Category Archives: Paper and book conservation

Brittle books

Conservation and Preservation of an archival scrapbook

An important record of an organization, in the form of a scrap book, was brought to our lab for treatment and preservation. The data was important and the originals need to be rescued from further deterioration. The pictures, maps and documents in this scrapbook were pasted with an acidic glue to the black paper of…

Bookworms love spines of books and hate anoxic environment

Its our experience that insects that damage books are mainly attacking spine. This is because the spine receives liberal amount of adhesive while book making. After eradicating all the various stages of insects thriving in the books, book conservators repair damaged and deteriorated bound materials. We treat them further so that readers/researchers can consult them…

Aspergillus niger and Paper

Aspergillus niger is one of the most active cellulolytic fungi. The roll of drawings in the above picture is mainly infested by A. niger and Chaetomium sp. as identified from the cultures isolated from the deteriorating inner-side of the roll. This culture was maintained on potato dextrose agar slants. Following are the digital pictures of…

Paper burnt or eaten?

  This black powdery sheet (!) is not burnt paper, but, paper eaten by fungus. Cellulolytic microorganisms are hiding nicely all around us and are much more destructively powerful than we can expect from the tiny spores. Storage enclosures that were designed and created for protection turned out to be actually working with the deteriogens…

Removing Foxing is doable, but needs thorough understanding and patience too…

In paper conservation literature, there are many ways and materials advised to be used to remove foxing or at least lighten its scars. Here i am not going to suggest what to use, but would like to mention the importance of a thorough knowledge of chemistry and physics too apart from the deep appreciation of…

Foxing

That peculiar smell/odor when some old books are opened, might at times be associated with mold and foxing. We come across books with foxing that may have very strong odor. All old books have vellichor, but some have stronger musty odor. Foxing is an age-related process of deterioration that causes spots and browning on old…

BoPET: Mylar/Melinex/Hostaphan

All the conservation labs/workshops have mylar or melinex as the most commonly used material while treatment procedures as well as in packaging and safe storage or display etc. Such widely and frequently used material is known to all by these trade names (Mylar and Melinex), but not many know the exact properties and actual name…

Case study of conservation of a map

Info from the print Condition Assessment We received the map in a folded form. There was some adhesive residue visible on the outside. On opening of the very first fold we found that due to the application of some adhesive, the folds were stuck to each other. There was an attempt in past, by someone…

Paper and book conservation – Part 9

Finally, all the books that came to our lab have been restored and given a kind of new life. They are going back to the library tomorrow morning. Following is a re-sharing of a summary of all the conservation processes performed in our lab: Team Heritage Preservation Atelier had a challenging task of conservation of…

Team working towards final steps of an intense task of books’ conservation

Team Heritage Preservation Atelier had a challenging task of conservation of a set of books that could not be digitized by a library because of the extremely brittle pages and stuck up and deteriorated condition. We started with making a detailed condition assessment report. After initial documentation, we opened up the worn out and damaged…

Studying Paper for presence of watermark and bluish tinge: Case of 150 years old drawing

The drawing under study is made in 1868 (as evident from the signature) and the watermark mentions the paper manufacturing year to be 1866. ‘Watermarks’ are markings put into paper during its production, by making thinner or thicker  layer of pulp when it is still wet. It becomes visible when paper seen with light source…

Case of a 150 year old engineering drawing

June 26, 2018   By Manit When we first saw the drawing on site, it appeared to be in a fairly good condition. Once it arrived in our conservation lab and we started a thorough diagnosis, there were a lot many observations and analytical details that were required to be considered before any treatment methodology…

Issues in old books and traditional re-binding

When the pages have turned very brittle and there are tears, lost areas and old repairs with incompatible and damaging materials, it is not that simple to mend and rebind a book with traditional sewing technique.   Some binding procedures that cannot be performed properly or at all are:  We cannot trim the edges. We…

Sellotape: How it deteriorates and changes with time

What is sellotape?  Sellotape is basically a brand of transparent, polypropylene-based, pressure-sensitive tape. But, this term is also used for any such pressure sensitive tape of any brand. Sellotape is generally used for joining, sealing, attaching and mending. The older version of sellotape has shown some changes in its physical and chemical properties over a…

Paper and book conservation – Part 8

Once the old damaged binding was opened and stuck up pages of the books (to be treated) were separated/opened-up and the torn pages mended, the information in the books was digitally preserved. This digitization process was done before re-binding because it would have been difficult and damaging to digitize them in bound state. It is…