logo rilegalibro
How to rebind damaged books. From the problem to the solution.

Dust Jacket
Detached cover
Title on the spine
Broken spine
High spine
Buckling book
Broken section book
Broken single leaf book
Broken books with notching
Singer sewing
Tear leaf
Detached leaf
Adhesive tape


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W ZSection of a book

> full image

back to the index

Absolute humidity
Actual amount of water vapour in a unit volume of air (ISO).

Acid free paper
Papers which contain no free acid and have a pH value of 7.0 or greater. It is suggested for preservation process.

Adhesive binding
See perfect binding

All across sewing
see All along sewing

All on sewing 
see All along sewing

All along sewing  
In bookbinding by hand, a method of sewing a book by passing the thread in and out and over the cords or tapes along the whole lenght of the inside fold of each section. The thread goes "all along," inside the fold of the section—that is, from kettle stitch to kettle stitch of each successive section, one complete length of thread for each section.

A quality and expensive book cloth made from cotton or linen. It is ill advised for consulter books because of its delicacy.

Term usually used in bookbinding to indicate the different systems to fix the book block to the cover. 
The attachment may be direct when the junction of the book block to the covers is done contemporaneously to the sewing of the papers: lashing to file, oriental sewing, etc.
The attachment may be indirect when the book block is sewed separately from the cover, using sewing supports. The indirect attachments may be done by folders, passing nerves, incart-boarding lacing-in, split.


back to the index

The edge of a book along which the leaves or sections are bound together. However, the same word is used to describe the outer cover wich covers the back of the book. 
It generally bears the title, author, name of the publisher (when an edition binding), and (in a library) frequently a location (classification) number, or a symbol of some kind. Also called backbone or shelfback.

see Back

see Spine linings

Back corner 
The cutting away of a small triangular pieces of the head and tail edges of the borads of a book at the joints. the purpose is to relieve the strain on the joints of a book when the covers are opened.

See cord

A pair of conjoint leaves

A generic term for the pieces of wood, metal, or metal-edged wood used to assist in gripping books while in process of being bound. Such boards are used in pressing, backing, bundling, gilding, trimming, and other operations. Wooden table was used as a dish, particularly in the vellum codes.

The folded edge at the head, tail, or fore edge of a section of an unopened book. (see also cut and deckle edge)

See volume.  

The finished work resulting from the processes involved in binding a book, that is securing the leaves or sections of a publication so as to keep them in proper order and to protect them.
Even the style in which a book is bound, e.g., edition binding, library binding, etc.

Book block  
The text block together with the endpapers and others materials added by the binder before casing in to a hard cover.

Book corner 
Protective caps for the corners of book covers, sometimes made of leather, but also of metal or the same material that covers the book. Also called "corners." See even corner.  

Book jacket 
see Dust jacket

Any paper or other material used in marking a place in a closed book for future reference. Bookmarks are frequently decorative, carrying advertisements or commemorative illustrations. 

See Fore edge 

Bowed plate 
See buckling.  

Loss of the original shape by distorsion of the plates or the axis of the cover, in one or more planes 
More or less accentuated bend of the plates or the axis of the cover.

A book cloth made from cotton or linen, usually the former, and closely woven, occasionally with a double warp. It is filled or coated and calendered to give it a smooth finish which blocks well and is reasonably durable. The material used to fill the interstices and/or cover the base fabric is usually pyroxylin, but it may be starch, china clay, clay, or other nonfibrous material.

back to the index

See square.  

Case binding  
A method of bookbinding in which the case (covers) of the book is made separately from the book (the text block and endpapers) and later attached to it by gluing the board papers of the text block to the inside of the boards of the case.

Chinese or japanese sewing 
see oriental sewing.  

Cold printing  
See dry printing

In tying the operation with which, during the sewing of the signature, the empty spaces between the cords of the seam are filled up with passages of strand. Often used in the flexible sewing.

The cotton, hemp, linen or silk cords or bands, of varying thicknesses, which extend across the backs of the gathered sections and are used in sewing books through the folds. Cords may be single or double , recessed, passing or lacing-in.

