|Auteurs||Pearson, David, John Mumford en Alison Walker|
|Uitgever||Preservation Advisory Centre|
|ISBN||0 7123 4982 0|
Developing expertise in recognising and dating bindings is largely a matter of experience, of looking and handling, and many people with responsibility for historic book collections will readily admit that bindings is an area in which they feel they would like to have more detailed knowledge. The key message is that all bindings, however unspectacular they may look, are potentially of interest to historians of the book and cultural historians. Vast quantities of evidence about the ways in which books were sold and circulated in the past has been lost or compromised through the entirely well-intentioned repair work of previous generations, and some of the cheapest and simplest kinds of early bookbindings are now the hardest to find. Provincial collections may contain the work of local bookbinders which will survive nowhere else. Bookbindings are worth preserving not only for their aesthetic qualities but for their value as an intrinsic part of our documentary cultural heritage.
Decisions on the care and repair of bindings can be complex and involve many considerations – use, function, rarity and structural issues. We outline here some of these and suggest sources for further research. Above all we emphasise the need to respect the artefact, the historical evidence which has survived and which we must preserve for the future.