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Treatments: Methods of Conservation


Sometimes paper becomes so brittle that even the slightest usage causes pieces to flake off and disintegrate. Before the information is lost forever, each page is carefully placed between two sheets of Mylar and the Mylar is sealed on the outer edges with double-faced tape.

Mylar or Polyester film encapsulation is a simple means of supporting weak paper. Single sheets of paper are enclosed between two pieces of polyester film, which are then sealed around the four edges. Polyester film encapsulation provides physical support but does not improve the chemical stability of the paper. Paper should be de-acidified if it is possible, because the paper will continue to deteriorate after encapsulation. Polyester film encapsulation provides physical support and protection for brittle, heavily used, or valuable documents. Because it is stable, easily reversed, and introduces no harmful products, polyester film encapsulation is preferred over lamination as a means of providing long-term protection for archival materials.

Equipment   Materials
Cutting Mat Double-Faced Tape
Board Polyester Film (Mylar)
Bone Folder Acid-Free barrier board
Scalpel Filmoplast


Mending documents with long-fiber Japanese paper and a starch adhesive is a time–tested way of repairing tears and breaks in paper. Japanese paper is strong and starch adhesives are readily reversible in most situations. One of the benefits of mending with Japanese paper is the tendency of the mending strips almost to disappear on the surfaces upon which they are placed.

Equipment Materials
Cutting Mat Polyester Film (mylar)
Wooden Pressing Boards Newsprint
Bone Folder Waste Cardboard
Scalpel Japanese Tissue
Large Weights Waxed Paper
Small Weights Ph Neutral Adhesive
Brushes for Cleaning Acid-free Paper
Adhesive Container Acid-free Barrier Board




"Tipping" is the attachment of one leaf to another by means of a narrow strip of ph-neutral adhesive along the edge.  This kind of attachment is not for rare books and is used primarily for items that have been vandalized or mishandled.

In most cases dry cleaning should be done first. Pencil marks and other spots are removed using an eraser. Crayon marks are very difficult to remove and the conservator must use a knife to remove the top layer. Using chemicals or liquids is not an option since this will wrinkle the paper and remove the ink.

Equipment Materials
Cutting Mat Newsprint
Board Waste Cardboard
Bone Folder Japanese Tissue
Scalpel Waxed Paper
Brushes for Pasting Ph Neutral Adhesive
Brushes for Cleaning Acid-free Paper
Adhesive Container  



Custom Boxes

The drop spine and slip boxes crafted in the Special Collections laboratory are truly works of art. Items selected for this process include books of great value, fragile books, vellum books, miniature books, and books with important or ornate bindings.


Equipment Materials
Cutting Mat Polyester Film (mylar)
Board Newsprint
Bone Folder Waste Cardboard
Scalpel Japanese Tissue
Adhesive Container Waxed Paper
Scissors Ph Neutral Adhesive
  Acid-free Paper
  Acid-free Barrier Board




Wraparounds are a very basic type of enclosure, made from light grade acid free board. They provide protection and leave the door open for more detailed conservation in the future.


Equipment Materials
Cutting Mat Ph Neutral Adhesive
Board Acid-free Paper
Bone Folder Acid-Free Board
Adhesive Container  



Books in Need of Repair

Often we receive books from the general collection that have loose or broken covers or sections that have separated from the binding.

High usage, combined with low quality paper and shoddy binding, make this type of repair all too common.

Equipment Materials
Cutting Mat PA (polyvinyl acetate emulsion)
Board Newsprint and Waste Cardboard
Bone Folder and Scalpel Waxed Paper and Acidifier Paper
Adhesive Container Japanese Tissue
Press Muslin Book Cloth