Stripe of various materials (papyrus, leather, string, etc) awrapped around the strand of the headband. (see also cord)

The juncture of the two edges of a book cover at the fore edge and head and tail. Types of corners include the library corner, round corner, and square corner. (See also tip)

It’s a more generic term than case, used to imply any protective covering used on the outside of a book. Covers may be built onto the book (including laced-on boards and tight-back leather bindings), can be built separately from the textblock (including most modern cases), or be of simple, paperbach construction. 

To trim the edges of books.

back to the index

Deckle edge  
The edges of a newly printed book which have not been cut or trimmed. Typical of the ancient hand made papers (see also fore edge)  

It is a part of  the spine comprised between the bands. After the back coating  it became panel.

A book or other publication having one or more corners of the leaves turned down, generally by readers

Spine stamplettering pattern  
Decoration of leather or papyrus covers resorting to metallic pins, usually known as irons; these are used hot, without coloured films. Letterpress includes printing from raised type, halftone, or woodcuts on a platen, cylinder, or rotary press printing

Dust jacket  
A wrapper originally used to protect the covering material of the book from soiling or other damage, but now also used for promotional purposes. It may be plain, printed, or illustrated, and is flush with the covers of the book at head and tail, but folded over the fore edge of both covers. It is usually detachable. Modern book jackets are often very elaborately designed and are frequently printed in color. Also called "book wrapper," "dust cover," "dust jacket," "dust wrapper," "jacket," and "wrapper."


back to the index

Edition binding 
The binding of a book in identical style, usually in mass production in large quantities. Also called Publisher's Binding


Papers or leaves placed at the end and beginning of the book to protect the text and to act as part of the attachment between the book and the cover boards. Most commonly, an endpaper consists of an outer pastedown and at least one flyleaf. 

Environmental pharametres  
The surrounding conditions or forces that influence or change books or other archival materials, and which include: 1) the entire climatic and biotic factors that act upon materials and ultimately determine their permanence, or lack of i (temperature: between 18° and 20°C; relative humidity: between 45% and 65%; light: to limit within the 50 lux.); or 2) the aggregate of use, misuse, or nonuse that influence the permanence of materials.


back to the index

False raised band 
The imitation raised cords (bands) found on some books. They consist of narrow strips of leather (or other material, e.g., vellum) attached directly to the hollow of the cover. They are generally glued to the hollow of the spine, are sometimes used to give the impression of flexible sewing . (see also False raised back)

False raised back  
Such books are generally sewn on sawn-in cords or in the case of a tight back binding, directly to the spine of the book. The false bands stand out in imitation of a book sewn on raised cords. (see also False raised band)

Flat back
The back of a book which has not been rounded and backed before the boards are attached is called Flat back. A back glued directly to the book is called tight back or fast back. The opposite of
round back.

Flexible binding 
A style of binding in which the sewing allows the book to open flat. 

Flexible sewing 
A method of sewing the sections of a book to cords or bands which are above the backs of the sections and rest against them, as opposed to being recessed. 

see Endpapers

One sheet of paper folded to make two or more leaves but not stitched or cut.

see section.

Fore edge  
Front  or opposite part to the spine. Even the top edge of a bound book, called Head, or the bottom edge of a bound book, called tail.

back to the index  

See Section.

Glue binding 
See Perfect binding.

A strip of cloth or paper pasted around or into a section of a book so as to reinforce the paper and prevent the sewing thread from tearing through. A guard may also be required for leaves or plates that have become frayed or detached at the inner edge.

guard 1 guard 2

back to the index  

Half binding  
A style of binding in which the spine and part of the side of the book, as well as the four corners, are covered with one kind of material, e.g., leather, cloth, etc., and the sides with another material, e.g., cloth or paper.

The top edge of a bound book.  (See even fore edge).

A functional and/or ornamental band at the head and tail of a book between the sections and the spine covering, which projects slightly beyond the head and tail. Originally, the headband consisted of a thong core, similar to the bands on which the book was sewn, around which the ends of the threads were twisted and then laced into the boards of the book. Today, however, the headband is much simpler and is usually made of colored silk sewn to the book or simply attached after the volume has been forwarded. In edition binding they are almost always manufactured separately and then attached, while in library binding they have been replaced for the most part by a length of cord around which the covering material is rolled at both head and tail. 


