Maintaining the human record of information, no matter its
format, provides the necessary foundation for future
generations of researchers and students to build upon.
Protecting information begins with the preservation of
books and other physical materials, and continues with
making sure that the information we preserve remains
accessible by future generations.
Take a look at just a few ways that we can all help preserve
and protect information for our future.
A variety of equipment and supplies are used for book
preservation and repair.
All supplies are pH neutral (acid-free), and intended to last
as long as the volumes being mended.
Acid-free tapes, glues, and bindings are used
to repair torn pages, fragile bindings, and
A finishing press keeps the pages
of repaired books together while
Clean cotton gloves protect
delicate pages from dirt as well as
the natural oils found on skin.
Separated bindings are
strengthened and re-adhered
using acid-free tapes.
Acid-free tapes remain
clear and effective over
Embrittled pages – those printed on
acid-based paper that has deteriorated
over time – may not be suitable
candidates for repair at all.
Our heritage is all that we know of ourselves;
what we preserve of it, our only record.
That record is our beacon in the darkness of
time; the light that guides our steps.
Conservation is the means by which we
It is a commitment not only to the past, but to
~ PHILIP WARD
The Nature of Conservation: A Race Against Time
Data and digital media provide interesting challenges for
Interoperability and compatibility must be maintained
throughout the years as media formats are revised and
Films recorded on 16mm, Super-8, and
other media require suitable players in
order to view them.
Punch cards were first used in the 1700s
in the textile weaving business, and
represent one of the earliest
LP records, VHS and Betamax tapes, and
Laser video discs each require dedicated
Information storage media evolves over
time, leaving behind former technologies –
but not the need to access the information
stored within them.
A society is defined not only by what it
creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.
~ JOHN SAWHILL
Former president and CEO of Nature Conservancy
Acid-free materials are crucial to the longevity of printed
works. For example, a rare copy of the works of Geoffrey
Chaucer, printed by John Stow in 1561, is in excellent
condition despite its age.
John Stow was a London
tailor, chronicler, antiquarian, ardent book
collector, and copyist. This was his first
publication, issued three years before
William Shakespeare was born.
Notice that despite signs of wear, the acid-
free paper used in this volume remains in
excellent condition and shows little signs
We must strive to become good ancestors.
~ RALPH NADER
“Use a proper bookmark to mark your place. Please don't
dog-ear pages, or use sticky notes or paper clips. These
items cause permanent damage to the pages of a book. Use
a thin slip of paper instead.”
Source: Preservation of Library Materials at Smith: Book Care &
Handling Tips. http://www.smith.edu/libraries/info/preservation
The simple bookmark remains an excellent
tool for protecting book spines and pages.