It’s preservation week! An entire week dedicated to discussing the concerns and solutions regarding preservation of rare books and unique collections. Here in the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Puget Sound, we’ll be showing you some common preservation concerns, highlighting our own collections.
In the case of rare book conservation, adhesives utilized have some important criteria to meet. They must be of sufficient strength (maintaining adhesion for an indefinite period), have no tendency to discolor the paper to which it is applied (stains, yellowing, or darkening), and be reversible to assure its removal with no damage to the book. Good examples of adhesive that meets these criteria is starch-based paste, used for centuries by Japanese scroll mounters, or a pressure-sensitive paper-based tape with acrylic adhesive. Yet it is all too common that we encounter commercialized tapes holding pages together. Not only do these tapes cause staining over time, while requiring toxic solvents to remove, but they most definitely damage the materials they are “repairing”. In the case of this poor book (see above), we find a commercialized duct-tape to be the culprit.
By Monica Patterson