The leather covering at the head and tail of the spine of a book, formed by turning the leather on the spine over the head and tail and shaping it.




back to the index

A strip of kraft or other relatively stiff paper, used to stiffen the spine area of the case of a library binding. Edition bindings generally do not have inlays.

An additional printed leaf or leaves, circular, etc., placed between the leaves of a book, pamphlet, newspaper, etc. (see also plate)



back to the index

Japanese paper  
A very thin, strong paper made in Japan from long-fibered stock. It is a very versatile paper, and depending on the thickness, may be used for mending torn book leaves, for the overall lining of paper as reinforcement, for reinforcing the folds of sections, or for mending hinges. It is for the most part handmade. Also called "long-fibered Japanese tissue."



back to the index

Kettle stitch sewing
The sew stitches are situated between the highest cord and the top headband and between the lowest cord and the feet headband, with the purpose of wrapping the seam of the signature. The kettle stitch is used to fasten one signature to another.



back to the index

A square or rectangular piece of leather, cloth, or paper, usually of a different color from that used for covering, and attached to the spine, or (occasionally) the upper cover of a book. Labels display the title of the book, the volume number (if any), the author's name and the date of publication. 

The process in craft bookbinding of attaching the boards to the text block by passing the bands or cords on which the book is sewn through holes punched or cut into the boards. The bands are first frayed out and moistened with paste and then passed through the holes or slots.

lacing in


Lacing-in cord 
See lacin-in.  

Single sheet of paper or half of folder a sheet of paper. Each side of the leaf is a page. Usually the odd page is called recto and the even page is called verso

see Environmental parameters

An organic substance, forming the essential part of woody fibre. It’s function is to glue the fibres to the cellulose. Paper containing lignin degrades if exposed to the light, to high humidity or hot temperature. That's why paper turns to yellow.

Cotton, muslin, gauze, ctash, paper and other materials used to reinforce spines fo library bound books. Lining provides the means for a firm connection
between text block and cover and gives shape and firmness to the binding.


A sewing-machine stitch, in which two threads are locked firmly together.

Light measurement unit.



back to the index

Cellulose methyl ether, produced by treating cellulose from wood or cotton with an alkali, such as sodium hydroxide, followed by methyl chloride. The resulting product is a white granular solid, soluble in cold water but insoluble in hot water. It is used as a thickening agent for aqueous preparations and as a substitute for natural gums, and particularly as a stabilizer in emulsions. It has also been used to greaseproof paper and as an additive in adhesives to increase film strength, flexibility and adhesion.


back to the index

Neutral adhesive tape
An acid free paper tape. Recommended for repairing joints, hinging, and mending damaged edges of documents and book pages. Free from wood pulp and acid. Buffered with calcium carbonate. 

The process of drilling the external borders of the leaves to receive the cords. This technique is not particularly resistant.

back to the index  

See recto.  

One on and two off point  
A method of making a hollow in which a strip of paper is cut three times the width of the back of the book; the middle width is glued to the spine, the two end widths fold over the middle are glued to each other.

Oriental sewing 
Also known as chinese/japanese. Horizontal sewing method done on the whole body of pages, it may comprise also the cover, the method consist on creating small holes in the left side of the pages where the string will pass. In this way you have a glue-free tying.  


back to the index

One side of a leaf.

Part of the spine between the bands.

Panel stamp  
A relatively large block of metal or wood, usually the former, engraved intaglio, and used to impress a design on the cover of a book. Although little used today, the panel stamp dates back perhaps 700 years or more.

see Leaf

A book generally defined as a flat back book with a paper cover that is usually, but not always, of a heavier stock than that used for the leaves of the publication itself. 

Passing cord  
Saying also threaded nerve that it passes through the blanket, visible to the outside, in order to allow the anchorage of the blanket to the body of the book.

Passing in cord 
See notching.

