Indiana University Libraries Book Repair Manual

adhesive binding

A text block structure in which the leaves are held together at the spine edge by adhesive. Most commonly, the leaves begin as loose sheets of paper, but some adhesive-bound text blocks are composed of signatures. In the case of the latter, the signatures are usually either pierced through the fold or notched laterally across the spine edge to allow the adhesive to reach the inner folios. The adhesive binding we do in-house is the type called "double-fan" or "quarter-joint."

alkaline reserve

A buffer of alkaline pH, added to paper for the purpose of not only stabilizing the pH of the paper at the time of treatment but also to neutralize acid to which the paper might be exposed in the future.

archival materials

Those materials which, by the test of time, laboratory, or both, have proven to possess qualities such as longevity, compatibility, and/or reversibility, and which are thus suitable for use in conservation work.


The process of shaping the spine of a text block. See Appendix: "Making a Casebound Book", slides 65-69.


The outer enclosure of a book, whose primary functional duty is to protect the text block. It is also commonly referred to as the "cover."


The method of bookbinding in which the case of the book is completed and covered before being joined with the text block, as opposed to after, as in, e.g., craft/fine binding.

cloth hinges

Cloth reinforcement strips added to end sheets to increase their strength and which minimize the problem of books breaking at the hinges.

end sheets

A group of leaves added to both the front and back of a text block, each bearing a cloth hinge for reinforcement.

fly leaf

The leaves of end sheets which are not affixed to the boards but left free. Sometimes used in singular form to refer only to the first leaf inward from and adjacent to the paste-down.


As the term applies to text block construction, a sheet of paper, folded in two.

fore edge

The edge of a book opposite the spine edge.


The orientation of the fibers of paper, cloth, or board.

grain direction

The direction in which the greater number of fibers are oriented in paper or board. As applied to cloth, the term refers to the way the fibers are woven. In any case, the orientation of fibers tends to make the material stiffer in the direction parallel to those fibers, and more flexible and likelier to curl in the direction perpendicular to them. The former is the grain direction; the latter is the cross direction.

grain long

Indicating that the grain direction runs the larger dimension of a piece of material.

grain short

Indicating that the grain direction runs the smaller dimension of a piece of material.


The junction of two leaves of a text block at the spine edge.

gutter margin

The margin at the gutter edge of a page of text.

hard spine binding

A binding whose case has a spine inlay of board or card instead of paper.


The point at the spine edge of the board's inner surface where the paste-down and fly leaf meet. When the paste-down separates from the board, the hinge is said to be loose or shaken, and the repair treatment called for is hinge tightening. Also, the term generally includes the junctions of the next few leaves into the text block. When the leaves are separated in this area, the hinge is said to be broken, and hinge mending is the repair treatment needed for this ailment.

jog up

To align the edges, usually of a stack of paper.


The points at which the boards of a case hinge.

kettle stitch

In sewn text blocks, the stitch at each end, where the sewing of one signature concludes and that of the next begins.


One of the sheets of paper in the text block of a book, inclusive of both sides of the sheet. Though commonly referred to as a page, the latter refers to only one side of a sheet.


One side of one of the sheets of paper composing the text block of a book. Each sheet, inclusive of both sides, is a leaf.


The outermost leaf of an end sheet, which is affixed to the inner surface of the board of the case.


A margin of waste on the outer edges of cloth which serves to prevent it from fraying.

sewing stations

In sewing a text block through the folds of signatures, those points at which sewing reverses direction from "in" to "out".


A group of folios composing the text block of a book.

spine inlay

A paper reinforcement applied to the spine of a case or text block.


An overhanging outer edge. The square of a book is the edge of its case that overhangs the text block (illustration). That of a clamshell box is the edge of its case, the C tray, that overhangs the A and B trays.


In casebinding, the strip of cloth which is affixed first to the spine of the text block, then to the boards of the case. Along with the cloth hinges of the end sheets, it represents the case-to-text block attachment; the part that holds the book together. (This is providing the book is of a binding structure which uses a super, which not all do.) The term perhaps more properly describes the cloth from which it is made, rather than the part of the book made from it, but is nonetheless used throughout the manual to mean the latter.

text block

The total of a book's leaves, which is bound into the case.


A margin of cover material which is folded onto a board surface other than that which will show the face side of that particular piece of cover material. For the cases of books, the turn-ins are normally folded over onto the surface opposite the show side, at the top, bottom, and fore edge. In the case of clamshell boxes or other three-dimensional cloth covered enclosures, some of the turn-ins are folded onto the board surface 90 degrees from the show side.