Skip Navigation Links The Library of Congress >> Researchers Asian Reading Room 
Asian Reading Room: Library of Congress
  Home >> Handling Materials

Handling Asian-Style Books

Before handling any book, consider:
Does the binding open easily?
Is the binding broken?
Is the paper brittle, flexible, torn?
Does this type of binding require special support to avoid damage during viewing?

An accordion-style book is made of one long continuous length of paper or card folded in alternate directions that piles up, back and forth, to make a text block or album.

- Avoid strain on the folded accordion joints by keeping the text block in alignment by careful placement when turning the pages of the book. This will prevent twisting the folded joints that can lead to a tear or to forming a new crease.

- When open, keep the text block level and flat to avoid straining the fold by using flat supports under the thinner side of the text block to make the opening level. Change the height of the supports as the pages are turned and the difference in heights gradually evens out and then switches to the other half of the text block.

- The supports can be multiple sheets of mat board or thin, flat cushions that can be stacked to give varying thickness.


Individual Fascicles
- Keep in mind that the strength of an individual side-sewn fascicle is along the sewn edge. Carefully support the soft, flexible fascicle with both hands.

- Pick up the fascicle at the sewn edge of the text.

- Support the rest of the text with the palm of your other hand when removing from the stack or table, particularly when the covers of the book do not provide support.

- If the book has flexible text paper, it will open easily and can be viewed opened out on a table surface. If the paper is not flexible, a cradle will provide the needed support to avoid damage to the stiff or brittle paper. See "Cradles" below.

Groups of Fascicles
Alignment of the fascicles within the wrapper is the most important aspect of protecting them from being bent, creased, torn or broken because the strength is in the group.

- Make sure they are aligned by carefully re-placing the fascicle on the stack while supporting the text block with the palm of your hand.

- Align the fascicles by gently nudging into place with the soft sides of your fingers before closing the cloth- covered wrapper around the stack.

- For books that do not open easily, place the book in a cradle or between two bolsters that support both boards of the book in a 90-120 degree angle.

- Soft, flexible weights can be used to gently hold the book open at the angle that causes least resistance.

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home>> Handling Materials
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  November 15, 2010
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Asian Reading Room 
Contact Us