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Book and Paper

UvA Book and Paper Conservation
Book and paper conservation. Photo: Bas van Velzen

Treating book and paper

It is important to learn how to observe and understand these changes as they have consequences for the treatment result. This knowledge is also essential to be able to make responsible ethical considerations before treatment can begin. Gaining an insight into forms of degradation and damage, the context, and the manufacture and composition of paper, leather and parchment allows the student to consider the treatment choices.

From paper to books

At the beginning of the Master’s programme, the emphasis lies on paper before changing to books. There is a logical connection between these two subjects with a partial overlap in treatment techniques, though students usually opt for one or the other. In addition to dealing with more complex treatment issues, second-year students are trained to widen their perspective from a focus on treating single objects to tackling entire collections. The vastness and diversity of paper cultural heritage in museums, archives and libraries is an important phenomenon. Achieving the greatest possible conservation result with minimal resources remains a major challenge for the future, and thus also for students.

The first paper files were digitised about 15 years ago. Initially, it was thought that this had rendered the conservation of original documents less important. In the interim, however, experience has proved otherwise. The sensory and physical values of paper heritage underlie the expertise acquired and care exhibited by the students who choose the specialisation Book and paper.