The inner part of the board. The anterior one is the inner part of the anterior dish and the posterior one is the inner part of the posterior dish.

Perfect binding  
It’s a typical modern lying executed gluing single pages to the back using a special glue, usually hot. After the book’s opened a few times, the pages are detached easily.  

A number expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. 
The hydrogen-ion concentration of a solution may also be expressed in terms of its pH, which is defined as the negative logarithm to the base ten of the hydrogen-ion concentration. In aqueous solutions, neutrality is the condition that exists when the concentration of hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions are equal. At 25° C., neutrality occurs at a pH of 7.0, which is the pH value of pure (distilled) water when condensed hot and shielded from contact with atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Ph is important because the presence of acid(s) in ink, leather, paper, etc., has or can have, a deleterious effect on such materials. As a decrease of pH means a logarithmic increase in acid concentration, levels of concentration below pH 5.0, or under certain circumstances, even 6.0, become important. Conversely, although not as serious a problem, a high concentration of hydroxyl ions, corresponding to a pH of 10.0 or above, can lead to serious oxydization of cellulosic materials.

An illustration printed separately from the text of the book, often on a different type of paper. Plates may be bound into a book, tipped onto a blank leaf (or a leaf bearing a printed caption), loose in a pocket or portfolio, or bound in a separate volume. Plates are not generally included in the pagination of the book. (see also Inserts)

It is positioned at the end of the book and  it is used to contain insert.

Name of polymeric substances prepared from derivatives of ethylene. Plastic material obtained in order to polymerize ethylene.

Printing cover 
See edition binding.  

Seam’s prop:it is a generic term to indicate the seam’s underlying structure.(tape,sewing on tapes, cords,..)
Writing’s prop: it is a generic term to indicate any type of materials like paper, vellum, papyrus.


back to the index

One of the rigid elements of the cover .They could  be in cardboard, or anciently, in more layers of papers or parchment or wood. (see also Board)


back to the index 

Raised band  
The cords or thongs on which the sections of a book are sewn. The cords are seen as ridges across the spine of the covered book. (see also flexible sewing).

Rebinding method  
The more-or-less complete rehabilitation of a worn and/or damaged book, the minimum amount of work involving resewing and the attachment of new covers. (see also Bookbinding)  

Recessed Cord sewing 
A method of sewing a book by hand which involves cutting grooves into the spine of the gathered sections and recessing the cords into those grooves. A single lenght of thread is carried from kettle sticht, as in flexible sewing, but passes across the cords instead of encircling them. 

The first side of a printed or ruled sheet as distinct from the verso. The right-hand page of an open book or manuscript, usually bearing an odd page number.

Relative humidity 
Relations between absolute humidity and saturation humidity. It is expressed in percent. The optimals values, to conserve the books and the paper’s document and the vellum is comprised between the 45% and the 65%.(see also Environmental parameters).  

Capable of reversing, that is the fact, or action, of reverting or returning to a primitive condition. referred to preservation or binding method.

Reversible adhesive tape
see Neutral adhesive tape

Round back 
A book which has been shaped during the binding process to give it the familiar convex spine. An arc of about one-third of a circle.The opposite of Flat back.

The cotton, hemp, linen or silk cords or bands, of varying thicknesses, which extend across the backs of the gathered sections and are used in sewing books through the folds. They are either sunk into saw cuts in the sections. (see also Cord)


back to the index

Saturation humidity 
Maximum water-vapour amount contents in a cubage air. (See also Environmental parameters).  

The edges of the case that extend beyond the text block at the head, tail, and fore edge, and protect it. 

Number of folded leaves gathered together amd treated as a unit for binding purpose.

To attach and put together the leaves or signatures, to create the text block. The stitching may be without support or with support with different techniques. 
The most important without support are:singer sewingKettle stitch sewing, whip stitchstitchingsimple eight seamoriental
The most important with support are:
sewing on tapes,  sewing on cord, simple point, one one and two off sewingnotching, all along sewing,
wowen point.

Sewing on cord 
Seam done using a support, usually a rope; the cord may be single or double; the seaming string enters in the centre of the signature  and goes out in the back so it can embrace the support and form an open eight. 

