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This research focuses on the typology of paper by using the material itself: paper is it's own best descriptor. The main aim of this research is to develop the knowledge and analytical structure that will give the paper conservator tools to quickly gather the necessary knowledge about the paper to be treated.

Paper conservators know a lot about how paper is made and how it appears when degraded. However, the knowledge needed to describe paper accurately is spread over many fields of expertise: paper history, chemistry, paper chemistry, engineering, microscopy, botany etc. By understanding the intended use of the paper and how papermakers have made their choices over time, conservators can have a better idea how paper is put together. Additional investigation by analysing fibre samples in cross-polarised light retarded by a lambda filter, provides the conservator a quick and reliable insight into the composition of the paper. This project aims to develop a workable technique for this type of analysis.


Em. prof. dr. Jørgen Wadum, UvA

Dr. Henk Porck, Royal Library, the Hague

Paper sample fibre analysis
Paper sample in cross-polarised light. Photo: Bas van Velzen