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Subject: Rounding and backing

Rounding and backing

From: Paul A. Parisi <70703.2167>
Date: Tuesday, February 6, 1996
There has been considerable debate about rounding and backing (r&b)
since the 1986 LBI Standard was written. The LBI and NISO are
currently in the drafting stage of a new joint Standard for Library
Binding. (I am a member of that committee and serve as one of the
technical editors along with Bob DeCandido of NYPL.) Extensive
testing was conducted regarding r&b vs. flat backing (FB) as well as
other issues of controversy or interest. It is likely that the next
standard for library binding will include r&b and FB as alternative
spine treatments, each with its own list of exceptions where such
treatment is not recommended. Libraries will have options to chose
either method depending on the needs of their collection or to leave
the decision-making up to the binder based upon a customer profile
or bindery standard operating procedures, much like the way leaf
attachment is treated.

Some binders promote the flat back as a less damaging and therefore
better process. Other binders continue to promote r&b as a better
structure especially for volumes that will receive heavy use, are
large, thick or heavy. FB is also recommended in many cases, by
binders that promote r&b, especially when volumes are not large or
do not expect heavy use. I personally agree with this approach. I
favor a binding program that gives libraries many options, including
the option of r&b and FB.

I do not believe that r&b is damaging to a binding except in rare
cases where a volume has semi-brittle paper and is a marginal
candidate for library binding. Keep in mind that r&b, like all
bindery processes, must be part of a decision-making process that
includes judgement and experience. Most binderies have hand operated
rounding and backing machines beside their automated machinery and
binders should use this hand operated machinery when needed to do
the job correctly. In other cases bindery staff know that r&b is
inappropriate based on the condition of paper.

Library binding is not simple, because the volumes that we are asked
to bind are not uniform. Binding standards must give binders and
libraries the necessary array of options to enable a preservation
program that will fit the use and budget constraints of diverse
collections. The 1986 LBI Standard was a big step forward in terms
of expanding libraries binding options. The next LBI/NISO binding
standard will go even further because it will offer a performance
criteria for evaluating binding as well as the familiar recommended
methods and materials approach that has worked successfully for the
past 60 years. I believe that the goal of an industry standard is to
enable vendors to innovate and improve quality while maintaining a
set of criteria for consumers of library binding products to
determine whether or not they are getting products that will perform
as expected. The next binding standard will give you more
information, but it will not answer all your questions. I suggest
that you look at the volumes you have in your stacks, and judge for
yourself what binding styles work for you.

Paul Parisi

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:59
                Distributed: Thursday, February 8, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-9-59-005
Received on Tuesday, 6 February, 1996

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