Sewing on tapes  
Seam done with a support of cotton tape or duck, passing the string inside the brochure and in correspondence with the thread, the string must block the support without wrapping it.  

see Back

Shelf mark  
Shelf mark: it is a group of number or letter. It show the position of the book in the library.
Brochure’s shelf mark: numbers or letters at the lower margin of the paper; they will help the tier.

see Section

Simple eight point  
See Simple eight seam

Simple eight seam  
Also known as eight. Very simple sewing method, it’s done only on one brochure passing the string inside it, embracing it in the place where the pleat is. 

Simple point  
Seam in which the thread it exits on a side of the support and re-enters embracing it. 

Singer sewing 
Industrial way of sewing done with no supports, just using sewing string.  

Single Paper 
see Leaf

see also Back

Spine linings  
The process of reinforcing the spine of a sewn book, after gluing-up, rounding and backing, and before covering or casing-in. The purpose of lining the spine is to support it and to impart a certain degree of rigidity, while still maintaining the necessary flexibility for proper opening; consequently the weight and stiffness of the spine lining material is of considerable importance.

Splitting Split
Technique of preparation of the quadrants forms to you from cardboards of various grammatura, that heavier outside, that inside glue on the back of the other, more light .The two cardboards are glue on all the surface to you except the part in correspondence of the spirits of last seam. These are inserted and glue exactly in the split (fissure) that it must have one depth of approximately 4 cm. 

see also Inlay

A movement in sewing. Each of the movements of a threaded needle in and out. The portion or loop of thread or yarn left in the fabric as a result of this movement.  

Seam usually made on single papers or tables; it is a flat seam, the thread passes on the back of the papers in visible and equal points; it may be simple or double. It’s a nineteenth-century technique non appropriate to the conservation because the papers usually tear in correspondence to the thread.
See Sewing

back to the index  

The bottom edge of a bound book. (See even Fore edge)

A strip of cloth, generally of cotton ribbon of neutral colour , used as a locking up lace.

Matter’s propriety. It is one of the environmental parameters. To prevente the chimic, physic, biologic degradation of  books, vellum and paper’s document it is necessary a room-temperature comprised between 18° and 20° (see also environmental parameters). 

Text block  
A gathering of printed or written leaves thet may be or have been bound, excluding all paper to be added by the bookbinder such as the endpapers

Instrument for measuring Relative humidity.

A fine cord composed of the fibres or filaments of flax, cotton, wool, silk, etc. spun to a considerable length.

Threaded nerve  
See passing nerve

See corner

Tipping in 
The attachement of one leaf to another, e. g., in a book by means of a narrow strip of adhesive along one edge of the leaf.

Title page  
The recto of the second leaf of a book displaying the name of the author, the full title, the edition, the publisher and the date of publication or printing. 

Each of the separate volumes which compose a literary work or book; rarely, one of the largest parts or sections of a single volume.

Trim tab 
See lining.


back to the index

It is the back of the paper opposite to the recto. It is represent with a “v” and sometimes with a “b”. It coincides with the par number of the pages.
Verso of a carbon-tissue: the disposition of cellulose fiber determine the flexibility of bracket and the consequence dilatation.

A collection of written or printed sheets bound together so as to form a book; a tome.  

back to the index

Warm printing  
See Panel stamp

Warped volume  
See notching.

Wowen point  
Seam in which the thread, after to be usito on a side of the support, it overlaps the feature of thread of the previous issue and re-enters to the other side of the support.  

Whip stitch 
An overcast stitch.


(Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books. A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology. Matt T. Roberts and Don Etherington Drawings by Margaret R. Brown. <http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/don/toc/toc1.html> 1996)

(Glossary of archive preservation terms. English with equivalents in Spanish, German, Italian and French. International Council on Archives: Committee on Conservation and Restoration, 1985.)

(ANSI/NISO/LBI Z39.78-2000)

(ISO 5127:2001)












A cura del Gruppo di Lavoro sulla Conservazione - Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo - Università di Padova - © 2006