects involve creating metadata. Talk to your provider about what your metadata needs are before beginning a digitization project.
Notching the Spine
Notching involves making several small incisions (about 1/16” deep) in the spine edge of the loose sheets of paper making up the text block. These incisions are about ½” apart. Notching creates more surface area for the adhesive to adhere to the pages. The more surface area glued, the stronger the hold. Notching is especially helpful for stiff, or heavily-coated, glossy paper as is found in some art and medical type journals, or in art books or other books with many photographic illustrations such as coffee table books.
This used to be the standard leaf attachment method used in all library binding. As with "double-fan adhesive" binding, "oversewing" begins with removing the spine of the volume being bound. However, instead of then gluing the pages together, they are sewn together using a large sewing machine. Oversewing works by side sewing the pages together at about a 30 degree angle. A small stack of the loose leaves (about 1/16 of an inch (2 mm) thick) is inserted into the oversewing machine and several needles stab through the pages leaving behind thread. Another small stack of loose leaves is placed on top of the sewn one and the needles sew through those pages linking the first stack to the second. This process continues until the entire book is sewn together. Oversewing produces a very strong leaf attachment, and before the days of effective adhesive binding there was no other option for sewing loose pages together. This leaf attachment method has its drawbacks as well. Because the pages are sewn together from the side, the bound text block is stiff and does not open very well. This leaf attachment method can produce a book that is difficult to read and nearly impossible to photocopy from if the text block does not have a large inner margin. Oversewing requires about 3/8 of an inch of margin for the sewing alone. This loss, added to the limited openability, is the reason you need plenty of margin when choosing oversewing as a leaf attachment option. Because of the limited openability, this leaf attachment method should never be used with brittle or weak paper. The advantages to oversewing are that it is a strong leaf attachment that very rarely fails, and it works very well on glossy paper that cannot easily be double-fan adhesive bound.
Parts of a Book
The following illustration demonstrates the basic parts of a book. Drawing by Jody Brown from the book, Preservation Strategies for Small Academic and Public Libraries, by Brian J. Baird, Scarecrow Press, MD, 2003.
Simply stated, this is a library’s strategy for addressing the immediate and long term preservation needs of its collections. An effective preservation plan includes identifying what preservation needs exists, what resources are available to commit towards preservation, and what long term plans are in place for meeting the needs unable to be addressed by current resources. It is impossible to have a good preservation plan without careful and thorough assessment including a collection condition survey.
A binding placed on a volume by the publisher. Generally, these bindings are produced as quickly and as inexpensively as possible, and do not provide a great deal of strength and support for the book. Some publishers provide stronger bindings than others. Understanding how publisher bindings—especially publisher paper bindings—hold up to use in a library has important implications for preservation planning.
Polyurethane adhesive (PUR) is a warm melt adhesive that sets fast and cures by reacting to the moisture in the air, so traditional library binding equipment was not suited for this adhesive. Its notable qualities are strength, flexibility, and its ability to adhere to glossy and coated papers—something PVA often struggles with. It is a superior leaf attachment method that produces far superior results to PVA bindings. PUR adhesive is safe and well tested. It has been used in the publishing industry for decades, and is widely used in the food and medical industries.
Rounding and Backing
This is the process of shaping a text block so that it has its traditional look of a rounded back with flared shoulders. Traditionally, rounding and backing was made necessary because the thickness of the thread used to sew the text block together caused the spine to swell. The rounded shape of the spine and the flared shoulders compensated for this swell. Whether or not rounding and backing is needed in library binding is a hotly debated issue. Bridgeport National Bindery rounds and backs whenever possible because we like the aesthetics and we believe it will help the binding withstand use.
When a publication is made up of one signature that is stapled through the fold it is called saddle-stitched. In most modern publications, saddle-stitching involves two or three staples to hold the signature together. Saddle-stitching is common in pamphlets and many magazines such at Time, Newsweek, and People. Saddle-sewn journals or individual titles can be bound by a library binder without their having to chop off the spine. This is called sewing through the fold.
Save Original Sewing (Recase)
This method applies to publisher bound books with sewn text blocks. It involves removing old "adhesive" and linings from the spine of the text block, attaching new endsheets, and then producing a new case for the book. The advantage to this leaf attachment method is that it preserves the original sewing and flexibility of the text block. It also prevents any loss of inner margin. This technique is particularly useful for art books or coffee-table books with glossy paper and images that run through the gutter. This method can only be used when the text block is in good condition. It cannot be used if the text block is split or if the sewing is broken. For this reason, if you desire to use this leaf attachment method, it is wise to send volumes to the binder before they become too damaged to allow the original sewing to be saved. Many binders will tip endsheets to the text block. However, the preferred method is to have endsheets sewn on to the text block.
Sew Through the Fold
This "leaf attachment" method primarily refers to sewing periodical bindings. This method generally employs a large sewing machine (though it can be done by hand) that sews the issues of a periodical together through the fold of each issue. This method only works when the individual periodical issues are "saddle-sewn" like many popular magazines are such as Time, Newsweek, or People. This is a very good leaf attachment method when binding materials that can accommodate it. The advantages are that the bound volume opens flat, is held together by strong string rather than glue, and no inner margin is lost.
Binders can stamp title, author, call number, or other information on the spine of volumes you have bound. Most offer stamping in white, gold, or black foil. This information is communicated on a binding ticket or through the automated library binding software.
The pages of a bound volume make up the text block. There are many ways of producing a text block ranging from sewing signatures together to make the text block, to gluing individual sheets together to make up the text of the volume. How a text block was prepared by the publisher impacts how a library binder can rebind the volume.
Most binders will trim the top, bottom, and fore edge of a volume as part of the binding process. This produced an attractive square volume with clean edges. It makes the bound volume look nicer and it is easier for the binder to process. Most binders will not trim the edge of a volume if text is going to be damaged. They will also give the customer the option to determine if they do or do not want their volumes trimmed.